Solar Power Buyer’s Guide to Roof-Top Home Solar Systems In New York City and The 5 Boroughs, and Long Island- PART 1

Introduction:

So you are looking to buy a solar Power system for your home in Long Island, New York City and The 5 Boroughs, or New York State. Congratulations! You are either ready to buy your system today, looking for the right price, or you are looking for information and guidance. This multi-part solar buying guide will be published to illuminate the entire process of what a prospective solar customer should know when looking to purchase a residential solar power system in New York City and The 5 Boroughs and Long Island. Fair Warning – some of the information within this guide may already be known to you so feel free to skip around to take what you need from it.

Background:

ABest Energy Power takes pride in performing on the highest level of sophistication to a wide range of solar energy clients while maintaining industry leading pricing and therefore, value. As an established organization with a 40 year history, we have solidified our position in the New York/Long Island/New Jersey commercial/residential market as the total package for our energy efficiency clients. Our team of electrical engineers, architects, administrative staff, and field technicians will consistantly deliver a finished product from conception to completion. Not only are we solar contractors but we are also Energy Auditors, Master Electricians, Wind Installers, LED Lighting Specialists, and more.

If You have any questions during the reading of this article, please contact us Toll Free (855) 411-4SUN at our New York Metro Office.

Evaluating Roof-Top Home Solar For Your Home or Business

Is it Physically Possible?

The first thing you need to do before getting pricing, product research, or calling a professional is to determine whether solar is physically possible for your home. There are a number of methods to installing solar on a home but if your house fails the physical requirements, you will not be a candidate for solar. In New York and Long Island, and world-wide, the majority of solar panels are installed on roofs which are either pitched or flat. The primary considerations to be discussed with regard to the physical possibility of going solar for your home is the Directional Orientation of you the roof exposure and its associated architectural characteristiscs.

Solar Panels need to be installed facing South, South East, South West, East, or West. The sun rises in the east and sets in the west so why cant we put panels on the northern exposure of our roof? The reason is because the sun travels along the southern lattitude from east to west. which is why perfect south (180 degrees) is ideal. If your house is facing 180 South, you will recieve the most exposure as the sun travels from East to West. If your system faces perfect West(270 Degreees) or perfect East (90 Degrees), you are still very much a candidate for a successful solar energy system. Your production may be 2-5% less than a house facing perfect South.

How Do I Determine the Orientation of My Home

The simplest way to determine the orientation of your house is to use either a traditional compass or an iPhone/Android compass App. Go to Each side of your home to find the various exposures of the house with a note pad writing down each side of your house and which direction it faces.

An additional way to find the orientation is through google search of your home in either google earth or google search.If you dont have Google Earth installed, please find the link to install it HERE–>http://google.com/earth. Follow the prompts to install the software and then run it. Once on the main screen, Please see a basic step by step guide to evaluating whether your roof or ground area has a viable orientation for solar panels HERE–>Find Your Home on Google Earth

If you find the approach laid out above for finding your home on google earth difficult, there is a more detailed approach HERE–> http://www.wikihow.com/Find-Your-House-on-Google-Earth

If you prefer to use google search to find your home, simply go to Google.com/maps. Then click on the square-shaped satellite icon which will display satellite imagery rather than traditional road maps. Once in satellite mode, type in your home address and type in your full address and click search or press enter. Use the Zoom (+) icons on the screen to locate your house.

How Do I Determine if the Architecture of My Home is Good For Solar?

If you do have one of the mentioned orientations, (S, SW, SE, E, W), now you need to identify if the roof is ideal for solar with respect to usable space. Since solar panels are rectangular, then the roof must have enough available space to fit these rectangular shapes. Usually dormers and other angular architecture such as corners or domes get in the way. By evaluating your roof or ground mount this way, you will determine the difference between total square footage vs. usable square footage.

Roof Image Winter Eddie 300x205 Solar Power Buyers Guide to Roof Top Home Solar Systems In New York City and The 5 Boroughs, and Long Island  PART 1Poor Candidate For Solar

 

Please see an example of a house that has a lot of space on the roof but due to the shapes and architectural obstructions, is not a good physical match for going solar. In not only is there a tree looming over the southern side of the home, but there is also a tremendous amount of angular architecture as well as rounded dome like structures (witch’s hats) getting in the way of placing enough rectangular shaped solar panels on the roof. Even if the customer was willing to trim or cut down the tree, the roof does not allow for a viable opportunity for the customer to go solar.

 

 

 

 

GOOD ROOF FOR SOLAR 300x177 Solar Power Buyers Guide to Roof Top Home Solar Systems In New York City and The 5 Boroughs, and Long Island  PART 1

GOOD ROOF FOR SOLAR

 

 

Here, you can see what a good candidate for solar looks like on a pitched roof. As indicated by the arrow on the top right corner, the orientation is showing South West which is good for solar. In addition, there are no major architectural difficulties preventing solar panels from being uniformally placed on the roof. Finally, there is a minimal amount of roof obstructions(tree shading, roof vents, fans, and chimney’s). If you have some of these obstructions, it does not necessarily exclude you from going solar. However, as indicated above in the house which was a bad candidate for solar, the obstructions need to be excessive whereby solar is not feasible at all. You can also call ABest Energy Power to assist you in making the determination by calling us at our Toll Free Number at (855) 411-4SUN.

 

Great Flat Roof For Solar 300x205 Solar Power Buyers Guide to Roof Top Home Solar Systems In New York City and The 5 Boroughs, and Long Island  PART 1

Great Flat Roofs For Solar

These are examples of flat roofs which would all be good candidates for solar since they are facing south with minimal obstructions. There is a big tree in the back of these homes. However, it is on the Northern side and will not create shading issues.

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you have made it to this point and have concuded that you are a candidate for a roof top solar energy system, then you are an official candidate for solar. The next step in the proces will be:

  • The financial aspects of going solar
  • Choosing the Right Equipment
  • Choosing the Right Contractor

We hope the information presented in the first part of this series was helpful. If you would like to speak to an ABest Energy Power representative at this point, please call us at (855) 411-4SUN. If you are still in the research and reading phases of your process, then feel free to check back for Part 2 of this series

Stay Tuned for Part 2

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Alternative Energy/Solar Energy – Fighting Rising Electricity Costs with Solar Power

Article by Sam Greyhawk

In our search for new forms of sustainable power many scientists have focused on using the energy of our sun. Photovoltaic cells or solar cells convert one form of energy, sunlight, into another form of energy, electricity. While the creative idea of getting “free” energy from the sun is attractive to most, many consumers have concerns about the initial expense of installing a solar power system. That’s why the key to purchasing the right solar system for you lies in the “Solar Power Payback Time.”

Solar Power Payback Times for Solar for Photovoltaic Technologies

When considering the transition to, or even adding in supplement, solar power, many consumers have concerns over the initial expense. It’s easy to understand that over the long haul solar power will pay for itself, but how do you calculate exactly how long it will take? To calculate your solar power payback time you will need to evaluate several factors that can influence your payback:

Local ClimateState or Federal Incentives/RebatesState Tax CreditsLocal Utility PricingNet-Metering Availability

Solar Power and Rising Electricity Costs

Solar power is a unique resource because it is protected from inflation - as electricity costs inevitably continues to rise, any electricity you generate using your solar system will counter electricity charges at the current market price. The more electricity rates continue to rise, the more you will save.

If you generate excess electricity, under the right conditions such as net-metering, it is even possible for you to generate a monthly profit from your solar system.

Finding State and Federal Incentives or Rebates

Depending upon the state you live in you may qualify for incentives and rebates that cover as much as 60% of the total cost of installing a new solar system. How do you find what incentives and rebates you qualify for? Using the free web-based tool titled Database of State Incentives for Renewable & Efficiency (DSIRE), run by the North Carolina Solar Center, it’s easy to find the incentives and rebates you qualify for. You can find the DSIRE here:

http://www.dsireusa.org/

What is Net-Metering?

Net-metering is a system that allow excess user generated solar energy to be sold back to your local electric company. Depending upon how much electricity you generate this may provide you either a monthly discount or a net monthly profit.

What is my Solar Power Payback Time?

As a result of the number of variables involved in calculating a particular solar payback time I recommend using a tool such as the OnGrid Solar Financial Analysis Tool. They offer a free demo version of their tool that can help you calculate your personal solar power payback time. The OnGrid Solar Financial Analysis Tool is available here:

http://www.ongrid.net/payback/

While calculating your solar power payback gives you a financial picture of the total cost of ownership for your new solar system it doesn’t take in to consideration the environmental cost. To gauge the environmental cost of a solar system you need to evaluate its Energy Payback Time.

Energy Payback Times for Solar for Photovoltaic Technologies

According to the US DOE’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) group the “Energy payback time (EPBT) is the length of deployment required for a photovoltaic system to generate an amount of energy equal to the total energy that went into its production.”

The energy payback time for solar power is based on three determining factors:

The efficiency of the photovoltaic systemThe amount of sunlight the photovoltaic system recievesThe manufacturing technology used to create the photovoltaic cells

Using some average sunlight values, “about 1700 kWh/m2/ yr average for southern Europe and about 1800 kWh/m2/ yr average for the United States,” the EERE provides pre-calculated energy paypack times for a number of solar cell technologies:

Single-crystal Silicon – 2.7 yearsNon-ribbon Multicrystalline Silicon – 2.2 yearsRibbon Multicrystalline Silicon – 1.7 yearsCadmium Telluride – 1.0 years

When one considers rising energy costs and the relatively low energy payback times for a variety of popular solar cells it’s easy to see solar power as a reasonable alternative to rising energy costs. While it’s true solar cells do require large quantities of energy to manufacture, and they also utilize precious limited resources such as silicon, copper and cadmium – in many cases they offer reasonable energy payback times. Even considering the overall environmental cost, solar power may be exactly what the world needs to wean itself off its fossil fuel dependency. Help fight global warming by moving away from fossil fuel generated electricity and moving towards solar power.

About the Author

Sam Greyhawk is an environmental evangelist working with Cool-N-Save(tm). Cool-N-Save(tm) is an energy efficiency add-on for your central air conditioner. The Cool-N-Save(tm) can lower your utility bill by up to 30% by improving air conditioner efficiency.

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