There are a lot of factors that can affect the performance of your solar panels and the economic benefits they can generate—things such as where you live and how sunny it is, how much you pay for electricity, which way your house faces—even the pitch of your roof. Variety is the spice of life, but the diversity of our architecture can affect the performance of solar panels. It’s important to understand how those differences in production performance related to the angle of your roof will affect the overall financial performance of your solar power system. Continue reading
What should you look at to determine if you’re getting a good deal on solar? There are lots of things to pay attention to when deciding on a solar energy system; but two of the most useful metrics for evaluating the cost and value of a solar power offer are price per watt, measured in dollars per watt of energy ($/W), and ‘levelized cost of energy’ (LCOE).
Understanding Solar Roof and Solar Panel Orientation
You don’t need optimal conditions for your solar power system to be a great investment. One of the biggest myths about the financial viability of solar is that it requires a really sunny location and a south facing roof. While these may be ideal conditions, folks outside of Southern California with roofs that face other points on the compass, such as east to west-facing roofs, can still satisfy most of their electricity needs and reap significant financial returns when they adopt solar power systems.
As a result of solar PV cost declines, rising utility rates, and supportive public policies and incentives, residential rooftop solar PV has become an affordable option for millions of customers, especially in America’s 50 largest cities. This is especially true if customers have the ability to access low-cost financing options like longer-term loans, leases, and third-party power purchase agreements (PPAs) that eliminate the upfront cost. Thus, the availability of solar PV (and other ways to more efficiently use energy) has caused many customers to seek their own degree of personal “energy independence” by focusing on ways they can diversify their energy choices and exert greater control over their utility bills.
However, most of the customers who want a greater degree of personal energy independence (and the community leaders who wish to help them get there) often do not understand (or are simply unaware) of how solar PV technology can help them save money and reap the rewards of a largely risk-free long-term investment. Often, the lack of familiarity most customers have with solar PV has the effect of increasing the costs (often called “customer acquisition costs”) that solar PV installers must incur to educate consumers and make a sale. When one considers that selling more PV systems is how solar installers can reduce their other costs and make their businesses leaner, more competitive, and cost-effective without incentives, educating customers and community leaders about the “dollars and cents” value of solar PV truly is paramount. Continue reading