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Why You Should Go Solar for Your Home

Why You Should Go Solar for Your Home 150 150 andrew

Over the past few years, we’ve heard more and more about climate change and the effect that it is having on the world around us. People are scrambling to find a way that they can decrease their impact, one of which is adding solar panels to their homes. In Connecticut as of 2017, nearly 23,000 homes had installed solar panels and that number has been growing rapidly ever since. Whether you want to add them to your home to help reduce your environmental impact or because you’re hoping that they can help you save money, we’re going to review the biggest reasons that you should go solar! 

 The first reason is one that we’ve already reviewed. Adding solar panels to your home is a great way to be conscious about the effect that you have on the environment. Unlike other forms of energy, solar power does not produce greenhouse gases, air or water pollution. You can reduce your carbon footprint while also reducing your energy bill. Your solar panel system can help get rid of 3-4 tons of carbon emissions in just one year.

 Another good reason to go solar is so that you can reduce your electric bill (generally by a noticeable amount). On average in Connecticut, homes are able to save $11,000 over the course of a 20-year agreement, based on an estimate made by Project Solar by Google. In some states, you’re also able to avoid the constant increase to the amount that you’re paying from the utility company. Imagine what you could do with thousands of dollars extra!

 When you get solar panels for your home, you get a huge return on your investment. Solar panels are one way of making your money back ten-fold. When you purchase solar panels, you’re able to save way more than they would have cost in the first place, allowing you to (once again) save money in the long run.

 Lastly (for our list), solar panels will increase the value of your home. Despite popular rumors, solar panels will actually increase the value of your home when you go to sell it. Crazy right? This is because so many people are looking for homes that have solar panels, both for environmental reasons, along with the benefit that they’re going to be able to save money themselves. Solar panels are a sure-fire way of reducing the cost of ownership, which is why so many people have decided to make the switch.

Overall, these are just some of the biggest reasons why you should go solar and install your own panels on your home. You can join a community of people who want to reduce their carbon footprint on the world while also saving themselves money in the process. There’s generally very few reasons why you shouldn’t go solar, and if something that you’ve been thinking about for a long time, now is your chance to take the leap and get started on setting up your very own solar panels for your home.

The 5 Best Questions to Ask Before Going Solar

The 5 Best Questions to Ask Before Going Solar 150 150 andrew

Blog Title – The 5 Best Questions to Ask Before Going Solar 

These days it seems like solar panels are everywhere. They’re going up in fields, on big buildings, and even on personal homes. Chances are you’ve seen one or two articles convincing you that solar power would be able to save you money in the long run. With their ever-growing popularity, how can you tell if solar panels are right for your home? What are the questions that you should be asking before you sign up? We’re going to be breaking down all the questions that you may have and that you should ask your sales rep. 

Question #1: Where can the panels be installed on my roof? 

There is a ton of misinformation out there about how solar panels are going to decrease the value of your property because they have to be placed in the front of the house, but this isn’t true. Not only do solar panels increase the amount you can ask for when you go to sell, but each house will have a unique placement depending on the type of roof, the angle of the slant, and various other factors. This is something that you can ask the company before you get them installed, so you can have a good idea of where they’ll be placed. 

Question #2: Do you offer leases, loans, or a power purchase agreement?

Before you take out a large loan or go into debt to purchase your solar panels, it’s smart to ask if they have any other options. At Elite Energy Consultants, we offer a power purchase agreement that will reduce the cost of the solar panels. This is one way that you can get the solar panels at little to no cost to yourself, while also paying lower rates for electricity than you would through the electric company. There’s no harm in asking! 

Question #3: What incentives are available in my state?

This is another great money-saving questions to ask, because a lot of states have some form of incentive that they offer for people going solar. In Connecticut, there are 77 different policies and incentives that you could potentially use to help lower the cost of electricity or the cost of the solar panels themselves. 

Question #4: Would I be able to do net metering in my state?

Currently, there are 38 states that allow you net meter any extra electricity that is created by your solar panels. This means that in the spring and summer months, if you make more electricity than you use, the electric company will turn back your meter. When the winter months come around and the solar panels aren’t covering all the energy that you need, the electricity that was stored up will be returned to the home for free. If you live in a state that does net metering, this is just another good reason to add solar panels to your home! 

Question #5: How much can I save on my electric bill each month?

This question is one that is going to vary from company to company and from state to state, so unfortunately we can’t give a good answer here. This is something that you should definitely talk to your solar panel company about! Most people are able to save a large amount of money over the lifetime of their solar panels when compared to how much they would spend with the utility companies.  

If there are any questions that are holding you back from going solar, the best thing that you can do is ask a local company all about them. We try our best to answered as fully and honestly as possible because we are passionate about the environment and helping as many people go solar as we can.

Solar Agriculture has a bright future

Solar Agriculture has a bright future 150 150 Joshua Jones

At first glance, you might not think solar power mixes well with agriculture. After all, wouldn’t the plants and the panels both be competing for the same solar resources? As it turns out, the answer isn’t that simple.

Researchers in Utah and Oregon, as well as another research team at the University of Arizona, have published papers showing that food farms make great locations for solar panel arrays. Photovoltaic panels operate best in certain conditions, the most obvious being abundant sunlight. Temperature is also an important factor, since the panels start to lose efficiency above 78°F. With the light wind and low humidity that’s often associated with land covered in crops and grass, agricultural areas have the perfect combination of environmental factors for solar panels.

Many food crops also benefit from this arrangement as well. Excessive sunlight can actually be bad for plants, which require some amount of shade and can burn in the sun. In the study at the University of Arizona, the areas where crops were planted around the panels stayed cooler during the day and warmer at night. Not only that, but the temperature of the panels stayed an incredible 9ºC cooler during the day. The air was also less dry, and the soil dried out less quickly between waterings. Nearly all of the crops used in the test saw a noticeable increase in the amount of crop produced, an increase in water-use efficiency, or an improvement in CO2 uptake.

This new concept of combining agriculture with solar power has been termed “agrivoltaics” and it’s making big waves in the solar industry. The idea of combining solar farms with food farms opens up a tremendous area for implementing solar power. Farmers could see increased efficiency in their food production and save water, as well as provide their own power or even make money through a solar lease.

We can’t wait to see where this technology goes. What are your thoughts about agrivoltaics? Let us know down in the comments!

Nissan’s Solar Powered Ice Cream Truck

Nissan’s Solar Powered Ice Cream Truck 150 150 Joshua Jones

The sun and ice cream go hand-in-hand. Nothing feels like summertime more than enjoying a cool frozen treat in the hot sun. And who doesn’t love the convenience and nostalgia of roaming ice cream trucks, with their bright colors and catchy jingles?

Of course, times are catching up for ice cream trucks too! As electric vehicles gain popularity and society transitions away from fossil fuels, the energy needs of ice cream trucks present a unique problem. Refrigeration requires a lot of energy, and no one wants melted ice cream! Traditional gas or diesel fueled ice cream trucks keep their refrigerators running using the motor as it idles. While it’s effective at keeping your popsicles cold, it’s far from good for the environment.

Fortunately, Nissan has designed a new prototype vehicle meant to change that! The Nissan ice cream van is a zero-emission vehicle and uses second life batteries. It’s based on Nissan’s e-NV200 electric light commercial vehicle. Unlike the fossil-fueled trucks that keep their refrigerators running by idling the engine, this vehicle uses a zero-emissions drive train along with “second life” EV batteries to keep the coolers at a low temp.

The motor of the van runs on a 40 kWh battery. However, its internal appliances run on a different system that Nissan calls ROAM. The ROAM system is a portable power-pack made up of lithium ion cells that are harvested from Nissan’s first generation of electric vehicles. This is why the company uses the term “second life” to describe the ROAM system. This also is beneficial for the environment because the batteries are all recycled!

At this point, you might be wondering why we’re so excited for this vehicle here at Elite Energy. The answer, of course, is solar panels! The new prototype has several roof-mounted solar panels to help keep the truck stay charged all day long. As an incredible bonus, you can even use the panels to generate power when the van isn’t out and about. You can then sell that energy back to the grid, just like you would with your home solar panel system!

To help promote their new prototype, Nissan partnered with ice cream maker Mackie’s of Scotland, who use wind and solar power to make all of their sweet treats. They’re the most popular ice cream maker in Scotland, and they also aim to be Scotland’s “greenest” by becoming completely energy-independent. At the time this post was published, they’re exporting 4.5 times more to the grid than they’re consuming. Now that’s some ice cream you can feel good about!

What do you think of solar powered ice cream trucks? What about solar vehicles in general? Let us know in the comments!