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Solar Power 101

Earlier in Home School, we looked at insulation and air sealing as a key first step in making your home function more sustainably and efficiently. If this process of weatherization is the foundation you can build upon in reducing your energy bills and dependence on environmentally damaging energy sources, then solar power is the pinnacle. Together we are going to explore solar, understand how it can be a great solution for your home, and explain our approach to solar at TreeHouse.

What Is Solar Power?

Enough energy from the sun hits the state of Texas every day to power Earth for years. The trick is to turn all that light energy into electricity. Over the past few decades, technological advancements in solar arrays have developed in leaps and bounds to capture that power the sun is sending us and convert it into energy that cools and heats our homes, turns the lights on, and allows us to charge our smartphones and laptops.

In 1839, French physicist Edmond Becquerel discovered that light from the sun could produce an electric current, known as the photovoltaic effect. Photo comes from the Greek word for light and volt from electricity pioneer Alessandro Volta. Over a century later, 1954 to be exact, scientists developed materials that could capture and harness the power of the sun from silicon. Silicon, it is important to note, is the world’s second most abundant element after oxygen, which means today’s solar panels, otherwise known as photovoltaic panels, are sustainably built, to boot!

When light hits a solar panel, the silicon captures and directs energy to an electrical field, making it available to power your home. Over the last eight years, major developments in the creation of solar panels have made this renewable resource more accessible than ever for people’s homes. In the same time period, solar panel installations have increased by over 2300% in the United States, producing 27.4 gigawatts at the end of 2015 - enough energy to power 5.4 million homes.


Why Solar Power?

Solar power offsets the need for carbon-based energy sources, reducing pollutants and preserving non-renewable materials. When a home can independently generate its own energy, its need for city power is greatly reduced, resulting in lower monthly utility bills. The high demand for solar energy means panel installation also increases the value of your home. The Texas Association of realtors estimates solar panels adds on average over $14,000 to a home’s value.

Everyday, more evidence comes to light that we need to reduce our carbon footprint. Solar power provides a direct and efficient means to harness renewable energy for ourselves and others. Using energy that needs to be transported through power lines means that losses occur to that power over the course of transmission, compounding waste. Conversely, if a solar array produces extra power for your home, it goes to the grid, which provides a credit on your energy bill and allows others to use electricity generated from the sun.

Home solar panels are the most simple, direct, and effective way to utilize renewable energy. Panels are a lightweight structure with no moving parts or burdensome equipment. This means they can simply be installed on a home’s roof, making the process easy on the home. TreeHouse has developed a straightforward process for you to go from initial consultation to power on.

TreeHouse & Solar

TreeHouse is committed to making homes more thoughtful, sustainable, and healthy. Solar power is a vital aspect of that mission and will drive home improvement forward through better shelters for ourselves and our planet. At TreeHouse, we have created a direct and effective process to evaluate, set up, and install solar power at your home. Within minutes of meeting with our Home Performance Consultants, you will know how many panels can fit on your roof, their cost, the energy they would produce, your savings, and available rebates and tax credits.

TreeHouse is proud to announce that we now carry the most efficient solar panels in the world. We now exclusively offer solar panels by SunPower, which hold the record for highest percentage of energy production per solar wattage captured. These panels can generate 21% more energy than their nearest competitor. SunPower is also rated #1 for panel durability due to their unique copper base, come with the best warranty in the business, and are certified Cradle-to-Cradle Silver for sustainable manufacturing processes that reduce material depletion, water usage, and production pollutants. And finally, these panels look as good as they work — providing a cleaner aesthetic for the home with consistent, sleek black that eschew the infamous grid lines typically associated with solar installations.
SunPower Comparison Grid
Photo Courtesy of SunPower

The team at TreeHouse provides a thoughtful approach to solar. We consider your home’s orientation to the sun at different times of the year, shading to your roof from trees and obstructions, and your average electric bill to ensure the most efficient and sustainable path to installation. Even though our offering is among the most sophisticated in the business, we are proud to offer what we call “simple” solar. We have created solar packages sized from XS through XXL that we will match to your home’s available roof area and energy needs. Unlike some companies, we will only recommend the solar you need based on our analysis of your energy bill.

Once we have a system that will match your home’s unique needs, we set up local rebates and provide instructions for initiating federal tax incentives. Together, we evaluate our pricing and financing options to find your most accessible path to solar. Our most popular package, for example, would cost $127 per month for 12 years after your local rebate and generate an average of $76 in savings per month on utility bills. After the 12 year financing period, the system is paid off and will save you that same amount or more and continue to be guaranteed by TreeHouse under our warranty for a full 25 years.

Installation with our team takes only one to three days to complete. A master electrician then surveys and completes the connections from the panels to your home. We provide a final survey to make sure every element of the process is checked off and then hit the power switch to provide clean, safe energy direct from the sun to your home.

TreeHouse provides an added benefit to our solar customers, an unparalleled commitment to our community. As an organization planting roots in Austin and Dallas to provide a comprehensive range of products and services to make your home more sustainable, healthy, and beautiful, we will always be on hand to help you build a better home. With a recent upsurge in popularity, single solution businesses are flowing into Texas to take advantage of state incentives without the same commitment to the complete care of our community. Many of these organizations leave the state or disappear in a year or a few months, leaving customers in a lurch on service and repairs. TreeHouse not only provides the expertise and consistency to keep your solar package working for years to come, we also offer a range of services and products that optimize your solar and further reduce the carbon footprint of your home.

Make that Texas sun work for you for a change. Fill out the form below to set up a free consultation on home solar energy.

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