Plano, Texas, located near the Oklahoma border, is a sizable city of about 270,000 people just outside the Dallas metro. The city has an abundance of corporate headquarters and modern architecture. One major modern addition to architecture, though not implemented yet, is solar panel roofing. This doesn’t have to be only for businesses, though. You can have it on your own home. With an average of about 2,850 hours of sunshine a year, which is 64% of all total possible sunshine hours, the area is ripe for solar energy capture. Don’t be left behind in the relentless march of technology: install a solar roof and start reaping the benefits of producing your own energy from our solar system’s very own star.
We are trying to create a fusion reactor, but the sun is greater than anything we will achieve here on Earth This gargantuan fireball delivers more energy to the surface of the Earth in a couple hours than worldwide energy consumption in an entire year. We will need more energy in the future, but the sun can provide a very large portion, if not all, of it. Solar panel prices are falling, and now is the time to invest in a solar system. Elon Musk, the man who heads Tesla Motors, Space X, and other futuristic ventures, has recently claimed his company can provide solar roofs cheaper than a regular roof. You can now install an attractive, practical solar roof rather than using slate. This is possible due to the Swanson Effect. The effect is named after Richard Swanson, an entrepreneur who founded a solar panel company. The simple economics behind it are more research money via increased revenue and more competitors due to increased profit potential. In fact, the effect can be seen with the more than 67% drop in panel prices between 2008 and 2012.
Not only can you produce your own energy, you can help save the planet at the same time. We are responsible for the future and must take care of our planet. Implementing solar is one way – even possibility a lucrative way – for you to participate.
A normal 5kW solar system requires around $20,000. That is no small chunk of cash for the average household, but there are financing options available. First, the federal government allows you a 30% tax credit on solar systems, as long as you install the equipment before 2020. This means you can think of the cost to be more like $14,000. That is not the end of the incentives, though. In Texas, you will be able to tack that extra equity onto your home and sell it later, but you won’t have to pay property taxes on whatever the system adds.
Plano can be hot in the summer and, if you’re like most people, you will want air conditioning You may also run a small business out of your home. This can all be supported by an the right solar system, and you will eventually reap the benefits of the not having to rely on fossil fuel power generated far away by some utility company. What exactly is your ROI? That depends on how you finance your system, but they’re all similar. If the $20,000 amount seems insurmountable, check out the following options that can still help you get to your goal of a carbon-less household.
Cash is simply the best way to finance: you will own the system from the outset and benefit from the tax incentives. You won’t have to pay interest, and you can do whatever you like with the equipment. You also can start to see the savings immediately, since part of your savings won’t be going to paying interest. With an average of $1000/year savings on energy costs, your panels will start paying for themselves in as little as 10 years. If you are in a high-energy-consumption household, you will see the timeframe shrink.
Credit requires you to take out a loan. There are both secured and unsecured loans, and if you take the former, you will need to put up some collateral. The latter will incur higher interest rates. Another perk of taking a loan, aside from lower initial capital requirements, is that the interest is tax deductible. Once the loan is paid off, you will own the equipment and be able to resell or keep them, completely up to you.
Leasing is the act of paying for something and being able to use it but not owning it. You can lease cars, apartments, and solar equipment. This option is good for those who do not want to apply a lot of capital to their solar project – or who can’t. You will still get the benefit of having energy produced onsite and none of the hassles of maintenance (the equipment is owned by someone else who likely offers options to take care of it).
The Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) is a state’s way to encourage investment in renewables. This measure gives an idea of how serious the state government is in helping its citizens drop their reliance on fossil fuels. The higher the number, the better, because it means more incentives for you and companies to implement renewable solutions to energy.
The 1990s saw a great deal of investment in wind energy in Texas. Texas’s RPS was 5,880MW by 2015 and 10,000MW by 2025. These goals have been exceeded (as of 2013), though 96% of the power was through wind. The state requires at least 500 megawatts of the 10,000 additional megawatts to come from non-wind energy. So it is clear the state is largely reliant on wind, but solar is still a factor, especially for small-time energy producers – that could be you.
While wind is by far the most used method of renewable energy recovery in the state, solar is not left to nothing. Furthermore, Texas does employ many people in the renewables industry, so the industry is not without impact in the state. California comes in first with about twice as many jobs in the industry, but California also has a much larger population to employ. Overall, Texas’s place on the planet offers good conditions for solar production.. Plano sits in one of the more amicable areas of the entire state, generating between 4.5 and 5.5 kWh per square meter per day. Even if you have a small roof or place to put your solar system, Plano still provides ample opportunity for energy capture.
Texas is not as aggressive in implementing renewables as California, but it does better than some of the other states of the union. A big factor in the decision to go solar is net metering – this means you can sell energy back to the utility companies. Texas the state does not require it, but many companies offer it. If you can find one, it is the best way to go, because you can sell some of your energy back to the grid, knocking down your time to payoff even more.
The main benefit is of course protecting the planet and reducing your own financial burden. However, you can cut yourself away from the power companies, which can raise prices unexpectedly. Prices may change, but weather will not. And Plano is in a great position to capture the sun’s output. Moreover, the sun will not be extinguished anytime soon. The resource is technically finite, but on such long timescales humans don’t have to worry about it.
The sun does not shine all the time. How can you plan for this? You can store energy in water, since water is easy to insulate and the high specific heat of water allows it to keep heat for a long time. Refrigeration during energy production peaks can also be a way to store energy. Batteries are currently not up to the task, but new improvements in the technology may herald a new era of storing the energy produced during the day for night.
The only person who can make the final decision is you. You will need to calculate how much energy you use, how much you can save from your current electric provider, how much you can afford to invest in solar, and if you want to have such an installation on your property.
Texas will rely on fossil fuels for the foreseeable future. The state legislature does encourage some use of renewables, but as fossil fuels made Texas rich, they will continue to be a staple in Texan life. However, the world is moving forward and we do have an obligation to protect the environment. In that vein, you can find decent financing options in Plano and have your home system installed to help offset the carbon emissions belched from the fossil fuel power plants.
Don’t expect too much from the state in the way of assistance, but the tax credits and possible net metering mentioned above can help. You will also make yourself energy independent, and there is little that is more Texan than being free..
Plano itself is a great place for solar installations, with the high average sunshine hours a day and the high temperatures, meaning you will be using a lot of energy to cool your home. Plano is certainly in a good location. Now is the time and Plano is the place to install a residential solar system.