How to Determine Home Solar Potential – by Matt McPherson – 7-17-2013 There are many factors that determine if a home has good solar potential or not. As an energy consultant for Helio Energy Solutions Solar in Thousand Palms, CA part of my job is to look at the different variables that create this potential…

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I never doubted my decision to go solar back in 2006. It’s hard to argue with being cash flow positive from day one, but there are some times when the wisdom of generating my own electricity really hits home. Now is such a time. SDGE has announced large rate hikes for many of its customers effective September…

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Everyone we interact with in the public sphere likes to let us know that the cost of solar will continue to decline over time. While this trend has held steady for the last several years, the ultimate answer is a bit more complicated than that. Consider that solar panel prices can’t realistically fall much further from here. Consider also that copper (used quite extensively in…

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Most customers already get this one, but for those that don’t, please read on. The low bid installer that is proposing to pack the front of your roof with silver frames, white backsheet, and black rounded cell solar panels configured in an assorted array of portrait and landscape blocks is doing you and your neighbors…

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The truth about solar system costs Homeowners often assume that a large portion of their solar system costs come from the solar panels. But this assumption is a bit anachronistic. As little as four years ago, solar panels made up more than 50% of the cost of a turnkey solar array. Today (2013), panels make up less than…

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It’s tempting to accept the premise that something has become a commodity and by extension to believe that there is little difference between one commoditized item and another. What are some examples of commoditized home improvements you might ask? Let’s use windows as an example. You might be tempted to rationalize that because Company A and Company…

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Not everyone is a candidate for solar panels… And they may not be for you. Why? You may live in a condominium complex or other type of attached home and the HOA owns the roof and won’t let you install solar on it. You may be a renter. You may have an electric bill under $100 per month. You may live…

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It’s true. Unfortunately some solar companies sell only a couple of system sizes, yet these systems (often on the smallish side of things) will eliminate 100% of everyone’s electric bill 100% of the time. And if you believe that, I have a bridge to sell you. Here’s the thing, if a solar company has told you a 2KW system will…

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Although you won’t find it stated anywhere in your solar lease or ppa (power purchase agreement) contract or supporting documents, your 20 year ‘agreement’ has an implied interest rate and savvy consumers will ask the question, “How does the interest rate on this solar lease compare to that of other financing options available to me?” This question is of particular…

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Homeowners are always looking for ways to reduce energy costs and save money on their energy bills. The tips provided here will help you reduce energy costs now and in the future. Most are easy, inexpensive, or even free  to perform while others may require a certified professional. Helio Energy Solutions always recommends tackling the…

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It’s true of just about anything you might buy. Chances are if you pay cash, you’ll get a better deal. In the current resurgent housing market, those having to deal with banks and property appraisers are at a distinct disadvantage when competing against cash buyers. The same is true for solar. This isn’t necessary because…

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Microinverters and DC Optimizers aren’t for everyone While there are many circumstances where these devices make a lot of sense, in many cases, it is not money well spent. You might be asking yourself: “Who benefits from microinverter and DC optimizer technology and who doesn’t?” The answer to this question isn’t complicated and can be reached by simply asking yourself:…

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Most solar panel manufacturers have the same equipment Yes, it’s true. With a few notable exceptions (like SunPower and Sanyo) most silicon wafer-based solar panels are essentially identical. They are all roughly 15% efficient and made roughly the same way. What matters now is not the panel, but solar panel manufacturers. Is the solar panel manufacturer bankable? In other…

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