Now is a great time for solar electricity.
The cost of a solar electricity system, also known as photovoltaics or solar PV, has declined by over 50% since 2010. There are a handful of financial incentives and loan programs that you can take advantage of to lower your cost of ownership. Now is the time to act, however, as interest rates will eventually begin to go up and tax credits and rebates will expire.
Although payback for a solar PV system may seem long, you have to buy your electricity from somewhere. Installing a solar PV system is like buying your own little power plant; once you've paid yourself back for your investment, there's no more cost for your electric power. Goggin Energy can show you the likely output and likely payback and cash flow from your solar PV system.
Maine utilities, like utilities in most states, are required to provide "net metering." With net metering, customers are credited for each kwh produced by their system. Like rollover minutes on a cell phone plan, net metering means you can generate and store your solar electricity for future use.
HOW DO SOLAR PANELS WORK?
The systems use PV panels to generate DC electricity; inverters change the DC current into AC. The main components in a solar electric system are the panels and the inverters.
IS IT RIGHT FOR MY PROPERTY?
With a copy of your electric bill and your property's physical address, Goggin Energy first uses Google Earth to assess whether your roof will allow for solar PV. If your roof is not in good shape or does not receive enough sun, a pole mount or ground mount system might be appropriate for you. Goggin Energy has experience working with all three types of mounts: roof, ground and pole, so you can rest assured that you are installing the best option for your property.
A south-facing roof is best, but southeast and southwest locations can also work. If you want a roof mounted system (the most economical mounting system), your roof should be in good shape and have at least 5-10 years of life left on it.
WHAT TYPE OF SOLAR PANELS ARE BEST?
There are a large number of reputable brands on the market that offer high-quality panels. Panels are available from the USA, Canada, Germany, Korea and China. Unless the customer has a specific preference for country of origin, Goggin Energy will select the most cost-effective panels for the initial proposal.
Goggin Energy is one of Maine's only SunPower dealers, the manufacturer of the world's most efficient solar panels. Though SunPower panels cost a little more per watt than other panels, they have many, many advantages; in addition to offering the longest warranty of any panel and being an excellent choice for locations with a limited amount of space for a solar array, the way that SunPower panels are designed and assembled, they have a higher output 25 years out than conventional panels, are more resistant to damage, and have a higher output even when blocked by shade and dirt. Ask us about SunPower.
There are two types of inverters used in a solar electric system: string inverters and micro-inverters. String inverters act like an old string of Christmas lights: all are connected and, if one has a problem, the output of the entire system is compromised. Micro-inverters, on the other hand, are individually mounted behind each solar panel and change the current from DC to AC at the site of each panel. There are pros and cons of each type of inverter (upfront cost, life of equipment, shading, matching with panel output, etc.). Please be clear on which type of inverter you are being quoted. We are happy to answer any questions that you might have about the pros and cons of string inverters vs. micro-inverters.
We highly recommend monitoring, particularly for micro-inverters and commercial installation.
When looking at the cost of solar electric installations, you should be clear on whether monitoring equipment is included (the ongoing cost of monitoring is usually, but not always, included for residential systems at no annual charge).
Goggin Energy always includes a monitoring system in its quotes.