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Is Home Solar Right for You?

10 questions homeowners should consider before deciding to install a home solar energy system.

If you decide that a home solar energy system is a good option for you, make sure to do your due diligence to ensure that your investment is installed properly. Look for NABCEP certified professionals and research reviews of installation companies on review sites like SolarReviews and the BBB. DIY is an option for some homeowners, but not for all. Here are 10 primary considerations you should think about before signing a contract:

  1. Trees (shade) reduce solar output
    Solar panels need direct sunlight, so homes heavily shaded by trees are not good candidates. Although some homeowners opt to cut down trees to accommodate solar panels, homeowners should consider whether the cooling shade the trees provide outweighs the benefits of solar panels.In some cases in which a home is only partially shaded, the panels can be installed to avoid the shadows, or a few extra panels can be added to make up for the lost production. Micro-inverters can minimize the effect of shading.
  2. Is the home efficient?
    It makes little sense to add solar panels to a home that uses a lot of energy because of leaky air ducts, poor insulation, incandescent lighting, energy hog appliances. Often repairs and upgrades are less expensive and more cost-effective than adding solar.Once a home is energy-efficient it will require fewer solar panels to offset a significant portion of its energy needs.
  3. What is the condition of the roof?
    If the roof is near the end of its useful life, new shingles should be placed before or during the installation of solar panels.If the roof will need to be replaced in a few years, it can cost $2,000 or more to remove the solar panels to make way for that work. So, waiting to install the panels, or proceeding with the new shingles, is prudent.There is no problem installing solar on homes that have recently been reshingled, as solar equipment properly installed will not cause problems on a good roof. And once the solar panels are installed they actually protect the roof.
  4. Get multiple estimates
    This is solid advice whether buying new countertops, solar, or any other home improvement.Hearing how different companies would install the equipment, what they estimate in utility-cost savings, and what they offer in their warranties, can save homeowners thousands of dollars. But be sure to compare apples to apples, because not all solar equipment or warranty is the same. Upfront cost should not be the deciding factor, rather long-term value.Estimates from installation companies also will let consumers see whether the companies understand the homeowners’ needs. Installation companies should base the size of a rooftop system on how much electricity a particular family uses, not simply install the most solar panels as can fit on a roof. A custom solar solution is the best option of the homeowner, because not all solar is created equal, and one size does not fit all.
  5. Can your HOA stop you?
    Homeowners associations can restrict some visual aspects of solar installations, but they can’t prevent homeowners from installing panels altogether. We have had several customers who have succesfully challenged their HOA’s and now have solar on their roof.Many HOAs will allow Black SunPower solar panels as they find them the most aesthetically pleasing due to the sleek design of the solar panels and the racking system.
  6. To lease or purchase?
    Leases come with the benefit that another company owns and maintains the panels. The drawback is that customers will save less money over time making monthly lease payments. Solar leases can also create a complication when selling the home.Also, homeowners should carefully consider leases that escalate over time. Installation companies can often offer loans with little or no money down that mimic lease products. Comparing multiple offers can help homeowners find the best deal.
  7. Will the home be sold soon?
    Leased panels don’t add value to a home resale, because they are not part of the home. Anyone buying that home will have to qualify to take over the lease, or the family selling the home could have to pay a penalty to end the lease prematurely.Some home buyers are looking for homes that have solar and those homes therefor sell more quickly. Panels that are owned add some value to the resale. But It’s not a straight calculation. We have found that most real estate agents in the midwest do not have the experience to advise an accurate dollar amount for the solar. A recent customer sold their home for a substantial amount more than the real estate agent originally suggested due to the value of solar.If a homeowner paid $18,000 for solar, those panels don’t necessarily add $18,000 to the resale. The panels add value in proportion to the amount of money they are expected to save on utilities through the remainder of their warranty.For example, if there are 15 years left on the warranty and the panels save $80 a month in electricity, the system could add $14,000 to a home appraisal.
  8. Understand the rate plans
    The vast majority of people who install solar are still connected to the utility grid. That means they still rely on a traditional electric company to provide power at night and when their panels aren’t making enough electricity to serve all the home’s appliances.How an electric company charges customers makes a huge difference in how much they can save with solar. Some utilities are “Solar Friendly” and offer incentives for customers to go solar, others are not friendly and add punitive charges.Companies installing solar on homes should understand utility rate plans and help homeowners choose the appropriate plan from their utility based on how much power the solar panels will generate and how much electricity homeowners use.For example, some utilities have created a “demand rate” structure that sets one portion of the bill based on the highest use of electricity during the month. (similar to commercial rate structures) Even if customers generate a lot of their electricity themselves with solar panels, they can pay a high bill if they set high demand during certain hours of the month. Solar customers should use a monitoring system to monitor the instantaneous demand of their home, allowing them to avoid setting a high demand fee for the month. Load controllers prevent air conditioning, electric water heater and other large devices like pool pumps from running concurrently, limiting demand fees for customers.
  9. Understand that rates can change
    Utilities across the nation have increased their rates continuously over the last 10 years, and will continue to increase rates. But those pending increase in charges are not worth rushing a purchase without reviewing multiple bids.  Many homeowners are fed up and want to “cut the cord” by using batteries and going off-grid. However batteries are still somewhat expensive and going off-grid is truly a lifestyle change.

    Utilities have also changed the rates on solar customers even after they have installed their systems. If a utility decides to add new fees for solar customers, it could affect the savings in the future.  However, if a homeowner decides to wait to see if utility rates stabilize they could miss out on the Federal Tax credits.
  10. Federal tax credits still available
    Finally, consumers should understand the federal investment tax credit for solar. Homeowners can apply the federal tax credit to their personal income taxes, reducing their taxes.The credit today is 30 percent of the cost of the solar equipment.It is scheduled to decline over time. After 2019, the investment tax credit steps down to 26 percent for projects that begin construction in 2020, and 22 percent for projects that begin in 2021, the Solar Energy Industries Association reports.After 2021, the residential credit will drop to zero.

If you think solar is right for you please contact Good Energy Solutions for a free, no obligation quote. Learn more about Good Energy Solutions.

 

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Good Energy Solutions Building

Good Things are Happenin’ at Good Energy Solutions

Good Energy Solutions has Experienced Growth, Recognition, and Continued Progress Since 2014

Good Energy Solutions Voted Best of LawrenceThe employees at Good Energy Solutions have been working hard  since this article was first released in 2014 providing home owners and business owners quality service and knowledgable expertise. Most recently, we were awarded Top 3 in the Electrical Services category in “Best of Lawrence 2018”. Our Electrical Services division has grown to over 8 employees and our electricians serve areas in and around Lawrence, Topeka, and Kansas City.  Press Release

 

 

We Have Experienced Employee Growth in Our Renewable Energy and Solar Division. Continued Education of Employees Offers You Piece of Mind That You’re Working With Experts.

Good Energy Solutions now employs 12 in the Solar Division. Of those 12 employees, 4 are NABCEP® PV Installation Professionals including David Vera, Michael Lee, Justin Browning, and Kevin Good. And 1 NABCEP® Certified PV Technical Sales Professional, Andy Rondon. NABCEP® Certification is the ultimate validation of experience and knowledge in the growing solar industry. It’s important to note that the NABCEP® certification belongs to the person that earned the certification, not to the company that employs the person. Good Energy Solutions encourages our employees to take the test for their personal knowledge and benefit. We are fortunate that they choose to continue to work with Good Energy Solutions. Read More

25 Under 25 AwardGood Energy Solutions, “25 Under 25 Award” Winner

In February of 2018 we received the 25 Under 25 Award® from Thinking Bigger Business Media. The Kansas City based award recognized Good Energy Solutions as one of best small businesses in Kansas City. Out of 1,400 nominations, 25 businesses with fewer than 25 employees were selected to receive the award. Each winner demonstrates financial strength, the ability to overcome adversity and challenges, a commitment to the community and a powerful company vision.

“Winning the 25 Under 25 Award is a great honor. In fact, just to be nominated was a big deal for us. It tells our customers and our employees that we are on the right track “ said Kevin Good, Owner of Good Energy Solutions. Press Release

 

Good Energy Solutions, SunPower Elite Dealer and SunPower Commercial Dealer in Kansas and Missouri

In January of 2018 we were elevated to “SunPower Elite Dealer” status by SunPower Corp. (NASDAQ: SPWR), the leading solar technology and global energy services provider based in Silicon Valley, CA. Elite Dealers earn their status by achieving a 90 percent or greater customer satisfaction score on past installations and successfully completing two advanced certification courses.

“The high quality SunPower technology combined with Good Energy Solution’s reputation for excellent craftsmanship and customer service convinced the owner of Copper’s Carts, located in Hays, KS, to select Good Energy Solutions to install a 12.54kW SunPower system on the roof of Copper’s Carts last fall. As a result, Copper’s Carts is expected to save about $3,400 on its electricity bills over the next 12 months, with an expected lifetime savings of over $130,000” said, Kevin Good, owner of Good Energy Solutions. Press Release

Good Energy Solutions, SunPower Elite DealerGood Energy Solutions, SunPower Commercial Dealer

 

Good Energy Solutions Named a Top 500 Solar Contractor by Solar Power World 2015-2017

Good Energy Solutions has been ranked by Solar Power World, the solar industry’s leading business to business publication and source for technology, development and installation among the Top 500 Solar Contractors in the United States for 2015-2017″ Press Release

“We are really pleased to make the Top 500 list for the third year in a row, and proud to be helping to make the solar industry one of the fastest job-growing sectors in America,” said President, Kevin Good. “As our business continues to grow, we will keep focusing on providing customers with the best customer service and the highest quality products on the market.”

Top 500 Solar Contractors for 2018 should be released July 24, 2018.

Good Energy Solutions, Top 500 Solar Contractor 2017

 

Good Energy Solutions Earns 2016 Integrity Award from the Better Business Bureau

2016 Integrity Award Winner Good Energy SolutionsGood Energy Solutions received the 2016 Better Business Bureau Integrity Award. “We are flattered to receive this prestigious award from the Better Business Bureau”, stated Kevin Good, President of Good Energy Solutions, Inc. “This honor represents the high quality of our employees and the ideals that we built our company’s foundation upon.” Good Energy Solutions is a Solar and Renewable Energy installation company located in Lawrence, Kansas. We are “Energy With Integrity.”

 

At Good Energy Solutions we practice what we preach. After moving to our building located at 641 East 22nd Street in Lawrence, we changed all of our lighting to LEDs and installed a solar awning and solar car port. The solar panels on the carport now charge two Electric Vehicles that are owned by employees of Good Energy Solutions.

 

 

We’re Making Solar Affordable

Good Energy Solutions has been working hard to develop financing packages for both residential and commercial property owners. It is our goal to make solar accessible so that customers can reduce their energy bills and reduce their impact on the environment. Currently, we are able to finance solar projects for Commercial properties that costs less than owners pay for their utility bill. We are seeing all sorts of incentives happening in surrounding states, like Missouri, for both residential and commercial owners. Currently the 30% Federal Tax Credit is still in place until the end of 2019 for both residential and commercial properties.

 

The Solar Industry is Booming

The solar industry continues to thrive in the United States despite President Trumps Solar Tarriff.

“We see this as yet another speed bump in the road to the inevitable standardization of solar technologies for our country and humanity as a whole”, said Kevin Good, President and Owner of Good Energy Solutions. “The costs of fossil fuel energy sources will continue to rise, yet solar remains a viable alternative with little to no maintenance costs and abundant free fuel from the sun. Even with the slight increase in installed prices from this tariff, the prices are still leaps and bounds cheaper than even five years ago”. See Article

Now is the Time to Go Solar and Experience Energy Freedom

Contact a Good Energy Solutions Representative to get started going solar for $0 MONEY DOWN before the 30% Federal Tax Credit goes away. Start paying off your own solar energy system for less than you currently pay the utility!

 

Editors Note: This post was originally published December 5, 2014, and most recently updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness June 26, 2018.

 

Good Energy Solutions Building

 

Good Energy Solutions, Inc. has moved to it’s new location at 641 E. 22nd St., Lawrence, KS 66046.

In our new location, we will be able to showcase renewable energy products such as solar panels, LEDs, and energy storage systems. Please continue to watch for changes to our building as we continually add renewable energy systems and energy conservation products.

Our company continues to grow with the expansion of our electrical division to provide full electrical services to residential and commercial customers. JJ’s Electric of Lawrence, KS has teamed with Good Energy Solutions to provide quality electrical services by reliable expert Master and licensed electricians. Moving forward, all electrical services will fall under the name, Good Energy Solutions. In addition, we are adding staff including engineers and designers to support our solar and LED markets.

Our doors are open to educate consumers on systems and products that offer the best custom energy solutions for their home or business.  We want to be your full service energy partner. Give us a call at 1-800-554-9182 to make an appointment to tour our facility and meet with a Good Energy Solutions’ representative to find your custom energy solution.

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Another Good Energy Solutions Employee Earns NABCEP Certification

Congratulations to Andy Rondon on his NABCEP® Certification!

Andy Rondon NABCEP Certified PV Technical Sales Professional
Andy Rondon, Sales Manager/Technical Sales at Good Energy Solutions has earned the solar industry’s leading recognition of technical sales expertise from the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP®), and is now a NABCEP Certified PV Technical Sales ProfessionalTM

Receiving NABCEP’s PV Technical Sales Professional Certification is personally very satisfying,” said Rondon. “More important it means I can offer my customers the added confidence of knowing that their photovoltaic system performance estimates and sales proposals will be developed to the highest standards in the solar industry.
See Press Release

NABCEP® Certification is the ultimate validation of experience and knowledge in the growing solar industry. It’s important to note that the NABCEP  certification belongs to the person that earned the certification, not to the company that employs the person. Good Energy Solutions encourages our employees to take the test for their personal knowledge and benefit. We are fortunate that they choose to continue to work with Good Energy Solutions.

 

Good Energy Solutions is fortunate to employ 4 NABCEP PV Installation Professionals including David Vera, Michael Lee, Justin Browning, and Kevin Good. And 1 NABCEP Certified PV Technical Sales Professional, Andy Rondon.

Editors Note: This post was originally published Nov 26, 2014,  was revised June 15, 2017  and November 20, 2017 and most recently updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness May 25, 2018.

Congratulations to David Vera on his NABCEP Certification!

David Vera of Good Energy Solutions receives NABCEP certification
David Vera, Solar Installer at Good Energy Solutions has earned the solar industry’s leading recognition of installation expertise from the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP®), and is now a NABCEP Certified PV Installation ProfessionalTM.

NABCEP Certification is the ultimate validation of experience and knowledge in the growing solar industry. It’s important to note that the NABCEP PV Installation Professional certification belongs to the person that earned the certification, not to the company that employs the person. Good Energy Solutions encourages our employees to take the test for their personal knowledge and benefit and we are fortunate that they choose to continue to work with Good Energy Solutions.

“I’m really thrilled to have completed my NABCEP PV Professional accreditation,” said David Vera. “I see it not as the culmination of my solar development, but rather as an important step for me. It will allow me to continue to grow within solar, as well as represent the industry professionally,” Vera added.

See Press Release

Good Energy Solutions is fortunate to employ 4 NABCEP PV Installation Professionals including David Vera, Michael Lee, Justin Browning, and Kevin Good.

Editors Note: This post was originally published Nov 26, 2014,  was revised June 15, 2017 and most recently updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness November 30, 2017.

Congratulations to Mike Lee on his NABCEP Certification!

Mike Lee of Good Energy Solutions receives NABCEP certification
Michael Lee, Lead Solar Designer and Operations Manager of Good Energy Solutions has earned his NABCEP certification as a PV Installation Professional. 

“I’m grateful to everyone who helped me along my journey to get this far,” said Mike Lee. “The training and the examination aren’t easy, so I’m happy to have accomplished this goal. From here, I plan to keep learning and riding the Solar coaster as long as possible.” 

“One thing you can be assured of when hiring a NABCEP Certified PV Installation Professional is that your project won’t be their first,” said Richard Lawrence, Executive Director of NABCEP. “Anyone who makes the considerable effort required to earn NABCEP certification has documented their training and experience as part of the eligibility process. They have also made a very real commitment to upholding high standards of ethical and professional practice. I am delighted to welcome Michael Lee of Good Energy Solutions to the ranks of the industry’s leading solar professionals.”

See Press Release

Editors Note: This post was originally published Nov 26, 2014 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

What is a NABCEP Certification?

It is a “voluntary certification that provides a set of national standards by which PV Installation Professionals with skills and experience can distinguish themselves from their competition.” Simply, those that receive this certification are distinguished individuals in the solar industry that hold a level of outstanding competency in PV Installation.  The consumer can rest assured in knowing that their PV installation is done correctly because their installer has passed North America’s only renewable energy personnel certification. Accredited by the American National Standards Institute to the Internationally recognized ISO/IEC (International Organization for Standardization/International Electrotechnical Commission) 17024 standard. See the NABCEP Benefits Flyer for a quick visual to see how NABCEP Certifications help the solar customer and the solar industry.

How does a PV Installer become NABCEP Certified? Not easily, that’s why in the solar industry it’s considered prestigious. All candidates must:

  • have a minimum of 58 hours of advanced PV training; including advanced solar PV installation and design principles and practices. A minimum of forty(40) of the fifty eight (58) hours must cover advanced solar PV installation and design principles and practices addressed in the NABCEP PV Installer Job Task Analysis.
  • A maximum of eighteen (18) of the fifty-eight (58) prescribed hours may be obtained from non-accredited, non-certified sources such as courses covering building and electrical codes relevant to the installation of solar PV systems.
  • have an OSHA 10 hour construction industry card or equivalent,
  • have experience in the field acting as the person responsible for installing 3-5 PV systems. They must act in the role of contractor, lead installer, foreman, supervisor, or journeyman. Candidates must provide documentation of system information, permits and inspections for each project installed.
  • demonstrate that they posses the skills and knowledge that their peers and experts have deemed necessary to do the job well during a Job Task Analysis. The JTA is the core document of the NABCEP Solar PV Installation Certification.
  • Apply and be accepted to take the NABCEP exam, and pass.

Consumers who choose NABCEP Certified PV Installers are assured greater peace of mind because they can be confident that their installer has been trained, tested and has agreed to conform to a comprehensive set of demanding professional standards. NABCEP certified installers are required to install solar systems that meet the performance and reliability needs of customers in the United States and Canada by providing quality craftsmanship and complying with all applicable codes and standards. For more information please visit: www.nabcep.org

We are proud to have David, Mike, Justin and Kevin as a part of our team at Good Energy Solutions. Congratulations, well done!

southpark

Lawrence Earth Day Celebration

Lawrence Earth Day Logo
Lawrence Earth Day Celebration

“How long do Solar Panels last,” “What about hail,” and “What about batteries” were common questions at the Lawrence Earth Day Celebration on Saturday.

This post was originally posted on April 9th, 2015 and has been updated to share current information as of 2018.

We had a great time at the Earth Day Celebration on Saturday, April 21, 2018. We were happy to see Lawrence locals out and about celebrating the earth on a much-needed rainy day.

It was notable that many of the questions asked during the celebration regarding solar are popular questions that have been asked over the years. Questions include:

  1. Will solar panels survive hail? (see answer)
    In our experience over the last ten years, we have had a couple of solar panels that were affected by hail. Those panels were not manufactured by SunPower. The only SunPower panel we have installed that has been affected by a storm was during a micro-burst. The entire roof was blown off and an object flew into the panel, causing it to break. Home owners’ insurance covered the cost of the repair.
  2. Are batteries expensive? If I get batteries can I stop using my utility? (see answer)
    Batteries appear to still be too expensive for the average consumer. However, they are coming down in price and we are looking forward to the day when most consumers will see them as a viable solution. At this point in time, Good Energy Solutions offers batteries by two manufacturers other than Tesla’s PowerWall. The PowerWall is difficult to come by and some other manufacturers offer products that store more energy and last longer. If you are interested in learning more about the products we offer, please contact us. It’s also important to note living off-grid (stored solar energy) is a lifestyle that involves careful consumption of energy.Life is Limited With Batteries
  3. Is it sunny enough in Kansas for solar?
    According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Kansas is listed among the top states for solar energy.

Kansas Solar Resource

Other questions asked by solar shoppers in the past:

  1. How does solar work? (see answer)
    Answer includes myths and facts about solar panels, batteries, and wind.
  2. What do you think about Tesla Solar Shingles and the PowerWall? (see answer)
  3. What is the cost of solar? (see answer)

We had a great day at the 2018 Earth Day Celebration where visitors: 1) learned about responsible environmental policies, 2) became aware of an individual’s impact on the natural environment, and 3) learned actions each person can take to make a more sustainable and eco-friendly place to live.

The free celebration in the park featured live music, food, vendors, and children’s activities. Exhibits also included waste reduction, recycling, composting, alternative fuels and vehicles, energy conservation, land preservation, wildlife and habitat preservation, and more.

Prior to the event was the “Parade for Earth” which began at 11:00. The parade started at Buford Watson Park and marched to South Park along Massachusetts Street.

Good Energy Solutions has participated in the Lawrence Earth Day Celebration for the past 10 years. We have seen the number of participants and visitors grow significantly over the years, and we look forward to an even larger turnout for 2019. We are committed to educating the public about solar and renewable energy and appreciate the opportunity to do so at this event. It’s a great day to spend with the community. Please join us next year!

 

Micro Cracks Affect Solar Panel Performance

Micro cracks are small cracks in solar cells that are impossible to see with the naked eye but really impact the performance of your solar energy system and investment.   

Most solar cells are comprised of very thin silicon wafers, usually around 0.20mm thick. The wafers have some ability to flex, but simple pressure or stress can induce micro-cracks. Micro cracks can be caused by poor handling of the solar cells during assembly (usually through non automated systems). Some manufacturers test solar panels with Infra-Red scanning cameras that detect and isolate micro cracked cells during processing. Testing panels before leaving the factory or manufacturing plant reduces poor performance of modules out in the field, however micro-cracks can still occur during transport or installation.

To reduce the possibility of micro-cracks its important that panels are protected with quality packing and careful handling. In transit vibration as well as possible shock damage from improperly handled or dropped modules can create cracks. Newbies in the solar industry often unknowingly create micro-cracks by throwing boxes of gear on top of stacked panels or even balancing panels on their head as they walk towards a ladder. Standing or kneeling on panels during installation is also a contributor to micro-cracks.

Cheaper solar panels are even more susceptible to micro-cracks as manufacturers figure out ways to cut costs. Silicone wafers, protective glass, and aluminum frames get thinner and thinner to reduce material costs. SunPower’s module frames are 46mm or 1.8 inches black anodized (Class 1, the highest rating my AAMA, American Architectural Manufacturer’s Association) compared to some conventional modules with frames that range as low as 31mm.  Stronger frames help reduce stress from torsional loads such as wind that can damage the cells in conventional technology. Be sure to look at the solar panel manufacturers spec sheet to see frame specifications.

SunPower solar panels are made differently. Other manufacturers have recently started to make solar panels that look like SunPower’s because they are now putting the connectors on the back of the solar cell. Connectors on the back increase efficiency due to less shading on top of the cell, but the cells themselves are still just as susceptible to micro-cracks. SunPower Maxeon solar cells are inherently more robust than conventional cells in real-world conditions because of the integrated solid copper back.  The solid copper design ensures contact across the entire cell, keeps the solar cells in place, and actually strengthens the cell. If a micro-crack should occur, the cell is still in perfect contact with the copper that conducts the energy,  effectively designing the negative effects of micro cracks out of the module.  Cell strength combined with high-quality SunPower panel glass and frame makes SunPower cells virtually immune to micro-cracks in real world conditions.

 

SunPower Maxeon Cell vs Conventional and micro cracks

Good Energy Solutions is an Elite and Commercial Dealer of SunPower. Visit our website to learn more about the power of SunPower and read reviews from homeowners that are saving money on their energy costs. Contact Good Energy Solutions for a free consultation.

Solar Tariff is Only a Speed Bump

Solar Tariff is Only a Speed Bump

The decision regarding a Solar Tariff was finalized yesterday, Jan 22nd.

President Trump decided to impose the solar tariff on imported solar cells and modules. The 30% tariff pertains only to the solar cells and modules, so the increase in completely installed solar system prices will be effectively increased by 10% or less. You can read more about this decision in this message from the Solar Energy Industries Association:  

 “We see this as yet another speed bump in the road to the inevitable standardization of solar technologies for our country and humanity as a whole”, said Kevin Good, President and Owner of Good Energy Solutions. “The costs of fossil fuel energy sources will continue to rise, yet solar remains a viable alternative with little to no maintenance costs and abundant free fuel from the sun. Even with the slight increase in installed prices from this tariff, the prices are still leaps and bounds cheaper than even five years ago”.

Learn more going solar at your home or business with Good Energy Solutions.

10 Year Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for Good Energy Solutions, a Kansas Solar Installation Company

Kansas Solar Installation Company Celebrates 10 Years of Business

Good Energy Solutions, a Kansas solar and efficiencies company, celebrated 10 years of business with a ribbon cutting ceremony on December 14, 2017.

The Lawrence Chamber of Commerce facilitated the ceremony which included presentations from CEO Larry McElwain, Mayor Leslie Soden, and Owner of Kansas Solar Company Good Energy Solutions, Kevin Good.

“I think what is really important is that renewable energy, in my opinion, is the future of the workforce in the United States manufacturing…” said Soden. Kevin Good added: “We’re in a good place right now, and in the next 10 years, who knows what’s going to happen. We’re excited about it.”

During our 10 years of business we have seen the solar industry explode. What started out as an interest of mainly “tree huggers”, has now developed into an industry in which Solar is now a household name.  Although growth slowed in 2017, there was record market growth in 2016 of 95% as seen in this GreenTech Media Article.  “In its biggest year to date, the United States solar market nearly doubled its annual record, topping out at 14,626 megawatts of solar PV installed in 2016.” Research forecasts that “12.4 GWdc of new PV installations will come on-line in 2017, down 17% from a record-breaking 2016…Total installed U.S. solar PV capacity is expected to nearly triple over the next five years. By 2022, over 16 GW of solar PV capacity will be installed annually.”

However, Good Energy Solutions is not just a Kansas solar installation company. We also focus on reducing energy use through efficiencies so that the customer only buys the solar they actually need. We also take into consideration that future electrical needs, especially in the residential setting, will fluctuate. Energy use consumption can reduce when kids leave the nest, or increase if an Electrical Vehicle is purchased down the road. We have positioned ourselves with solar products that allow for easy expansion to fulfill an increased need.

Good Energy Solutions is able to offer SunPower, the most efficient Solar Panels on the market. Higher efficiency means you need less panels, and allows for more space on the roof if more panels should need to be added later. The use of quality products, like SunPower, means that we stand behind our products and workmanship. We develop long-term relationships with our customers as their energy partner. To help them with their current energy needs and future.

In the past ten years, the employees at Good Energy Solutions have worked diligently in Kansas, Missouri and the Central U.S. Region. We have experienced growth and have been awarded for our efforts in customer service, integrity, and business growth.  Awards include:

Good Energy Solutions is committed to our customers with long warranties and quality products. As technologies, like energy storage, improve we will continue to operate as our customer’s energy partner to determine the best way to continue to reduce future energy costs.  The future looks bright for Kansas Solar! Read more about Good Energy Solutions and our employees.

We will also hold a “Throw the Switch on Another 10 Years” celebration party for customers and the community on April 7th, 2018. See Press Release.

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SunPower's micro-inverters

Snow is not a problem for solar.

With winter coming, folks have been asking if snow is a problem for solar energy systems. No, not with micro-inverters. Also:

  • In our part of the country solar panels are installed at an angle and  snow slides right off.
  • Solar modules are pointed at the sun so snow melts fast.
  • In our area, there really aren’t that many snowy days.
  • Micro-inverters avoid losses if just one module is covered in snow.

“What is a micro-inverter?”

To start, an inverter is a device used in photovoltaics (solar) that converts direct current (DC) generated by solar modules to alternating current (AC). A micro-inverter is connected to a single module (panel) and focuses on that module’s individual energy production.

The other type of inverter is the conventional string-inverter. String-inverters are connected to multiple panels of a solar pv system and converts power from groups of panels in an array. A 25 module solar array could easily consist of just one inverter. The string-inverter is usually located at the ground level of a home, in the garage, or outside with the electrical panels.

The micro-inverter offers many benefits including:

  1. Maximized Production:  Because each panel is optimized individually, each panel is ensured maximum production. This means that one underperforming panel will not bring down the performance of the entire solar energy system as a whole. The performance of a solar panel could be affected by mother nature (shade created by a fallen leaf, snow, tree shading, or even bird droppings) With conventional string-inverters the entire solar energy system’s performance is affected by the shade on one solar panel… and if that panel is at the beginning of the string it will affect the performance of every panel there after.
  2. Longer Life Span: String-inverters, with the entire system running through them, are constantly hit with high power and high heat.  This takes a toll, which makes their lifespan and warranty significantly shorter (10-15 years) than that of micro-inverters.
  3. Easily Modified: You may want to add more solar panels to your solar energy system in the future, maybe to accommodate an electric car.  If you add a new panel or panels, with micro-inverters there is no need to restring your entire system. With string-inverters, you may need to add another inverter to accommodate the additional panels, or purchase a larger inverter for your system than you currently need when considering future options.
  4. Performance Monitoring: Micro-inverters often come with online performance monitoring systems that allow you to visually monitor the performance of every panel, and your system as a whole.  The ongoing monitoring of your system allows you to make tweaks to optimize it, and gives you the capacity to know when certain panels go out or are underperforming.
  5. Safer: In a string-inverter solar energy system setup, the solar panels are strung together in a series before the inverter.  This means that there is extremely high DC voltage running through the wiring, which can be extremely dangerous, and life threatening to the homeowner.  Micro-inverters eliminate this extremely high voltage current, which is safer and more efficient.
  6. Silent: Micro-inverters produce significantly less heat, so no active cooling system is needed. No fan equals no noise.
  7. Aesthetics: Micro-inverters completely eliminate the bulky inverter for a streamlined design that takes up less space.

Are you convinced that micro-inverters are the way to go? So are we. When searching for solar panels with attached micro-inverters remember to look for quality construction to protect your investment. SunPower factory installs their micro-inverters. Each micro-inverter is securely attached to the rail of their solar modules. A lower quality module with a micro-inverter attached to the back panel with tape can be prone to failure. In addition, if an inverter is not attached to the rail external wires may be needed for grounding. Contact Good Energy Solutions if you would like to learn more about a SunPower solar energy system for your home or business.

Pod cast about cold weather temperatures and commercial solar.

damaged inverter from Solar DIY

A Cautionary Tale About Solar DIY (Do It Yourself)

Every couple of weeks, Good Energy Solutions gets a phone call when a solar DIY project hits a snag.

Small projects are appropriate for do-it-yourselfers, such as Tiny Houses, RV’s, or other small off-grid systems. Grid-tied solar, battery back-up systems, and large off-grid systems should definitely be installed by professionals. While we respect that many people want to install their own PV systems (solar DIY), we advise caution whenever working with electricity.

Case in point. The phone rings and on the line is a DIY that is frustrated because they have installed their system and it just won’t turn on. “I”m not sure why, can you come out a take a look?” After the discussion regarding minimal cost to trouble shoot and/or fix, a NABCEP certified pv installer is sent out to access the job. What has been found:

  • A) MC4’s improperly connected or damaged

    Conventional PV modules connect with MC4 or Amphenol connectors. Both types of connector require specific tools to properly make up the connections. These tools are costly, and only work for MC4 or Amphenol connectors. MC4 and Amphenol extensions can be purchased online, but they won’t be the exact length needed unless custom ordered. These are common points of failure in hastily made Solar PV installations by untrained installers.

  • B) Improper racking

    Solar PV racking is expensive, especially when sold retail. There’s a reason for this; it’s specifically made for solar arrays and has no other purpose. Racking for PV modules is made of anodized aluminum, so it won’t corrode in the elements. It is made of the same material as the frames of the PV modules themselves. Projects done on the cheap often use strut, which is commercially available at most home improvement stores. Strut is inexpensive, and has many uses, racking for PV modules not being one of them. Because strut is made of galvanized steel, it will react negatively with the PV module frames and rust quickly. It will also fail to create a bond to the module frames, which will cause a ground-fault hazard.

  • C) Failure to meet code compliance

    We’ve received multiple complaints from local utilities and about PV systems installed by newcomers or homeowners that fail to meet local and national codes. Only someone with an understanding of these codes and industry best practices should be installing solar PV systems.

  • D) Improper wiring

    Close up of damage caused by improper connection. Solar DIY project
    Close up of damage caused by Improper connection.

    Perhaps the greatest hazard in PV installation is improperly wiring modules and inverters. Every inverter is manufactured to allow for specific voltages and amounts of current. Failing to properly wire the DC source circuit of a solar array to an inverter can damage the inverter, or worse, start a fire. Manufacturer’s recommendations for maximum voltage and current must be followed to maintain warranties and avoid harm to equipment, property, and life.

     

At Good Energy Solutions, we do not recommend that someone with minimal experience in electrical attempt to install a solar electric energy system after watching a couple of Solar DIY You Tube videos. Most professional solar installation companies have staff members who are NABCEP certified and have studied, trained, and passed the rigorous NABCEP Certification exam. And if you are working with a company that does not have NABCEP certified installers, we highly recommend you look at a different installer. The process to achieve NABCEP certification takes a minimum of 6 months to a year to achieve.

It may cost a little more to have a professional install your solar energy system, but in exchange you will have peace of mind. When you hire a professional you know that your solar energy system is installed properly guaranteeing 1) best return on investment, 2) secure warranties, 3) and most importantly, safety of you, your family, and your home.  Contact Good Energy Solutions.

SunPower Invisimount Solar Racking

Getting Bids? Be sure to ask about the Solar Racking.

Solar Racking, the equipment that holds the solar panels in place on your roof, is often overlooked when deciding which solar energy system or installation company to choose.

Understandably a lot of attention is given to the cost of solar panels, their efficiency, the warranty, and even the aesthetics when choosing a solar energy system and installer. The solar racking though, is a very important part of the system – after all, it’s what holds your investment in place!

Most solar energy systems are a collection of different pieces and parts produced by different companies that are put together by the installer. Each one of those pieces and parts comes with their own warranty.  Each warranty most likely comes with a different warranty expiration date. The solar installer may claim that the solar panels they install come with a 10-25 year warranty. (Read about warranty differences) Remember, that is the warranty is for the panels themselves. In addition to the solar panel, be sure to ask about the length of warranty for the inverter, and yes – the racking.  A common warranty in the industry for racking is 10 years. It’s a pretty important piece of the solar energy system especially if you have a roof with a steep pitch or live in an area with strong wind. Replacing the racking could be expensive when considering the cost of removing the solar panels, replacing existing racking and reinstalling the panels, especially if you are still paying for the initial system investment.

There is ONE company in the solar industry that creates a solar energy system with ONE warranty, SunPower. SunPower’s 25 Year Complete Confidence Warranty includes the solar panels, the inverter, and THE SOLAR RACKING. Why? Because SunPower manufactures all of the components of their system. The owner can expect clean configuration and design, consistent performance, and efficient integration. With SunPower you have piece of mind that your investment is not only secure on your roof but a secure investment for 25 years. To learn more about SunPower visit our webpage. or watch this video about SunPower Equinox.

How can SunPower cover their solar racking for 25 years when other companies only warranty for 10? SunPower designed their racking system to pair specifically with SunPower modules. That means the racking fits securely. Other manufacturers have designed their racking to adjust for panels made by different manufacturers with different dimensions. The InvisMount racking system from SunPower holds their panels securely in place with style by eliminating visible mounting hardware, rails and exterior hardware. The panels appear to “float” on the roof thanks to the hidden mid and end clamps and capped flush rails. The hardware has an adaptive design for secure installation on almost any roof type, including: shingle, flat or curved tile. Materials used include: stainless steel, black anodized aluminum, and black acetal copolymer. The InvisMount racking system can bare temperatures of -40° F to 194° F and max. loads of 3000 Pa uplift and 6000 Pa downforce.

Some racking manufacturers warranties claim different warranty expiration dates for different pieces and parts. For example: “20 years for aluminum products, and 10 years for all other products”

Interested in learning more about SunPower on your roof? Please contact us at Good Energy Solutions.