How Much of Your Usage Can Solar Provide?

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Possible Monthly Electric Bill Decrease

The amount of power that solar can or should provide for property owners is based upon several factors. We look at the physical characteristics of their property, what percent of usage they need solar to provide, and how the local utility company compensates them for excess solar electricity.

Generally, our customers request systems that produce 30 to 90 percent of their annual usage. Some customers have decided to go to 100 percent, but that’s not always the best option. Let’s look at the factors that go into the usage decision.

Property Characteristics

ridgetreeThere is no one-size-fits-all solar energy system. Your neighbor might have an identical home, but your rooftops may differ in the amount of sunlight and shade each receives. Homes with small roofs can’t accommodate as much solar as homes with larger roofs, of course, while a home’s roof orientation and pitch influence solar production.

Our calculations of how much of your power consumption solar will supply take into consideration the property’s annual weather, such as how many snowy or cloudy days there are on average.

Determining Your Need

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% of System Customized to your Exact Needs

Your lifestyle and electricity billing history must be considered to avoid under-sizing or over-sizing your solar energy system. Some utilities have time-of-use billing, which must also be taken into account.

Two properties may appear similar yet have very different demands for power. For example, a home could have a hot tub, a large freezer, and a plug-in electric car, leading to substantial power consumption. This will be evident in the billing analysis and be factored into the decision on system size.

Your home’s current electricity needs may not be the end of the story. If your family is growing or you’re planning to enlarge your home, you may decide to build a larger system to accommodate future needs.

Evaluating your needs for today and tomorrow can only be done properly by inspecting the property, analyzing the past year of your electricity bills, and discussing your preferences. Solar evaluations like this are routine for SunUp—we’ve done them successfully for many homes and businesses.

Excess Solar Energy

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Price Your Get Selling to Neighbors Compared to what you Paid for Electricity (Up to Net Zero)

On sunny days, most solar energy installations produce more power than a property can use. When this happens, the solar electricity will turn the meter backward so the utility company can keep track of how much power the solar energy system is feeding into the grid. When the utility company purchases or credits the property owner for this excess energy, it is referred to as “net metering.”

Net metering rules vary from state to state and sometimes even from one utility territory to the next. SunUp and its customers are fortunate because the states and utility companies we service have progressive net metering policies that credit property owners for any excess solar energy. You can’t be credited for more electricity than you use, however, and in some instances the credits expire if they’re not used within a certain time period.

To help you get the most from net metering rules, we generally recommend a system size that will cover the bulk of your bill, but that won’t try to create electricity for the whole neighborhood. Many states and programs cap the annual amount a rooftop system can generate at the amount the property consumes.

A site inspection by a professional Energy Consultant is the only way to accurately assess a property’s condition and calculate how much solar it should produce. SunUp provides consultations with no cost or obligation for those considering a solar energy system.

This is SunUp Solar’s standard disclaimer about the need for a careful evaluation of each unique property to determine if and how to best adapt solar to that property. Like any other kind of property improvement, solar requires an inspection by a professional to take site conditions into account. In the case of solar, these include roof size, pitch and orientation, shading issues, the status of the property’s electrical system and the property’s electrical billing history. This is routine for us and it is absolutely necessary to provide an accurate proposal for property owners. We use satellite photos, such as Google Earth, to get a general idea of your property’s situation. Unlike some companies, we will not provide a firm quote until one of our Energy Consultants has visited the property, done the proper analysis, and discussed the project thoroughly with the property owners. We stand behind our work and must have customers that are pleased with every aspect of their solar project.