Going Green with Solar Power

There is no question about it; fossil fuels are still prevalent today. However, when it comes to long-term power and energy solutions, there are other viable options. Although many countries, businesses, and households have adopted renewable forms of energy such as wave, wind, and solar, there is still ground that needs to be covered. Additionally, there are plenty of benefits to adopting solar power.

benefits of solar power for communities

Doing Your Part for a Healthier Planet

Solar power, which we can harness thanks to the ingenious invention of the solar panel, is a renewable form of energy that never runs out (unless there are extended periods of cloud cover). If you are a homeowner or company and wish to do your part in being a part of the solution, consider installing solar panels.

One thing you are more than likely pondering, however, is the cost of implementing solar power in your home, business, or in aid of your community. And this is a definite factor when deciding how and where people acquire their electrical needs. However, over time, the panels pay for themselves, which ultimately leads to saving money.

In the end, the importance of using renewable energy cannot be stressed enough. People can quickly reduce their carbon footprint by opting for this form of power, which has a ripple effect. If more people choose to install solar panels to supply their electrical needs, the demand for the burning of fossil fuels will decrease drastically.

Solar Power and the Upliftment of Communities

Other benefits and subjects of importance for this energy source are that it can lead to community development and upliftment. Those living in urban areas with electrical infrastructure may take this for granted. Many communities do not possess the luxury of tapping into this, and this is one-way solar can be of immense help.

It leads to schools being able to offer access to electronic means of learning and access to resources, such as children being able to utilize the internet and engage with computer programs.

People in rural areas are allowed to do everyday tasks. These may include cooking, lighting their homes, washing and ironing clothing, watching television, communicating with people via the internet, and using appliances such as fridges to keep food fresh.

what is community solar

What is Reaped from Solar Power

This is but the tip of the iceberg. There are numerous reasons to consider solar power. Leading on from the previous points, you will play your part and may wear the badge of honor that you are socially and environmentally responsible.

After the initial payout, solar panels only rely on the sun to generate electricity. Your electricity bill will lower or potentially even allow you to go entirely off-grid, leading to years of future savings. The best solar panels last an incredibly long time, some even up to 25 years. The batteries where the power is stored may need replacing more frequently, but they also have good lifespans.

The price of installing solar is on a general downward trend, which is more than likely due to an increase in demand, allowing suppliers to sell them at a cheaper cost. When it comes to producing solar panels, you will be glad to hear that the energy used to make them is far outweighed by their eventual output.

Consider Joining the Solar Revolution

Humanity has long had to be coerced into doing things that are good for our planet, our home.

Earth is still the only habitable planet we know of. It deserves care and a dedication to seeking viable options to ensure that future generations are left with a healthy and sustainable world. And to top it all off, solar power can supply communities with off-grid electricity where they would not have had it before.

Why Steel Is An Environmentally-Friendly Building Material

If you are thinking about building a new home or office block, it is important that you are considering the effect that it will have on the environment. There are many different building materials that you can choose from but only some are energy efficient in the way that they are made. Here, we are going to look at some of the reasons why steel is a very environmentally-friendly building material. Keep reading to find out more about this material.

1. Less Waste

One of the most important reasons why steel is an environmentally-friendly building material is the fact that it tends to produce less waste. When you order steel from a company like Armstrong Steel, for example, you are only ordering exactly what you need. Their steel building kits provide you with the exact materials you need to assemble, so if you have any spare parts you’ve done something wrong!

This can mean that there is little to no waste in comparison to other building materials such as brick or wood. This is a great reason to consider using steel in your home.

2. Reduced Energy Usage

When you invest in steel as a building material, you are also ensuring that energy usage and costs are going to be much less in the future. This is great for those who are going to be living in the building or using it, as well as the environment as a whole.

Steel is a material that can be effectively insulated and so you don’t need to worry about losing any energy. This means that this building material is much more environmentally-friendly.

3. It Can Withstand Harsh Weather

Did you know that steel is an extremely durable material and so it has the ability to withstand harsh weather and stay standing for a long time? This means that you don’t need to worry about the steel building falling down in the event of flooding or snowstorm as it is built to last. With a longer-lasting material, you can be sure that your building will leave behind a much smaller carbon footprint.

4. Solar Panels Can Be Added

The final reason that steel is an environmentally-friendly building material is that it can have solar panels added very easily. Not every building material has this ability and so solar panels are often ignored for other types of energy.

With more buildings using solar energy to power utilities, the environment will be positively impacted. This is something to consider if you are thinking about building a steel building in the near future.

Final Verdict

Steel is one of the best eco-friendly building materials for buildings across the world for a number of reasons. If you are interested in doing what you can to save the planet then you might want to consider choosing steel for your next project. Think about how durable this material is and remember that steel is recyclable. Try steel in your next building and you will feel much better about your carbon footprint and the effect that you are having on the environment overall.

How an Eco-friendly Home can Boost ROI When Selling?

Greening your home isn’t only beneficial for the environment and reducing energy costs, if you are thinking of selling it in the future, environmental upgrades can also help your ROI. Some green home improvements have a better ROI than others (think solar panels), and doing your research before your start any project can help you get the most bang for your buck. We’ve outlined a few of the best options that you might want to consider when determining the ROI of eco-friendly homes:

1. Tankless water heater

One of the easiest and least expensive upgrades you can make to take your home in an eco-friendly direction is buying a new water heater, especially if it hasn’t been changed in the last decade. Water heating is responsible for 16% of a typical home’s energy costs and swapping out an old, inefficient water heater, for a tankless version could cost a couple thousand dollars, and will save you money every month. It will also be an attractive selling point for your home.

2. Upgraded windows

If your home has drafty windows, they are the next feature that you want to turn to for an energy-efficient upgrade. The cost of windows will depend on the size of your home and the quality that you go for, but there is no doubt that this is likely worth your investment.

The Department of Energy says heat gain and loss through older windows is responsible for 25 to 30% of energy usage for heating and cooling. According to Consumer Reports, Energy Star-certified windows can lower your home’s energy bills by up to 15%, and that translates to attractive savings for a potential buyer.

3. Solar panels

Solar panels can save you money, but not right away, so they may not have the best ROI if you are planning to sell soon. That’s because installing solar panels have major upfront costs. The good news is that homes with solar energy systems typically garner higher selling prices than homes with other types of systems.

One study found that homebuyers were willing to pay a premium of $15,000, and, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, homes that feature solar panels may also sell faster than homes that derive their energy from fossil fuels.

However, determining the ROI of installing solar is complicated. According to Energy Informative, a five-kilowatt system — the average size of a system in the United States — can cost around $20,000. But the exact size of the system you’ll need will depend on how big your home is and how much power it uses.

Another consideration is your home’s location, as there may be state rebates (such as in California, Arizona, and Colorado), in addition to federal tax credits. Evaluate the number of years that you intend to stay in your home, and compare the average monthly savings of using solar with how much of the system you’ll have paid off by your projected moving day.

With one or more of these strategies in mind, you will be well on your way to greening your home to make it more attractive to potential buyers.

5 Solar Panel Facts You Might Not Know

Over the last decade, it seems that the cost of electricity has risen in most areas. This is one of the reasons why so many people are getting solar energy systems installed in their homes. Due to its rise in popularity, we have seen prices for solar panels and other equipment needed to make your home more eco-friendly decrease.

Because solar energy is still fairly new technology, many people still know very little about the industry. To help you out, we have compiled a few interesting facts about solar panels which you might find interesting.

As the industry grows, you will probably be hearing much more about solar panels and the benefits of using this eco-friendly method to provide energy for your home. Below are solar panel FAQs to remember:

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1. The First Solar Panel Cell was Discovered in 1941

Although it seems like solar panels have only been around for the last few decades, the world’s first solar panel cell was invented by Russell Ohl in 1941. Shortly after the invention of the first solar panel cell was invented, Bell Laboratories came up with the world’s first commercial panel in 1954.

Although it seems we are still at the stone age of solar power, photovoltaic (the conversion of light into electricity) was discovered by French scientist Alexandre Edmond Becquerel in 1839.

2. In the Long Run, Solar Power can help Save you Money

Although the initial cost of installing a solar system in your home might be frightening, the overall running cost of the system can save you a lot of money. Although prices of installation and equipment are becoming more affordable, it still is expensive for the average household.

However, try to keep in mind that you won’t ever have to pay to heat or cool down your house again (assuming your solar panels power system can provide enough energy throughout the year for your home). The average household spends $1,300 annually on their electricity bill.

Throughout the world, it seems more and more governments are trying to encourage homeowners and business owners to invest in solar panels. Lots of governments have offered people incentives and tax breaks in the hope that the number of households using this eco-friendly method will increase. In some states in America, people who purchase solar panels are eligible for a 30% tax break. Also, some states allow those who own solar power to sell their excess energy, so they can make some profit from their system.

3. A Communal Effort

Community solar systems are becoming more common these days. Instead of just having an individual solar system in your home, more communities are investing in community solar systems instead.

Over the last 15 years or so, instead of each household having individual systems installed, whole communities are getting together and investing in a system that will provide energy for the entire community. If you are considering making your home more eco-friendly, why not speak to others in your community to see if everybody on the block is interested in getting a communal solar system installed instead?

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4. The Industry is Growing Extremely Fast

Between 2018 and 2010, the number of households and businesses having solar power installed in their buildings grew 23 times in the United States. Solar power is not only becoming more appealing to homeowners in the United States, but it seems like people all over the world are deciding to go green and install solar power systems into their homes.

China uses more solar power than any other country on the planet. The Chinese government has been offering the residents of the country plenty of incentives that has resulted in many people installing a solar power system in their home.

If you are thinking about installing a solar power system inside your home, check out Solar Panels Network USA for more information. If you are still on the fence about joining the solar power movement, ask them for advice.

5. Maintaining a Solar Power System

Maintaining your solar power system tends to be fairly cheap too. In fact, once the system is fully installed there is actually very little maintenance needed. Apart from cleaning the panels now and again, and making sure that it’s getting sunlight and not shaded, it should work smoothly. You may have to trim some trees at times but that’s about it.

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Most solar panels have been installed on a tilted roof, so when the rain hits it will clean any dust and dirt from the panel so you won’t have to clean it too often.

Most solar power system suppliers offer 25 year warranty, but it is not too uncommon to see a quality solar power system last for 40 years. If your system does manage to last for that length of time, you can imagine how much money you will save on electricity.

5 Things You Can Do About Pigeons Under Your Solar Panels

Solar paneling has changed the way we look at renewable energy sources today. In addition to the increasing power charges, solar paneling provides a workable solution with a one-time investment. Like everything, there are pros and cons attached with solar panels. Birds are attracted to solar panels that act as a source of shade and protection. Being a bird lover, I would have been happy about it. However, that is not the case here. Bird droppings can cause a lot of damage to solar panels over extended periods of time.

We list some of these damages below:

  • Bird dropping deposits eat on the solar panels’ surface.
  • The accumulation of bird droppings over time can cause a lot of damage.
  • It blocks sunlight and reduces the overall efficiency of panels.
  • Nesting materials deposited under panels can hinder airflow, causing it to overheat and cause more damage.

How to Keep Solar Panels Safe from Pigeons?

So how do we deal with this problem? There are several ways to take care of this. We list 5 things you can do about pigeons under your solar panels below:

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1. Meshing or netting

Meshing or netting is a very convenient way of keeping the solar panel safe from pigeons. All you need to do is first have the area under the solar panels cleaned. After that, it’s as simple as putting the mesh clips onto the solar panels. The meshing runs over the edges and seals off the way for the pigeons to enter.

The meshing or the netting serves precisely the desired  purpose–it keeps the pigeons out of the area below the solar panel. Also, it provides enough ventilation for the solar panels to dissipate heat.

However, one essential thing that you need to keep in mind is not damaging the panels during the mesh installation. In case the panels get damaged, the warranty would be void.

2. Roof spikes

Installing roof spikes around the solar panel is another way to keep the pigeons at bay. The logic is to make the birds so uncomfortable so that they do not dare to sit long enough to make nests on the solar panel.

3. Plastic predators

The birds cannot distinguish between an actual bird or an artificial one. Setting decoys on your rooftop is like having scarecrows in the field. Set up a bird of prey on the rooftop, preferably like a weathervane, so that it moves. The movement of the bird gives an impression of another bird being present. Plastic predators is a very traditional, however, effective method to keep pigeons and other birds away.

4. Cleanliness

We always talk about cleanliness and how important it is to maintain hygiene. Here is a perfect example of the same. Most of the time, the primary reason for the attraction of birds is if they find food. Hence, keeping away all sources of food makes the place inhabitable. Keep the rubbish bins covered with lids.

If there are pets in the house, ensure that all the pet food is being cleaned. Use tightly sealed plastic bags wherever possible. The cleaner your yard and roof is, the lesser is the chance of bird inhabiting the place. Also, with regards to the a flat roof, ensure that you don’t have any edible garbage lying around.

5. Solar panel maintenance

And finally, let’s come to the last part, which is the maintenance of your solar panels. Cleaning up the panels regularly and taking care of any cracks or any mountings issues is extremely important. Ensure that you get the solar panels cleaned and serviced correctly at regular intervals. Clean solar panels don’t attract a lot of birds.

Conclusion

It is extremely crucial to maintain clean conditions around the panels and even around your house. Cleanliness ensures that pigeons or other birds are not attracted to your home. Along with cleanliness, regular maintenance of the solar panels will ensure that fewer birds inhabit your home. Also, it ensures that the efficiency of your solar panels does not dip. There are various companies that offer solar panel pigeon proofing. It is advisable to get a professional maintenance of the solar panels done once a year, if you don’t live in a highly polluted area.

The Bright Future of Solar Lighting

Solar power is an appealing source of energy, considering that it is widely available and sustainable. However, only two percent of the world’s electricity is derived from solar as of 2018. In the past, the production of solar energy has been costly and fairly ineffective.

Good thing, new technological advancements over the past years have propelled this growing reliance on solar by lowering costs. Technological innovations also aim to expand the use of solar by further decreasing costs and improving the efficiency of solar panels.

The Importance of Solar Lights

Although there are many uses for solar power, solar lighting is one of the most prominent. Large electrical products need high energy levels to operate them. This means that it needs large solar panels to collect appropriate energy from the sun.

solar-lights-highway

On the other hand, solar street lighting do not require large sources of energy and can thus be operated off much smaller panels. They provide a higher level of functionality and flexibility since the solar panels can be integrated into the lighting system.

The magnificence of solar lighting is that you can use it often and virtually any time without any cost except for the initial purchase. Direct sunlight is not even required to charge the batteries.  With advanced technology, new models of solar lights can charge even on a cloudy day.

Solar lights are well designed for outdoor usage, removing the need for risky electrical wiring. Excellent placement means maximum charging and the light turns on as the sun sets. While more extensive circuitry is required, solar lighting can also be used for interior lighting.

The Future of Solar Lighting

It is always difficult to predict the future. But by observing current trends in energy usage, solar energy industry, and prospective scientific research, we can catch a peek of what solar lighting could mean for the future:

Materials

Most likely, the materials that go into solar panels will change. Cell phone manufacturers, smartphones, electric vehicles, and cordless power tools all rely on the same rare earth component array that solar panel makers do.

Worldwide stocks of these resources continue to decline. Due to this, scientists have warned companies producing high-tech gadgets to find alternatives (such as iron pyrite or zinc). Experts advise manufacturers to develop their metal recycling and recovery systems.

Cost

New designs will be developed to absorb more light and convert light energy more efficiently into electricity. Upcoming solar light models will also be less costly to build than existing designs to outperform current solar cells.

solar-steer-lights

Electricity producers and consumers are more likely to embrace solar power if it is as costly or more affordable than others. Any changes to current designs of solar cells should reduce overall costs to be widely accepted.

Silicon solar cells are likely to persist to fall in price and be manufactured in large numbers in the near future. Additionally, research will continue on alternative models for solar cells that are more powerful and less costly.

With the bulk production of solar cells and emerging technologies, these developments will continue to be made possible.

Solar Power Usage

As the fight against climate change is escalating, so will the demand for renewable energy sources. Solar power will play a significant role in combating global climate change.

Solar could also spread to developing countries in the form of microgrids. Microgrids are distributed installations of electricity generation that provide energy to a limited area like a town, community, or a neighborhood.

Solar microgrids are an effective way to electrify remote communities in Africa or Southeast Asia. It is most effective for developing nations where it is too costly for electricity companies to connect far-flung towns to the power network.

Transparent Solar Cells

This advanced form of solar cells is adequately transparent for many new applications. Researchers developed a model that includes organic salts that absorb enough UV and infrared light to turn solar radiation into energy

Picture this sort of solar cell on the screen of a smartphone or a car’s windshield. Ultimately, transparent solar cells are more appealing than the conventional dark-colored panels and have a wider range of uses.

Final Thoughts

The use of solar lighting dates back to a thousand years ago when man first discovered fire. However, it is also very much the present and will be a significant part of the future. Solar lighting is here to stay until the sun shines its last beam, and as technology advances, the developments can grow over and over again.

Convinced yet of the bright future of solar lighting? If so, look no further than www.heisolar.com. HEI is a global leader in providing highly efficient solar lighting products. The company offers a range of outdoor solar lighting solutions for your home, business, or property.

Eco-friendly Upgrades to Make Your Home Attractive to Buyers

If you are looking to sell your home or are just thinking about doing some upgrades to make it more attractive when you do finally sell it, studies show that making your property more eco-friendly will make it more attractive to potential buyers. If you want to get specific, there are some eco-friendly upgrades that not only help the environment by reducing the home’s energy consumption, but at the same time provide a return on the investment of more than 100%. This is not just an empty promise as every year sees an increase in home construction that includes the latest in environmentally friendly technology.

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It is no secret that technology is helping every industry develop at supersonic speeds. With the continued threat that rapid urban development brings to the environment. it only makes sense to use new technology to create better construction methods that are less harmful to the environment and more affordable to the homeowner. Jump on the go green opportunities available today and commit to making a better tomorrow.

Be Both Ambitious and Realistic

As you might expect, some eco-friendly upgrades are going to cost more than others. Want to add solar panels on top of the roof? First you have to check with your HOA, if you have one. Then you need to check the financials of the project. The upfront cost will vary from one installer to the next, and the rebates and incentives that encourage you to change in the first place will also vary depending on your home state.

If installing solar panels on your roof is not in your budget, there are plenty of other options to choose from. Everything from changing your insulation to never buying bottled water can have an impact. Changing the number of days you water your lawn or the amount of time for each sprinkler. Try reducing the amount of time you spend in the shower by just a few minutes each day.

All of these savings can add up and help reduce your carbon footprint over time and not only do you not spend money, but you can save money when it comes to your utility bills.

Don’t Forget Tax Season

Using your home as a tax write-off is so obvious it’s a huge reason many people buy homes in the first place. The important thing to remember is that you aren’t the only one who has a vested interest in making your home eco-friendly. The IRS has entered the discussion and extends tax credits based on different upgrades made to the home for environmentally friendly purposes. And since employing a special tax attorney may not be in your budget, there are other feasible ways to examine your financial situation as it impacts your taxes, and whether or not there are any discrepancies that need to be taken care of.

Once you have your overall financial situation looking a little clearer, don’t just be content with the usual write-offs consisting of interest payments and the like; consider all of your options and make a home upgrade that pays for itself. The point is, being proactive and taking the initiative to make your home more eco-friendly is not only affordable, it is also rewarding.

Why Should Your Company Commit to Renewable Power?

Roughly one-third of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions come from burning fossil fuels to create electricity, according to Climate Collaborative. Using non-renewable gas, oil and coal adds to a rapidly growing carbon footprint, increases global warming and spells disaster for our fragile planet’s future. Companies and large corporations have the ability to make a positive environmental change by committing to transition to renewable energy in the coming months and years. Not only will this benefit our planet, but it also promises success for companies who choose to commit to it.

Reduce energy costs by producing your own energy

Utility bills are a huge expense for businesses, many of which are at the mercy of utility companies that could raise their rates at any moment. Renewable energy is an attractive alternative to electricity and the bills that come with it. Wind installations are one option, but solar panels are even better as they are more predictable, efficient and affordable.

In fact, the cost of renewable energy is dropping at an incredibly rapid rate. The total cost of developing wind power has dropped 55% in the last five years while solar energy has dropped a shocking 74%. These low prices stem from massive global investment and rapid technological advancement. And major corporations that are already using clean energy are only looking to buy more in the coming months.

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Boosting public relations

An increasing number of companies are committing to renewable power to boost public image. Smart businesses know that, in today’s world, renewable power is a source of competitive advantage. Social pressure to reduce emissions continues to rise as consumers look for ways to be involved in saving the planet. This green movement has driven a demand for green products. And companies that can sustainably create these products are winners in the public eye.

Renewable power is also reliable and predictable

Unlike coal or oil, we’ll never run out of wind or sun. This makes the cost and savings of wind and solar power quite stable. Solar panels installed on top of business structures will produce a consistent amount of energy year after year as long as they are properly maintained. This strong reliability makes budgeting easier and ensures a less volatile bottom line.

Reducing carbon emissions

Every one killowatt-hour of energy produced keeps 300 pounds of carbon out of the atmosphere. So, replacing non-renewable energy with renewable resources naturally decreases global warming emissions. And that’s good news for everyone on earth because if we’re left with more carbon than oxygen, it’s going to be a little difficult to breathe.

How Can You Commit to Renewable Power?

The first step in committing to renewable power is shifting your perspective. Take time to personally research these benefits of renewable power. Once you decide sustainable energy is worth implementing, on both an individual and global scale, you can begin to look for ways to create your own strategy.

The best way to brainstorm and execute strategy is to develop a team with specific goals in mind. This team should include members from different departments such as legal, financial, environmental, sustainability and operations. Once there is a team in place, you can begin to integrate energy into the company’s vision and operations.

The team should begin by assessing current energy impacts and how they might change them. Analyzing impact and comparing your own to competitors’ will reveal performance opportunities and gaps. The team can then develop a plan of action. Aggressive targets should reflect the degree and pace of emission reductions necessary to mitigate climate change.

Once goals are outlined, the team must create incentives for employees and consumers alike to make energy an actionable priority. From there, they can measure and manage energy usage as the company transitions from non-renewable to renewable energy sources.

Solar Panels – The Advantages and Disadvantages for Homeowners

Solar panels are seeing a huge surge in uptake, with around a million roofs of UK homes now being adorned with them. One of the main reasons for this surge is the interest in renewable energy and climate change. Before you decide to go solar, take time to check out the main advantages and disadvantages as discussed below.

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The Advantages of Solar Panels

There is no doubt that one of the biggest advantages of solar panels is the potential to save money on your energy bills, something that is highly attractive when consider alongside the increased cost of living. According to the Energy Saving Trust, Most solar panel owners can make savings of between £250 to £600 a year, location-dependent, and will be able to sell any unused energy back to the grid for other users.

Another potential advantage is the ability to sell any unused energy back to the grid via the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG). The SEG allows suppliers to buy any unused energy direct from solar panel owners in return for a cash payment. This not only helps your finances but also supports the demand for renewable energy and lower carbon footprints.

Finally, the other main benefit of installing solar panels is that it is a no-fuss solution that will not need excessive maintenance, nor will it make any noise when they are in use. Plus, most installers offer a 25-year guarantee on all the panels in case of any issues.

The Disadvantages of Solar Panels

Despite offering so many benefits, there are disadvantages that you will need to consider before forging ahead with solar panel installation. The first one is the initial cost of the system that you will need to invest in to get your solar panels up and running. Most homes can expect to pay over £6500 for solar panels even with the ongoing drop in prices as they become more popular.

Next, you will need to be realistic about the amount of energy your solar panels will create with the British weather. Solar panels are always going to work better on bright sunny days, meaning that your production will slow on cloudy days and through the winter and produce less energy for you to send back to the grid.

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Finally, solar panels are not suitable for every home, and you may find that your roof does not face the right way or have the right angle to accommodate the panels. Even if you do have the right roof, your solar panels will take up lots of space, so you will need to work out if your roof is big enough to offer the supply that you need.

Solar Panels – a Summary

Getting to grips with all the pros and cons can be daunting, so we have summarised them below for quick reference:

Pros Cons
Offers a genuine saving on energy bills Takes a long time to make any money back
Reduce your carbon footprint Can be expensive to install
Simple to maintain Hard to move once installed
Range of financial support options Weather can reduce performance
Several types of panels to choose between Can look unattractive
Make cash from the energy you do not use Needs lots of space
Noiseless once installed Not suitable for all roofs

If you are keen to proceed with solar panel installation, then take the time to search for the best deals and check out all the financial support packages that may be open to you as this will help you get the best return on your investment for years to come.

Factors to Consider Before Subscribing to Community Solar

So you’ve heard of community solar and are now thinking of subscribing to one. Naturally, you want to know if you are qualified for a solar farm subscription. In this article, we will discuss factors that you need to consider before you sign up for a community solar program.

What is Community Solar?

Community solar or shared solar is one of the biggest renewable energy trends to have emerged in the past decade. Compared to residential solar which is mostly individualistic, a community solar project allows several neighboring households to tap into a single solar farm installation.

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Instead of installing panels on residential roofs or backyards, solar farm owners set them up at a central location like an open field or even an open body of water. Since it is subscription-based, you will simply receive a portion of the solar energy generated by these farms. Usually, this power will be coursed through your existing power lines, which means you don’t have to get any new gear just to enjoy your subscription. Sounds promising, right?

Am I Qualified for a Subscription?

Just like traditional solar panels, though, community solar programs are not for everyone. Here are some factors that make you a great candidate for community solar:

1. Your utility provider has a solar project

A lot of local energy providers own or manage their own solar farms. This way, you can buy in and ‘fund’ the community project in exchange for rebates in your monthly energy bill. Supporting these utility-sponsored projects will allow you to reduce your own electricity costs while helping your provider reach their goals in terms of building a more balanced energy portfolio.

Check with your utility provider if they have such a project. If they do, then chances are you are automatically qualified to subscribe to it.

2. You live near a solar farm

Utility providers are not the only entities that can own and manage solar farms. Private companies, non-profit organizations, and even local government units can run shared solar projects that you can easily subscribe to.

Sometimes, members of the actual community come together to pitch in the capital for the solar farm, making it purely community-owned and for the benefit of the general public.

In any case, it is required that you live close enough to a solar farm for a viable subscription.

3. You can’t put up solar panels at home

One of the most important considerations when choosing your solar-generating system of choice is feasibility. PV panels will require you to have ample space at home, not to mention the authority to make such installations on the roof (or even on the ground surrounding your house.)

More often than not, you will not be allowed to make modifications to a rented house, even if it’s for something as beneficial as a solar panel system. In this case, subscribing to a community solar program would be your best bet.

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Even if you live in your own house, though, solar panels may not always be suitable. Not all roofs can accommodate those installations. If your area gets more shade than sunlight, sourcing your solar energy from a shared solar garden might still be the most cost-efficient solution.

4. You move a lot

Flexibility is a prime benefit of having a community solar subscription, as opposed to investing in your own solar system at home. If the nature of your job or lifestyle is that it requires you to move a lot, it just won’t be practical to invest in your own panels because of the sheer effort it would take you to uninstall, transport, and install them all over again with every move.

Going for a solar farm subscription will give you more flexibility when moving since it’s typically easy to suspend or cancel your subscription to one and just subscribe to a different project that’s nearer the place where you’re moving. It’s also a great way to maintain environmental sustainability with every move.

If any or all four of these factors are attendant in your case, then you already know that you possess the golden opportunity to try out a community solar program and see how it works out for you.