FAQs

What is Green Power?

Green Power is electricity generated from environmentally-preferable renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, geothermal, and biogas resources.

Why is renewable energy important?

Renewable energy plays a vital role in facilitating the transition away from fossil fuels, which negatively impact our environment. Today, only 2% of the country’s electricity supply is generated by renewable energy sources. The growth of renewable energy is partly driven by voluntary purchases of green power, like Hotz Development is providing.

What are the environmental benefits of renewable energy?

Conventional electricity, on average, causes the emission of more than 1,300 pounds of Carbon Dioxide per MWh, a leading cause of global warming, as well as other harmful pollutants such as Sulfur Dioxide, Nitrogen Oxide, and Mercury. Energy from renewable sources, such as wind, dramatically reduces or even eliminates such emissions.

What are Renewable Energy Certificates?

Renewable energy has two components: the energy and the green power attribute.

The energy is the actual electricity produced at facilities that generate the renewable electricity. The electricity generated is sold as market without its environmental benefits. No environmental claims can be made on this power, because it is separate from the associated environmental benefits that are at the center of a Renewable Energy Certificate.

A Renewable Energy Certificate (“REC”) represents the environmental benefits associated with generation like wind energy. A REC verifies the source of electricity is renewable in nature. RECs allow their purchasers to support renewable energy projects.

Is there enough wind in my area for a wind turbine?

Wind speeds are divided into classes, much like whitewater rapids. Wind classes range from 1 (low consistent speed) to 7 (extremely high consistent speed). These speeds vary by height and can be found in general terms by visiting http://www.windpoweringamerica.gov/ Click on Your State to find relevant information. However, to truly know the quality of your available wind, you need to install wind measuring instruments on the precise site you are considering for a turbine.

How does wind energy compare to other sources of energy?

Most of the electricity we consume today comes from coal and natural gas fired plants. The process of converting the energy from these “fossil” fuels into electricity emits large quantities of carbon dioxide and other pollutants into the atmosphere. Wind energy, like solar and hydro are called clean and renewable sources because converting their energy into electricity emits no pollutants and they are in constant, natural supply in the environment. And, unlike nuclear energy, there is no dangerous byproduct (like uranium) that must be carefully stored for centuries to come.

How long does it take to buy and install a wind turbine?

All projects will vary in duration, but good planning and project management will help significantly. Many required tasks, including site design, permitting, turbine construction and utility planning can all be done in parallel. For a more detailed project timeline, contact Hotz Development directly.

Is there government money available for wind turbine installations?

The answer to this is most likely yes, however, you will need to check with your local government. A good starting place for this information is the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (http://www.dsireusa.org/)

 

Solar Energy FAQs

What is PV?

PV is short for photovoltaics (photo=light, voltaics=electricity). PV is a semiconductor-based technology used to convert light energy into direct current (DC) electricity, using no moving parts, consuming no conventional fuels, and creating no pollution.

How does electricity get stored for use after sun goes down?

Two options are an off-grid/RAPS (Remote Access Power System), or a grid connect system. Grid connect systems direct excess electricity produced during the day back into the local electricity grid. This turns your electricity meter backwards in the process. You then receive credit for any power that you put back into the grid. At night time, you automatically use electricity straight from the grid. RAPS systems store energy produced during the day in deep cycle batteries for use as required.

What happens with grid connect systems during a blackout?

The grid connect inverter will automatically shut itself off within a few milliseconds of a blackout, to avoid the potential of a dangerous “brown-out” in your home and to prevent back feeding the grid.

With grid connect systems, what can I do to keep power during a blackout?

You will need battery back-up.

Can you retro-fit battery backup into a grid connect system?

Yes, battery backup systems require additional components similar to RAPS, such as, solar regulator, batteries, and inverter.

Will I need to re-roof my house?

In most situations, the PV panels can be easily removed and reinstalled, with minimal, if any, changes to your roof.

Are there special mounting requirements for my roof?

Metal tile, cement tile, ceramic tile and some commercial roofing structures will need a special mounting frame to hold the panels off the delicate roofing material. Most other roofing materials (tar and gravel, shake, shingle, composite tile) will not need any special mounting frames.

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Yes. Sunlight will penetrate a thin layer of snow and the snow will usually melt fairly quickly off of solar panels. If you have had a heavy snow you can help it along by using a squeegee on a pole to scrape off the surface layer of snow.

Does it make sense to install a solar system if we are moving in a couple of years?

Probably. Most real estate experts currently believe that given the concerns about energy costs a solar system will significantly raise a home’s value. One source, the Appraisal Journal, states that the value of your home is increased by $20 for every $1 reduction in annual operating costs resulting from installed energy efficiency measures or energy generation systems.  However, this very much depends upon the local market so you should probably confirm this with an experienced local real estate agent before making this decision if you know you are planning to sell in a relatively short period of time.

Can you put solar on a flat roof?

A: Yes. Most commercial solar electric systems are installed on flat roofs.  The solar panels are usually mounted on “tilt-racks” which put the panels at the optimum angle and face them in the right direction.

Is the weight too much for my roof?

No, solar modules are very lightweight. The combined weight of the rails and solar modules is only 3 lbs per square foot.

How long does it take to install a solar electric system?

Solar electric systems usually take between two to five days to install, depending on the size and complexity of your solar electric system.  However, in our experience the actual calendar time is usually longer because there are often delays waiting for the local energy company to install the electrical meter (in a grid-tied system) or waiting for local electrical inspectors.

Do I need to clean the panels periodically?

In most areas of the country, there is sufficient rain to clean the panels. However, if you are in a dusty area (very near a busy dirt road, very urban area, etc.) you may see a performance gain from cleaning the panels monthly. If necessary, a hose stream is usually sufficient for cleaning. Do not walk on or over the panels to clean them. Do not use metal, hard, or abrasive methods for cleaning. Do not spray water on the panels when they are very hot.

Why should I use photovoltaics (PV)?

For a growing number of users, PV is the clear choice. The number of installed PV systems increases each year because their many advantages make them the best option overall. Consider the following issues:

  1. Site Access – A well-designed PV system will operate unattended and requires minimum periodic maintenance. The savings in labor costs and travel expenses can be significant.
  2. Modularity – A PV system can be designed for easy expansion. If your power demand could increase in future years, the ease and cost of increasing the PV power supply should be considered.
  3. Fuel Supply – Supplying conventional fuel to the site and storing it can be much more expensive than the fuel itself. Solar energy is delivered free of charge!
  4. Environment – PV systems create no pollution and generate no waste products when operating.
  5. Maintenance – Any energy system requires maintenance, but experience shows that PV systems require less maintenance than other alternatives.
  6. Durability – Most of today’s PV modules are based on a proven technology that has experienced little degradation in more than 25 years of operation.
  7. Cost – Most solar panels are warranted for 25 years and have a payback period that is far less than the warranty.  Moreover, as oil and gas costs rise the payback periods will be even shorter going forward.
Is there a tax credit for Solar Power?

Yes, there is a residential solar power tax credit.

On October 3, 2008, President George W. Bush signed into law the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008. This bill extended the solar energy and energy efficiency tax incentives provided by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct 2005).

EPAct 2005 provided a solar energy tax credit for solar water heating and photovoltaic solar power systems. For both solar water heating and pv systems, EPAct 2005 allowed a tax credit of 30% of the system costs up to $2,000. However, the EPAct 2005 tax credits expired on December 31, 2008.

The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 extended the expiration date of both the solar water heating and photovoltaic system tax credits by eight years. They now don’t expire until December 31, 2016.

In addition to extending the expiration date, the 2008 Act also increased the tax credit for photovoltaic systems by removing the $2,000 cap. This is great news for homeowners because pv systems typically cost upwards of $30,000.

If you want to find more information about other solar energy incentives such as solar power rebates and solar power grants, take a look at our Economics of Solar Power page.

If your planning on installing a solar water heating or photovoltaic system, make sure you take advantage of the solar energy tax credit. Energy efficient home improvements like solar are great investments for your home and your future.

 

If you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to call us at 855.RENEW.4.U