What types of systems are available and what happens after I decide to Go Solar?
So, you have done your research and you’re ready to take the next step by making an investment in a renewable energy system. That’s great news! At this point it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the 30% Federal tax credit and the 50% Louisiana tax credit.
Next you need to determine what kind of system will best suit your goals/needs. There are a lot of options and since every home is different in regards to available roof area, energy use, and shading from trees and other buildings it is important to determine what will perform best for your home in order to maximize the return on your investment.
There are some myths to dispel related to how solar energy systems interact with your home. Some of the products and technologies we hear about on TV are not yet available for your home and may or may not be commercially viable. The important thing to remember is the equipment we are installing is proven, reliable, and long-lasting.
Solar electric systems from SUNPOWER, Schuco USA, and Solarworld
There are two main types of solar electric systems for your home or business. Grid-tie and Grid-tie with battery backup.
Grid-tie, or Grid-Interactive systems
Early solar systems required batteries to store the solar energy for use in your home. These batteries can be bulky, costly, and since they have shorter lifespans than solar panels they require replacement periodicly throughout the life of a system.
Grid-tie solar eliminates the need for batteries by taking advantage of net-metering to interact directly with the power supplied by your local utility. Your solar system wakes up every morning and “synchronizes” itself with the power from your utility. After synchronization your system goes online and starts feeding electricity into your homes distribution system through a common circuit breaker just like the rest of your homes circuits use. There are several advantages to this type of this system:
- By eliminating the need for batteries you have eliminated what until now was a major factor contributing to the cost of going solar, batteries.
- You no longer have to worry about finding an area in your home to store the batteries and the extra equipment associated with them.
- You will not have to worry about replacing your batteries when they wear out.
There is one key disadvantage to grid-tie solar without batteries. This is very important. Without batteries, if you lose grid supplied power from your local utility, your system will automatically shut down! This means that during a power failure your system will not operate, even if the sun is shining! Why? There is one very important reason for this.
During a power outage, utility workers may be outside repairing the power lines. If your solar system was operating it could potentially energize those lines, creating a hazard for the workers. As a result part of your “Net Metering Agreement” with your power company requires you to demonstrate that your system protects workers by going offline during an outage. At South Coast Solar, all of our equipment and work is guaranteed to meet all utility and local code requirements. We guarantee it and we file all the paperwork and work with your local utility to perform all the necessary tests to ensure your system.
Learn more about the process of installing a “Net Metered” solar energy system as well as what the required equipment looks like on your building.
Grid-tie with Battery backup
Sadly many of us endured the prolonged power outages after Hurricane Katrina ravaged our area. Flooding, along with the lack of electricity hampered our ability to return home and begin the recovery.
A solar power system with batteries can supply reliable backup power for your home. A modest battery backup system can supply power for:
- Critical medical equipment
- Modest lighting loads such as compact fluorescent or LED lighting
- Ceiling fans
- Other critical loads such as well pumps, saltwater aquariums, humidors, and wine cellars
If you need more power you can add more batteries or even introduce a backup generator into the system for an added layer of protection. While a battery backup system alone usually won’t be able to supply larger loads such as your homes air conditioners or incandescent lighting they do have a couple of distinct advantages to gas generators:
- Solar power battery backup systems DO qualify for up to 80% in tax incentives
- During the 99.9% of the time the grid is up and operating your system will be “Net Metering” electricity into your home helping to repay the cost of installing the system and lowering your electricity bills in the process.
Click here to learn more about the process of designing and integrating a solar power system with battery backup into your home.