Creative ways to use solar electricity and save money
StraightUp Solar works with homeowners to find creative and innovative ways for integrating solar energy.
Building a New Home?
Adding solar to your new build means your dream home’s designed for the future, including lower electric bills. We will provide technical recommendations so your new home is constructed “solar-ready.” This can increase your solar system’s production by up to 50% and save money on installation costs.
Preparing to Repair or Replace Your Roof?
We will professionally remove your solar array in the days just prior to your roofing project and carefully replace it once the new roof is in place… even if we weren’t the original installer.
We most frequently perform this service for roofs damaged by hail. Thankfully, hail almost never damages solar panels, but it can ‘do a number’ on the exposed roof around them.
When this occurs, shingle replacement for the entire roof is required. This roof repair and the solar ‘remove and replace’ are typically covered by homeowner’s insurance. We can work with you, your insurance company, or the roofer.
Preparing for Power Outages
For safety reasons, virtually all solar energy (or photovoltaic – solar PV) systems are designed to shut down when there is a power outage. The good news is there are easy and cost-effective solutions available to keep you comfortable while the ‘grid’ is down.
Many of our systems come standard with a dedicated solar-powered outlet that supplies limited backup power during sunlight hours while the grid is down. This means you can use your laptop, power a refrigerator, run fans, and charge small battery packs. Here’s a great video to show examples of how a system like this works.
But, what if you want to run more power-consuming or several appliances at once, or use electricity while the sun is down? In this case, the addition of a battery bank, charge controller, and electric subpanel are required. As of Jan 2018, the added cost typically starts at around $16,000 to backup about 15% of an average home’s usage.
Today, most systems are still installed without batteries to minimize cost and maximize savings.
Service or Support for systems built by other installers
- Full-system Inspection and Evaluation
- Diagnostics for Error Codes
Electric Vehicles and Solar
Having an electric vehicle and solar PV means your fuel is free and your mileage has zero impact on the environment. We predict gas-powered cars will become obsolete as energy-efficient and enviro-friendly electric cars find their way into more homes. StraightUp Solar can install the charger you’ll need to ‘fuel’ your car with the sun and dramatically reduce your mileage cost.
Going off the Grid
Are you building a new home where bringing in a power line will cost a significant amount or may not even be feasible? StraightUp Solar has experience designing and installing off-grid systems for just such circumstances. When you’re ready to start planning, the first step is to use our worksheet to create a comprehensive list of planned electrical appliances and expected usage of each.
The decision to go off-grid is considerably more involved than most people initially imagine. The design phase is exponentially more complex than that of a grid-tied system. Off-grid also involve battery banks and other specialized controllers which add considerable expense.
So, if your goal is to simply ‘dump’ your utility company, you’ll probably find going fully off-grid is not the answer. Learn more at this Home Power Magazine link.
Going Solar with Your Community
“Community Solar” is the newest edition to the family of solar PV options. Whether you organize a group that buys and installs for each of their homes in ‘bulk’, or you want to learn about buying one or two individual panels in a large community array, we’ve got you covered. We also specialize in the complicated funding often involved in solar for nonprofits such as houses of worship or community centers. Learn more here.
CertainTeed has a new solar shingle product that is not yet available in the Midwest. Tesla has introduced a new solar roof product, though it also is not yet available in the midwest. Solar shingles and roofs have a certain aesthetic appeal. However, it’s essential to know that with current technology, a solar shingle installation using the same roof space as a traditional solar array will produce significantly less electricity, and cost exponentially more.
DIY Solar Panel Installation
StraightUp Solar does not typically provide products or services for this. Beyond the system components, StraightUp Solar specializes in providing quality workmanship, code compliance, system and worker safety, and system design to maximize production relative to cost.
If you proceed on your own, you should start with an honest assessment of your technical capabilities and the amount of time you could devote to install such a project safely and to code. If you’d like to move forward, we recommend that you consider purchasing a design and electrical drawing from a NABCEP-certified* professional like those on our team. Lack of experience can lead to an unsafe system and sacrifice significant production.
* National Association of Board Certified Energy Professionals