Benefits of Solar Power You Didn’t Know

Dear Wanda

 

 

Dear Wanda: I’ve heard solar panels can save me money and even help the environment. But are they good for anything else?  

 Loads! What do you want them to be? Take your pick: roof protection, environmental conservation, insulation, independence? 

 Who wants to spend money on roofing? BOR-ING! Take it from me, solar panels are a lot more fun and responsible—who knew you could have it both ways?! Solar panels are the equivalent of adding another layer of shingles to your roof. If your shingles are exposed to the elements, they are a lot less likely to last. Panels not only protect your roof from the beating sun (which it converts to cold, hard cash) it also can protect your shingles from being swept away by a raging storm.  

 On top of that, panels produce zero greenhouse gases. So, you can sleep soundly while effortlessly saving the planet. Speaking of sleeping soundly, did you know solar panels help insulate your house? No more sleepless, uncomfortable summer nights being suffocated by the heat. 

 Take charge of your energy (I sound like a yogi)! Energy independence can be one of the most gratifying rewards of solar power. The U.S. is dependent on imports for its energy, but you don’t have to be! Saving the best for last, you can have all this with nearly no effort on your part. Give Icon Solar a call and let them handle all the hard parts while you kick back and relish all the benefits.  

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Looking for Ways to Help Our Planet? Try this.

Concerned about the state of our planet? Words like “greenhouse gases,” “holes in the ozone layer,” “climate change” and “melting ice caps” can make us fear what state the planet will be in for future generations.  How can we be better citizens of this earth? What role can we play in preserving our one and only planet?Blog1Graphic

Being aware of the risks our decisions pose for the planet and making a conscientious effort to minimize those risks is referred to as our environmental responsibility. Unfortunately, Americans are notorious for being among the least responsible citizens of Earth. According to a study done by MIT, on average, even the Americans with the lowest energy consumption – homeless people for example – still double the international average energy usage.

Our culture makes it incredibly difficult to be energy efficient. Our commute to work in our family-safe SUVs, our energy-consuming household appliances, even our occasional, juicy burger may all seem like the norm, yet they tax our planet. Eliminating these things that we have integrated into our lives sounds like a tough, nearly impossible, lifestyle upheaval.

Solar power is one of the most impactful and easiest ways to clean up your carbon footprint. Not only does it produce zero greenhouse gases while powering your home, it also requires nearly zero effort on your part.  Even if you made conservation your primary focus, solar benefits may still beat you. Installing solar panels can be as beneficial as not driving your car (and a friend’s!) for a year or planting and growing 185 trees for ten years!

Take action, and feel better about how you’re saving the planet. Maybe build a compost with some of the money you saved from your panels. Now, you’re unbeatable.

“May the relationship between man and nature not be driven by greed, to manipulate and exploit, but may the divine harmony between beings and creation be conserved in the logic of respect and care.” – Pope Francis

Think you’re ready to go solar?

Dear Wanda

 

 

Dear Wanda, 

I’ve been doing some heavy-duty research on solar panels recently, and I feel like I know all I need to about the benefits of panels, but how do I know when I’m ready to take the plunge and buy?
Indecisive Buyer

Dear Indecisive Buyer,

Props to you for doing your research. Solar panels are a large investment, but a wise one too! By now you probably know that solar panels save you thousands, improve the value of your home, and look good doing it. The benefits of solar power are huge ones, but we understand that officially signing off on a big purchase can be nerve racking. Luckily, our team of experts is here to guide you to a solar solution to fit your budget. And in case you weren’t already convinced, here are a few more reasons to go solar sooner than later:

Prices are at an all-time low (for now). The price of solar panels is dependent on a lot of factors, primarily the cost to produce the raw materials. Markets can be unpredictable, and we don’t know if or when other cost variables will increase. Since a consistent price on panels isn’t guaranteed, it’s best to buy before the cost drives up.

Installing in 2017 will get you a credit on your 2017 taxes.  You can get up to a 30 percent solar investment tax credit. Folks who installed solar panels on their homes last year received 30 percent of the cost of their solar panel system, in addition to any other refund they were owed. For some, this added up to around $10,000. On top of all the money you save with solar, the panels pay for themselves.

The longer you wait, the more money you’re handing over to the utility company. For every month you don’t install solar, that’s just another monthly utility bill. Try as you might to reduce your energy usage, those efforts normally don’t make a huge dent in your final bill. And trying to survive the Midwestern summers and winters without your AC or heat? Yikes. Electrical companies continue to raise their rates, but with solar power, your energy bill can cost less than a cup of coffee. Every. Single. Month.

Just like starting to save for your retirement when you’re young, installing solar power now gives you the opportunity to maximize your savings for years to come. So, what are you waiting for? Give Icon Solar a call today to set up a free onsite visit and start your savings now.

See you on the solar flip side!
Wanda, Your Wealth Warrior

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Solar Panels Help the Earth (and Your Wallet)

Many of us are on the lookout for steps we can take to help the environment, from driving a more fuel-efficient car to composting and recycling. But what can you do to make your house more earth friendly? According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average American home uses 10,182 kilowatts of electricity every year. It can be tough to envision exactly what that means in terms of environmental impact. So let’s look at it in terms of how much pollution a home produces.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) tells us that your home’s electricity for a year is equivalent to:

  • Greenhouse gas emissions from driving 17,150 miles per year. (That’s a lot further than most people drive annually.)
  • Carbon monoxide emissions from burning 7,636 pounds of coal. (Ouch.)
  • Carbon monoxide emissions from 293 home propane tanks. (That’s a lot of cookouts!)

What if you replaced your electricity usage with solar power? Not only would it be like not driving your car (and half of someone else’s) for a year, but it’s also equivalent to:

  • Saving 805 gallons of gasoline.
  • Keeping 16.6 barrels of oil from being used.
  • Growing 185 tree seedlings for 10 years, so they can sequester carbon.
  • The carbon sequestered by 6.8 acres of trees in a year.

Wondering what carbon sequestration is? It’s “the long-term storage of carbon dioxide or other forms of carbon to either mitigate or defer global warming and avoid dangerous climate change.” It’s been proposed as a way to slow the accumulation of greenhouse gases, which are released by burning fossil fuels. In other words, it’s one way trees help the planet.

Long words aside, our houses contribute to pollution. But the good news is that solar power can cut that down significantly, and save you money to boot.

In the Midwest, the average cost of a kilowatt hour of electricity is about 13.5 cents (and rising). It doesn’t sound like much, until you calculate that it’s almost $1,400 a year. And for many of us, our average monthly electric bill is much higher than $100 a month. Solar power can make your electric bill dwindle until it’s nearly disappeared, saving you thousands.

Give us a call to talk about how solar panels can help both the earth and your wallet.

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Mother Nature’s Take on Solar Panels: Wanda the Wealth Warrior’s Exclusive Interview

As your Wealth Warrior, I have been trying to get through to you about how beneficial solar can be. Not all of you seem entirely convinced, so I decided to bring someone in with a little more notoriety. Let me introduce you all to, the one, the only, Mother Nature. Say hi, Mama Nat!

Mother Nature: Hello there, dears.

Wanda: Would you mind if I asked you a few questions, Nat?

Mother Nature: Go right ahead. I’m always looking to be heard.

Wanda: Firstly, is it okay if I call you Nat?

Mother Nature: Of course, Wanda. We go way back.

Wanda: Hear that, everyone? Mother Nature and I are tight. How exactly did you get your name?

Mother Nature: It’s been so long since I heard the story that I’m not certain on the particulars. Legend has it, it’s because y’all are so dependent on me! Like all mothers, I care for every one of my children. It would be nice to get some of that affection back or you know, a call back occasionally…

Wanda: Ahhh the constant battle of all mothers.  You, of all mothers, aren’t exempt from that?

Mother Nature: You wouldn’t believe it! The things my babies put me through…

Wanda: Like what?

Mother Nature: Ugh, where to start? I’m still not over the margarine scandal. As if mama couldn’t tell the difference between butter and fake butter. Of the things I put up with, that would have to be one of the most minor. The most consistent and pressing issue I’m facing is the lack of appreciation for my work. I work to provide this lush planet for my babies and it’s like they don’t even notice.

Wanda: I can’t even imagine.

Mother Nature: The noxious gases. My precious ozone layer…

Wanda: Well, what’s something we can do to show our gratitude?

Mother Nature: I can think of something that unifies both of our lines of work Wanda. Ever since you’ve been yacking my ear off about solar panels, I’ve been paying close attention. You’re right, they do alleviate some of my burdens. An average residential solar system can prevent hundreds of tons of noxious emissions. As a gift, it’s like one of those chore coupon booklets you made for your mom as a kid—it saves you money too!

Wanda: That’s what I’ve been trying to tell them! It’s a win-win.

Mother Nature: Now tell them to sort out their trash from their recycling and we’ll be set for Earth Day too. Mama will be happy.

Wanda: Alright, I’ll tell ‘em! I owe you one.

MotherNature

Solar Power Around the World

As one of the Tristate’s leading solar panel installers, we’re experts in how solar functions in the region. We’re passionate about solar power in the Tristate, but we also love keeping up with how solar power is making a big impact all around the world. Here are a few of our favorite solar innovations:

The Largest Solar Farm in the World: This is a title that is often short-lived, as more and more massive solar farms are built each year. Currently, the honor of world’s largest solar farm belongs to Longyangxia Dam Solar Park in China. This solar farm covers 10 square miles of land and helps push China forth as leader in renewable energy. This solar panel behemoth might be massive, but the world is scattered with giant solar plants, so it might not be too long before another steals the spotlight.

Building Facades: Solar panels lining the exterior of your building might sound strange, but one school in Copenhagen has created a stylized system that meets half their energy needs. The glass facades used also allow for a more flexible solution to some of Europe’s renewable energy needs and the new technology will allow old houses and buildings to become more energy-neutral. Preserving historic buildings and cutting energy costs? Yes, please.

Solar Power Inventions: The world of solar isn’t just limited to buildings; there are plenty of amazing products that are powered by solar. We’re loving this wireless solar keyboard, this solar power bank for charging your phone, and these solar power bricks for adding some light to your backyard at night. The industry is constantly churning out new innovations for the world of solar, and we just love seeing people get creative.

It’s fun to check out what’s going on around the world with solar, and it’s even more exciting to explore how solar power can work for you. The world is turning to solar to reduce energy costs; contact our team to find out how solar power can do the same for you!

Dear Wanda: How Does Solar Work in the Midwest?

DearWanda

Dear Wanda,
Solar panels sound great, but seriously…are people in Ohio really on board? Will all my neighbors think I’m a little crazy if I start installing panels?
Thanks,
Skeptical Midwesterner

Dear Skeptical Midwesterner,

I get where you’re coming from; the Midwest isn’t exactly known for consistent sunshine and warmth! If you’re curious about investing in panels that save you thousands of dollars, trust me, you’re not crazy. You’re financially savvy! And as your Wealth Warrior, I commend your efforts.

But it can be hard to picture solar panels on your roof when no one you know has made that choice. Fear not! The Midwest is packed full of solar enthusiasts, and is home to some of the best renewable energy resources in the world.

Still concerned about how the Midwest weather affects our potential for solar? With an average of 4.2 to 4.7 peak hours of sun per day, we’re rivaling Florida (which gets 5). Yep, the Buckeye State gets almost as much sun as the Sunshine State. Is your mind blown yet?

As someone who considers herself a trend setter (I was wearing sun-printed skirts before anyone else), I encourage you to take the facts and blaze a solar trail that your neighbors, family and friends can follow, especially once they find out how much money you’re saving!

Shine on, my fellow Midwesterner!
Wanda, Your Wealth Warrior

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Solar Power in Cincy

When most people think about solar, their minds probably don’t think Ohio. The Midwest is notorious for its temperamental weather, and Ohio is no exception. Think 40 degrees one day and 75 the next. Many people often assume that since we live in an area where winter is harsh, we can’t reap the rewards of solar panels.WandaSidebarTemplate

Luckily for you (and your wallet), Cincinnati and the Tristate area still get an average of between 4.2 and 4.7 peak hours of sun per day on an annual basis. Just to put that in perspective, Florida gets an average of 5 peak hours and California ranges from 5 to 5.7 hours per day. We give the Sunshine State a run for its money and its potential for solar power.

Plenty of folks in the area are already saving money with solar. The University of Cincinnati used our team of solar experts to install the first panels on their campus. Cryogenic Equipment and Services, headquartered in Cincinnati, worked with us to install a system of 474 panels on their facility. And of course, hundreds of residents have also chosen to save thousands of dollars and install residential panels through Icon Solar.

We’re inspired by the steps our community has taken to welcome solar power to the region. Convinced that the good ol’ Tristate can power your panels? Call us today for a free onsite quote!

Save Money Without Installing an Eyesore

We love solar power, but let’s be honest, solar panels can have a reputation for being bulky rooftop monstrosities. So even though solar panels save folks thousands of dollars, people are quick to disregard them because of how they think the panels will look. Thankfully, not all solar systems are created equal, and the industry is filled with a variety of manufacturers and equipment types. Our team at Icon Solar has a few tricks up our sleeve that will make your solar panels work with the aesthetic of your home.

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Black panels vs blue cell panels. When you picture solar panels, odds are you picture the bulky blue cells with silver frames that stick out like a sore thumb. We install attractive black frames, black back sheets and black cells, which blend better with your roof and give a clean and polished appearance.

Custom installation. No matter your roof size or configuration, we work with you to create a unique solar panel system that fits your house and can saves you thousands. Our team is flexible and dedicated to making your installation process seamless and hassle free.

Additional roof protection. While most people might assume that solar panels would damage a roof, solar panels actually prolong the life of your roof. Panels protect your roof from the ravages of heat, light and weather. Panels can also keep your house cooler in the summer by absorbing the sunlight that would normally hit your roof. To top it all off, our black mounting hardware, including our racking and clamps, preserves the aesthetic of your home.

Need more information about how solar installation can save you thousands and work for your home? Check out our FAQ page or contact our team! And be sure to take a look at our project portfolio to see how our panels have worked for other residents.

How to Navigate a Home Improvement Show

Spring has sprung, which means home improvement shows are in full swing. The prospect of perusing rows of vendors and booths is exciting, but can also be overwhelming. We’re popping up at shows around the Tristate area all year, and have some helpful tips to share on how to make the most out of home improvement shows.WandaSidebarTemplate

Keep savings in sight. Home shows are filled with gorgeous new additions to better your home, but consider the ROI on potential purchases. Granite countertops and a backyard fountain are tempting, but their value depreciates the minute they’re installed. Solar panels are the home improvement option that pay for themselves; they add value to your home while lowering the cost of your electric bills. Upping your home value and saving thousands of dollars? Yes, please.

Get organized. Most booths or tables will have business cards, brochures, flyers and giveaways; keep your thoughts organized by taking a binder and notepad to save what you pick up and write down your thoughts. Home improvement shows can seem overwhelming, but keeping track of what you find will help you remember which vendors you liked and which ones you want to take out of the running.

Check certifications. Ask a potential vendor if they have any certifications, which can help differentiate which businesses are a cut above the rest. Our team is made up of NABCEP-certified installers and are Green Umbrella, Green Energy Ohio and US Green Building Council members, keeping us at the forefront of new solar technology and developments. We’re devoted to making sure our team is qualified to exceed expectations, and certifications are a sure sign that a business cares about their customers and their service.

Ask questions! Home improvements are a big investment, and you want to be sure your potential vendor is knowledgeable and personable. If you have solar specifically on your mind, here are the questions you should consider asking a solar panel company (and how our team would answer them).

We’ve loved meeting new folks at home improvement shows; check out our schedule of upcoming events to meet our team of solar experts and find out more about how solar can improve your home!