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Solar Power Blog

September 17, 2018

20 Reasons To Go Solar!

So, you’re interested in making the switch to solar energy, huh? Good choice!

Residential solar energy is one of the fastest growing sectors in the United States economy with good reason, and it isn’t slowing down any time soon. In fact, the solar market is growing at such a rapid pace that a new solar panel system is installed every four minutes.

But you might be wondering, “Why is solar growing so quickly? What benefits to other people see that I might be missing?”

Well, I’m glad you asked. To help you determine whether switching to solar energy is the right move for you, I’ve compiled a quick list of the 20 best reasons that you should make the switch to solar… Yesterday.

1. It Will Save You TENS of Thousands of Dollars

What if I told you that switching to solar wouldn’t just help you reduce your carbon footprint and the yearly check you send to good ‘ol Uncle Sam, but that it could actually save you enough money to:

  • Buy a brand new BMW 1 series

  • Pay for your child’s wedding

  • Travel the world for 6+ months

  • Put a down payment on a $150,000 home

That’d be pretty cool, right? Well, according to One Block Off the Grid, investing in solar panels can bring in a monthly savings of well over $100. If you were to extend this savings over the period of two decades (significantly less than the length of the average solar panel warranty) this translates to more than $30,000 in savings. Enough to do any of the items listed above (and then some)

2. You Can Start Saving IMMEDIATELY

The most common objection that I hear from homeowners who are considering making the switch to solar is that the new panels are simply, “Too expensive”. And I get it. Solar panels aren’t an inexpensive investment. However, there are numerous government subsidized “Pay as you go” financing option that allow you to get all of the savings and benefits of solar energy, without having to pay upfront.

As of June 2013, more than 75% of all American homes have access to easy financing options for their solar installation. While we always recommend paying in cash if possible, the simplicity of the pay-as-you-go option makes solar affordable for everyone.

3. Enjoy a FAST ROI

If you opt to pay for your solar system up front, you won’t have to wait long before you recoup your initial investment. For example, in Hawaii, it takes the average homeowner only 60 months before the monthly savings in electricity costs pay off the entire price tag of their new solar system.

Just for the record, that’s HALF as long as it would take you to double an investment in the stock market with an average rate of return!

4. Endless Tax incentives that Will Save You Books of Cash

No one wants to send Uncle Sam a penny more than is absolutely necessary. And when you invest in solar, you gain access to a unique set of tax incentives that will dramatically reduce the amount you owe to your greedy uncle each year.

For starters, you will get 30% of the total system costs (both equipment and installation), meaning that you would save $7,500 on a $25,000 solar system. When you combine this with local and state rebates and Solar Renewable Energy Credits, the total cost is quickly cut in half.

However, as the multitude of infomercials have warned you, “Act fast because this special offer won’t last long!”. No, seriously. Tax laws change on a quarterly basis and there’s no guarantee that these incentives will be available over the next few years so make the jump while you still can.

5. You Can Dramatically Increase the Value of Your Home

According to a study conducted by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, homes with solar panels, on average, sell 20% and for 17% more money than homes without them.

To put this into perspective, this means that, if you own a home currently valued at $200,000, you could sell your home in less than 52 days for more than $234,000. Not a bad deal is it?

6. You Are Protecting the Environment and Reducing Your Carbon Footprint

Yes, the #1 benefit that pushes most homeowners to switch to solar is the financial incentive. However, it’s worth pointing out that switching to solar energy isn’t just good for your wallet, but also the environment.

Whether you’re a hardcore conservative or staunch liberal, I think we can all agree that we have a responsibility to leave our planet better than we found it and make sure that our children and grandchildren get to enjoy our marvelous home for millennia to come. Making the switch to solar will help ensure that they can do just that.

7. Decrease US dependency on Foreign Oil

If you want to do your part to strengthen the American economy, increase employment, and ensure that we are no longer dependent on foreign entities for our energy (which is markedly bad idea), then switching to solar is the only option.

The U.S. currently relies on net imports for about 40% of the crude oil and petroleum products and the pace isn’t slowing down until more people make the switch to solar energy.

8. No More “Random” Utility Price Jumps

If you’ve owned a home for any appreciable amount of time, then you’ve inevitably been the victim of greedy energy companies “inexplicably” raising their prices and charging you an arm and a leg for your monthly energy use.

With solar panels, your energy costs will remain the same… Forever. .

9. Guaranteed Performance

Solar panel manufacturers include a 20- to 25-year warranty (also known as a performance guarantee) with their solar panels. The industry standard guarantees 80% performance after 25 years, and your solar panels will likely continue generating electricity for 35-40 years.

Considering that the average car costs more than a solar installation and comes with a warranty that’s only 25% as long, this seems like a pretty good deal to us.

10. Switching to Solar is Easier than Ever Before

Shopping for the right solar installation services used to be a long and arduous process. You could reasonably expect to spend weeks just finding the right company and several more weeks negotiating prices and finalizing the installation.

Luckily, those days are long behind us and making the switch to solar has never been easier. With our team of solar consultants to help you sort through your options, you can find the best solar solution for your home in no time flat.

Oh, and did we mention that the consultation is free? No obligation, no hassle, no garbage!.

Shopping for solar used to be a long and complicated process. There are hundreds of solar companies in the U.S. alone. It would take you weeks to find the best solar deal. Luckily things have changed.

11. Solar Prices Have Never Been Lower

Since 2010, the price to install a set of solar panels has dropped by… wait for it… More than 70%!

That’s the equivalent of buying a brand new Lexus RCF for only $19,800.

12. No More Power Outages from Bad Weather

With the slew of hurricanes smashing into the East coast, we’ve seen how fickle and unpredictable traditional energy sources can be. In some areas, power outages from inclement weather can last more than 2-weeks!

However, with the proper battery storage system, you’ll still have power even when the utility company’s grid goes down. While your neighbors crawl around in the dark trying to find a flashlight, you’ll be cozily sat on your couch watching the latest episode of Game of Thrones.

13. Solar Panels Are Highly Versatile

You can go as big or small as you want. With solar energy there are no “rules”. You don’t have to install them on your roof and they don’t have to cover your entire home. As long as you have a location with access to direct sunlight, you’re good to go!

14. You’re Leading By Example and Becoming a “Founding Member” of a National Movement

By choosing to invest in solar energy, you’re serving your community and our planet (not to mention your budget). The more panels that are installed, the more homeowners will hop on the bandwagon and join the movement for a cleaner and brighter tomorrow.

15. You’re Creating More Jobs

Nearly 250,000 Americans work in solar – more than double the number in 2012 – at more than 9,000 companies in every U.S. state. When you make the switch to solar, you’re supporting your local economy and encouraging job growth during these tumultuous economic times.

16. With Solar, Energy Maintenance is a Thing of the Past

With few moving parts and highly durable designs, solar panels are virtually maintenance free and will ensure that you can enjoy clean and renewable energy without any hassle or headache.

17. Access to Energy Anytime You Need It

Switching to solar doesn’t mean that you’ll only have energy during the day. Due to the innovative battery systems that come standard equipped when you make the switch to solar, you’ll have consistent and reliable energy even during those rainy and dark days.

18. The Tax Credits Won’t Last Forever

The US has extended the current tax incentive until 2020 but there’s no telling what comes next. Now is THE time to switch to solar energy and, if you wait much longer, the price could jump dramatically.

19. Solar Is Not Going Away

Guess what? You are going to be FORCED to switch to solar sometime in the future whether you want to or not. Our oil reserves are decreasing every year and the most conservative estimates suggest that we will only have enough oil to last another 55 years (assuming that we don’t increase our consumption).

This means that it’s entirely possible solar energy will be mandatory during your lifetime. So stay ahead of the curve and make the switch now while there are still incentives and opportunities to save!

Here at Sky Wire Solar we have made it easier than ever.

20. Qualify Your Property in Minutes

The process to qualify starts by speaking with one of our experts and providing them with important information such as your property address and your current energy usage.

Once we understand your energy needs we can provide a full estimate of costs, outline your savings potential and provide you with financing options! Lets get started!

November 25, 2017

Ground Mount Solar VS. Roof Mount Solar

Each version has its own place where it can only make sense to do one or the other. For most people they do in fact have enough space to do a ground mount system. Lets take a look at the benefits of installing a ground mount if you have the ability to.

1. Roof Space requirements, for a lot of people there may not be enough due south roof space meaning that you may be using east and west roof space. This is not the end of the world, on a typical east/west roof section your solar system will typically loose aproximately 20% of year round production that you could have had if you were to face due south. That number changes based on the pitch of the roof. You can use PV watts website to play with the numbers and see exactly the losses. If you are on the ground we can orientate the array Due south and at the optimum tilt for your particular location.

2. Roof Maintenance... Eventually your roof will need to be re-shingled if you have a typical roof. If you have a solar system on your roof then this will need to be removed and reinstalled after the new shingles go on. This is not a big deal, but it does effect your overall investment. Typically your solar system will pay for itself and start reaping the rewards after year 12 on a cash system on a typical utility grid with no rebates. If you are replacing your roof at year 25 and need to pull your panels off, then your system has already paid for itself and any out of pocket expenses at this point is just less over all cash saved over life of the system. However if your system was on the ground, then you will not need to re-invest any cash to pulling the panels and re-installing them.

3. Aesthetics... We have installed a solar array as far away from the source as 600'. This did incur a slight additional cost, and based on your total system size may be less to zero additional cost. Point being that with a ground mount, if you have land then you are able to choose where it sets. Where as on your roof, you really are limited to which roof section you will be using and the best orientation may be the front of your home. For some, they dont want to look at their solar panels, for others they are proud of their investment and love to see it every time they pull in the driveway. (to each their own) I am personally on the side of things where I want to see it as I pull in the driveway.

4. Maintenance and Repair... If their is ever a large snow storm that rolls in and you want to get out their with a broom and brush off the snow on your ground mount solar system you can... On the roof you are limited. Note: leaving the snow till it finally melts off is completely fine, and based on your solar projections for the year this has already been accounted for, but if you would like to take the time to clear the snow off your solar array, you definitely have the option with a ground mount vs. a roof mount. If their is ever any issues that need to be addressed in the future with any components in the system you will definitely make it easier on your solar installtion company for this purpose of being on the ground vs. the roof. Not that it should matter, but its the truth.

5. Roof Mount has its place... obviously not every one has the option for a ground mount solar system, and a roof mount is 100% necessary. Your personal solar installation will have a good Return on investment no matter if you choose roof mount or ground mount. The biggest take away from this blog post should be: If you have the option to put it on the ground, then just do it.

James Bartley

Solar and Generator Division Coordinator

Skywire Solar

November 17, 2017

Solar Panels and Hail

Solar Panel and Hail, Solar 101 Basics, How do solar panels withstand hail

Lets start off by mentioning that our oldest system was put in back in 2011 and today almost 2018 we have not had any solar hail damage claims to date. Now we have had to pull the panels off the roof of a hail damaged roof for an insurance re-roof type scenario on two separate occasions, but those panels were not damaged at all. 

One thing to consider when hail is coming down, it is not striking the panel at a direct 90 degree angle hit, most panels are set at about a 20 to 30 degree tilt on average. Some of that inertia coming down is directed downward based on the tilt of the panel.

The Industry standard is for a solar panel to withstand a a golf ball sized hail stone at 50mph, however as you will see in the video presented to you by Solar World USA the solar panels are much more resilient than that. https://youtu.be/M6v2lDa8Hos

James Bartley

Solar and Generator Division Coordinator

Skywire Solar

November 17, 2017

Solar Panel Maintenance?

Solar Maintenance, Solar PV cleaning, Solar 101 Basics

Honestly I am sure there is someone out there that is telling you that you need to maintenance your solar pv system for x amount per year. Bla Bla Bla, so I would say to that if you want to waste your money go ahead, but there is no real reason to be concerned with that. Yes dirt and pollen can build up on your panels, but the average rain fall that we get in lower Missouri is enough to keep your panels clean. 

Whether we are installing Micro-inverters or DC optimizers, both of which have a per-panel monitoring system that allows us to get alerts if the system is not performing as it should. If a flock of birds came and covered just one panel in bird poo we would get an alert from our manufacture letting us know which panel was having the issues.

Now... Will it hurt if you wanted to get the garden hose out and clean off your panels before waiting on the next rain? No absolutely not, but is it necessary? No. When we project how much your solar system will produce each year, "soiling" is a factor in those calculations. 

You know the cool part is that solar panels are a solid state technology unlike wind turbines that have moving parts. Every body know that anything with moving parts requires maintenance. We like the mentality for you to go with is "set it and forget it" and let us take care of the rest. We will be there for any alerts that the monitoring system gives us.

James Bartley

Solar and Generator Division Coordinator

Skywire Solar

November 16, 2017

How much solar does my house need?

 The number one question that we are asked, is "how much solar does my 1,500 sq/ft home need?" 

Every home is different, every home is unique, your home may have all gas appliances and heating sources with great insulation, your neighbors home may be from the 1900's with poor insulation and all electric appliances. To combat this diversity in the realm of energy consumption, we approach each home as a unique project.

We start with needing one utility bill that shows the whole year at a glance bar graph, or all 12 months of utility records. This will give us a good idea for your consumption. If you are looking into the future and are going to make any major life changes such as kids going to college, home additions, energy efficiency upgrades, or similar decisions that affect your energy consumption, we take this in to consideration as well.

Once we plug in your data to our software, we are able to size your system appropriately. And like always for the Skywire team, if we can keep it off your roof and on the ground we will recommend this at the same cost or cheaper, ultimately giving you the best ROI.

If you would like to get a good idea for your self on how much solar you need then check out the following website, I will have a follow up post on how to use this website.



James Bartley

Solar and Generator Division Coordinator

Skywire Solar

Solar and Generator Division Coordinator

Skywire Solar

November 16, 2017

Using PV Watts Website

This post is meant to empower you to know more about your system and expected solar projections using a common website put on by NREL the national renewable energy laboratory. http://pvwatts.nrel.gov/ if you navigate to this website the first thing it wants to know is your location because based on weather data from key stations across the U.S. we can project how much sun light we should expect year round.

Page 1 Just enter your city and state and hit enter.

page 2 This is just letting you know the closest weather station that it will be pulling data from so click the orange arrow at the top right of the screen to proceed. If the website changes over time I am sure there will be some sort of obvious similar process.

Page 3 Enter your solar system size. Example if you have (4) 300watt DC rated panels this is 1,200 watts or 1.2KW so enter 1.2 in the DC system size box.

Leave the Module type as standard

If the array will be on your roof then choose fixed roof mount, if the array will be on the ground choose fixed open rack. This has to do with cooling... the ground mount will have better air flow therefore making the solar panels more efficient because the hotter the solar panel is the less efficient.

Leave system losses as 14%

Tilt... If you are on the ground the standard tilt is a 30 degree tilt, if you are on the roof that varies too much so you will need to find that out for your self

Azimuth... 180 degrees equals due south, 90 degrees equals East, 270 degrees equals west, if you are between that you can use the tape measure tool on google earth and when you measure the north to south exterior of your home that will give you a heading which will be your azimuth.

If you are looking to check the value of solar offset this section is fairly generalized because most utility companies have a tiered system with different rates in the summer from the winter, but for a good generalization you can put something somewhere in the middle of winter and summer to get an idea of energy value.

After filling all of this out just click the orange arrow at the top right to proceed 

You will see a monthly projection of what your system should produce in kWh and this is the power in AC being produced from your solar system. The average sun hours per month are listed along with your projected energy value of this solar system.

Hope this empowers someone out there... Knowledge is power as G I Joe says


James Bartley

Solar and Generator Division Coordinator

Skywire Solar