Keep an eye out for solar panels popping up in your neighborhood. The future of energy sourcing is here.
The impact solar panels have on our way of living is huge. Granted, the trend of this innovative equipment is relatively new. Imagine what the world will be like thirty years from now. More and more solar panels will power many of our homes, city buildings and businesses. It’s time that our energy sources take a turn for the better.
One of our own agents at Select, Walt Maki, had a large solar panel system installed next to his home by Peninsula Solar, a local company specializing in solar panel energy sourcing. I picked his brain a bit about the process and curiosities associated with solar panels in general. This is what we discussed:
Question #1: What inspired you?
Two things. The environment; to be more environmentally friendly. The second reason is to save on the electric bill (now and exponentially overtime). In addition, for the year of 2016, there was a 30% tax credit on the cost of installing a panel(s).
Question #2: What are the costs?
Let’s just say it isn’t cheap.
Question #3: In a nutshell, how does it work?
First of all, there are two hook ups to the house: an electrical hook up from the local power company and a power panel that puts out a DC. DC stands for direct current.
Next, there is an inverter installed with the solar panel system that converts the DC to AC (which stands for alternating current). Our houses use AC to run things such as appliances.
With the help of the inverter, the solar panel can power everything in the house. The only catch to this is that sunlight is a must. Solar panels convert energy from the sun into energy that powers things in the house. With this in mind, it is wise to still stay hooked up to your local power company. In the event there is not enough collected energy from the sun, the hook up to the power company can help compensate.
Question #4: Why should others do this?
For the environment. Not everyone has as much room as Walt, though. In any case, there are panels that are designed for rooftops. Another alternative to lack of space is the solar garden at the Marquette Board of Light and Power (BLP). Visit the website to read more about this endeavor.
Question #5: Does it hold up well against the elements?
Yes. The panels are tested in various simulated weather occurrences. In addition, the insurance plan Walt has covers any damage done to the panel. It was only about $50 extra per year to add solar panel coverage to his existing policy!
Question #6: How many households have solar panels?
Some states have more active solar panel users than others. In Marquette, MI, there are 17 households that belong to one particular power company that utilize solar panels. Keep in mind, that’s out of 16,000 residents belonging to that power company.
See the pictures below for the process of installing Walt’s solar panel system.
All about Peninsula Solar, an innovative company:
Peninsula Solar owner Ian Olmsted filled me in on some valuable information regarding his company and solar energy in general. Located in downtown Marquette, Peninsula Solar is a solar installation company in the Upper Peninsula, operating since 2011, that offers large, grid-tied solar panel systems. Peninsula Solar specializes in:
- commercial services: municipal & businesses
- service to residential sectors, including new technology
- help clients navigate their utility policies when it comes to installing solar panels
- rebates & incentives available for choosing to convert to solar energy/ power
- offers battery & energy storage
- professional turnkey solar panel system
- works with whichever utility a client belongs to (BLP, UPPCO (Upper Peninsula Power Company), We Energies, Alger Delta Electric, etc…) regardless of policy
- sophisticated enough to offer systems with an exceptionally high & fast ROI (return on investment)–if you run a large business, this can be especially beneficial for expensive power bills (the larger the system, the better the ROI)
- available back up power
- 1st company to install Tesla brand battery packs, originally made for cars, into homes (Tesla is an electric car company)
- only Upper Peninsula company that offers solar products & storage in a modern way
- effective, modern brand
- likely has installed more panels than any other solar panel company, state wide
As a matter of fact, Peninsula Solar plays an active role in the community and is currently involved with the BLP Solar Park. They designed the entirety of the proposed system. Furthermore, they fashioned the L’Anse Water Treatment Facility 40 panel system as part of a municipal project.
Why go solar?
It is interesting to note that the price of power in the Upper Peninsula (U.P.) is extremely high. There are less people living within a population area that is quite large. Equally important, the price of distance affects the cost of power, thus it is more expensive. In addition, power in the U.P. is double what it is in lower Michigan. Another reason that may contribute to the high expense in power is aging infrastructure.
In conclusion, during the past few years, solar panels, batteries and the price of battery storage have become much less expensive. Utility rates keep rising, but will they ever taper out? Don’t bank on that. Also, there are community incentives such as tax write-offs to go solar. Low interest loans are available through the state as well, to help offset the cost associated with this new technology. The payments of a low interest loan essentially become the new power bill (after power company services are no longer needed). The costs of having a solar panel system and paying for utility power are relative. In most places in the U.P., a solar panel system is cheaper than buying utility power for 8 years. What’s more, the cost of saving up energy in a battery pack is relatively inexpensive compared to what it used to be.
To sum it up, there are 3 big reasons to transition to using solar power. They are:
- to save money (majority of the clients Peninsula Solar caters to are those who want to save money)
- have energy independence
- for the environment
So, what are you waiting for? Hit the ground running and get started. In the long run, you could save thousands, help the environment as well as play a role in the revolution of new energy sourcing for a better tomorrow.