Renewable energy is big news and considered a must for living a sustainable existence into the future. With the right technology both domestic Hot Water and Electricity can be harvested from the sun.
Solar Electric Panels can convert solar energy into electricity. The cost of these panels has dropped dramatically over the last 10 years. These systems can typically be installed for less than $5 a watt now days for a simple roof mounted installation. In general a 5,000 Watt (5KW) system will generate about 5,000 to 6,000 Kwh in electricity over a years time in Central Pennsylvania. Additionally “on Average” you need about 100 sqft of roof space per 1 KW of solar panels. Therefore a 5 KW system would require a 500 sq ft of roof space (roughly). It is sometimes a good idea to consider the age of the roof to determine if the roofing shingles or metal should be replaced before installing the solar panels. Most solar panels have 20 to 30 year power production guarantees so they will be on your roof for a long time! Solar panels produce electricity in DC rather than AC. The most common installation is to do what is called a grid tied system. This is where you supply power back to the grid by turning your meter backwards (assuming your consumption at the time is less than your solar array production). To make this work you need an inverter that will convert the DC to AC so that it is useable on the Grid/ in our homes. We like the micro inverters as they convert the DC to AC right at the panel and then you run the AC to your panel box. They also offer some other benefits as far as power production monitoring by panel and ability to handle any potential partial shading issues.
Solar Hot Water Panels are arguably the most cost effective use of renewable energy. A 2 panel system can produce about as much energy as a 5KW electric array under full sun in the form of domestic hot water. These systems work all year around. The cost of a domestic hot water solar system installed is about ½ the cost as the electric. If you have an all electric house this is often a good 1st step into the renewable realm! The best solar hot water systems to use in our Pennsylvania climate are closed loop systems. These systems use a glycol fluid that runs through the solar panels and into a heat exchanger that then transfers the heat to your hot water. The glycol does not freeze in the winter making it great for our northern climate. We install solar hot water and electric systems throughout Centre County including , State College, Millheim, Bellefonte, Port Matilda as well as other nearby towns that are not in Centre County such as Lewistown, Mifflinburg Lewisburg, Loch Haven and elsewhere.
Give Stanley C Bierlys a call to learn more about the right system for your needs…