Solar and wind energy for a green future
The world looks to forms of cleaner energy compared with coal, oil and nuclear energy. Solar and wind energy are being considered more and more a viable source for powering the home or business. Converting solar and wind power to a home’s energy source, is an investment for a cleaner future. There are many government initiated benefit programs that seeks to reward community members for making the switch to solar energy from one that is more dependent on non-renewable resources.
Solar energy is the fasted growing source of electricity in the world, just a head of wind power. In the last two years, components that make up the solar module panels have dropped in price by almost 70 percent! There is no minimum system size, and systems can be set up anywhere as long as there is space. There are different types of systems too. Some are fixed, mounted into the ground and tilted to the optimal angle for solar energy absorption, others are mounted flat against the slope of a rooftop. While it can take decades to build power plants to supply regional power to communities, solar systems can be installed quickly – as short as a day’s time, giving families electricity for the home quickly and cleanly.
Breaking down solar panels…
Solar modules are contained in glass panels that generate electricity. Many of these modules are chained together to make a solar electric system. So how do these panels work? Crystallized silicone is the main ingredient in converting solar energy into electricity. The chemical compound of the silicone and its electrical charge are what react with the light energy. The panels are also referred to as photovoltaic cells. These cells make up PV systems. More than one panel is required as individual cells can only produce a limited amount of power. However, many cells connected will produce enough electricity to power a home or business. But the panels need to be properly installed to the building to provide such electrical power!
The inverter and the battery are also key components to the PV system. An inverter is an electrical device that changes direct current (DC), to alternating current (AC). In solar panels, however, this works opposite and the AC current needs to convert to DC. This is also the direction of current in batteries. The inverter converts the energy gathered from the panels and stores it in the battery for electrical use.
Clean energy conversion simple!
Solar system installation can be completed by anyone. Do-it-yourself home solar panel kits are becoming popular as anyone can set up their own system. An electrician is required to set it up to the house or building, given the additional electrical components of the inverter and battery. Businesses specializing in solar system installations however have experience and can install solar systems using roof mounting systems, or ground ones. Tracking systems can be used as well to tilt the angle of the panels to ensure they are efficiently absorbing the most possible amount of the sun’s energy.
Solar panels will pay for themselves, so the return on money saved on monthly hydro bills will quickly offset the cost of installing a system. There are different factors that will affect the life span of a PV system. These include:
- Weather – severe weather, particularly in cold winter climates;
- Type of solar panel – for example crystalline panels last longer than film;
- Wear and tear – fixed solar panels versus movable systems, (trackers, tilting mechanisms); and
- Maintenance of panels.
In Hawaii residential installations, the state tax credit of 35% is capped at a maximum of $5000 each year. The federal tax credit of 30% is capped at $2000 for residential installations. Please talk with your tax professional about the potential tax benefits to you (we are not tax pros). Hook up charges and some surcharges for connection to the utility still apply but if you had a $1500 electric bill, $20-45 would make anyone feel free as a bird.
Commercial Renewable Energy Systems
Here’s the question: How do you budget for the utility bills when they increase at rates that change daily? Let’s face it: it’s a calculated gamble. Now, what if you could lock in the cost of electricity for the next 25 years? What is that type of dependability worth? What could you do with the freed up funds? This is exactly what a solar electric system and solar hot water system can mean for your business. Lock in your energy costs today!
The recently announced federal and state tax credits for commercial systems means you can turn your dollars that would otherwise go to the government into an asset that will pay for itself.
Residential (Grid-Tied PV)
Grid-tied solar electric systems allow the owner to offset the electricity used by their household with clean renewable energy. Systems are sized to replace any portion of one’s electrical energy bill. Battery-less systems provide significant savings in equipment costs but do not provide power when the grid goes down (blackouts). Our systems are designed to be expandable to include a battery backup feature for critical electrical loads (refrigerator, lights, etc.). A number of exciting add-ons are also available including real-time wireless monitoring and web-based.
Residential (Stand Alone PV)
The beauty of stand-alone systems is simple – You are the Utility. No Electric Bills. No Blackouts. Peace of Mind. Our stand alone solar electric systems are designed to stand up to the test of time. Hybridized systems with biodiesel generators and wind are also available.
Heating water with the sun is the most efficient way to save money on your electrical bill. It’s so effective that Hawaii’s utilities offer a rebate for solar hot water systems installed by one of their approved installers.
Wind is a great partner with solar, and the systems act as insurance for each other, as some days may produce much sun and little wind, and vice versa.