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Category: Solar Energy

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Product Deep Dive: Racking Equipment

While not everyone will be interested in the literal nuts and bolts of a project, in case you are curious just how a solar panel is mounted to a roof-top shingle, feel free to check out our Racking Manufacturer’s website. UNIRAC is an industry standard for Solar racking equipment (the part that will attach solar panels to the roof top). To learn more about UNIRAC products, see here:

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Product Deep Dive: Microinverters

Just a few years ago, Micro-inverters were used almost exclusively with commercial projects. Their job is to optimize the amount of sun from each solar panel, convert the energy from direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC) that can be used in your home. It’s easy to confuse microinverters with power optimizers, so here’s a quick post from Energysage on the key similarities and differences between the two: https://www.energysage.com/solar/101/microinverters-vs-power-optimizers/.

Today however, microinverters and power optimizerrs are becoming more of an industry standard because of their increase in efficiency, and to some extent for their sleeker style as well (as compared to a string inverter system). Solar panels may be the most visible item, but it’s the inverter that does all the real work. Choosing the right inverter technology for your project is a critical decision you make when going solar. Luckily, there are a few products in the solar industry that make it easy on us, and our Company-favorite is the Enphase Microinverter. These microinverters offer the most advanced inverter technology on the market, which means higher production, greater reliability, and unmatched intelligence. Below are links to the Enphase Energy Microinverter website (along with the spec sheet for reference) that we use for solar installations:

ENPHASE COMPANY INFO: www.enphase.com

ENPHASE MICRO-INVERTER SPEC SHEET: https://enphase.com/en-us/support/enphase-iq-7-and-iq-7-plus-micro-data-sheet

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Product Deep-Dive: Solar Panels

Product quality is important to us, and luckily in the solar market, it doesn’t always counteract Product Cost. Using locally sourced materials and products are part of our company fiber.

Thus, we proudly use Mission Solar panels for most of our Solar-Panel System installations and we have provided their website for more information on how these panels are manufactured, with a special video featuring how they’re built with Texas weather in mind.

When Mission Solar Panels are not available however, we will substitute for other high-quality panels that are not manufactured in Texas, such as REC Alpha solar panels, or Hanwha Q-cells. For more information about these specific panels, please check out the following links from Solar Electric Supply:

If you’re curious to learn more, you know what to do – ask us for a free quote for your home, today!

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SUNTEX Home Improvement Deep-Dive

With years of industry practice in residential construction, we’re poised to help you answer questions you have regarding both small and large-scale projects, and specialize in saving energy. This is a top focus for us because it can truly help, and has helped, our customers save money both short and long-term. Solar energy is an investment, but if you’re able to find a solar payment that’s less than the average monthly cost of your energy bill, and offset your energy usage by 85% or more, it’s likely that you’ll see some real savings by going solar, with or without our company. The reason you choose us is our dedication to you, the consumer, and our superior products and workmanship.

SUNTEX is committed to the quality of their products and services. We utilize industry-standard practices and tools to help our customers analyze their energy consumption and cost reduction goals – from the initial energy audit, to project financing products – to solar panels and full system monitoring. Because of this focus, we seek the best quality products to exceed customer expectations and anticipate their needs.

Innovation, as well as information and technological knowledge, are the core competencies of the company, and are essential for current business progress. This innovation refers to the continuous improvement of all products and processes, not just technological ones. This week we’ll do a product deep-dive so you can check them out for yourself!

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2020 Record Year for Solar

According to BloombergGreen, 2020 was actually a record year for solar! To say the least, 2020 and it’s wicked step-sister, 2021, have been trialing, but despite the many downfalls we’ve collectively indured this year, we’ve made some big strides in the effort to curb our collective CO2 production also, and that’s a big step in the right direction. Globally, solar energy investments continued to increase in the past year, and as Verity Ratcliffe states in the BloombergGreen article, “A record amount of renewable energy capacity built [in 2020], thanks largely to investments in China and the U.S., according to the International Renewable Energy Agency” (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-04-05/china-u-s-made-2020-a-record-year-for-renewable-power-growth?utm_source=twitter&utm_campaign=socialflow-organic&utm_medium=social&utm_content=climate&cmpid=socialflow-twitter-climate); the article continues on to read, “China, which is both the largest market for clean power and the world’s biggest polluter, built 72 GW of wind energy and 49 GW of solar in 2020, according to Monday’s report. The U.S. installed 29 GW of renewables, almost 80% more than in 2019” (see report summary, here: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-01-24/renewable-power-beat-fossil-fuels-in-eu-for-first-time-last-year). I’m not sure China will remain the world’s largest polluter if they keep this pace up for renewable installation, but I’m glad to see that the world is finally start to collectively solve this problem.

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Texas Legislative Session

I was really hoping to not have to go here, but it seems our fair state is dead set on halting progress when it comes to energy security. Before we dive into the bills at hand, let’s explore quickly how bills become laws in Texas.

First, while many of the forty-nine other United States have legislative sessions year-round, the Texas legislative session only lasts roughly six months every other year (See ‘How often does the legislature meet?’ here: https://house.texas.gov/resources/frequently-asked-questions/#:~:text=The%20Legislature%20of%20the%20State,regular%20session%20is%20140%20days.). So, if you have the desire to research suggested bills and make public comments, the good news is you only really have to pay attention for a short period of time, the downside of course is that you will have a lot of work to do and little time to do it in if you want to prepare your statements and submit them in time to be considered by your representatives and the legislative body.

Now, as for how a bill becomes law in Texas, see here: https://house.texas.gov/about-us/bill/. Basically, bills are put forth by either the Texas Senate and will be preceded with an ‘SB’ for Senate Bill XX, or a member of the Texas House of Representatives and will be preceded with an ‘HB’ for House Bill XX (XX correlates to the numbers designated to the bill). Once a bill is introduced, it is put before the respective chamber during the “first 60 calendar days of a regular session” (https://house.texas.gov/about-us/bill/), where it is then assigned to a committee. During the committee process, bills may be either formally or informally heard, and may allow for public testimony, or may not – thus it’s important to keep track of when they will be added to the committee calendars for discussion, and be sure to contact your representative prior to that discussion if you wish to provide an opinion, outside of providing public testimony of course which must be done on the exact day the bill is presented in the chamber and public comments are admissible. If passed in either chamber, the bill goes to the subsequent chamber to be read and amended (if applicable), and finally passes to the Governor’s desk. This part is crucial since it’s the last step our local government takes before a bill becomes law, so please check out the following paragraph from the same link:

“Upon receiving a bill, the governor has 10 days in which to sign the bill, veto it, or allow it to become law without a signature. If the governor vetoes the bill and the legislature is still in session, the bill is returned to the house in which it originated with an explanation of the governor’s objections. A two-thirds majority in each house is required to override the veto. If the governor neither vetoes nor signs the bill within 10 days, the bill becomes a law. If a bill is sent to the governor within 10 days of final adjournment, the governor has until 20 days after final adjournment to sign the bill, veto it, or allow it to become law without a signature.” (https://house.texas.gov/about-us/bill/).

Awesome! Now that you understand exactly how bills become laws in Texas, it’s time to read up on a few bills that could increase the cost of solar and wind in Texas:

Check them out within the links provided, and add your thoughts within the comment section below; or, call your representatives today to voice your opinion!

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Stars that Decided to Harness the Power of the Sun

Perhaps you’re not the type of person that just does something because “everyone else is doing it,” which is of course smart, but you might be interested to know that celebrities aren’t just sipping cocktails by the pool, they’re also going solar! It’s no surprise that California has lots of sunshine, making it a very appealing place for solar panels, in fact it’s the #1 state in the US in solar production according to the Solar Energy Industry association, or SEIA (https://www.seia.org/research-resources/top-10-solar-states-0). While it pains me to write this, at least in this race, Texas came in second. Even though their careers have taken them in some very funny/dramatic turns, celebrities such as Will Ferrell, Scarlett Johansson, and Jim Carrey decided to invest in this renewable energy source, see the full list here: https://www.purepointenergy.com/blog/2016/may/10-celebrities-who-support-solar-panels/.

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Solar Energy Forecast in 2021

Here we are again, rapping up another sunny weekend! I hope you had a lovely, restful Saturday and Sunday, because we’ve got another fabulous week of solar installations ahead. The department of energy (DOE) has recently announced a new plan to cut the cost of solar significantly – check it out here: https://www.energy.gov/articles/doe-announces-goal-cut-solar-costs-more-half-2030 – even as the cost of solar is already a viable competitor to gas and oil prices today. For a quick look on the solar energy forecast for 2021, check out the following link from pv-magazine: https://pv-magazine-usa.com/2021/01/11/renewables-to-dominate-new-u-s-capacity-in-2021-with-solar-leading-the-way/. If you’re ready to take a look at a quote and see if solar is right for you, give us a call today, or feel free to reach us in the chat window!

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Energy Usage Around the World

Back to the Basics: let’s take a look at energy usage trends. The way in which we choose to use energy in our homes and in our lives is not fact or fiction, or personal opinion, or necessity – it’s cultural.

I’ve always considered myself an energy advocate, but it wasn’t until I visited Spain that I realized that clothes dryers are not essential to every day life. Are they helpful? Absolutely! However they also use a ton of energy (we’ve looked into this before, but according to Direct Energy it’s about 2-6 kWh, https://www.directenergy.com/learning-center/how-much-energy-dryer-use#:~:text=Electric%20dryers%20span%20a%20wide,cents%2C%20depending%20on%20the%20model), and while I understand that I’m not going to get the same soft, “fresh out of the dryer” effect with a clothing line, it made me wonder how I could reshape my cultural norms of energy usage, and what this might look like on a global scale.

Global Energy Usage: https://yearbook.enerdata.net/total-energy/world-consumption-statistics.html

This data is interesting though probably not surprising. China used the most electricity from 1919-2019, followed by the U.S., and then India – but that correlates *almost* directly with populations, at least for the most populous three countries (https://www.worldometers.info/world-population/population-by-country/), since the top three nations with the highest population are currently: China, India, and the U.S., respectively. After the top three however, this correlation between energy usage and population weakens – the following countries with the highest energy usage, according to the same link – Russia, Japan, South Korea, Germany, Canada – are not the countries with the next highest populations – Indonesia, Pakistan, Brazil, Nigeria, and Bangladesh. Thus, energy per person is not the same in every country.

The picture is even more puzzling when looking at CO2 emissions. You might think that CO2 emissions correlate directly with energy usage – but take a look at the following link, and you’ll find that’s once again, not true: https://yearbook.enerdata.net/co2-fuel-combustion/CO2-emissions-data-from-fuel-combustion.html. This implies that some countries use energy more efficiently than others – they use more energy, but produce less CO2. There is of course more to this story – which we’ll continue onto later in the week – but for now, I hope this gets you thinking about energy efficiency and how you can improve it on an individual level, by changing the culture around energy usage one step at a time.

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Spring is [almost] here!

Well, we made it to March! Hopefully this means we’re out of the woods and on our way to spring and sunny weather. For a few interesting facts about the third month of the year, check out the following: https://www.almanac.com/content/month-march-holidays-fun-facts-folklore.

March is a great month to start thinking about home improvements. With the crazy weather subsiding, and before the scorching temperatures begin, it’s a great time to go solar before those energy bills climb back up again. With the winter storm behind us, some people may still be working on simply fixing the storm damage that was done in February! If this is you, please know we are here to help, and there are a ton of resources for you to make this happen, such as:

 

  • If your home/business was not impacted by the storm, but you’re still interested in making home improvements, a HELOC loan may be right for you. Learn more here: https://www.investopedia.com/mortgage/heloc/
  • Then, if you’re only interested in repairing your roof or going solar, we’ve partnered with financial institutions Sunlight Financial, Sunnova, and Mosaic to help you out.

For more information about any of these options, please give us a call today!

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