PA Solar News


Solar Power is Beginning to Change the World

Solar power has long been touted as the best way to decrease the production of greenhouse gases, keep energy costs down, and save our environment. Though it has been in use for decades in ever-greater intensity, the next two or three decades will see a huge leap forward in technology and market penetration. In fact, the International Energy Agency estimates that by the year 2050, solar will be the planet’s largest source of energy.

 

Due to the drop in prices that new technology will facilitate and government policies in many countries to support it, solar energy will be more accessible, affordable, and powerful than ever. However, we don’t need to wait for 2050 to see the immense effects solar is having on our planet. Here are just a few examples of what solar power is accomplishing around the world.

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7 Misconceptions About A Solar System for your Home in Pennsylvania

7Solar system installation is a great thing — especially in Pennsylvania. You’ll reduce your energy bills, do your part for the environment, and may even receive tax credits to make the installation all the more affordable. However, there are some common misconceptions about solar energy systems that should be cleared up before you contact a certified installer. Once you have this information, you’ll be prepared to take your PA solar installation seriously.

Common misconceptions about Pennsylvania solar systems include:

1. “Installation is expensive so I won’t be saving money.”

With solar rebate programs and tax credits available, solar panel installation isn’t as expensive as you’d think. Additionally, installation dramatically reduces your energy bills. Although it may seem like a large payment upfront, the panels will pay for themselves in less than 10 years through lower utility bills.

2. “Solar panels won’t work on my home because I live in an area that gets snow.”

Although the panels won’t work when completely covered, they are slick and snow easily slides off. Additionally, panels are installed on the part of your home or property that receives the most sun. This sunlight will likely melt most of the snow. Our customers are located in the tri-state area so we have plenty of experience with this misconception.

Check out our PA solar page for more information.

3.  “It will be hard to sell my home if I install solar panels.”

Actually, there is evidence that says solar panels cause homes to sell quicker. According to the Department of Energy, they sell up to two times as fast as other homes on the market because a major concern from homebuyers is energy costs. Solar power also frees homeowners from the rising cost of electricity from power companies.

4. “Solar panels have to go on the roof.”

Although the roof is the most popular spot, solar panels can be installed anywhere on your grounds that receives adequate sunlight and is free from the shade of trees. Plenty of our customers choose to have solar panels installed in a convenient area in their yards.

Check out the photos on this solar installation page to see for yourself.

5. “I’ll have to constantly clean my panels to ensure my system is efficient.”

Not in Pennsylvania – System maintenance is minimal.  There are no mechanical (moving) parts, which reduces points of failure, and; therefore, reduces maintenance needs.  If the angle of the solar module is 5 degrees or more, normal rainfall is usually sufficient to keep the solar module glass surface clean under most weather conditions.  The solar system production estimate accounts for typical dust buildup on the modules, but if over time dirt build-up becomes excessive, the module surface can be cleaned with a soft cloth using clean, potable water early in the morning or in the late afternoon.  Spraying the array mid-day should be avoided so as not to thermally shock the solar module glass.

6. “A home solar system requires batteries as back-up.”

Most solar systems are grid-tied, meaning you have access to electricity at night or on a cloudy day. However, you also store credits when your system produces more energy than you use so that electricity could end up not costing you. If there is a power outage in your area, then this type of back up plan won’t work.

Battery technology/efficiency has not caught up to the solar modules themselves.  It is still very expensive to incorporate batteries into a system and typically homeowners are limited to powering the refrigerator and some lighting circuits and outlets.  A whole-house natural gas or propane generator by Kohler is a more economical option and can many times provide backup power for the entire home. Most solar system owners opt out of a backup power source because of cost.

7. “I can just price shop the cheapest solar panel.”

While the market is being flooded with cheaper, foreign-made solar modules, the raw materials, quality controls, and warranties don’t always match up.  It is important to find an installer that understands the solar module market and can speak to the quality of the product.  When comparing quotes it is essential to remember not all solar module and inverters are created equally.  Be sure to understand why one company’s price may be higher than a competitor’s.  Installation workmanship is extremely important when it comes to solar installations – always check with past customers to ensure the company is reputable and providing excellent quality installations.  If you keep these things in mind you will have a worry free 25+ years of solar energy from your newly installed solar system.

We hope this post has given you the information you need to make the decision to go solar. If you still have questions, feel free to call us at 888.873.9995.

Largest PA Solar Farm to Cover 100-plus Acres of Lurgan Township

I800px-Blue_Mountainn a little over a year, Lurgan Township may be the best place to catch some rays.

No, there’s not a new manmade beach, but the township is scheduled to receive a new solar farm covering more than 100 acres near the Blue Mountain Interchange of the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

While it will take time to get started on the project, at 14-megawatts, it would become one of the largest solar farms in PA. The state currently has a 6-megawatt farm near Lancaster and an 11.5 megawatt project in Carbon County is in the works.

The PV panels from this newest project would produce enough electricity to power 2,000 to 2,500 homes.

The solar farm has a lifespan of more than 20 years, after which the land could return to farming. Posts for the solar panels are to be planted without concrete.

Learn more about PA solar power or read more about the Lurgan Township project.

Solar Powered Pocono Raceway Hosts IndyCar 400

Pocono_RacewayFor the first time in 24 years, the Pocono Raceway hosted the Pocono IndyCar 400.

The 400-mile event is the first open-wheel event held at the 2.5 mile, triangular-shaped track since 1989.

More than 30,000 spectators attended the IZOD IndyCar Series race this past weekend to see the Chip Ganassi Racing  team sweep first, second and third place.

The high attendance was a welcome change for a raceway that has seen its fair shares of ups and downs.

The Pocono Raceway is the world’s largest solar-powered sports facility. The solar panel system is laid out on a 25-acre, three megawatt solar farm. As of this past April, the solar farm had produces 10.2 million kilowatt hours of energy.

The amount of carbon that is offset from the system is equivalent to the emissions of more than 105,000 propane barbecue grills. Like all most PV systems, the panels are designed to last fore more than 25 years without replacement.

Pennsylvania Sunshine Solar Rebate Program Returns

solar installationsAs of Jan. 24, 2013, the PA Sunshine Solar Rebate Program is in active rebate mode with help from $7.25 million in funding from the Commonwealth Financing Authority. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), a portion of the funds will first satisfy previously submitted rebate applications for solar electric (solar photovoltaic), solar hot water (solar thermal) projects and battery back-up systems. Remaining funds will then be disbursed to new projects on a first-come, first-served basis.

Existing projects that have been on the waiting list must be completed by June 1, 2013 to receive a rebate. Those installing a solar system can apply for rebates ranging from $7,500 for residential systems (maximum 10 KW) to $52,500 for small business commercial systems (maximum 100 KW).

“The Pennsylvania Sunshine rebate depends on the size of the system but usually this rebate will cover about 15 percent of the total installation cost,”  Tony Taglione, Project Manager of Terrasol Energies in Chadds Ford said. “When you combine this with the 30% federal tax credit it makes now a great time to install solar panels.”

The DEP has also improved the efficiency of the application process, making it a one-step system. The rebate program will close when funds run out, or by Dec. 31, 2013, whichever happens first.

The Pennsylvania DEP established a Photovoltaic and Solar Contract Installer Database, a list of over 750 installers approved as participating in the program.

Residents interested in switching to clean energy should act fast, as the DEP expects funds to be exhausted before the end of the year.

For more information on the application process, visit the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

 

Lincoln Financial Field Goes Solar

the lincLincoln Financial Field, home of the Philadelphia Eagles, is now also the home of a major solar power system.

The project has resulted in more than 11,000 panels positioned on top of the roof, as well as over some parking spots and along the side of the building facing I-95.

On a sunny day the system can power out over 21,000 kilowatt hours, which is almost enough to power two average homes for a year.

The $30 million project also includes 14 wind turbines, which serve as a visual representation of the team’s commitment to sustainability.

The Eagles have become somewhat of a gold standard in terms of creating a green stadium, recycling an astounding majority of waste. Plus, the Linc has converted fryer oil from concession stands to biodiesel that can be used in equipment.

The project is the largest solar-power system in the NFL and in the Philadelphia area.

 

Solar Power Blooms at Longwood Gardens

solar field Longwood Gardens

On May 27, Longwood Gardens began generating electricity from its 1.5MW solar field.

The Kennett Square garden is home to over 1,077 acres of gardens, woodlands, and meadows.

The solar field will produce about 2 million kilowatt hours a year, which is the electrical equivalent of powering 181 average homes. Longwood Gardens reports that the switch to solar is expected to offset energy consumption by almost 28 % and will reduce the garden’s annual CO2 emissions by over 1,300 tons.

A majority of project funding comes from a $1.3 million grant from PA Green Energy Works!, with other funds coming from the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and a $500,000 Pennsylvania Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) grant.