By Chris Leigh-Jones with Sean Hayes, Guest Contributor, Palmetto Solar
Something for nothing is always a good suggestion and in a state as sunny as South Carolina, solar power would seem a way of achieving that end. We met last week with Sean Hayes of Palmetto Solar to discuss how the industry works and just what circumstances would be considered a good fit for adding solar power to a green building strategy. Based at the newly refurbished Cigar Factory on East Bay St., they are one of the most active solar companies in the state. Here is what we learned about the benefits and the myths about going "off the grid."
Solar works. It provides power for utilities and can be pushed back into the grid at standard tariff rates. A combination of volume and technology is bringing prices down by about 10% annually meaning the potential market is growing rapidly. However, it’s not for everyone.
If you fall into one, or a combination, of the following categories then read on:
- Live outside of the historic district of Charleston that is under the jurisdiction of the Board of Architectural Review
- Have a south facing roof, relatively clear of obstructions such as gutters or vents and free from shade.
- As a domestic user, have a significant taxable income as the economics presently rely on tax rebates for green energy.
- Have a concern for the environment or interest in green energy solutions.
- Intend to remain in your home for the mid-term future
Does solar work for our own property portfolio? Well, in truth, not at this moment in time. We have two properties on Folly Beach that would be viable but the buildings are in an HOA regime and the HOA is responsible for the exterior so we can’t install them. However, we are considering solar power for an affordable housing development we are working on that would allow them to be net neutral, aka near zero electricity bills, which I think is quite exciting. More on that in a later blog. In the mean time here is some feedback from the good folks at Palmetto Solar.
5 Commonly Asked Solar Power Questions
The number of households making the switch to solar has grown rapidly. Installing solar panels on your home cuts power costs and saves you money over the long term. Nonetheless, many people still have questions concerning solar energy and using it to power their homes. At Palmetto Solar, we want to ensure that all your solar questions are answered so you can go solar with confidence.
Below we have compiled a list of five commonly asked solar questions, and provided answers from our Palmetto Solar team.
#1 Is going solar affordable?
The cost of solar has dropped dramatically in recent years, making solar power more affordable and cost-effective than ever. Presently, there are Federal and State Solar Tax Credits that can help you save 55% off the cost of your solar energy system. The tax credits are so massive that you actually make money the first year you go solar.
Palmetto Solar offers financing options with no money down. Our main goal at Palmetto Solar is to offset the cost of your power bill as much as possible and put money back in your pocket.
#2 Is my Charleston SC house solar eligible?
Solar panels can be installed practically anywhere that receives direct sunlight most of the day. It is important that tall trees or buildings do not obstruct the sun’s rays from reaching your panels. A south-facing roof is the most ideal for solar energy because it will collect the most amount of sunshine throughout the day. While it is not as optimal, solar systems may be installed on easterly and westerly facing slopes.
#3 Do I have to go off the grid to go solar?
Going solar doesn’t mean going completely off the grid! Palmetto Solar energy systems remain connected to the conventional utility grid, which is very convenient for homeowners because they can still access utilities if the demand is not fully satisfied by their solar system. Additionally, when your solar system is producing energy during the day while you’re not home, the utility grid acts as your own battery backup. Any solar power not used by your home is sent back to the utility and credited on your account for when you need it later.
#4 How durable is my Charleston SC solar energy system?
Solar power systems are very durable and will not be damaged during extreme weather conditions. Solar panels actually protect and preserve your roof from everyday wear and tear. Most solar panels are not installed directly to your roof, but rather mounted onto a raised railing system that shelters your roof from outside elements. The Palmetto Solar installation team can also easily remove solar panels if they need to be repaired.
#5 Will switching to solar energy reduce my monthly power bill?
One of the many benefits of solar energy is that it cuts your energy costs. In fact, most people decide to go solar simply because it will save them a few hundred dollars a months on their energy bill. Installing solar panels allows you to generate energy during the day and feed excess power back into the grid. When this happens, your meter spins backwards and your utility company credits you for that power. During the night or on rainy days, you’ll use grid power, but because of all the credit you have produced your power bill will be drastically reduced.
When you go solar with Palmetto Solar, you are locked in at low fixed rates that will never go up and ultimately lead to free power! No matter the size of your solar system, you will begin to enjoy returns on day one and your energy savings will continue to grow overtime.
If you have any other solar power related questions, feel free to reach out directly to the team at Palmetto Solar. Call, email or schedule an in-home consultation with one of our knowledgeable Solar Specialists. Our team works hard to ensure your switch to solar is simple and stress-free and we can walk you step-by-step through the process.
NOTE: As one of the leading builders in downtown Charleston, we are constantly seeking ways to reduce building costs and add affordability whenever possible. As philanthropic partners with the Sustainability Institute, participants in the City of Charleston's "Green Business Challenge," and our continued interest in micro-housing, we see opportunities in building that bring solutions to the lack of affordability in Charleston's housing landscape. If you are planning to build in or around the Charleston area, have a look at our "Ultimate Guide to Building Terms" and become familiar with some of the general building terminology you'll want to know before you begin ...
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