Do Solar Panels Work on Cloudy Days or at Night?

March 18, 2020

While the climate of South Central Texas is mostly warm and sunny throughout the year, we do have our cloudier and cooler days. If you have been considering going solar, you might be wondering if solar panels only work when it’s sunny and warm. Here is what you can expect from your solar panels, whether it’s sunny, cloudy or nighttime. Sunny Days Give the Best Results Solar panels are made up of numerous solar cells. Their job is to absorb light that will be converted into usable energy. They are most effective when there is plenty of sunlight available. When the sun shines on them, they produce the most energy. The electricity produced does not go to waste if your home cannot use it all. Depending on your solar system setup, the electricity is either sent back to the electric grid and bought back by your electricity provider or to a battery storage system, like Tesla Powerwall, for use when your panels aren’t producing. Solar Panels Don’t Take Cloudy Days Off You might be surprised to hear that solar panels continue to work on cloudy days. If you’ve ever gotten a sunburn on a cloudy day, you know that the...

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How Long Do Solar Panels Last and When Should They Be Replaced?

March 10, 2020

When you’re considering going solar, it’s important to understand what’s involved with this process and what you as a homeowner can generally expect. As a rule of thumb, solar panels will generally last 25 to 30 years. Even after they have gone through that entire life cycle, solar panels will continue to produce electricity, but the amount they produce may be diminished from when they were originally manufactured. However, it’s not uncommon for solar panels to function for many decades as long as they aren’t damaged by the weather or any other external factors. This is possible because solar panels don’t have any moving parts, and they rarely break internally. Solar panels should be replaced when they degrade to a point where they no longer offer efficient electrical generation for your home. With a return on investment average of six to eight years, this is usually long after your solar panel system has paid for itself in savings on your electricity bill. At this point, you should think about replacing your solar panels. How Can I Ensure My Solar Panels Last as Long as Possible? Call GVEC Home® if you suspect your solar panel system is damaged or producing less...

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Are Solar Power Stations in Space Really Possible?

February 29, 2020

Have you ever thought about what solar power would be like if we didn’t have cloudy days? Or what might happen if it became possible to generate solar power through the nighttime? Solar panels work by capturing particles of light from the sun’s rays to generate electrical currents that can be used immediately as electricity or stored in batteries (like Tesla Powerwall, now offered through GVEC Home) for later use. However, on cloudy or dark days, when the sun’s rays are slightly less powerful, solar energy capture is not quite as efficient. And of course, at night, it’s impossible for solar panels to gather sunlight. This is where the idea of space-based solar power comes into play. Space-Based Solar Power Systems: Revolutionary Potential Space-based solar power works by the same principles and using the same equipment that earthbound solar panel systems do: Photovoltaic cells absorb sunlight and convert it to electrical energy. At maximum efficiency, space-based solar power could yield two to three times the amount of electricity compared to land-based solar panels of the same size. This is largely because panels based in space—in contract to those on earth—don’t lose access to sunlight due to the sun’s rotation. As...

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Will a Solar Panel System Cause My Roof to Leak? What Does GVEC Do to Prevent Leaks?

January 20, 2020

By installing solar panels on your roof, you could enjoy a cost-efficient and space-saving way of generating energy. However, many people are cautious about roof-mounted solar panels because they worry that the installation process may damage their roof and cause leaks. Here is what you need to know about leaky roofs and solar panel installations. Should a Roof Leak After a Solar Panel Installation? When done correctly, there should be very little risk of a roof leaking after a solar panel installation. A roof is one of the sturdiest parts of your home, and it can hold far more than the weight of residential solar panels. Most leaking happens when an unqualified installer punches holes through the roof. Keep in mind that even the best installation can cause leaks if you have the wrong sort of roof, though. Certain materials like wood or slate may not work with solar panels. Roofs over 30 years old may have dry rot that cannot stand up to installation without deterioration. How to Prevent Leaks From Happening GVEC Home’s solar experts will assess your roof condition and make sure you have the right type of structure for solar panels. All installations on angled roofs...

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How to Claim Your 2019 Tax Credit for Installing a Solar Panel System

January 10, 2020

In addition to the free electricity, one of the big cost savings associated with solar panel systems is a federal tax credit. This money can help offset some of the price of installing your solar panels. However, it is only available if you take the time to ask for it. This guide will explain what the solar tax credit is and show you how to get it. Understand What Credit You Need to Claim The first step is figuring out just what tax credit you get for installing a solar panel system. The main one is called the Federal Solar Tax Credit. This credit can be claimed in the same year you finish installing your panels. It allows a credit for a certain percentage of your cost for installing solar panels. The government plans to phase out this credit, so the exact percentage slowly goes down for each year. The official form used for this credit is IRS form 5695. Keep Track of Your Expenses Since the tax credit you get is based on the cost of installing panels, you need to keep track of all expenses. Things you can include in your calculations include the cost of equipment, installation,...

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Is a Solar Panel System Still a Good Investment if I Can’t Install it Facing South?

December 20, 2019

When choosing a solar energy system, whether for residential or commercial, prospective buyers naturally have many questions. What type and size solar panels should you use? What brand? How big a system do you need for your sustainable energy goals? Should you choose a ground- or roof-based system? One important factor many customers may not think of when purchasing a system is the orientation of the panels upon install—which direction should they face? What side of the roof should you place them on if you choose a rooftop system? You have choices regarding panel types and brands, and system size, of course, but what about the placement of the panels? Optimal Direction for Solar Panels Conventional wisdom holds that solar panels should always face south for maximum exposure to solar energy. It’s true that owning a solar power system in a generally sunny climate and that positioning the panels to face south may generate the greatest amount of power at one time. It’s also true, however, that factors like the cost of energy in your area and any financial incentives you may be eligible for will affect your actual solar energy savings more than placement alone. Positioning solar panels to...

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What New Solar Panel Technologies are on the Horizon for 2020 and Beyond?

December 10, 2019

The world is becoming increasingly industrialized. Countries striving to expand industrial capacity are faced with acquiring the necessary resources to support those efforts, including reliable power. These issue are made even more pressing as the world’s population increases. Newly industrialized countries and those depending almost exclusively on traditional electricity sources are helping drive a push around the world toward improved solar energy production and efficiency. There are many strides being made in solar energy. These innovations are on the horizon for 2020 and beyond. Increased Efficiency of Existing Materials The more efficient a solar cell, the more power can be converted without having to enlarge the panels. Solar panels manufactured from traditional technologies and materials continue to increase in efficiency. One new approach for improving performance in these panels involves slicing solar cells into two, a method that produces “half-cut” cells. Half cutting adds an average gain of five-to-seven watts of energy per panel. A New Material on the Block Another new innovation is the development of new materials in solar panels. Currently, most solar panel cells are made of crystalline silicon. Solar panels with alternative materials like copper and cadmium are also available but are used less frequently because...

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Five Reasons to Be Thankful for Solar Power

November 19, 2019

Solar power is a great new form of renewable energy that is becoming more and more accessible in the home. Here are seven reasons to be thankful for solar power: 1. Environmentally Friendly Help keep the planet safe by having GVEC Home® install solar panels on the roof of your home. This renewable energy source allows for the production of green electricity, lowering pollution. 2. Reduce Utility Bills Since the electricity you use will come from the solar panels, you will be able to reduce the amount you spend on electricity every month. Additionally, a battery storage system, like the Tesla Powerwall, can help you save even more. 3. Attractive Solar panels can be an attractive option, especially for a modern or contemporary home. 4. Increase Home Value An attractive roof that supplies electricity for the home increases the value of your home significantly. It’s a great selling point if you are in the market. 5. Attract Green Buyers More and more people are going green these days. This makes it more important than ever to make your home green to be more attractive to potential buyers. People will pay more and feel good about it if the home is...

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Why Graphene Offers Exciting Possibilities for Future Solar Panels

November 9, 2019

Solar technology is improving at rates rarely seen in the energy field or any other industry. Panels are becoming less expensive, and new advancements are happening all the time. Among the major recent developments is the potential for creating solar panels out of a revolutionary substance called graphene. The professionals at GVEC Home® can evaluate your home anywhere in south-central Texas and install solar panels and battery storage systems that reduce your reliance on other energy sources while lowering your utility bills. What Is Graphene? Graphene is technically just carbon, but carbon arranged in a particular way. It is a single layer of carbon atoms, bound together in a honeycomb lattice structure. Graphene is the thinnest compound currently known; it is only one atom thick. It is also the lightest material yet to be discovered, with a square meter of graphene weighing less than a milligram. It is six times lighter and 200 times stronger than steel. How Do Graphene Solar Panels Work? The properties of graphene make it one of the most exciting materials ever to be developed. It is likely to change many industries from building bridges to manufacturing clothing, but one of the areas in which it...

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How Do I Decide What Size Solar Panel System I Need for My Home?

October 21, 2019

Solar photovoltaic technologies are becoming more appealing to many homeowners as the equipment costs continue to drop and the potential for long-term savings continues to rise. However, many homeowners wonder how to size a solar panel system for their particular homes. Assessing Your Energy Consumption GVEC Home is a leading solar solutions provider serving the Guadalupe Valley and surrounding areas. Depending on your situation, an energy audit may be a good starting point in determining which solar panel system is right for you. GVEC offers a free Home Energy Audit for members. Auditing your home’s energy efficiency will help determine where the inefficiencies and trouble spots lie, and what steps you can take to improve overall efficiency. You can also determine and assess how much electricity you’re consuming on a daily basis. Determining How Much Solar Energy You Want Once you know how much energy you consume each day on average, you’ll want to determine how much electricity you want to generate from a solar panel system and how much will come from the grid. Determine Peak Sun Hours and Number of Panels Next, you’ll need to determine which solar panel system is best suited for your individual needs. How...

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