Save money. Save the planet. Become energy independent. Now is the time to Go Solar!
Solar electricity is a great return on investment! Solar electric system costs have come down dramatically. There are federal tax credits and commercial depreciation benefits. There is an immediate and reliable return on investment. Even financing is available, enabling no up-front costs. Agricultural solar applications can obtain grants and loans from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Rural Energy for America Program (USDA REAP).
A solar electric system tied into the electric utility grid (your electricity provider) allows the best of both worlds: cheap solar energy, back-up by the utility grid, and utility payback for excess electricity generated by your solar power system fed back into the grid. A battery storage system can provide independence from the utility power grid, thereby preventing power interruption during extreme weather events or other chaotic incidents.
Battery storage technology, as well as solar panel technology, has evolved and improved. The array of solar-powered and energy-efficient products has greatly expanded. Ductless AC/heat systems. Efficient refrigerator-freezers that run on direct current. Hot water heaters that use heat pump technology. Solar swimming pool heaters. Solar well irrigation systems. Solar pond aeration. Efficient light emitting diode (LED) lighting systems. Solar window screens. Electric cars, car chargers, and carports with solar panels. And more!
The cost of solar panels has plummeted. The average wholesale panel price was approximately $23 per watt in 1980, around $4 per watt in the year 2000, and less than $1 per watt in 2012. Approximately one third to one quarter of the cost of a solar system is the panel price. Federal tax law provides for a tax credit of 30% of the cost of the solar system. And for commercial applications, the solar system cost can be depreciated over five years. So, if you’re in the 30% tax bracket, you’ll save 30% of the system cost over five years. The return on investment is substantial and dependable, unlike the Stock Market! If electricity utility rates rise, this return on investment is even higher. And, after paying off the asset, you will enjoy decades of free electricity. Solar systems come with a 25-year warranty, but last even longer. For agricultural solar applicants, the USDA REAP can provide grants up to 25% of total eligible project costs and additional low-interest loans loans for 50% of the project cost.
Solar systems that tie-in to the electric utility grid enable reverse metering credit – when the solar system is generating more electricity than is being consumed, the excess electricity is fed back into the utility grid and the owner is given financial credit for that supplied electricity. Some solar systems instead have a battery and the excess electricity is stored, and can then be used during the night or during times of electric utility grid outage. And, some solar systems are a combination of grid tie-in and battery storage, or a hybrid system. Battery technology has evolved providing more options considering price, efficiency, weight, and capabilities. Battery options range from lead-acid batteries, to lithium ion batteries, to lithium iron phosphate batteries with smart electronics enabling automated appliance management. Batteries convert electrical energy into chemical energy when charging and vice versa when discharging. Lead-acid batteries are most common. Several lead-acid batteries are typically required: they are interconnected, and called a battery bank. Lithium ion batteries are lighter in weight, have a much longer life span, and require less maintenance. Lithium iron phosphate batteries now enable facility electricity load management with remote control and monitoring. This can be very important in reducing electricity costs due to demand charges, and optimizing use of the stored electricity.
Solar photovoltaic panels are comprised of cells that convert the sun’s radiation into direct current electricity. An inverter converts the direct current (DC) into alternating current (AC). Your household electrical plugs provide AC power. Alternating current is the best way to transmit electricity over large distances. However, several appliances are now available in DC, which may be five times more efficient than a comparable AC appliance.
Energy efficiency should be a first consideration, or in conjunction with switching to solar energy. Energy efficiency is “using less energy to provide the same service”. Energy efficiency and renewable energy are said to be the twin pillars of sustainable energy policy. There are often many opportunities for reducing your amount of electricity use by implementing energy efficiency. This may include attic or roof insulation, window replacement or door sealing, solar window screens, switching to more efficient heat and air conditioning systems, efficient hot water systems, efficient better thermostat management, and efficient appliances and lights. Conversion of lighting from conventional incandescent bulbs to fluorescent or LED bulbs not only reduces electrical demands of the lights, but also reduces the amount of heat that is generated by conventional bulbs, thereby reducing air conditioning electrical demands. Solar swimming pool heater systems can reduce the use of electricity or natural gas.
Energy efficiency and solar energy can save you money, and reduce the amount of carbon dioxide that is released into our planet’s atmosphere, that is causing climate change and sea level rise. Solar energy in combination with a storage battery system can provide energy independence. Please don’t wait – Go Solar!
Simpler Solar Systems LLC
(850) 576-5271 office
(850) 570-8165 cell
Your purchase of a Simpler Solar System described here will result in a generous donation to FWF by the Company, which will provide you with a Life membership in the Florida Wildlife Federation.