Inverters: What you should know

Solar Inverters

Inverters are not always the first thing that comes to mind when considering adding solar to a home or business. But an inverter chosen for a PV system is equally as important as the panels. Below we will go over the advancements in inverter technology, and explain why NM Solar Group uses the best solar inverters on the market.

Differences in Solar Inverters

String inverters were the original system to change DC energy (raw energy) to AC energy (the energy that prominently runs through your home).   The problem with string inverters is they are like Christmas lights. They can only produce power to the lowest current, so any shading on a panel or a lower producing panel effects the entire system.

Then came the micro inverter.   Leading the charge was enphase, AP systems, and behind that was Solar bridge micros.   They change DC energy to AC right at the panel.  Allowing clients to see panel for panel monitoring and allowing installers to use many different planes for installs.
Solar Edge came in after and changed the game.   Please reference their stock price compared to enphase or the owner of Solar Bridge Sunpower.   Solar Edge took the best of both worlds.    Parallel or each panel independently operates and they send DC energy down to a central inverter making it cheaper and easier to add a battery.   Each optimizer still allows you to monitor the panels individually but it also helps each panel to produce the optimal amount.   The largest transfer or lose of energy happens when DC gets changed to AC.   Doing that that inside of a garage or on a shaded side of your house is much more efficient and better for the electronics than doing it on the hot roof.
At NM Solar Group we chose to use Solar Edge with optimizers because we believe in doing what's best for our clients, and making sure their systems run properly as long as possible.
Source:
SolarEdge

 

Choosing the Right Solar Company

How to Know you are Choosing the Right Solar Company

When making the decision to install solar on your home or business finding the right company can be confusing. There are a few things that are important to consider while choosing the best company for your project.

Local Company

Choosing a local company ensures the company has a vested interest in the area. National companies will come into town sweeping away all the local companies but aren't able to offer long-term service to the client. They often times have huge expenditures that they pass along to anyone who purchases from them. Local companies like NM Solar Group know the environment they are serving. They will know the native roofs in the area and can know the best practices to get you the best performing system for your situation. 

Honest and Forthwith 

 

When you call the company, does a human answer the phone? Can you ask for the owner's phone number, and call them at any time? These are qualities you should expect from a Solar Company. When asking questions, be sure you feel validated and understood. Solar is a complicated process, and there are no bad questions. Find a company who is happy to answer the phone when you call, a company who knows your name and one who is happy to answer all of your questions.

A solar company needs not have a complicated contract. Be sure you understand the contract before signing. If you are working with a company with a lot of small print, stop and ask if this is in your best interest or the best interest of the company. 

Highly Rated

Ask around. Find a company that has installed solar on homes around you. If you know someone with solar, ask who they went with and what their experience was. Look online for reviews, and even ask a company for references. The solar company you chose should be proud to be a customer service driven company. This is a company who will be working with you for an extended period of time, be sure they treat their clients well and are good at solving problems that can arise. 

We always appreciate reviews from our past clients. If you are someone who has worked with us let us know how we did. Click here.

NM Solar Group prides itself on being a customer first company, we follow all best practices. Consider working with us if you are in the New Mexico area. Click Here for a free estimate.

Answers to Common Questions About Going Solar

In New Mexico we find ourselves over indulging on power quite often. Weather it's 100º outside in August, and we crave a cool home at 72º (or 68º). Or when we are in mid January, and we just can't seem to get enough light from the day. I know I turn all of my lights on when we get home at 4:30pm on a cold dark winter evening, it just seems to warm my space and create a more comfortable place to be. 

Despite all efforts to keep lights off while not in the room, or turn the thermostat up while away for the day, our electricity bill always seems to be at a steady incline year to year. Budgets can be tough to stick to, especially if you become surprised by a $400 electric bill one month or more. 

Even for families who are energy conscious, PNM increases rates year after year. It's difficult to predict what energy costs will be year after year. Ryan, owner of NM Solar Group decided to start NM  Solar Group to help find a solution to this problem. 

 

Answers to Common Questions About Solar in New Mexico

1. What are my options for going solar?

Purchase a system with cash or financing – Owning a system used to be very expensive, but within the last few years prices have dropped significantly making the purchase very obtainable. The homeowner will choose a company that suits their needs (we hope you chose us!). Once you contact us we will help you decide the best financial decision for your family. There are many zero down payment loan options. The company you chose will examine your electric bill, look to be sure your roof is ideal for solar then decide what size system will best to cover your electricity needs, while saving you money each month. Loans are typically paid off within 10-15 years, and after that time your electricity should be 100% covered by solar power. Systems sold with NM Solar Group have a 25-year guarantee, so your loan will be paid in full long before your guarantee is over. This option will increase the value of your home making it an excellent option even if you don't plan to stay in your home for many years to come. 

Pros:
You own your system.
Increase Value to your home.
Electricity costs around 15% less than costs without solar system, then 100% less when loan is paid off. 
Your system can be moved to new home
Federal Tax Incentives will reimburse you for 30% of the cost
Net Metering 

Cons:
Not everyone can qualify for lending. (We can approve most credit scores at 650 or higher)

Lease a solar system (also called “third-party owned solar”) – With this option, a solar company will own the solar system on your roof. The solar company who is leasing your system purchases the equipment, installs on your roof, and handles monitoring and maintenance through the life of the agreement. You, the homeowner, pay a slightly lower rate for the electricity produced. 

Pros:
You don't need to qualify for financing
Lower electricity costs 

Con: 
You will be locked in a contract with a Solar Leasing Company
This option does not increase the value of your home, in fact, it can be difficult to sell a home with a leased system because the new homeowner will have to agree to take over the agreement.
You will always pay for electricity

2. How much will it cost to go solar? 

Leased

Upfront: No upfront cost.

Monthly: You will still have your monthly electricity bill, but it will be slightly lower than what you pay to PNM. The monthly electricity bill will vary depending on PNM or any other utility company you that supplies your electricity

Owned

Upfront: If you chose to finance your system through NM Solar Group, there are no up front costs. We offer zero down payment options for financing. Some people chose to pay cash, in which case you can pay the full amount in cash, or do a partial payment of cash then finance the rest. 

Monthly: PNM charges a $7 fee every month no matter if you use their utilities or not, so you will pay your utility's fee. The company you chose will evaluate the usage of power for each household throughout an entire year, then evaluate the size of system you will need. Many months of the year your solar panels should more than cover your power usage, during these months you will earn credits through your utility company called net metering. During the high months of the year, you can use the credits you stored up with net metering, so you don't need to pay any extra during these months. It may take a year of having solar to store up enough credits to completely cover power costs. The homeowner will then just pay the monthly payment of the loan they have for their solar system. 

3. How much will I save with going solar? 

Leased- The amount you will save depends on how much energy you generate for the electricity company. This is based on a factor of the utility company, roof slant and location, and many other factors. With this option your bill varies from month to month, and your electricity bill will never fully disappear. 

Owned- While making payments for your loan most people save around 15% on electricity costs each month. Once the system is paid off, your entire electricity cost should be covered by solar.

4. What happens if I make more energy then I use?

New Mexico offers net metering as an incentive to installing solar. A net meter will measure how much solar electricity your system produces, the excess is then put into the utility grid. Your net meter will spin backwards giving you energy credits. You use those credits when your system is not producing electricity including at night, or when you don't make enough for what you use. 

5. Where do the panels get installed?

The myth is that if you don't have a perfect south facing slanted roof you can't get solar. NM Solar Group evaluates each home to find the location that will produce the most energy. We can do slanted mounts on flat roofs, we can do ground mounted systems and many other options. We wouldn't install a system on a home where it wouldn't be beneficial to the homeowners, but in many cases we can find a way to make solar work.

6. Will I be off-the-grid? 

Not usually. The only way to be off the grid is to purchase a battery system. When installing solar you will still be tied to your utility company.

More About NM Solar Group:

We are a full-service solar company with our customers’ best interest at heart. We don’t just offer a great product, but a complete range of services from consultation, design, to financing, then solar panel installation and aftercare. Once a customer, always a customer. We never stop working for you. Our professional team is on standby to provide design and installation advice and to help you get the most value out of our full-service commitment.

Click Here for your free, no pressure solar energy evaluation.

Expanding our services- Silver City, NM

Serving New Areas

It is extremely important to NM Solar Group to serve New Mexico with integrity and respect. We are a company who serves clients first and installs solar second. New Mexico is our home, and there isn't a place we would rather be.  We take our time, and really ask ourselves if we are making a positive difference whenever we begin business in a new part of our beautiful state. Then, when we begin business in a new town or city, we like to learn about the culture to best serve our clients. We are excited to begin a new project in Silver City, NM. We hope to help transition Silver City into a place where the households save money by using renewable resources. 


What we can do for Silver City, New Mexico

On a micro level, each family that decides to add solar to their home can save 15% or more on their electricity costs, while paying for the solar system. Once the P.V System is paid in full, 100% of electricity costs will be produced by the sun*. If solar is installed this year, the federal government will cover 30% of costs with an Income Tax Deduction. On top of countless other benefits to each person that decides to make the switch to renewable energy.

The town of Silver City is rich with national parks, forests, and wildlife. People travel from all over to boulder in City Rocks State Park or wander through the Gila National Forest. One of the missions of NM Solar Group is to keep New Mexico Enchanted. Silver City is a gem in our state, and we hope to keep it this way for many generations to come. When families make the decision to switch to renewable energy to power their homes it helps us to ensure this future for Silver City, and New Mexico as a whole. 


Our First Project in Silver City, New Mexico

We will be installing a 2.95kw System Size (10x panels)
SolarEdge Inverter + Optimizer for optimal efficiency of solar system
100% of electricity from clean solar
$35.5k savings over life of system
19.5% yearly ROI

Equivalent environmental savings as:
2,518 trees planted
20.45 vehicles off the road
228.29 barrels of oil not consumed
 
*Each PV System will produce different amounts of energy.

Effects Of Clouds On A Solar Panel

Solar panels hold a wealth of advantages, both for individuals and for the world at large. Economically, solar panels guarantee to decrease the expense of electrical power. Environmentally, photovoltaic panels can offer us cleaner power, sustainable power that will not need more damage to the environment. Solar energy can reach remote areas. It can carry education or urgently required medical info.

The results of clouds on a solar panel, though, might lessen those and other appealing benefits.

The impacts of clouds on a solar panel may make it far less efficient in certain parts of the world and at certain seasons.

Because of that, individuals who are considering solar panels for their housesare often heard to ask: will clouds impact my photovoltaic panels?

Will Clouds Affect My Solar Panels?

Clouds do impact photovoltaic panels. The quantity of power your photovoltaic panels can produce is directly dependent on the level of light they receive.

In full, bright sunshine, solar panels receive optimal levels of light. During those “peak” sunlight hours, your photovoltaic panels will produce power at their optimum capability.

If there is sufficient light to cast a shadow, in spite of the clouds, your solar panels need to operate at about half of their complete capacity. Eventually, with heavy cloud cover, solar panels will produce really little useful power.

The Good News!

The effects of clouds on a solar panel can be unexpectedly great. Incredibly, your solar panels will put out their supreme amount of peak power during cloudy weather!

As the sun moves into a hole between the clouds, your photovoltaic panels will see something wonderful. They will see complete direct sunlight “plus” reflected light from the clouds! They will drink in more energy than they could on a cloudless day!

The impacts of clouds on a solar panel might then produce peaks at or above 50 percent more than its direct-sun output!

Fulfilling the Challenge

There are methods to fulfill the cloud difficulty.

1. If you often have clouds in the afternoon, however, early mornings are clear, intend your solar panels somewhat towards the east.

2. Be sure you utilize a big sufficient battery system to maximize the amount of power saved for use when the clouds show up.solar-companies-in-albuquerque-nm-.jpg

3. When the sun reflects off the clouds, make sure your controller has plenty of headroom over the rated panel output power so that it can absorb the rises.

Those techniques and more are practiced in cloudy areas of the world where individuals have sprinted far ahead of the United States in their use of photovoltaic panel energy.

Impacts of Clouds on a Solar Panel in Germany

Germany is typically a very cloudy country. Read about the environment of Germany, and you will discover that it is “temperate and marine; cool, cloudy, damp winter seasons and summers; periodic warm mountain (foehn) wind” inning accordance with Nation Master’s website.

In spite of its cloudy climate, though, Germany is by far the world’s most significant user of photovoltaic panels. You could sell back to the main power grid all of the excess electrical power produced by your solar panels if you lived in Germany. Why would I even care in such a cloudy environment? If clouds affect my solar panels excessive, I would not fret about offering back to the primary grid.

In 2006, Germany opened the largest solar park on the planet. Germany likewise has Europe’s the majority of contemporary solar housing task– a solar town of 50 solar houses that produce more energy than they utilize!

Will clouds impact my photovoltaic panels? Even if I resided in Germany, the impact would not suffice to forego solar power.

Suggestion: There are couple of locations that are so consistently cloudy that solar energy is out of the question. Improvements are being made constantly, and even solar panels little enough to fold into a brief-case can produce valuable amounts of power.

Ecologically, solar panels can give us cleaner power, sustainable power that will not require more damage to the environment. If there is sufficient light to cast a shadow, in spite of the clouds, your solar panels should run at about half of their full capability. Eventually, with heavy cloud cover, solar panels will produce very little helpful power.

As the sun moves into a hole in between the clouds, your solar panels will see something fantastic. If clouds affect my solar panels too much, I would not worry about offering back to the main grid.20170808_121153.jpg

Making the Investment in Solar

Invest in your Future

Considering which investments to make to ensure a comfortable lifestyle in the future can be difficult. Many investments are risky or only return a small percentage. Investing in solar is a guaranteed positive investment in your future. Wheather you're in your twenties, or in your nineties investing in solar is going to pay off. 

Solar Family

The Cost Of Solar Then vs. Now

When adding solar to a home was first introduced the costs were extremely high, making it unfeasible for most homeowners. If you researched adding solar to your home five years ago, you may have come to the conclusion that solar just isn't within your reach. I encourage you to get another estimate, you will be surprised to know that it's often the case that the cost of solar is lower than the cost of your electric bill. 

Increase the Value of Your Home

It's hard to dispute the benefits of adding solar to your home, solely based on the savings you'll have on your monthly electric cost. Though some will argue that they aren't sure how long they will be in their home. As more homes add solar, the real estate industry has gotten better at valuing a home with a PV system. Data has shown that homes with PV systems are selling for more money than without. In fact, homes are selling at a rate that almost completely makes up for the cost of the system installed on the home.  Home buyers are willing to pay more for a house with solar, knowing they will have lower electric bills, and won't have to go through the process of adding it themselves. 

NM Solar Group is passionate about the people we can help. Contact us to see if we can help you to make a positive investment in your future. 

 

 

 

Filing Your Solar Tax Credit

The Residential Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for the total cost of solar installation goes until 2019 at 30%. Each year after, it will decrease at a rate of 4% per year. So the ITC will be 26% in 2020 and 22% in 2021.  It is taken in the tax year that you complete your solar install. You will then file for the tax credit with your tax return before April the following year using the Form 5695.  This form has become simpler to file now than in previous years but still has some complications. The two main complications we have found:

This Tax Credit is a huge incentive and really helps the progression of solar.   

 

Of course, we don’t know your specific tax situation so please consult a Tax professional to identify exact details for your specific situation.   

Happy 2018!

Solar in the New Year

Our team at NM Solar Group hopes your new year is a bright one. We had such a great year in 2017 helping to change the way New Mexico residents receive energy. It excites us to know so many people are saving money every month on their energy bill. We hope we can help more people make this change in 2018. New Mexico is such a beautify state, we like to believe we're keeping it that way for many years to come. 
Click here to find out how you can lower your bills every month with solar.
 

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Recent Solar Project

We are proud to showcase a new solar project in Albuquerque. We focus on bringing the highest quality solar systems customized to each homeowner's individual needs.

NM Solar Group provides solar in Albuquerque as well as solar in Alamogordo so please don't hesitate to reach out to us at 505-415-6172 or Click Here to schedule a free consultation.

Solar ITC Trade Case

Since 2010, the cost for solar has dropped nearly 70%, providing hundreds of thousands of jobs in the US and affording many homeowners the opportunity to install solar on their homes. The solar industry has been a bright spot for economic and job growth while saving homeowners significantly on their home electric costs.

After filing for bankruptcy in April 2017, the Georgia-based solar manufacturer Suniva, Inc. filed a petition with the U.S. International Trade Commission that could have major implications for the US solar industry and drastically raise the cost for solar panels for many years to come.

Countless companies involved in the solar industry could be forced to close their businesses, solar systems would be too expensive for many home owners, and 88,000 jobs could be lost.

Suniva Trade Case

Suniva's petition claims cheap imports of solar cells and modules have made American-manufactured hardware uncompetitive. U.S. solar manufacturers “simply cannot survive” in a market where foreign imports “have unexpectedly exploded and prices have collapsed,” Suniva said in its petition. (Yale Environment 360)

They have asked the commission to impose import tariffs of 40 cents per watt on imported cells and a floor price of 78 cents per watt on modules. If implemented, those prices would make America the highest-priced solar country. (Green Tech Media)

In late September, the International Trade Commission determined there is a valid argument to Suniva's claims and the decision now rests on President Trump to decide on what, if any, actions are warranted. If he wishes, he can impose the tariffs for at least four years, with options that could extend to eight years in total. 

There is an irony in this case. Suniva is majority-owned by a Chinese company so their claim that cheap Chinese imports is questionable at best. The reality is there has been a tariff on Chinese solar panels for a number of years, though it is lower than the proposed tariff in this case.

This trade case would impose a tariff on importing solar cells and modules from all countries, not just China. This would effectively level the playing field among solar-producing countries and give a competitive advantage to Chinese companies.

Solar Trade Case Impact

According to Goldman Sachs and Bloomberg New Energy Finance, the proposed tariff and minimum pricing requirements would double the price of solar panels in the U.S. (SEIA)

The prospect of global tariffs “poses an existential threat to the broad solar industry and its 260,000 American jobs,” says Abigail Ross Hopper, the chief executive of the Solar Electric Industries Association, the industry’s largest trade organization. Most solar jobs in the United States are in sales and installation, not manufacturing, but tariffs could drive up the cost of solar and make it less competitive. (Yale Environment 360)

The American solar industry has largely moved to focus on more sophisticated parts of the value chain, including designing innovations such as trackers that orientate toward the sun. In fact, of the more than 260,000 solar jobs in the country today, less than 1,000 are in module manufacturing. To put that in context, the industry estimates that 88,000 American jobs would be lost if tariffs are introduced. (Forbes)

NM Solar Group's View On Trade Case

NM Solar Group is proud to offer high quality solar systems at affordable prices to our neighbors in New Mexico. Our employees are given an opportunity to make a good and meaningful living while making a positive difference in our community. The future of the solar industry rests on the outcome of this trade case and we strongly believe that any decision that hurts our industry is not the best option.

NM Solar Group is a strong supporter of American-made products, and we try to source as much American-made products as possible for our clients, but we believe this tariff would drive up the costs of solar for consumers to an unreasonable level and therefore make is less accessible.

With 88,000 jobs on the line from this case, it would have an unprecedented impact on the US economy that would not be offset by the slim benefits on the few US-based solar manufacturers. Further, it is reasonable to expect any import tariffs on solar would be met with export tariffs by impacted countries in other products, further raising costs for consumers and hurting the US economy.

President Trump will soon make the final determination on the future of solar in America and the fate of the many workers that will be impacted. He has expressed strong interest in supporting energy independence and job growth in America. The solar industry is an incredibly important part of the economy, a source of many high paying and reliable jobs, and one of the primary paths to sustainable energy independence.

If you feel strongly about supporting the solar industry in America, please reach out to your local congressional leaders to voice your stance on this issue. The president's decision will be made shortly and we must act now before it is too late.

It is worth emphasizing solar prices may be increasing significantly soon so many folks are wanting to lock in prices at the current low levels.

NM Solar Group provides solar in Albuquerque metro area as well as solar in Alamogordo and surrounding areas. If you would like to explore solar for your own home, please call NM Solar Group at 505-415-6172 or Click Here to schedule a free consultation.