Monthly Archives: February 2019

Going Solar: Adding to Existing System

As always contact Solar Chief to discuss the best option for the most efficient, reliable, and cost effective system. Solar Chief offers Free Site Evaluations and Free Quotes.

Why add to a existing solar array?

  • Increased Electrical Usage: becoming more relaxed about energy use, example- purchasing an electric vehicle, expanding your home
  • Smaller Installments: expand system slowly, offsets electrical bill, financial position

When upgrading your solar panel system, selecting identical solar panels is the best bet to ensure your solar array is efficient. The type of inverter is based on your system size, so your original inverter might not have the capacity to handle additional electricity. There are many different options when adding to your solar arrays. If your home’s roof is out of space for your expansion, you might consider a ground-mounted system. Consult Solar Chief to understand your best options for solar expansion.

Ask the Experts: Maintenance of Solar Panels

Welcome to a new feature on the Solar Chief Blog called Ask the Experts! I will ask our Solar Chief experts to answer common questions that many customers have. Solar Chief is here to answer your questions. If you ever have any further questions, call us today!

Solar Chief Expert: Trip

Trip is the lead installer at Solar Chief.
Trip is a great installer. He knows every detail in the solar installation process. Our customers love Trip and he always tells them the straight truth and even will give his personal phone number if they need any help.

Question: What maintenance do you recommend to your customers?

Expert Answer: I always tell them “don’t do anything.” The rain takes care of the dust and dirt that gathers on top of your panels. Solar Chief monitors your PV system so we can catch any problems and come fix it. (The solar monitoring system is something you see and get sent to our system.)

*Stay tuned to here the interview done with Trip on solar installation.

Solar Myths: Environmental Impacts

There are many misconceptions about Solar panels impact on the environment. Keep reading to learn more.

Making solar panels causes more pollution than the clean energy they produce.

No. A study by the US Department of Energy shows that, depending on your solar panels, the energy payback is 1 to 4 years. Solar panels usually last 25 years, so solar manufacturing is very green. That said, if you buy American made panels, it saves more carbon from the transport costs. Something to consider in choosing your panels.

Solar panels will cause more harm to the environment when they’re thrown away in 25 years.

Actually, most panel manufacturers will recycle the panels after you’re through in 25 years. If they don’t, don’t buy those panels. However, it’s hard to say whether people will actually recycle them because most panels are still being used today. So it’s up to you find out about the manufacturer’s panel recycling program. From what I understand, they will come to you and take them away at no charge.

Source: Solar Power Rocks

Your Solar Guide: How many panels for your project?

Investing and transitioning to solar can seem complex but Solar Chief is here to help. Our company prides itself on educating customers on everything solar. Solar Chief wants to ensure every project is successful in producing the amount of energy needed. Faults can occur when using an online app to calculator the number of panels needed because the app doesn’t calculate all the circumstances. Solar Chief offers FREE proposals and FREE site evaluations to provide an accurate estimate.

How many solar panels is needed for your project?
Depends on the amount of electricity used and location of the panels.

How to estimate your energy needs

Energy Efficiency of Home

Make energy-saving upgrades to maximize efficiency before adding solar. Completing a home energy audit can significantly lower your energy bill. The process is not costly and many adjustments can be done yourself. Local utility companies offer energy saving tips, discounts, and rebates. SCE&G offers free Home Energy Check-ups. Below are some examples of energy upgrades.

  • Inspect doors, windows, roof, and attic for leaks
  • Replace your old bulbs with high-efficiency bulbs (SCE&G Discounts)
  • Update to energy efficient appliances (SCE&G Appliances Recycling Rebate)
  • Install energy-saving smart thermostats (example: Nest)
  • Replace air filters

Assess Solar Potential and Limitation

The location of your project determines the solar potential of the solar array. PV systems use direct and indirect sunlight but the efficiency can be impacted. Look at your areas yearly sun exposure.
The limitations of your solar array can be created by shading (trees or buildings), roof conditions (age, size, material), and HOA (homeowner association) restrictions. Ask Solar Chief to provide recommendations to reach a peak efficiency of your system.

Assess Options of Solar

The solar option chosen could affect the number of panels in your system. Determining your use for solar energy will help configure the amount of electricity your system needs to produce. Price and ownership play a role in planning your array. Some panels can produce more electricity than others. Do you want a rooftop or ground-mounted solar system? Do you want to be connected to the grid?

Estimate Projects Solar Electricity Needs

Estimating the amount of electricity a system needs to produce is the last step. Addressing the efficiency of your home will lower the amount of energy needed to be produced. Solar Chief wants to create the most accurate energy estimation. Analyzing your power bill can determine the number of kilowatts per hour used per month. Then we will determine what your system would need to be in kW in order to meet your kWh needs.

Factors to Consider

Importance of knowing peak usage. Some homes use more energy in summer or winter and you want to have a system prepared for peak loads.

Consider any planned changes. If you will be purchasing an electric vehicle or are planning a home addition, your electricity needs may increase.

Importance of your home’s energy efficiency. If you are continuing to make significant changes to improve your home’s energy efficiency, you may need less electricity than you used in the past.

Net Metering. If you want to sell back power to the electric company, then you need to produce more power than you consume.

There is a regulatory cap on the system KW size permitted on top of your roof.

There are so many factors determining the size of your system. Contact Solar Chief to find out more. Thanks for reading!

Source: Energy.gov

Going Solar: Preparing for Solar

Our goal at Solar Chief is to make every customer feel prepared and fully educated about going solar. These tips do not have to be completed to receive a free quote or free site evaluation from Solar Chief! These are possible things that might need to be done before installation. Here are some helpful tips that will make the transition easy!


Collect Past Electrical Bills

  • Help us get a better understanding of how much energy your home or business uses.

Make energy-saving upgrades to maximize efficiency before adding solar.

  • Verify if doors and windows are sealed correctly
  • Inspect your roof and attic for leaks
  • Add additional insulation
  • Install energy-saving smart thermostats (example: Nest)
  • Replace your old bulbs with high-efficiency bulbs
  • Invest in energy-smart power strips and timers for electronics.
  • Replace air filters in air conditioning and heating systems, vents, and appliances.

Make Appointment with Accountant

  • Speak with your accountant to understand the tax credits effect on your financial situation

Audit Your Roof

  • When was your roof installed?
  • What material is your roof made of?
  • What condition is your roof?
  • Solar panels can last for 25 years, so ensure your roof will it. It is more inexpensive to replace your roof before solar panels.

Remove Any Barriers

  • remove anything that will be in the way of direct sunlight
  • example: trim trees that create shading on roof

Innovations in Solar: Top Retailers Using Solar Power

Top retailers investing in solar are leading the way to cleaner energy. Corporations are recognizing that going solar is a common-sense business decision. Solar not only benefits the environment but it also helps the company’s save money.

Contact Solar Chief to learn about the solar opportunities of your business.

Image result for walmart logo
Walmart has 371 solar installations with 145 megawatts of solar energy capacity.

Image result for target
Target has 422 solar installations with more than 200 megawatts of solar energy capacity.

Costco has 85 solar installations with 51 megawatts of solar energy capacity

Image result for ikea logo
IKEA has 46 solar installations with 45 megawatts of solar capacity. About 90% of stores have solar energy installations.

Source: EPA

Going Solar: Installation Process

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Installing solar on your home is a big investment. Our goal at Solar Chief is to create a smooth and simple transition to solar. We strive to educate our customers and maintain communication throughout the installation process. We’ll walk you through the options in our Free Site Evaluation and Free Quote, eliminate the options that won’t work, and provide you with a solution that you’ll be happy with.

If you ever have any questions about solar or the installation process, then please contact us at 803-602-3397 where we will be happy to assist you in any way.

Consulting
We’ll walk you through the decision process step by step to ensure the quality of your investment.

Design
Once you’re signed up, we’ll begin the design process of your new solar panel system.

Financing
There are many options available when it comes to paying for your new investment, we’ll help you choose the best one.

Permitting
Permitting must be obtained for your new panels—we’ll assist you to make sure proper permits are received.

Installation
After we’re all set up, it’s time to install your new system for your home or business.

Monitoring
After we install your system and turn it on, we have maintenance packages available to help keep your system in top shape.

Your Solar Guide: Five Reasons to Go Solar

There are so many reasons to go solar. This week we will share some of our favorites.


Save the Earth
Solar power is one of the cleanest, most sustainable, and most renewable resources in the world.


Find Energy Independence Through Solar
No longer will you be at the mercy of the local utility company. You won’t be affected by rising energy costs.


Solar Power = Free Source of Energy
The only cost to you is the photovoltaic panels. As long as the sun still shines so will the ability to freely use its rays.


Minimal Maintenance
Once you’ve installed photovoltaic panels on your home, maintenance is minimal. Occasional rains can wash away dust.


Make a Profit
Many states allow you to sell the excess solar energy you produce, meaning you can not only earn back the cost of your panels but also make a profit on energy in the long run.

Financial Incentives: Residential Solar Tax Credits

Politics can be unpredictable so take advantage of the tax credits available now. The federal tax credit of 30% will only be valid till 12/31/2019. After 12/31/2019 the federal tax credit will decrease to 26%. Then on 12/31/2020, the tax credit will be reduced to 22%. Now is the time to act in order to receive the tax credit advantage.

Before going solar contact your accountant to fully understand the tax credits impact on your financial situation.


Federal Solar Tax Credit*

The Federal Government offers a Tax rebate of 30% of your total solar system cost. There is no set cap to this rebate. It must be used on the same tax year that the system was installed.

State Tax Credit*

South Carolina has a state tax credit of 25% of the total cost of your solar system. This is capped at $3,500 or 50% of your tax liabilities. These tax credits can be carried out for up to 10 years.


How do I claim my residential energy credit?
Follow the IRS link to learn more:
IRS Residential Energy Credit

Energy Star

Solar Myths: Clouds Impact on Solar

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Solar panels operate on cloudy days, but the productivity will be lower. Clouds blocking the sun limit the amount of direct sunlight the solar panels can absorb. The decrease in sunlight absorbed by solar panels results in less electricity produced. Overall a few cloudy days won’t ruin your dream of a successful solar project. The determining factor of a prosperous system is the amount of sun your area receives over an entire year.

“Photovoltaic panels can use direct or indirect sunlight to generate power, though they are most effective in direct sunlight. Solar panels will still work even when the light is reflected or partially blocked by clouds. The rain actually helps to keep your panels operating efficiently by washing away any dust or dirt. “

SEIA

Solar Chief is a proud member of the Solar Energy Industries Association(SEIA).

Solar Chief install on cloudy day.

Contact Solar Chief for a free evaluation.