common home Solar misconceptions

Solar PAnels 101

Are you considering making the switch to solar energy, but have some doubts about it? You’re not alone! In this blog post, we’ll be debunking some common misconceptions about solar energy and explaining why it’s such a great idea for homeowners.

First things first: solar panels do work in cloudy or cold climates. It’s a common misconception that solar panels are only effective in sunny, warm locations. However, this simply isn’t true. Solar panels are designed to produce electricity from sunlight, and while it’s true that they may be less efficient in cloudy or cold conditions, they can still produce a significant amount of electricity. In fact, some of the cloudiest and coldest places on earth, such as Germany and Denmark, have some of the highest levels of solar energy adoption (Source: Solar Power Europe). So don’t let a little cloud cover or a chilly winter day deter you from going solar.

Next up: maintenance. One of the biggest misconceptions about solar panels is that they require a lot of maintenance. In reality, solar panels are extremely low maintenance and generally require little to no attention. They are built to withstand harsh weather conditions and are designed to last for decades (Source: EnergySage). All you really need to do is keep them clean (which is easy to do with a little bit of water and a soft cloth) and perform a visual inspection every once in a while to make sure everything is in working order.

The cost of solar

Now let’s talk about cost. I know that when it comes to investing in anything, cost is always a major factor. And it’s true that solar panels can be a significant upfront investment. However, the cost of solar panels has decreased significantly in recent years, and it’s expected to continue to do so in the future (Source: National Renewable Energy Laboratory). Plus, there are a ton of financial incentives available that can help make the cost of going solar more manageable. Many states offer tax credits and rebates for residential solar energy systems, and there are also financing options available that allow you to pay for your solar panels over time (Source: Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency). In 2022, a the Inflation Reduction Act passed which increased the Federal solar incentive to 30%! This combined with State incentives could leave you with only half of the price of the system.

But let’s be real: even if solar panels were completely free, some people still might not want them because they’re worried about how they’ll look on their roof. I get it – nobody wants to ruin the aesthetic of their home with a bunch of clunky, unsightly panels. Fortunately, at Solar Works, we not only install the sleekest most compact panels, we install your panels with your homes aesthetic in mind, so you can have the efficiency and cost-savings of solar, while keeping the aesthetic integrity of your home.

Solar reliability

Finally, let’s address the concern about reliability. Solar energy is often seen as an unreliable source of electricity, but that’s just not true. Solar energy systems can be designed to provide a reliable source of electricity, even when the sun is not shining. By incorporating battery storage into a solar energy system, excess electricity can be stored for use during times when the sun is not shining (Source: EnergySage). And with the advancements being made in battery technology, it’s becoming increasingly possible to rely solely on solar energy as a primary source of electricity (Source: Department of Energy).

In some areas such as New Mexico, there are flat-roof homes, which are often optimized for solar. If you have a flat-roof home or are interested in learning more about this, check out this blog post.

So, why is solar such a great idea? Well, for starters, it’s renewable and sustainable. Solar energy is produced by harnessing the power of the sun, which is an endless, pollution-free energy source. Going solar also helps to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, which are a finite resource and contribute to air pollution and climate change (Source: Environmental Protection Agency). Plus, solar energy can help to lower your energy bills, as you’ll be generating your own electricity rather than relying on the grid. According to the Department of Energy, the average solar panel system can reduce household electricity costs by 50-90% (Source: Department of Energy).

But the benefits of residential solar energy go beyond just cost savings and environmental sustainability. Solar energy can also increase the value of your home. A study conducted by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory found that homes with solar energy systems sell faster and at a higher price than homes without solar (Source: National Renewable Energy Laboratory). So not only will you be saving money on your energy bills, you may also see a return on your investment when it comes time to sell your home.

In conclusion, don’t let common misconceptions about residential solar energy hold you back. Solar panels are effective in all types of climates, require minimal maintenance, and are becoming increasingly affordable. Plus, with so many stylish and visually appealing options available, you can have a solar energy system that not only helps the environment and saves you money, but also enhances the look of your home. Don’t wait any longer to make the switch to solar – start enjoying the numerous benefits it has to offer today.

Your Relationship With PNM Post-Installation

solar panels on home

Why Should I Get Solar Panels?

Because it will put money back in your pocket! Solar panels save you money each month on your electric bill. When you begin to generate energy–right from your very own roof–you can export that energy to the power grid and earn financial credits on your electric bill through a program known as net metering. [1]

Solar energy is great for many reasons. How often are you able to save money while helping the environment and bolstering New Mexico’s economy–all at the same time? Probably not very often, and that’s why solar energy is so great. Solar energy is green and renewable. It allows us to decrease our reliance on fossil fuels and contribute to a cleaner, healthier planet.

Solar energy is attractive to many people because it’s an environmentally conscious and money-saving choice. It’s easy to see why solar energy is increasing in popularity. In fact, New Mexico ranks 8th in the nation in per capita solar capacity. [2] From installation to the manufacturing of solar components, the solar industry provides jobs for New Mexicans and bolsters our local economy.

Solar Energy in New Mexico

In March, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham reinstated the New Mexico Solar Tax Credit after it had expired in 2016. [3] This program provides 10% off the total cost of solar panel installation in the form of income tax credits. If the tax credit exceeds your total taxes owed for the year, it can even be carried over for up to five years! In addition, the New Mexico Solar Tax Credit can be combined with a substantial federal tax credit which provides an additional 30% off the cost of installation. [4]

In addition to all the money you can save on tax credits and incentives, New Mexico law has been very favorable to the solar industry in allowing net-metering–an awesome benefit of solar energy that allows you to “sell” your excess energy that would otherwise go unused back to PNM at the going rate–currently $0.14 per kilowatt hour. [5]

Net Metering with PNM

Once your solar panels are installed, you’ll be producing energy at different rates throughout the day. Net metering ensures that no energy is wasted. If your home produces more energy than you need, that money is put right back into your pocket through credits on your electric bill.

Here’s it works. During the middle of the day, your solar panels will often generate more energy than your home is using. The sun is directly beaming on your panels, and often, family members are out of the house at work or school so energy consumption is low. And here in New Mexico, we are lucky to have a lot of beautiful sunny days!

During the afternoon, the extra energy that your panels produce will be exported to the power grid. It will travel to neighboring areas and provide needed energy. And the best part–your meter will be spinning backward whenever this happens. You’ll be “banking” energy . . . and money!

Usually, you’ll need to use some energy from the power grid at night. When the sun has set and the whole family is home, electricity usage will go up while solar energy is no longer being produced. At this time, your home will pull energy from the grid. But the good news is that your solar panels have already offset a large portion of that cost by soaking up the sun all day long!

PNM Connectivity Fee

In order to obtain the benefits of net metering, your home must be connected to the power grid. You will sign a Utility Interconnection Agreement with PNM, and there is a monthly, flat connectivity fee of around $7.00 to keep your home’s solar panels tied into the power grid. This fee is paid directly to PNM and it’s separate from any payments to Solar Works

After that, the magic of net metering can begin! Any time you add energy to the power grid by producing more than you use, you will be credited by PNM at the going rate which is currently $0.14 per kilowatt-hour. [5] If your home produces more energy than you use in any given month, the money you earn will roll over onto next month’s electricity bill.

Solar Panel Savings

It’s difficult to determine exactly how your electricity bill will change once you are net metering your solar energy. It’s dependent on your own energy usage, the number of solar panels installed, the cost of electricity, and even the weather.

But one thing’s for sure–you will save money. PNM’s energy rates have been gradually rising. Over the past six years, they rose 12%. Without solar, your electricity bill is only going in one direction–and that’s up. The average monthly utility bill nationwide is $110. With Solar Works, customers paid an average of $10.51 per month!

How Can I Afford the Cost of Installation?

Many customers worry about the up-front cost of installing solar panels. They are right, it’s a big investment, but the many state and federal tax credits and incentives make it a lot more affordable than many people would assume.

Let’s use an example. The cost of solar panel installation for an average home in New Mexico is around $17,000 [2]. But the NM Solar Tax Credit saves you 10% of that cost ($1,700) [3]. The Federal Tax credit can be used as well, and it saves you 30% of the total cost ($4,420) [4]. This decreases the out-of-pocket amount to $10,880. There are often other state and federal incentives that will lower the price even more.

And there are other financing options as well! You can finance your solar panels with no money upfront. Solar Works will walk you through your options and help you pick the best option for you. The average monthly payment for solar panels ranges from $60-100. This is substantially lower than most monthly electricity bills, so you’ll begin saving money right away.

Savings Over the Lifespan of Your Home

When considering solar, remember that the savings pile up over months and years. Based on national averages, let’s assume that you save $100 a month on your electricity bill [6]. In a year, you’d save $1,200. And over the course of 25 years (which is the length of time many people live in their family home), you would save $30,000! This offsets your installation costs and leaves you with massive savings.

Many solar calculators estimate savings in the $20,000 to $30,000 range over the 25 years–and that’s even after you subtract the cost of your solar panel installation. [7] A pretty great deal, especially when you’ve helped the planet at the same time. It saves you money, helps the environment, and strengthens New Mexico’s economy–there’s a long list of reasons to love solar.

References:

[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]

Top 5 reasons solar panels are perfect for flat-roof homes

Adobe stucco homes are extremely common in Albuquerque, NM because of how energy efficient they are in the dry climate. If you have been worrying that solar panels won’t work for your home because of your flat roof, think again! Here are 5 reasons, solar panels are perfect for flat-roof homes.

Can you install solar panels on a flat roof?

Absolutely. There are roof requirements for solar panels, but needing a sloped rooftop is not one of them. The flat roof will actually work to your advantage for these 5 reasons:

1. You get to save money on installation costs

With flat-roof homes, there is no steep roof to work around, no special equipment needs to be factored into the labor and installation costs.  At Solar Works Energy, we use a no-puncture method with flat-roof homes.

2. Your roof is protected

Typically, solar panels will need to be installed on a sloped roof using a penetration mount, which requires holes to be drilled into the rooftop. However, with a flat roof, this is not necessary as you will be using a no drill solar mount method. Instead, a ballast system will be used, requiring weighted structures to hold the panels in place. 

Additionally, the areas of your roof that are covered by the solar panels will be the most protected. They will serve as a barrier against weather conditions and other potentially damaging influences. 

3. Flat roofs allow you to choose what direction to point solar panels

With pitched roof homes, you have limitations with which direction you can point your panels. Since you are not limited by the direction your home faces with a flat roof, you have much more flexibility when determining what would be the best orientation for solar panels. 

4. The production of electricity is maximized

It is advised to have your solar panels facing south to generate the most power if you live in the Northern Hemisphere. Because your flat roof gives you the freedom to find the best solar panel placement, you get to reap the benefits of a better-performing system.  

5. You will increase the resale value of your home

If you plan to sell your home in the next decade, you will draw potential buyers in with the lower energy bills they will have due to the already installed solar panels. You also don’t have to worry about someone not being a fan of how they look from the street as there will be minimal solar panel visibility with a flat roof. 

New Mexico solar installers

If you have a flat roof home, you are in luck. You have more flexible options and get the benefit of a smoother, cheaper install. Adding solar panels to your already energy efficient adobe home will only increase your savings and contribution to bettering the environment. If you are ready to take that next step, take our 30-second survey to see if you qualify!

Your Net Metering Questions Answered

How Much Money Will I Save by Going Solar?

After solar panels are installed, one of the first questions that customers usually ask is: “How much money will I save each month on my electricity bill?” 

This is a difficult question to answer as it’s dependent on a lot of factors, such as your typical energy usage in your home, the amount of energy your solar panels are generating, the electric company’s current price per kilowatt-hour of electricity, and even the weather.

But you will undoubtedly save money when you begin to generate energy right from the roof of your own home. To understand more about the savings you’ll see on your electricity bill, you’ll need to understand a bit about net metering.

What Is Net Metering of Solar Energy?

Here’s how it works. When your solar panels are installed, your home will be tied in to the power grid. Once connected to the grid, you can export your unneeded energy and the magic of net metering begins.

At certain times of day, your solar panels will be creating a lot of energy–even more than your house is using. This often happens during the midday hours when the sun is directly hitting the panels. All the extra energy that your panels are generating will be exported to the grid and used elsewhere, usually somewhere nearby your home.

And here’s the great part–when that happens, your meter will actually be running backward. You’ll be netting all that energy and the money that it’s worth–after all, your solar panels created it! The current nationwide average cost is $0.15 per kilowatt-hour of electricity, and your electric company will be paying you for that energy.

At other times of the day, your home may need to pull energy from the power grid because your panels are not producing enough. This typically happens during the nighttime when the sun is down or even during the early morning hours when everyone is using electricity to get ready for the day.

During these times, your house will import energy from the grid. But at other times during the day, you have been banking or “netting” your extra energy, so your net electricity bill is very low.

How Will My Electricity Bill Change?

It’s difficult to predict the exact amount of money that you’ll save with net metering because it depends on how much energy you use in your home. But there’s no doubt about it–you will save money. 

For example, the average monthly electricity bill is $122 nationwide. That’s $1,464 per year spent on electricity. With Solar Works, the average customer paid $10.51 per month, saving approximately $1,338 per year on their electricity bill!

Additionally, energy prices have been steadily rising nationwide. In the four year period from 2020 to 2024, the EIA estimates the cost of energy will increase by 16%. Without solar energy, your electricity bill will only be moving in one direction–and that’s up.

With net metering, your solar energy is never wasted. Instead, it’s credited to your account at the going price (currently $0.15 per kilowatt-hour nationwide). It’s possible to offset all or a large portion of your electric bill. If your solar panels provide more energy than you typically consume, you’ll end up with excess energy–and money–at the end of the month. That money will roll over to your next electricity bill, so the money that your solar panels are earning will never go to waste.

What Are the Other Advantages of Net Metering?

Net metering is good for the economy and for the environment. How often are you able to save money and help the environment at the same time? Probably not very often. But with net metering, that’s exactly what you are doing. Net metering of your solar energy is a win for your pocketbook. But it’s also a win for the environment.

It’s efficient and practical, allowing your excess energy to be used nearby where it’s needed. Because net metering puts money right back into the customer’s pocket, it’s made solar energy an appealing option to many homeowners–and solar is becoming more and more popular.

The increase in solar energy production allows us to rely less heavily on fossil fuels and replace them with a clean, renewable energy source. With solar, you reduce your carbon footprint and invest in an industry that makes our planet a healthier place.

Is Now a Good Time to Invest in Solar Panels?

Now is the best time to go solar because of the many state and federal incentives, such as the 10% state tax rebate and the 30% federal tax rebate. The government wants solar energy to appeal to homeowners–so there are currently many programs and incentives to motivate homeowners to install solar panels. But as solar energy becomes more and more widespread, some of these incentives may disappear.

For example, many states have laws that allow for net metering which has an enormous benefit to the homeowner as they sell their energy back to the electric companies. But as electric companies transition to solar energy in greater and greater capacities, they will have decreased need to “buy” energy from the solar panels on your home.

With a decreased need for residential solar energy, electric companies in some states have begun to reduce or limit their net metering programs. For example, instead of offering homeowners the full price per kilowatt hour for their energy, they may only offer half or three-fourths of the going rate of that energy. But, if you install solar panels now, you will keep getting paid the full price per kilowatt hour due to a grandfather clause that enables you to lock in that better price.

The bottom line: solar energy saves you money and makes our planet healthier. State and federal incentives such as tax rebates and net metering will save you thousands of dollars, but they may not be around forever. If you are considering solar, the best time to install solar panels is NOW.

Why Power Your Chicken Coop and Home With Solar?

There’s no denying chicken coops have been around for centuries. But as technology progresses, why not make our lives easier? Just one 200w chicken coop heater uses roughly 144kwh of electricity a month. This equates to only 1-2 extra panels on your home install, depending on the size of your coop. In this article, we will be breaking down why it makes sense to power your chicken coop and home with solar.

Why not keep your energy costs low?

The average homeowner saves over $1,700 a year on their electric bill when switching to solar. Even better, there are federal incentives that pay you back 26% of your solar system, greatly reducing your bill. Some states, including Utah, and New Mexico offer state rebates for solar as well. These tax credits end up being up to $6,000 back in your pocket! Combine that with the federal incentives and you see up to $20,000 in combined incentives! All the more reason to power your chicken coop and home with solar!

chicken coop image

Do YOU Qualify for chicken coop solar?

Today, solar is without a doubt available in your market. Whether you’re still figuring out how to build a chicken coop or you are a veteran just looking to get some new tips on how to clean your chicken coop, solar is here for you and can make the process easier. At Solar Works we serve New Mexico, Utah, and Texas. If you are looking for solar and you live in a different state, that’s ok! Fill out this form and we will get you matched with a top-quality solar company in your area.

Are you a big do-it-yourself person? Solar is perfect for those of us with DIY tendencies. Even if you are in the early stages looking up a frame plan for your chicken coop, you can get the process started. Contact us for a free solar quote! There is nothing more satisfying than being self-sustaining. Solar panels are your ticket to ultimate sustainability. Use solar to reduce the cost of your chicken coop by installing solar panels on your home. This is a fantastic way to increase the productivity of your DIY chicken coop. Trust us, your chickens will thank you later!

Why is it Better to Hire a Contractor Than Install Solar as a DIY?

solar contractor better than diy

In the age where anything can be learned from YouTube, it may be tempting to take on solar as a DIY project. However, this might be one of those times that it’s actually just in your best interest to let someone else do their job.

Let’s take a look at what goes into a solar project that a contractor can make sure goes as smoothly as possible.

A contractor will make sure your roof can withstand the load

Your roof has to be structurally sound

This is likely the most crucial piece of information to have before the project even begins. In some cases, homeowners choose to bundle the process of replacing their roof and having solar installed because it ends up saving them money in the long run and ensures that the roof is in good enough shape to support the panels.

Your roof has to be capable of withstanding an extreme weather event AND the panels

Here is one example of information that a solar contractor can easily obtain, but that would be a lot harder for you to figure out.

Before beginning any solar install, a solar contractor is going to do an analysis on your roof compared to the area you live in to make sure that even if there is an extremely rare weather event, your roof will still be able to support the panels.

It’s one thing to know if the panels are okay up there on a sunny day, it’s something else completely to trust that they (and your roof) will be okay if there is a freak snow, hail or wind storm.

The panels have to fit without overloading any poiNt On The ROof

To ensure that your roof is not taking on too much weight in any one spot, a contractor will conduct an engineering report to figure out exactly how to arrange the panels on your roof to ensure that their weight is dispersed as evenly as possible while still being in a position that produces as much energy as possible.

A contractor has technology to take into account extreme heat, cloudy days, shade, location

Although I’m sure you know your area pretty well and you understand how often it’s sunny compared to cloudy etc., the exact measurements of these factors are really important in designing a system for your roof.

Solar panels work by collecting the light from the sun turning it into usable energy for your home. So it’s really important that small or even big, unexpected changed in the weather don’t change your ability to power your home!

For example, during the hottest months of the year, solar panels can actually lose up to 20-30% of their efficiency due to the extreme heat. Not to mention that there will be daily fluctuations based on the shadows that pass over your roof, the cloud cover, the time of year etc.

It’s very hard to make an estimation of exactly how all of these factors will affect the output of a solar system. Thankfully, solar contractors have access to technology that can do a lot of the calculation for them so that they can be certain you won’t be without power on an off-day, nor overcompensate and end up paying for more panels than you really need.

A contractor will know if it’s better for you to have a ground mount and can design one optimally

In some cases, after doing all of the inspection and running the analyses mentioned above, a contractor will discover that putting a solar system on your roof is not actually in your best interest.

If this is the case, they will be able to recommend other options for you including the possibility of a ground mount. Then, if a ground mount is the right option for you, they have the capability to design and build the perfect one to meet your needs at the lowest possible price point!

A contractor will have easy access to the required permitting offices

Building a new structure on your property, whether it’s on your roof or on your land, is going to require you to get specific permits from your local AHJ. If you’ve every tried to get permitting for anything, you know, this is not always an extremely smooth or painless process.

However, because solar companies are interacting with these jurisdictions every single day, they eventually build a relationship with each other that makes the process much easier for everyone. Being able to take advantage of this relationship, alone, might be worth the price of the contractor right there!

You won’t have the same warranties if you install the panels yourself

        Just like the relationships that exist between solar contractors and permitting offices, solar companies are going to be much more “in” with the manufacturers of the panels themselves.

This means that when it comes to your warranty, you are much more likely to be able to reap the benefits of a warranty when working with a contractor than when you’re advocating for yourself in a DIY project. Not to mention, many solar companies will take responsibility for getting your issue resolved and make sure that it happens as quickly as possible in order to maintain their good standing with you, the customer.

Even if you are able to get a warranty on the panels you purchase for your DIY project, you will likely have many more hoops to jump through should you ever end up needing to fall back on that warranty.

It will take you A LOT of time and every set back will fall directly on your shoulders

This may seem obvious but I can’t leave it unsaid: installing solar panels yourself as a DIY would be a huge undertaking! It is going to take lots of time and energy and every little hiccup along the way will fall onto your shoulders.

You probably already have a job that you’re really good at! There also happen to be people who have this job, and they’re really good at this. Why not let a contractor help you out so you can spend your time where it’s most valuable?

What Are The Roof Requirements For Solar Panels?

solar roof requirements

Solar energy is quickly becoming a preferred way to power the home for many homeowners. You’ve probably seen plenty of panels popping up near your home! Solar can be a great investment for a home but before it can be installed, there are a few requirements your roof will have to meet in order to make sure the system and your roof will be safe.

What Are The Roof Requirements For Solar?

In most cases, as long as your roof is structurally sound and has enough sun-facing surface area to fit the number of panels your home needs, your roof will be sufficient to install solar panels.

Though this is generally the case, it’s important to allow a professional to conduct a site survey to make sure that your roof is a good fit for solar. Here are some of the factors they’ll be looking at.

Your Roof Needs To Be Structurally Sound

The most important factor is just to make sure that your roof is structurally sound. This is something that your solar company will make sure of using engineering reports during your site survey. Interestingly, your roof doesn’t have to be particularly hard/strong like you might expect.

Each panel with all of its components weighs abouts 40 pounds which is dispersed over a surface area of about 18 ft—an amount that most roofs can easily support.

This is actually not a whole lot of weight per square foot. It would do a lot more damage a lot more quickly if the whole 40 pounds was confined to a smaller surface area. For example, if you went out and stood in one spot on your roof for the next 20 years, you would probably make a big hole! But since solar panels are designed to cover a lot of surface area in order to capture a lot of light, you don’t have to worry much about their added weight.

Your Roof Plus The Panels Must Be Able to Withstand Extreme Weather

The team that inspects your roof will have to make sure that together, your roof and the panels will be able to withstand even a 1000-year weather event, for example heavy ice and snow in the desert. (To read about how solar panels work when it’s not sunny, click here.)

This is something that roofing companies already ensure for the roof alone, and your solar company will double-check for the added weight of the solar panels. This is one of the major reasons it’s important to hire a professional to install your system, because they will have access to the technology that allows them to ensure your home will be protected.

Your Roof Must Have Enough Surface Area To Fit The Panels

In some cases, homes are built in such a way that the usable surface area of the roof is relatively small compared to the internal square footage of the home. For example, some multi-story homes get their square footage from their height rather than their width. It can also happen when a home is built close to other structures that shade the roof, like trees or other buildings.

When this is the case, it may be difficult to design a roof system that allows for enough solar panels to meet the energy needs of the home.

This is another great example of why working with a professional on this project is a good idea, because they can help you make sure your energy needs are being met 100%. If your roof isn’t able to fit a sufficient number of panels, your solar company may recommend that you use a ground mount instead.

Do Solar Panels Work When It’s Not Sunny?

solar power not sunny

With everyone talking about solar power and many homeowners making the switch, the name “solar” power might be a little bit confusing. Does that mean that our homes will only be powered when the sun is shining? What happens if it’s raining or when it’s night time?

Residential solar power works for your home around the clock—regardless of how sunny it is at a given moment.

It would not be a very well-designed system if we were only able to use power when the sun decided to shine! Thankfully, the engineers behind solar energy figured that out for us.

Does solar work when it’s cold outside?

Solar panel efficiency is not affected by the temperature outside. Solar panels use the energy from the light of the sun, not the heat. So as long as the sun is shining, your panels are producing some energy. And even when it’s not, your’e still covered–as we’ll see in the next section.

How do solar panels work when it’s raining, snowing, or cloudy?

Because solar panels use the energy from the light of the sun rather than the heat, the amount of energy they will produce in given weather conditions depends on how much cloud cover there is and how much light is still getting through to the panels.

Although you can likely expect the panels to be producing some energy in cloudy conditions, it might be as little as 10% of what you normally expect.

Thankfully, this doesn’t mean that the lights are going to go out in your house every time a cloud rolls by. Residential solar systems are set up so that they produce excess energy during the sunny times that can continue to power your home around the clock.

The energy is either banked with your local electric company, often in a program called “net metering,” or some homeowners opt to use their own battery storage system.

solar panels in the snow
Solar panels of photovoltaic power plant on the snow covered roof

What are the optimal weather conditions for solar panels?

Interestingly, the most blazing hot summer months are not necessarily the best months for solar energy production like you might expect.

In very hot climates, the best months for solar production are May and September. During these months the panels receive the same amount of light but not as much heat as during the mid-summer months. Solar panels can work 20-30% less efficiently in extreme heat.

The surface temperature of solar panels is about 20 degrees hotter than the outside temperature, so about 75 degrees outside is the optimal temperature for their production.

How do solar panels work at night?

Here’s a cool solar fact you probably didn’t know!

Solar panels produce a very small amount of energy from the light of the moon on a night that it is particularly bright.

Since solar panels obtain their energy from light, not heat, sometimes the moon is reflecting enough of the sun’s light onto your roof that the system is able to capture some of it’s energy.

Aside from that small amount of production, a residential solar system will continue to power your home throughout the night by using the credit from the excess energy you added to the grid during the day–the process called Net Metering.

What are the Pros and Cons of a Solar Ground Mount?

solar panel ground mount

It seems like everyone is making the switch to solar energy. It’s a great way to make a positive impact on the environment while also making a good investment for your home!

But what if you don’t have a roof that is compatible with a solar system, or you just don’t like the look of panels on your roof?

Well, that’s where a ground mount might be the right choice!

Ground mounts can be a good alternative to a roof system if you don’t like the look of panels on the roof or there is not enough usable surface area on your roof. Although there is some additional upfront cost associated with a ground mount, in some cases they may end up being a cheaper option in the long run.

There are lots of rumors floating around about whether or not this type of system is a good option for homeowners, so let’s look at some of the pros and cons of ground mounts.

Cons of A Solar ground mount

Additional permitting may be required

Depending on where you live and what your local and neighborhood laws are about zoning, you may have to get approval to build a new structure on your property before moving forward with building a ground mount. This can take a few days or a few months depending on your exact circumstances!

THe upfront cost may be higher

While panels that are installed on the roof are installed directly to the rafters already on your roof, a ground mount will require a new structure to be built to the right specifications for your needs. Because of this, there is some additional upfront cost when compared to a roof solar system.

It takes up space on your land

This may seem obvious but it is certainly a point to consider! You will have to be sure that you have the space on your property to fit a ground mount where it is not going to be in the way or cause any headache down the line. You will likely work closely with your project manager to make sure your ground mount is designed and place exactly as you’d like it to be!

Pros of A SOlar ground mount

The overall cost may be lower than a roof system

This is a big one!

Although there is more upfront cost associated with having a ground mount built, in the long run you will often pay less than you would for a roof system because you likely won’t need as many panels as you would if they were on the roof.

This is because your project manager will work with you to make sure that the ground mount is placed and designed to work as efficiently as possible. With a ground mount you have more freedom to make sure that the panels are not shaded, there are no obstructions, and the panels can be angled to the most optimal position. You don’t get this kind of freedom when designing a roof system which is why you may end up needing more panels in that scenario.

Because of the possibility of optimization that a ground mount offers, you may be able to use fewer panels to produce the same amount of energy that more panels would be needed to produce on your roof.

Fewer panels = lower cost !

They are easier to clean

For the most part, solar panels don’t need to be cleaned very often. But occasionally, something does interfere with the output of a panel and they need to be inspected and/or cleaned. In this case, it can be a bit of a headache to have to get on to your roof or have someone else come out and do so.

With a ground mount, it is much easier to actually take a look at the tops of the panels and see what’s going on!

You never have to worry about moving them

Unfortunately it’s just a fact of life that occasionally roofs need to be replaced or repaired. When this time comes and you have a solar system on your roof, you have to remove the solar panels before the work can be done to the roof. And once it’s over, they have to be replaced.

With a ground mount, you never have to worry about moving the panels if and when something goes awry with your roof. They will be a free-standing system that doesn’t need much attention at all!

You can get creative and start a garden underneath

This is a fun one. A solar ground mount will be a new structure in your yard. Which means, new possibilities! Many homeowners take advantage of the new little ecosystem that is created beneath the ground mount by starting an herb garden. You can get creative and think about what you might do with your space!

Now that you know some of the major pros and cons of getting a solar ground mount, you can be certain that you are happy with your choice to switch your home over to solar power!

If you’re ready to talk to someone about your options for going solar, click here!

Do Solar Panels damage Your Roof?

do solar panels damage roof

When you decide to have solar panels installed, you suddenly start doing a lot more thinking about your roof than you’ve done in the past. Is it flat or pitched, is it metal or shingles, is it covered by trees?! In many cases, during the conversation about solar, homeowners decide to bundle the process of replacing their roof in with their solar panel installation!

So, after going through all this trouble to take care of your roof, you may be wondering, do solar panels protect your roof? Or do they damage it?!

Do solar panels damage the roof?

If your installation is done correctly, solar panels won’t cause any damage to your roof. Although there will be holes drilled into your roof for the attachment, these holes are carefully covered up by moisture-resistant material to ensure that neither the exterior nor the infrastructure of your roof will be damaged.

Will there be holes in my roof after having solar panels installed?

The team who installs your panels will have to drill holes in order to use bolts to attach the panels to the rafters of your home. These holes are then filled with weather-proof material so they are not make sure that your roof will not suffer any damage from the holes.

Do solar panels protect your roof?

To some extent, solar panels do protect your roof. Solar panels act as an additional barrier between your roof and the elements. This includes rain, snow, wind, debris…but also sun exposure. If you have shingles on your roof, the solar panels will protect your roof from the sun bleaching that would normally occur to your shingles.

Although the panels likely will not cover the entire surface area of your roof, the areas that are covered will in fact likely be better off in the long run for having been covered by the panels.

Do solar panels damage the roof?

How can you make sure your installation is done correctly?

Make sure that you trust the company you’re working with! Look up reviews online and if possible, talk to other people who have worked with the company to make sure that they were happy with the whole process.

Your best bet is going to be going with a local company whose word-of-mouth reputation is important to them. These are the solar companies that will likely take care of you and your project with integrity and be available to answer questions along the way.

Ready to find out how much you can save?