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Putting Battery Backup Capacity into Perspective

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Grid-interactive solar panels cease to operate when the sun goes down. They also shut down when there is a utility outage. That is unless you have batteries. It’s a common misconception that solar panels can directly power your home during the day if the power company has a grid failure. Except in very limited circumstances, this is not the case. …

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Whole Home Solar Backup vs Critical Load Backup

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Most clients who install solar panels just do grid-interactive systems that offset utility electricity usage. The solar panels cease to function during a power outage. This is (by far) the most cost-effective way to install and use solar panels in Florida, and the reason for the explosion of solar panel installations worldwide. However, there is obviously a desire for backup …

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Photovoltaic System Variability by Month and Year

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In the industry, we make fairly broad generalizations about how much you will save with solar panels. We can’t tell you what your electric bill will be because we can’t control your energy use. Your choices have a lot to do with how much electricity you need. But we can tell you how much energy your solar energy system should …

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Solar Panel Efficiency Is Overrated

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I tell people all the time… don’t get so wrapped up on solar panel efficiency. I get it – you want the best. The most efficient solar panel on earth sounds exactly what you are looking for. But is it in your best interest? The current leader for panels that are commonly available in the efficiency race is likely Sunpower. …

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How To Install A Generator With Existing Solar Panels

In Education, Solar Design 7 Comments

This article is intended for our colleagues who install whole-home generators in Southwest Florida. Licensed electricians often don’t realize they are creating a hazardous situation that could severely damage equipment. Warranties for generators or solar inverters can be voided by failing to take into account important factors. We have seen this time and time again, so we wanted to point …

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Comparing Batteries to Generators

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When hurricane season comes around there is always a renewed interest in solar panels and batteries. Clients wonder if they should consider solar power instead of a whole home generator. But how do batteries compare to generators? Notice how I didn’t title this “Compare Solar Panels to Generators.” That’s because people conflate solar power and batteries. You don’t necessarily need one …

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The Importance of Solar Roof Attachments

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I find it very strange that solar photovoltaic system proposals and contracts often leave out one of the most important things. How are you attaching them to the roof? It seems like an obvious thing, but clients rarely ask and salespeople rarely bring it up. Yet this is a critical aspect of a solar energy system installation. There are many …

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Solar Panel Shading Analysis | How We Do It

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Sometimes there are obstructions shading the location where solar panels are going to be installed. It is critical to evaluate shading over the course of the days of the year and hours of the day. Back in the “old days,” we used some industry-specific manual tools and paper charts. We could accurately evaluate the shade location on a given day …

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Enphase Ensemble Battery Solution Coming Soon!

In Education, News, Opinion Leave a Comment

Enphase, the leading manufacturer of microinverters, has started training dealers for its upcoming Ensemble battery system. This is an exciting new entrant to the budding Lithium battery industry for use in homes. Enphase has a unique approach that improves reliability, serviceability, design, and monitoring capabilities. In Southwest Florida we are mainly concerned with battery backup. The Enphase battery will fit …

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Offset Your Electricity Bill – All or Part?

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Some people only want solar panels if they can offset their entire electricity bill. But does that make sense? Grid-Interactive solar energy systems work with the grid to reduce your monthly energy use and cost. I get the idea of becoming “independent” from the utility company. Many people feel utility companies are greedy and inefficient. But you actually may be …

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Home Solar Panel Photovoltaic System in Fort Myers

In Education, Installation Photos Leave a Comment

Fort Myers is obviously a GREAT place for solar photovoltaic panels. Also known as solar electricity, these systems are primarily designed to offset your electricity bill. These are usually not backup systems for utility outages. That is a common misconception among consumers. A system like the one pictured below, with 27 solar modules, each rated at 370 watts, will offset …

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Poor Workmanship on Solar Energy Systems

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Sometimes we see shockingly poor workmanship on solar energy systems. What’s more shocking is when solar contractors argue that the work is acceptable. One pet peeve of mine is poor wire management. Specifically, allowing wires to run along roof surfaces without proper support and protection drive me nuts. Securing and supporting wires is required by building code. But common sense …

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Can I Put Solar Pool Heating Panels In The Shade

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A couple of years ago I did an article and short video on how shade affects solar electric panels. Solar pool heating panels are different, and shade affects them differently. While it’s always best to avoid shading with any type of solar panel, sometimes there just isn’t a suitable roof or there isn’t enough roof space. Sometimes the neighbors have …

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What Is The Cheapest Way To Heat My Pool?

In Education, Opinion 4 Comments

If you are looking for the cheapest way to heat your Florida pool, you have come to the right place. It’s a bit of a loaded question, but we will walk you through the options and relative costs of each major pool heating method. For our analysis, we are going to assume similar quality levels for all technologies. For example, …

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Electric Cars Run on Natural Gas

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I hate to break it to you, but your electric car runs on natural gas – with a little nuclear power mixed in. The dealer didn’t tell you that, did they? We’re being a little facetious here, but it is generally true. When you plug your car in and use utility electricity to charge it, fuel is burned to generate …