Solar 101

Why is Solar Right For You?

Common reasons for Going Solar:
Lower or eliminate your electric bill: Power prices may have dipped recently, but the long-term outlook for energy prices show a steady increase.

Increased Home Value: If the time comes to sell your home, you'll be selling a home with little or no electric bill-- a powerful selling point.

Safe Investment: Has your retirement fund taken a hit lately? In addition to increased home value, Residential Solar can produce small, but certain long-term returns.

Reduce Your Footprint: An average residential solar electric system reduces C02 emissions by 89,429 lbs. per year; the equivalent of planting 130 trees every year.

Electricity, Hot Water, Heat

There are three types of solar:
Photovoltaic or PV: Produces electricity to power your home
Passive Thermal: Produces heated air to heat your home
Thermal Hot Water: Produces hot water

Learn Your Usage

Determine your monthly usage from your bill. This is measured in kWh.

System Size

The size of a solar electric system depends on the following:

Daily Energy Usage:
As you'd expect, the less energy you need, the less your system will cost. The average home in the U.S. uses 900 kW hours per month.

Daily Sun Hours: This is the number of hours your location receives peak exposure to the sun. What's your sun hours? U.S. Solar Map

Percentage of Coverage: The cost of the system will depend on the percentage of electricity you hope to gain from solar.
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Average System Cost

The cost of a typical system can be broken down into 2 areas: components and installation. In the solar industry, this cost is tracked by dollars per watt.

Range of Cost: Residential Grid-Tie systems can start as low as $2000 (installed) for a starter system, all the way to $50,000 or more.

Average Component Cost: $4 per watt. This includes all the components including panels, inverters, mountings and electrical accessories.

Average Installation Cost: $2.50 per watt. This usually includes the physical installation of the system and connection to the grid.

Example: A 3 kW system is 3000 watts. So the components will cost $15,000 before rebates, and the installation will cost $6,000.
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