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Solar Energy Part 2

By: Jay Harpole on May 12, 2021 8:42:18 AM

If you missed part 1 of our series on Solar Energy be sure to read it here.
In part 2 we continue to explore how solar energy works as well as determine if it is right for you!

Will I save money with solar power installed on my rooftop?
Wow, this depends a lot on where you live, what the alternative cost of electricity is (i.e. if you did not have panels), what type of electricity buy-back plan you can get, what type of incentives might be available, the age of your roof, the angle and slope of your roof, how many trees and obstructions you might have on the South side of your house, and many other factors. So, as you can see, the answer is very specific to each individual. Fortunately, there are many tools on the internet which can help you figure this out. Many use the aerial views of your rooftop from Google maps to assess the solar potential of your house. 
Solar Rooftop Potential

What happens if my panels produce more energy than I need? Do I get money back?
This depends on your utility (if you are in a regulated area) or your competitive supplier (if you are in a deregulated area). I have often heard that buyback programs around the country are not all that valuable to the homeowner. Generally, I think it is best if you try to size your system such that you do not have a lot of excess electricity to sell back onto the grid. If you size your system to consume most of what you produce, you get the maximum value for the energy you do produce.

What does it mean when someone says solar energy without the panels?
Many homes are just not suited for solar panels on their roof, but the homeowner wants to buy and support solar energy. In these cases, an excellent alternative is to support a solar facility in your area. Here your options will be determined by your local utility (if in a regulated area) or offerings from competitive suppliers (if you are in a deregulated area). Here's how it works: A utility sized solar facility puts electrons onto the grid and you essentially buy the electrons from that facility. The exact electrons from that facility will not arrive at your house, but the same number of electrons put onto the grid from that facility can be billed to you at your house. This is how you are supporting solar energy and helping to make the electricity grid greener.

Solar Farm_3

What is a Renewable Energy Certificate (REC)?
A REC is a certificate a renewable generator receives when they push 1 MWh of electricity onto a grid from their renewable generation facility. This certificate can then be sold to someone who wants to support renewable energy. By purchasing RECs, an end user is supporting renewable energy in their area without having to install the renewable energy at their home. Buying solar RECs is a way to support solar energy without having panels on your roof.

Considering renewable offers....we have those right here at APG&E.