Do you struggle with uncertainty over grid failures, natural disasters, rolling blackouts, and the consistency of your energy providers?
The United States Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports that, as of September 2019, California has been leading the country in terms of electricity-generating capacity, with 43% of all its electricity-generating capacity derived from small-scale solar power.
With the increase in the acceptance and use of solar power, many individuals are looking for more ways in which they can use this renewable energy source. Two of the best ways to take advantage of solar power are:
- by installing solar panels on the roofs of homes; or
- by installing solar panels on towers at solar farms;
Both methods offer benefits that could make your life a lot easier. When it comes down to choosing the right one for you, you need to understand what differentiates them.
The EIA reports that 87% of homeowners are considering solar panels in their homes because they want to save the environment, while about 96% want to save money on utility bills.
We will broadly cover the following 3 topics to guide you in making an informed decision:
- What is a rooftop solar system?
- What is a solar farm?
- 8 Unbeatable reasons why you should choose the rooftop solar system
What Is a Rooftop Solar System?
Rooftop solar power uses photovoltaic panels that are installed on rooftops to harness and generate solar power for individual homes. The rooftop technology consists of grid connected technology, off-grid technology, and hybrid technology.
What value do rooftop solar systems add to your home?
Research conducted by Zillow, revealed that installing solar panels in your home can increase its value by up to 4.1% compared to homes without solar panels, or an extra $9,274 for median-valued homes in the United States.
Most homes end up not using all of the energy that the rooftop solar panels generate. The excess power generated is usually routed into the utility grid so that other utility customers nearby can use it.
Homes that use rooftop solar panels have two energy meters:
- One meter measures the power that is used by the home;
- The other meter measures the power that the rooftop solar panels generate;
Homeowners are charged for the energy they consume, and they get paid for generating energy. The result is a decrease in net energy expense.
What Is a Solar Farm?
Solar farms, also known as solar power stations or solar parks, use solar towers to enhance the way in which the panels maximize the power they generate. These towers are motorized and move with the sun to increase their electrical output.
Unlike residential systems, they are decentralized and usually provide power to an electric grid as part of the energy mix of the utility. They do not provide power to local end-users like homeowners or businesses.
Furthermore, since they are not limited in size and scale, multiple solar panels can be used with one solar tower to increase the amount of power produced. This power is channeled to the utility grid and produces electricity for utility customers.
Solar farms or community solar projects are offered in two ways:
- Ownership: Participants can own a share of the project or some of the panels that are used. Any customer who purchases panels on a solar farm will be paid for the power produced by their panels. This helps to offset energy bills and reduce reliance on fossil fuels.
- Subscription: Participants in this model have to become subscribers so they can pay a lower price for the electricity sourced from the solar farm. They do not own the solar panels.
8 Unbeatable Reasons Why You Should Choose the Rooftop Solar System
Photovoltaic panels produce renewable energy, whether they are installed on-site or at a solar farm. This sustainable energy will reduce your carbon footprint and also save you a lot of money.
Which type of installation is the best for homeowners?
To answer this question, we have to consider various factors.
Solar ownership allows you to generate your own power so that you do not have to buy power from an electric utility. You will save more money on electrical bills when you install your on-site solar system, especially if you have the solar panels built to the right scale to cover all your electrical appliances.
In summer when the demand for air conditioning is higher, your solar panels will have to produce more power. Even companies running utility rate schedules can reduce their entire utility bill if they produce solar power on-site.
Furthermore, it is more cost-effective to produce solar power where you intend to use it. There are a lot of inefficiencies and costs associated with transmitting power and distributing it over long distances. A utility that is running the community solar array is likely to add charges to customers’ power bills.
When you own your own home solar system, you can take full responsibility for installation, maintenance, and repairs.
How can homeowners benefit from their home solar panels?
Actually, there are cost reductions, Federal ITC, and other financial solar incentives you will enjoy by installing solar panels in your home.
Despite the popularity that solar panels are gaining every day, some people still prefer a home without panels on the roof. Some want the solar panels on their roofs to be inconspicuous so that they do not affect the overall aesthetics of their homes.
These two sets of people want to enjoy the benefits of using solar energy to generate electricity in their homes but do not want the panels on their rooftops. If you fall into this category, you can invest in a solar farm.
However, if this is your only reason for not wanting a rooftop solar panel, there are other options open to you.
You can choose to have your solar panels mounted on the ground around your house. It will not use up a lot of space and it will still be as efficient as it would be on your rooftop.
Also, Enlightened Solar can meet your needs with solar panels that are designed to merge into your roof design. You can have in-roof panels or all-black panels with hidden wires.
Do you want to be identified as a homeowner who is committed to sustainability?
With solar panels installed on your rooftop or on your premises, you will clearly show how committed you are to ensuring a sustainable environment.
An on-site solar system is an unbeatable way to show your neighbors, customers, and even employees that you have gone solar. No one can miss solar panels that are installed on your rooftop or on the ground in front of your building, especially if you are after visibility.
Off-solar, as the name implies, is out of sight, and can easily become out of mind too.
Having an electric utility company generate solar energy for your household use from another state or county only allows you to claim that you are making use of clean energy. But, if people cannot clearly see your solar panels, it is not very convincing.
If you run a business from your home, you could get more people to patronize you when they see that you are saving the environment. Your visible efforts at being sustainable could help you to stand out from your competitors who are not very eco-friendly.
4. Benefits to the facility
Are you worried that solar panels might damage your roof?
Your roof will only stand the risk of being damaged if the solar panel installation is done by amateurs. If you hire a professional company like Enlightened Solar, you can be sure that there will be no leaks from drilling holes and no stress on the roof supports.
As a matter of fact, you can rest assured that the complete opposite is true. First, our experts will check to make sure your roofs are not already damaged. And if they are, they will ensure that it is fixed in the shortest possible time. Only then will your solar panels be installed.
Instead of damaging your roof, these panels will protect it by blocking the UV rays and excessive heat, thereby increasing the lifespan of your roof. The shade from the solar panels will keep your roof and the building underneath cool, eliminating the need for air conditioning.
However, solar farms can cause considerable damage to a site, especially if the farm is located in a rural area with a forest or field. A lot of trees and vegetation will have to be cleared before installing the ground-mounted solar array.
The main problem with this is that these ground-mounted solar panels can generate a lot of heat.
An increase in temperature can affect the functioning of the ecosystem, land values, human health, wildlife habitat, as well as local agricultural production. The potential heat impact of large solar farms on local wildlife habitat is quite alarming and should be avoided.
5. Grid resilience
Many things can go wrong with the national energy grid. From blackouts to aging electricity infrastructure, to falling victim to computer hackers.
Distributed solar can make the national energy grid more resilient. It can stand the test of time when other distributed energy resources and backup power are used, ensuring that it is not so fragile. Also, it can recover faster in case something goes wrong.
It was noted in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence that solar installations in North Carolina were working exceptionally well the day after the hurricane, while most of the Duke Energy customers experienced blackouts for days or even weeks. This goes to show how valuable distributed solar can be in a crisis.
With the changing global climate, we are expecting more storms, and to ensure grid resilience, we will need on-site solar systems for residential, commercial, and industrial sectors.
6. Land use
On-site solar panels can be installed on rooftops, an unused section of the ground beside a building, or parking lots. It does not have to take up a lot of space and you do not have to destroy your vegetation to do it.
By contrast, a big off-site solar farm will consume substantial valuable land that could have been used for farming or other agricultural purposes, especially in rural communities.
These solar farms could even obstruct your view of the lake!
Although solar farms have lots of benefits, they take up too much land and should not be built on valuable land. Reclaimed brownfield sites should be used instead.
So, it is far better for you to get your own stand-alone rooftop PV system if you are concerned about land management and allocation.
7. Energy independence
Are you tired of depending on a utility company for power supply?
If your energy independence is important to you, you should opt for a rooftop solar system. This option is even more appealing if you live far from a solar farm. Most solar farms are located in very remote areas, making it challenging to transmit energy to homes in the city.
Since solar farms can help promote your green efforts but can’t give you the energy independence you crave, rooftop solar panels will be ideal for you.
Generally, solar panels do not require regular maintenance. However, since it is exposed to the elements, there may be equipment damage or malfunction from time to time.
If you are using a solar farm, you will not have to be inconvenienced in any way when there is a need for repairs. The utility company will handle all repairs at no extra charge.
In the case of rooftop solar systems, you may have to perform and oversee occasional maintenance of your solar panels.
However, this will not be the case if you choose Enlightened Solar.
The company offers extra security against failures of any kind with its 10-20 years installation warranties and 25-year energy production warranties. This commitment, which is encompassed in a plan called The Enlightened Assurance Plan, covers homeowners who intend to stay in their homes for more than 3 years.
Rooftop Solar System or Solar Tower Farm – Which One Are You Better Off With?
At the end of the day, the rooftop solar system will be your best option if you love the idea of being energy independent, you want to save and make some money, and you do not want a system that takes up additional land.
Enlightened Solar can also provide you with any aesthetics you prefer. So, you will enjoy all the benefits of having sustainable energy without depending on a remote solar tower farm to generate energy for you. Also, the price will be broken down into components to aid your understanding.
So, if you are keen on living off the grid and attaining self-sufficiency but you are not sure which option best suits your needs, give us a call. Our team of experts is ever-ready to help you.