Home solar technology has reached an advanced and affordable state that we are now able to turn that raw power into something we can use.
“We have this handy fusion reactor in the sky,” said Elon Musk, speaking of the sun. And he’s right. Every day, enough energy from that flaming ball of gas hits the state of Texas to power the entire Earth for years. Thankfully, home solar technology has reached such an advanced and affordable state that we are now able to turn that raw power into something we can use. For Texas homeowners looking to lower their electricity bills, a solar array on the roof has become an attractive and viable option.
According to the latest reporting from the Solar Energies Industry Association (SEIA), residential solar panel installations in the U.S. have grown at an average of 68 percent per year since 2010. Not surprisingly, solar capacity has also grown in terms of its share of all the electricity generated in the U.S. In 2010, solar accounted for 4 percent of all new electric generating capacity. In 2016, that number went up to 40%. The bottom line for consumers is that solar today is much easier to find and much cheaper to buy. Since 2010 the cost to install solar has dropped by more than 70 percent, and getting set up with a solar array is as easy as calling or walking into a TreeHouse store. Solar has moved into the mainstream, and there’s no turning back.
Batteries now included
Solar arrays translate the energy of the sun into usable electricity. Panels have come a long way since the first prototype appeared in the 1950s, and there are still some new and exciting things coming down the pike. That being said, solar technology has grown rapidly over the past 10 years. In fact, solar has been through such rapid growing pains since 2010 that you can now install very advanced solar technology for a very affordable price without much worry that you’re going to be overtaken by something “better” around the corner. The biggest leap forward recently for the solar enthusiast has actually been in battery technology.
Why do batteries matter to solar power? Most of our homes use much more energy in the mornings and evenings, when the sun isn’t at its full midday power. Before battery technology advancements you could only use electricity from solar panels when the sun was shining on them. Not anymore. With the Tesla Powerwall 2, for example, it’s now possible to use that solar juice at night, long after the sun has set.
Home solar power is efficient and easy to install
Solar technology has never been more efficient, affordable, and easy to install. At TreeHouse we carry SunPower panels, widely viewed as the most efficient solar panels in the world. These products use a beefed-up copper base to improve longevity. They’ve been Cradle to Cradle Silver certified for sustainable manufacturing practices, and they hold the industry record for energy production.
As soon as they’re installed on your roof, solar panels start generating power. The silicon inside captures and directs the energy to an electrical field which turns it into usable electricity. The last step is converting the DC electricity from the panels into the AC electricity that your home uses. This is done through a device called an inverter. With the Tesla Powerwall 2 that conversion actually happens inside the battery, making the installation even simpler.
How much power can I make?
There are a few factors that can affect your home’s potential for producing solar power, including how much shade your home gets, the pitch of your roof, and most importantly, where that roof is. In Texas where there is an abundance of open sky there’s a great chance you’ll be producing enough energy to make a nice dent in your electricity bill. For example, a partially shaded house of about 1,500 square feet with a low-pitched roof could generate about 12,000 kWh of power per year with the right solar system.
The average American house consumes about 10,750 kWh per year, so it’s completely possible to produce more energy than your house uses in Austin, Dallas, or Plano. If that happens your house could become a mini electricity generator, sending extra energy back into the grid for a credit on your next bill.
It’s easy to get started at TreeHouse
At TreeHouse, we demystify the technology that can help you live more simply and sustainably. We offer solar “packages” to take the guesswork and confusion of the process. If you decide to go solar, it’s as easy as making an appointment with one of our solar experts. They give free solar consultations that will tell you how many panels can fit on your roof, how much it costs, and how much energy you can produce.
If everything looks good we’ll take care of the whole process, from ordering the parts and scheduling the installation, to filing the paperwork to make sure you get all the city rebates that might be available.
The great thing about solar power is that the source is available every day. We’re figuring out better and better ways of harnessing it, but the sun isn’t going anywhere. And in Texas we’re lucky there’s an abundance of the stuff.