Posted on: December 12, 2016
By: Alan O'Neill
Posted in: Air Conditioning, Energy Saving, Heating
When most people think of Texas, they think of our rich history of cowboys and longhorns, the wild west and the oil fields. But since those early days, we’ve grown to be one of the biggest and populous states, which uses a lot of resources. But, we’ve also largely ignored a fantastic natural resource – the sun. We haven’t done much in our legislature to promote the use of renewable energy sources. No tax credits. No statewide rebates. No net metering. We do have some utility rebates, but since the state does require much in the renewable energy department eventually there won’t be any solar power incentives left. But, thanks to the EPA and federal incentives, there are resources to allow Texans to use more energy from renewable resources.
The EPA has lots of Green Power Incentives – Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency®, The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System™, The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), and the list goes on. All of the offices, agencies, and programs are working to allow more efficient use of more diverse energy sources.
The sun is free. This saves money on electricity bills. If your home is set up for net metering, any excess electricity generated by the solar power system can be transmitted to the grid and sold to the utility in the form of a credit. Also, electricity generated by the sun produces no harmful emissions like coal or natural gas does. Generating your own solar power using panels on your roof means you are not as dependent on the utility company and the electric power grid to provide your electricity, which means you may have enough stored power to live comfortably for a while if the lines break in a storm.
However, the sun doesn’t shine 24 hours a day. Or trees and clouds may block the sunlight on your roof for a time during the day. On such days the system is less efficient. Excessively high outdoor temperatures can also reduce efficiency of the system. The cost to install the system depends on the home, its location, size and purpose of the system, and the amount of work needed to prepare the house for the new system. If the system is built on to an existing structure, some expense to reconfiguring the electrical system may be necessary. There also may be a need change some of your home’s structure, like reinforcing the roof where the solar panels are installed.
Lease, buy or finance? Leases have become an increasingly available option as a way to defray the installation costs. Leasing companies will also usually pay for repairs and maintenance. But, you may be better off owning your system, since you may be entitled to tax advantages. Having a permanent solar panel system may increase the value of your home because the new owner will be able to save energy without the hassle of installation. Lower interest rates are also making it easier for homeowners to get a loan, but make sure that your loan payment is less than your average electricity bill to ensure that you will still save money.
With the scales tipping in favor of the future benefits of using solar energy, people are taking the initiative and installing solar panels for their entire house or even starting small with one or two major systems, like the HVAC, security or sprinkler systems. As few as one or two solar panels can be added to convert solar energy into electrical power for your home. And you can add to the system when you’re ready. New technologies developed by Lennox allows your HVAC system to be powered by solar electricity.
The Lennox Ultimate Comfort Systems have optional in Solar Power capabilities built in
By selecting ENERGY STAR® qualified HVAC components that use solar energy, you can reduce your heating and cooling bills by up to half. The Lennox systems can use your broadband Internet connection to send performance information for each solar module to website where monitor your system. This gives you access anytime to the system status, energy production, and environmental benefits, including carbon offsets. Monitoring service is provided free for the life of the system.
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