Energy Conservation and Management for Homes

We are about more than simply solar electric panels or hot water systems.

Southern View Energy takes the whole-home approach to every one of its solar site analysis.  That means if we find you could be saving 30%, 40% or even 50% on your heating & cooling expenses by addressing certain things in the home first, we can professionally conduct these improvements for you. We believe that lending this type of recommendation and guaranteeing that it is done right, in addition to our main solar expertise, is not only responsible but assures that the energy you eventually produce with a solar system of any type goes that much further! 

So, is your energy literally coming or going right through the roof? The majority of homes in the U.S. are under-insulated. Further advances in building envelope technology have lent us another very effective tool in beating back the summer heat, as well as retaining it in wintertime: radiant barriers. And lastly, a properly ventilated attic space is not just protecting the home beneath it but is also better able to shed heat and moisture away from its interior space and surfaces. All this makes for a “healthier” structure with regards to limiting or eliminating the potential for mold, mildew and allergen build-up in the space. 

Taking the Whole Home Approach costs less and pays big dividends

Want to finally become energy independent with 100% sun power? Southern View Energy can get you there!  And since we always take a whole home approach to sizing your energy needs, we first look to bring your total energy demand down. The result being that you may then need a much smaller solar PV electrical system to power your entire home. 
 
Here’s a great example of how addressing conservation first lowers your entire cost structure.  Assume this is a 10 year old, 2,400 square foot home of 4 full-time occupants, having the usual building code-minimum insulation, etc., and without making any conservation changes. It will need a system of this size to approach 100% of its electric demand:
 
Item Installed Cost Federal Tax Credit Federal Tax Credit $ Net Installed Cost –
After Tax Credit
Solar PV – 10 kW System $50,000 30% $15,000 $35,000

10kW is the maximum size allowed for a residential grid-tied PV system and will provide approximately 1,200 kWh of electricity on average per month, which is +20% of the national average for a home this size. However, if it is heating water with electric (or desires to convert from gas to electric to get entirely off all utilities) this system may not be sufficient to carry that entire load.  And there are other key factors, such as how much the utility pays for your “net production” (what the solar system makes in excess of the home’s need at the time it makes it, that is then “put up onto the grid”), versus how much they charge when you “take it back” from them at night (when the sun is down), you get the idea. Taking a “present power needs only” approach is like putting a large 8-cylinder engine into a lightweight, economy-sized vehicle…because every once in a while you want to go from 0-60 MPH in under 4 seconds! And while we as renewable energy advocates and solar professionals can appreciate that it may be cool to look up and see that 10kW-sized solar array, we’d never advise this approach as it’s not very practical.         
 
Now, here’s how taking the whole home approach actually lowers your entire installed cost.  Deploying these additional measures can typically result in a 40% drop in the total power needed --- and eliminates the hot water question entirely. This accomplishes a 100% energy-independent home, with a smaller solar PV electric system, and it costs less overall.   It includes:
 
Item Installed Cost Federal Tax Credit Federal Tax Credit $ Net Installed Cost –
After Tax Credit
Solar PV – 6 kW System $30,000 30% $9,000 $21,000
Solar Thermal H2O System $10,000 30% $3,000 $7,000
Solar Attic Fans (x2) $2,500 30% $750 $1,750
Increased Insulation & Radiant Barrier $3,000 10% $150* $2,850
Total Cost: $45,500   Net Cost: $32,600
      Savings: $2,400
        7%

* Federal 10% credit applies only to the cost of materials, not labor, and is typically 50% of total installed cost.

Please bear in mind that the above scenario is hypothetical and general, in that certain conditions must apply such as those we would review during a solar site assessment: Your present and near-future (planned) energy usage, the home’s sun exposure and area available for solar panels, the variable cost of the system (due to factors such as difficulty of installed location) itself, etc. Southern View Energy will gladly design and install nearly any system size that you want…but, as you can see it makes perfect sense to take the whole home approach first and it is the most practical way to accomplish a goal of achieving 100% energy independence. 
 
Southern View Energy Newsletter Would you like to see your utility bills practically disappear for the next 30 years, and for about the price of a decent mid-sized family car? The answer for many homeowners is simply, “Yes!” You can do it with energy conservation first, combined with something that’s been up there all the time --- free solar energy. Don’t forget that energy independence can just as easily be an incremental process: You don’t have to “do it all” immediately to still see very large returns on a personal renewable energy investment. See how close you can get to becoming “net zero” of the utilities --- contact us to learn more or call now to schedule your appointment!