Five Solar Tech Gadgets for Your Home

September 20, 2021

The sun is an amazing source of energy. If you’ve thought about installing solar panels and battery storage at your home in Sequin, TX, or anywhere in South Central Texas, GVEC can help. While harnessing solar power is an efficient way to generate electricity to power your home, we thought it might be interesting to see what types of nifty gadgets also make good use of solar technology. Here are five solar-powered items consumers may find useful. 1. Solar-Powered Generator Solar-powered generators can be advantageous to use when other power sources aren’t available. This might mean in the event of a power outage, while camping, or even on a day trip to a beach or park. A solar-powered generator can supply power to laptops, a fridge, electric griddles or grills, and other items. These generators are generally compact and can be charged by simply being exposed to the sun. 2. Solar Cell Phone Charger We rely heavily on our cell phones these days. If you ever experience a power outage, you may be worried about having enough battery life in your phone. Fortunately, there are solar cell phone chargers available, and you can charge them whenever the sun is out....

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What Happens to Solar Panels at Night?

September 6, 2021

Each year, you might be seeing more and more solar panels and battery storage systems on homes around your neighborhood. This makes sense as many people see the financial benefit of creating and storing energy produced by the sun to power their homes. You may have some questions about solar panels and battery storage, though. One common question is, “What do solar panels do at night?” No Charging at Night Technically, solar panels do what many of us do at night—they rest. Solar panels depend on sunlight to create energy. Because the moon and artificial sources of light don’t put out a significant level of solar radiation as sunlight does, the solar panels are not able to create electricity when the sun is not out. So, do the solar panels just rest at night? Basically, yes. They go into sleep mode and are inactive during the time after sunset and before sunrise. However, for homes with battery storage, just because the solar panels go to sleep doesn’t mean all after-dark energy consumption must be purchased from electricity providers until sunrise. With Battery Storage, You’ll Still Have Electricity Typically, there are times during the day solar panels produce more power than...

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3 Reasons Home Solar Power Is One of the Most Environmentally-Friendly Energy Sources

August 16, 2021

When you are looking to pay less for energy and reduce your carbon footprint, one of the best options is to install solar panels on your home. The electricity generated by your solar panels is free, with the only costs being the panels themselves, installation and any necessary maintenance. Along with financial savings over time, solar power is arguably one of the friendliest to the planet. Here are three reasons why solar power is a great green energy source for your home. 1. No Reliance on Fossil Fuels The majority of the electricity flowing through the American power grid is generated from fossil fuels. Installing solar panels at your home allows you to produce your own renewable energy, so you’ll rely on less electricity generated from fossil fuel sources. Fossil fuel prices can also fluctuate in the energy market. A solar panel system is a worthwhile long-term investment that will help prepare your home for the future of renewable energy. 2. Reduced Pull From the Grid Traditionally-sourced electricity can fall short if there is a high demand for electricity. This typically can happen in our part of South Central Texas when some seasonal weather ushers in extreme temperatures. Producing your...

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The Advantages and Disadvantages of Floating Solar

August 2, 2021

You may not have heard of “floating solar,” but its popularity is growing. These panels offer several benefits and drawbacks, but one thing is certain — they’re an innovative alternative to traditional designs. What Is Floating Solar? Floating solar panels are a new type of flat-panel solar design that offers the convenience of rooftop mounts. However, for areas or buildings that don’t have adequate roof space, they also serve as an alternative to ground mounts or solar canopies. This is especially useful for large-scale solar projects. This is because the panels also float, making them ideal for ocean, lake or river locations. Benefits of Floating Solar They Float Floating solar panels are an innovative approach to solar power that offers many benefits. One of these includes no loss of land-space. Being able to float in unused bodies of water also helps eliminate the need for tree removal. Durable, High Performance Floating solar panels are able to be cooled down in areas that experience very hot weather by the water they’re floating on. This makes them especially durable and helps them maximize their energy output when faced with extremely hot temperatures outside. They’re Eco-Friendly In addition to helping alleviate the need...

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How Solar Power Helps Build a Healthy Economy

July 26, 2021

South Central Texas has many days of sunny or mostly sunny weather. That makes it an ideal location for the installation and use of solar panels on rooftops and properties throughout the area. Solar energy not only helps panel owners save on electricity bills, but this form of renewable energy is beneficial to the earth and a boon for the economy, too. Here are some of the ways solar energy contributes to economic growth. Panels Produced in the USA When solar panels are manufactured in the United States, the manufacturers create jobs. These are skilled jobs, but they don’t require advanced education. People who work in these jobs are able to make a good living. Local Workers Install the Panels Local workers install solar panels, also adding more jobs to the economy. According to a report released in May 2021 by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, The Solar Foundation, BW Research and the National Solar Jobs Census, 67% of all jobs across the U.S. solar energy sector in 2020 were related to installation. The total number of industry-related jobs for the year was 231,000! Excess Power Gets Returned to the Grid When solar panels generate more power than homeowners can...

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How Much You’ll Save on Electricity With Solar Panels

July 12, 2021

South Central Texas is an ideal place for solar panel installation and use. The area has many mostly-to-completely-sunny days every year. You may be wondering how much money you could save on electricity bills by installing a solar panel system. Here’s what you need to know, so you can plan ahead for your monthly expenses. Estimated Monthly Savings The amount of money you save on your electric bill each month after a solar panel installation will vary based on many factors. The capacity of your solar array is the top factor. You’ll also need to consider how many kilowatt-hours of power your home uses, too, and how much your electricity provider charges per kilowatt-hour. On average, Texas homeowners could save between $65 and $100 per month on electricity costs after the installation of a solar panel system that meets 50% or more of their electricity needs. Keep in mind, though, that this range represents an average, so your own monthly savings could be less or more. Selling Extra Power It’s not unusual for solar owners to generate more electricity from their panels than their home actually needs. This extra power must be stored, used immediately or sold to your electricity...

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How Heavy Rain and Floods Affect Solar Panels

June 23, 2021

Installing solar panels on your home in Seguin, TX, is a wise decision for your budget, carbon footprint and lifestyle. Once in a while, the area may experience heavy rain or flooding. It’s important to know how these weather events can impact your solar panels. Reduced Solar Absorption On a day with heavy rainfall, the clouds obscure the sunlight. This reduces the short-term solar absorption of your panels. However, these effects only take place until the weather clears. Once the clouds lift, the water-resistant solar panels will immediately absorb the sun’s energy. Removal of Dirt and Debris In certain areas, typically dry, sandy soil may become airborne on warm and hot days. Just a little wind will spread soil particles through the air. Some of them will land on your solar panels. Your solar panels can also accumulate layers of dust, pollen, bird droppings and other debris. That’s when rain can come in handy. Heavy rainfall does a great job of rinsing this dirt and debris off the panels. Floods and Solar Panels If your solar panel system is installed on your home’s roof, floodwater shouldn’t impact them. The installers place multiple strong attachments between the panels and your roof....

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How Do High-Winds Impact Solar Panels?

June 9, 2021

Understanding how high winds impact solar energy systems is important before making an investment in these panels for your home. Severe weather is a common occurrence throughout various parts of the nation. Hurricanes are a major factor impacting residents living on the Texas coast, while tornadoes can be an occasional threat for anyone living in other parts of Texas. Wind-Resistant Fortunately, solar panels are highly resistant to strong winds, which makes them a great option for homes in South Central Texas and throughout all areas of the country. A well-built solar racking system is essential in reducing uplift, as the wind can pass through the small area between the roof and the panels without causing problems. The majority of solar panels are rated to withstand high wind speeds. Flying Debris Another potential source of solar panel damage is flying debris from storms. However, solar panels are designed to remain resistant to the majority of flying debris. Solar panels can even withstand hailstorms due to their innovative design. The ability to withstand severe weather is just another one of the many benefits of investing in solar panels. Following Building Codes Many locations require homes to meet certain building standards to stay...

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Why Home Battery Storage Solutions Are the Best Option for Home Backup Power

May 26, 2021

Although GVEC works hard to prevent power outages across our service territory, circumstances beyond our control do sometimes cause our members to experience service interruptions. Thunderstorms, for instance, are not uncommon in our region during spring and summer. These can sometimes lead to outages. As we experienced this past February, summer and spring aren’t the only times of year when extreme weather can lead to rotating outages. And of course, weather isn’t the only possible cause of power outages. Whatever the cause, though, a power outage isn’t just inconvenient . Depending on their duration and cause, outages can cause food to spoil, your sump pump to stop working and the home’s temperature to drop too low or soar too high for safety and comfort. This is why a backup-power solution is an excellent investment. Home Batteries Versus Generators At GVEC, we’re big believers in the power of home battery storage. When it comes to savings over time, noise levels, dependability, flexibility and home solar compatibility, batteries are hard to beat. However, GVEC recognizes that backup generators still offer an important option for many consumers seeking dependable backup power. These devices do offer one primary advantage over battery systems. Below, we...

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Why Installing Home Battery Without Solar Is Less Valuable Than Pairing Them

May 19, 2021

The sunny weather in Seguin, TX, and throughout South Central Texas, makes it an ideal region to install solar power for your home. If you’re thinking of installing a battery backup system, you might wonder if you can do so without home solar panels. Read on to learn why batteries alone is a less valuable option and won’t give you as many benefits as installing both the panels and the battery storage solution at the same time. No Solar, No Federal Investment Tax Credit To be eligible for the federal investment tax credit (ITC), you must purchase a renewable energy system. That credit currently stands at 26% and will remain at this level through the end of 2022, when it drops to 22%. You won’t get the ITC if you install a battery storage solution without solar panels or if you lease the solar system used at your residence. If you’re thinking about adding battery storage without solar and just connecting batteries straight into the electrical grid for charging, we suggest rethinking the investment. If you buy and install a home battery storage solution and a home solar panel system at the same time, you will qualify for the ITC...

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