My Solar Electric System, One Year After Installation

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I just got a $54 electric bill for my 3,000 square foot home. Pretty good, right? I’m walking the walk! Well, it’s not what I had hoped when I installed my solar electric system, but that’s because I’m wildly wasteful now (not that I’m proud of it). I was spoiled by the low electric bills that started coming after I …

Beware of Shady Solar Installers

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It would be great to work in an industry that is self-policing and largely above any major ethical breaches. While most solar dealers are good people, driven by ideals of a better world, there are shady solar companies out there, and you need to stay away from them. Why is it so important in this industry, and how do you …

Electric Heat Pump Pool Heater vs. Gas Pool Heater

In Education 2 Comments

In my last article I discussed the pros and cons of an electric heat pump pool heater vs. a solar pool heater. While it has little to do with solar pool heating, I thought I would point out the differences between the two traditional heat sources used for residential swimming pool heating, which are heat pumps and gas pool heaters. …

Electric Heat Pump Pool Heater vs. Solar Pool Heater

In Education 4 Comments

Should you buy an electric pool heater (heat pump) or a solar pool heater? Each has its pros and cons, some of which are shared. Electric Heat Pump Pool Heaters Electric heat pumps are popular in Florida, and for good reason. Since heat pumps use the latent heat in the air to heat your pool, warm Florida daytime temperatures are …

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My Solar Heated Pool Feels Warmer in the Morning

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When a solar pool heater owner says that their pool feels warmer in the morning, especially this time of year, it’s usually a matter of perception. As you would expect, solar pool heaters only heat pools during the day when the sun is out and the pool pump is running. Naturally, the temperature in the pool will typically rise throughout …

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Solar Design: More Than a Pretty Picture

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Renderings of solar panels on buildings are very helpful in visualizing the scale and look of a project. However, there are practical reasons to develop 3D computer models of solar panel layouts, and one of the most important is evaluating shading. When obstruction exist like trees, buildings, power lines, and others, it is important to evaluate the impact of shade. …

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Interactive 3D Models of Solar Panel Designs

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Sure, two dimensional representations of three dimensional models are pretty cool on paper or in PDF presentation format, but what if you could interact with a 3D model in a simple, easy to use format in a web browser? Well, you can! When we do a three dimensional model, it can be uploaded and shared via a web link. Immersive …

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Rendering Scenes for 3D Computerized Solar Designs

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I’m constantly working to improve the visual renderings of our 3D computerized solar designs. We have mastered the art of taking aerial imagery and making three dimensional roofs on which we can display solar panels. However, one of the biggest challenges is modeling screened pool cages that are ubiquitous in Southwest Florida. Ideally we would just build a box with a raised …

Another Massive Fail for FPL as Rebate Application Computers Freeze

In News 7 Comments

UPDATE: Our industry trade group, FlaSEIA, has set up a RATE PAYER FAIRNESS Hot Line. If you were negatively impacted by this failure, it is imperative that you call (407) 339-2010. Here we go again. Last week FPL had to acknowledge that it opened the final round of the popular residential solar rebate program early. This week, after FPL announced that it would restart …

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Urban Solar vs. Suburban Solar in Florida

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I have been asked “why Southwest Florida.” The markets in Tampa, Orlando, and Miami are much larger urban centers with far greater population. It seems like the solar energy business would be much better in these populations centers where there are far more residential energy customers. Florida is a sleeping giant when it comes to solar energy market potential, but …

Floridians for Solar Choice Sponsors Ballot Initiative

In News, Opinion 4 Comments

Floridians for Solar Choice is sponsoring a Constitutional Amendment that we support, and you should, too! The purpose of the initiative is to encourage and promote local small-scale solar-generated electricity production and to enhance the availability of solar power to customers. The essential goal here is to allow individuals and business the freedom to produce and sell electricity, and to purchase …

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What Happens With Solar Panels When It’s Cloudy?

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In a now-famous video among solar energy industry colleagues, the Chairman of the Florida Public Service Commission suggested the The Sunshine State is just a license plate slogan. Solar energy opponents have included Florida’s often cloudy weather in talking points that express doubt about the viability of solar energy in Florida. In fact, Florida Power & Light’s parent company, NextERA …