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Florida’s Energy Mix is a Concern for the Future

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Florida is heavily dependent on natural gas for electricity production. In fact, Florida’s largest utility points out that over 70% of electricity generated in Florida comes from natural gas. While new plants based on this fuel have made electricity cheap today and relatively clean (compared to coal plants being replaced), the risk for Florida is the natural gas prices do …

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Valuation of Homes with Solar Panels

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Note that this article on valuation of homes applies to solar electric (photovoltaic or PV) systems, not solar pool heating or solar water heating systems. The solar energy industry’s marketing gurus have ample rule-of-thumb estimates for how much value solar panels add to homes, but that’s all just speculation unless someone is actually willing to pay more for your home …

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How Long Does a Solar Pool Heating Panel System Last?

In Education, Maintenance, Opinion 2 Comments

With warranties exceeding a decade in most cases, manufacturers are obviously very confident in their solar pool heating panels. Once the warranty enters the discussion, usually that is the end of the conversation. But the question still remains: “How Long Does a Solar Pool Heating Panel System Last?” Solar pool heating systems are generally trouble-free, especially with proper care and …

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Power Factor Correction to Save Energy

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There have been a variety of products over the years pitched to correct power factor in homes to save energy. The pitch goes something like this: Your homes has all kinds of motors (inductive loads) like pool pumps, air conditioners, refrigerators, washers, dryers, and even vacuum cleaners. Those electricity using appliances all have a power factor that is less than …

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Should I Buy A Solar Pool Pump

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Your pool pump runs for several hours each day of the year. It is often the second biggest energy hog in a Southwest Florida pool home (after air conditioning). Your pool pump is important because circulating water in your pool both filters it and disburses sanitation chemicals evenly throughout it. You might wonder about the possibility of using a solar …

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Do Solar Panels Meet Miami-Dade Hurricane Wind Requirements?

In Education, Opinion 6 Comments

Hurricanes and wind are frequent concerns among those seeking to install solar panels in Southwest Florida, and many people have heard about Miami-Dade hurricane wind code requirements. It stands to reason that people want solar panels installed that meet the most stringent hurricane wind building codes in the country. The concerns usually involve roof leaks and integrity of the roof …

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Should I Put Solar Panels on the Front of My House?

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Aesthetic concerns are understandable when deciding to install solar panels on your home, and especially on the front of your home. Good planning and layout, properly selected materials, and excellent workmanship can result in great looking systems anywhere on a home. Since solar panels are ubiquitous in Florida, especially solar pool heating panels, it is an accepted norm to place …

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Solar Pool Heating Panels on a Tile Roof – Design to Reality

In Education, Installation Photos, Opinion, Solar Design Leave a Comment

We have a lot of tile roofs in Florida. Sometimes known as barrel tile, S-tile, Roman tile, Spanish tile, or Mediterranean tile (among other names), these roofs are popular, especially in gated communities. Installing solar pool heating panels presents challenges on tile roofs, and we like the aluminum rack method. This method uses structural aluminum channels to act as a …

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 …

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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 …

Reports of Unfair Early FPL Solar Rebate Applications

In News, Opinion 11 Comments

Note: See updates in Comments below. The last round of the FPL Solar Rebate Program was supposed to begin taking applications at 8:30 am ET today on FPL’s website. There are reports rolling in of applications being started (and possibly even completed) prior to the start time. Several applicants reported that the Apply button showed up as early as 8:23 …

Don’t Buy the Wrong Variable Speed Pool Pump

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You may have heard about the fantastic energy savings that can be realized with a variable speed pool pump (aka Variable Frequency Drive or VFD pumps). It’s true that these pumps can save a ton of money. Even running at the same flow rate, variable speed pumps are inherently more efficient than the single speed variety. When used at a …