Solar Panel Installers & Consultants - West Virginia - Maryland - Pennsylvania - Virginia

How Do I Know How Many Solar Panels Are Needed to Power My Home?

As more homeowners embrace renewable energy, solar power has become a popular option for generating electricity. Installing solar panels on your home is an excellent way to reduce your carbon footprint and save money on energy bills.

However, many homeowners aren’t sure how many solar panels they need to power their homes. Determining the right number of solar panels is essential to ensure you get the most out of your investment. Here, we discuss a few factors that can help you determine how many solar panels you need.

Step 1: Determine Your Household Energy Consumption

The first step to calculating the number of solar panels needed is understanding your household energy consumption. Review your utility bills for the last year to identify your average monthly kilowatt-hour (kWh) usage. This number will give you an idea of how much energy you need to generate through solar panels to sustain your current energy consumption.

Step 2: Consider Your Location and Sunlight Availability

The amount of sunlight your home receives is a critical factor in determining the effectiveness of solar panels. Areas with more sunlight will generate more electricity. Check solar irradiance maps to understand the solar potential in your region. It’s also important to consider any obstructions, such as trees or neighboring buildings, that could cast shadows on your panels and reduce their efficiency.

Step 3: Assess Your Roof

Residential solar panels are typically installed on rooftops, so it’s important to assess your roof’s suitability for solar. A professional solar contractor can conduct an inspection to evaluate factors such as roof orientation, tilt, and available space to determine the number of panels you can install.

Step 4: Evaluate the Solar Panel’s Efficiency

There are different types of solar panels with varying levels of efficiency in converting sunlight into electricity. Higher efficiency panels, such as monocrystalline, generate more electricity for the same surface area than polycrystalline. It’s important to consider the efficiency of the panels to calculate the number needed for your home’s energy usage.

Step 5: Calculate the Number of Panels

Based on your energy consumption, location, and panel efficiency, you can calculate the size of the solar panel system you need for your home.

One solar panel typically produces between 250 and 400 watts of electricity a day, which translates to about 1.5 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of energy. To estimate the number of panels needed, divide your average monthly kWh usage by the wattage of each panel. This will provide a rough estimate of the number of panels required to meet your energy needs.

Most homes need between 20 and 30 panels to produce enough electricity for their energy consumption.

Step 6: Talk to a Solar Professional

While the above calculations provide a starting point, it’s essential to consult with a professional solar installer to understand your home’s specific needs and evaluate your panel options.

These professionals have the expertise to conduct a comprehensive analysis of your energy consumption, location, roof suitability, and other factors to help you find the optimal number of panels for your specific situation. 

Take Advantage of Stored Solar Energy

Depending on your energy goals, you may want to consider an energy storage system, such as a battery, to store excess solar power. A battery stores excess energy that your panels produce during the day, so you can then use that energy at night or during power outages to optimize your energy usage. Your solar installer can discuss the pros and cons of a solar storage system with you during your consultation.

Get a Free Solar Consultation for Your Home

With the right number of solar panels, you can harness the power of the sun and enjoy the benefits of clean, renewable energy while reducing your electricity bills. Find out how many solar panels you need to power your home by scheduling a free consultation with Milestone Solar today!

How Companies Can Meet Their Green Initiatives and Lower Their Carbon Footprint by Installing Solar Power Systems

As the need for sustainable practices and environmental responsibility has become more important, companies are increasingly adopting green initiatives to reduce their carbon footprint. Installing solar power systems is one effective and popular solution for businesses to meet their environmental goals.

Solar power systems harness energy from the sun and convert it into electricity, providing a renewable and clean source of power. By integrating solar energy into their operations, companies can significantly reduce their reliance on fossil fuels and decrease greenhouse gas emissions.

Here, we explore how companies can meet their green initiatives and lower their carbon footprint through solar power installations.

Use a Renewable Energy Source

Solar is a renewable energy source. Unlike traditional sources of electricity, such as coal or natural gas, solar energy will never run out. By installing solar power systems, companies can reduce their dependence on finite fossil fuel resources and demonstrate their commitment to sustainable practices. 

Lower Energy Costs

Investing in solar power systems can also help companies lower their energy costs in the long run. While businesses will need to pay for the initial installation, the return on investment can be significant over time.

Sunlight is free, making the cost of generating solar energy lower than continuously relying on grid electricity. By generating their own electricity, companies can offset their electricity bills and potentially even sell excess power back to the grid.

Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels have a significant impact on the environment. Installing solar power systems allows companies to transition towards a cleaner energy source, reducing their carbon footprint significantly.

By switching to solar energy, businesses can positively contribute to environmental preservation, mitigating the harmful effects of greenhouse gas emissions on our planet and sustainably powering their operations.

Take Advantage of Tax Benefits

Federal and state governments typically provide various tax benefits and incentives to encourage businesses to adopt renewable energy solutions. These incentives can help offset the initial costs of installing solar power systems and make them more financially viable.

For example, many states offer a percentage of the total solar installation cost as a tax credit or a flat tax credit for commercial solar installations. By taking advantage of these incentives, companies can accelerate their transition towards sustainable practices and realize substantial cost savings.

Show Consumers You Care

Consumers today are becoming increasingly conscious of the environmental impact of the products and services they support. By embracing solar power systems, companies can enhance their brand image and reputation as environmentally responsible organizations.

A commitment to sustainability can attract eco-conscious customers, stakeholders, and potential investors who align with the company’s green initiatives, giving businesses that invest in solar more opportunities to grow.

Schedule a Solar Consultation With Us

As the world continues to move towards renewable energy, investing in solar power systems not only aligns with environmental goals but also ensures long-term sustainability and success for companies in the ever-evolving business landscape.

Curious about how solar can help your company meet its green initiatives and lower its carbon footprint? Find out by scheduling a free consultation for commercial solar with Milestone Solar today!

Is a Solar Power System With Battery Backup Right for My Needs?

Solar power has gained significant attention as the world increasingly looks for sustainable energy solutions. In recent years, solar power systems with battery backups have become an attractive option for homeowners and businesses to avoid blackouts and harness reliable power.

These systems not only allow you to generate electricity from the sun but also store excess energy in batteries for later use. However, before investing in a solar power system with battery backup, it’s essential to evaluate whether it’s the right fit for your needs.

So, is a solar power system with battery backup right for you? Let’s find out.

Get Dependable Electricity During Outages

One of the key benefits of a solar power system with battery backup is its ability to provide electricity during grid power outages.

When a blackout occurs, the battery storage system kicks in, offering a reliable source of power. This can be especially advantageous if you live in an area prone to storms or frequent power disruptions.

An uninterrupted power supply ensures that critical appliances, such as refrigerators or medical equipment, continue functioning even during an outage.

Maximize Your Solar-Generated Power

Solar power systems with battery backups can save you money on your energy bills. By harnessing the sun’s energy, you can reduce your reliance on the grid and avoid peak electricity rates.

Excess energy produced during the day is stored in the batteries and can be used at night or during periods of high demand. This allows you to maximize the usage of your property’s own solar-generated power and decrease your dependency on conventional energy sources.

Reduce Your Solar Energy Waste and Reliance on the Grid

Having battery backup for your solar system allows you to store excess energy during the day, which reduces wasted solar power during peak hours and lowers your reliance on the grid at night when the panels aren’t actively generating energy.

Using stored solar energy from batteries allows you to maximize the efficiency and cost savings of your solar system and further contributes to the reduction of greenhouse gases. Even if you have a current solar system, you can add battery backup to keep your power on even when the grid is unreliable.

Things to Consider When Deciding on Solar Battery Backup

There are a few things to consider when evaluating whether solar battery backup is right for your system:

  • The amount of sun your property gets. While solar panels can still produce electricity on cloudy days, regions with limited sunlight might not generate enough energy to fully charge the batteries. In such cases, you may need to rely on the grid as a backup power source. If working with a professional West Virginia solar installation company, they can calculate the amount of sun you get and what is optimal for your needs.
  • The cost of installing battery backups. Depending on the size of your home or business, the cost of purchasing solar panels and batteries can be significant. However, long-term savings and potential government incentives can offset the initial investment. 
  • The size of the battery. If you have a greater energy demand or anticipate using large appliances simultaneously, a larger battery capacity will be necessary. Conducting an energy audit and consulting with Pennsylvania or Virginia solar professionals will help ensure the system is right for your needs.

Let Milestone Solar Help You Find Your Best Solution

At Milestone Solar, we recommend battery backup systems to property owners in West VA, Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania who want to avoid power outages and keep their power on no matter what. Plus, with a backup battery, the system automatically switches over to stored energy, allowing you a seamless transition to keep your power. Let us help you find the right solution for your solar battery backup—contact us today!

10 ways to get through a summer blackout (and 1 way to avoid the need for them)

As we pointed out last week, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation is warning that an unprecedentedly big wave of summer blackouts is on the way.


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Unlike winter outages, summer blackouts also bring the risk of food spoilage and heat stroke or heat exhaustion.

Here are 10 things the Department of Energy and CNET suggest to help you and your family get through one:

  1. Have plenty of flashlights and batteries on hand. The DOE suggests a flashlight in every room. Plus plenty of spare batteries; even the longest lasting don’t hold a charge forever.
  2. Don’t use your phone flashlight. If the blackout goes on and on, you’ll need your phone charged to communicate for help.
  3. Keep candles and matches on hand, too. Unlike flashlights, candles may burn down, but they never run down. Once lit, don’t leave candles unattended or light them anywhere near a possible gas leak.
  4. You can safely light your house with LED lanterns with long-lasting batteries or solar lanterns. Check on how long those hold a charge, or else you’ll have to wait until the morning after the blackout to charge and use them.
  5. If you take medicines that need to stay cold, get ice packs and a cooler to put them in. During the blackout, open it only when you need to get your meds. Each time you open it – or your fridge or freezer – cold air gets out and warm air gets in.
  6. If your water comes from a well, keep bottled water on hand. The DOE suggests one gallon a day per person.
  7. Canned foods are nonperishable and don’t need cooking. Keep a few days’ supply on hand. And if you don’t need them during a blackout, you can always eat them later.
  8. Stock or buy your own first aid kit – and know how and when to use it.
  9. If your family’s not together at home when a blackout hits, have plans for how you’ll all communicate and where you’ll all meet if your home’s not an option and if communications went down when the power did.
  10. Make sure you know places you can head to if the heat becomes literally unbearable.

Of course, the best way to get through a blackout is to have your own emergency backup system – either a fossil-fuel-powered backup generator or a solar installation with battery storage.

Being solar installers, we naturally favor the latter – but there are solid, objective reasons for choosing them.

 Backup generators run on fuel that needs replenishing during longer blackouts. And if improperly installed, or installed too close to the windows of a building that people use, they can pose a serious risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Unlike backup generators, solar installations with battery backup work for you day in and day out, cutting your electric bills by as much as half, earning you money from selling electricity back to the power company, and substantially increasing your property value.

At the same time, they store up electric power for a summer or winter blackout. When the grid goes down, the batteries kick in, powering your lights, your well pump, your refrigerator and freezer, and other critical loads without even so much as a flicker. There’s no flammable fuel to worry about, and no threat whatsoever of carbon monoxide poisoning. Better yet, when the sun rises in the morning, they automatically “refuel” themselves. For free.

 To get truly dependable and long-lasting service from a solar battery storage system, though, there are two important things to look out for – quality of components and quality of installation.

Milestone has installed more battery backup systems than any other West Virginia solar installer. Based on feedback from distributors and manufacturers, we believe we’ve installed more solar/battery backup systems than anyone within 200 miles of our office (including parts of Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia). So we know how to do it right.

Components make as big a difference as installation. While some batteries can store electricity only overnight, the ones we install are good for more than three days’ worth, even if those days are cloudy. When it comes to solar panels, we’re the only West Virginia solar installer selected to be an Authorized Panasonic Installer. Panasonic and REC modules are arguably the world’s highest-performance, highest-efficiency solar panels, so you get more energy, more dependably. And because we’re Authorized Installers for both, you also get more inclusive warranty protection and up to five additional years of coverage.

If you’d like to learn more, please contact us for a free solar consultation. While you still have electricity to power your computer.

 

 

Get ready for a wave of summer blackouts

It used to be that winter was when people in West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia had to worry about power outages. That’s when the accumulated weight of snow and ice on the overhead power lines would break them.


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But now the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) is warning of the growing possibility of blackouts across vast areas of the country this summer.

One of the causes, NERC says, is a one-year, 196% increase in the price of natural gas, which fuels many of the nation’s power plants.

Another is a surge of hotter than expected summer heat waves, which add a double whammy: First, hotter temperatures make people turn up the air conditioning, draining more power from the electric grid. And second, they cause droughts, which lower the water supply available for hydroelectric power and for cooling gas-, coal-, and nuclear-fueled plants.

Combined, that can lead to what NERC’s annual summer assessment calls a “high risk of energy emergencies.” Over close to 30 years, “This is probably one of the grimmest pictures we’ve painted in a while,” said John Moura, NERC’s director of reliability assessment and performance.

If you’d like to protect your home or business from summer blackouts, there are two options to consider. One is a fossil-fuel-powered backup generator, and the other is a solar installation with battery backup.

Being solar installers, we naturally favor the latter – but not out of selfishness. Backup generators run on fuel that needs replenishing during longer blackouts. And if improperly installed, or installed too close to a building people use, they can pose a serious risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Unlike backup generators, solar installations with battery backup work for you day in and day out, cutting your electric bills by as much as half, earning you money from selling electricity back to the power company, and substantially increasing your property value.

At the same time, they store up electric power for a summer or winter blackout. When the grid goes down, the batteries kick in, powering your lights, your well pump, your refrigerator and freezer, and other critical loads without even so much as a flicker. There’s no flammable fuel to worry about, and no threat whatsoever of carbon monoxide poisoning. Better yet, when the sun rises in the morning, they automatically “refuel” themselves.

If you already have a solar installation, you can add battery storage to it. You’ll qualify for a 26% federal income tax credit. In Maryland, you’ll also get a state income tax credit just for adding battery backup.

Once you decide, though, make sure that:

  • You use batteries with lithium-iron-phosphate chemistry, which have a much better safety record than the lithium-manganese-cobalt oxide kind.
  • You choose batteries that can hold a charge for several days instead of just overnight.
  • The batteries aren’t too large for the other components. Not only will you be wasting money, but because the system won’t be powerful enough to fully charge those batteries, their lifespan will be curtailed.
  • The solar installers you choose really know what they’re doing. Some solar installations are play-and-play, but battery backup solar isn’t. They’re complex and involve high-voltage DC.

 To get truly dependable and long-lasting service from a solar battery storage system, though, there are two important things to look out for – quality of components and quality of installation.

Milestone has installed more battery backup systems than any other West Virginia solar installer. Based on feedback from distributors and manufacturers, we believe we’ve installed more solar/battery backup systems than anyone within 200 miles of our office (including parts of Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia). So we know how to do it right.

Components make as big a difference as installation. While some batteries can store electricity only overnight, the ones we install are good for more than three days’ worth, even if those days are cloudy. When it comes to solar panels, we’re the only West Virginia solar installer chosen to be an Authorized Panasonic Installer. Panasonic and REC modules are arguably the world’s highest-performance, highest-efficiency solar panels, so you get more energy, more dependably. And because we’re Authorized Installers for both, you also get more inclusive warranty protection and up to five additional years of coverage.

If you’d like to learn more, please contact us for a free solar consultation.Before there’s no electricity to power your computer.

One more reason choosing Milestone makes sense

Milestone Solar is honored to have been selected as an REC Certified Solar Professional installer.


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This certification is in addition to our selection as an Authorized Panasonic Solar Panel Installer (West Virginia’s only one) and as one of fewer than 100 solar installers in all of North America to have earned double NABCEP [North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners] certifications.

We’ve always believed that true economy in solar installations comes not from choosing the cheapest components, but the highest-quality, highest-performance ones. And that description certainly fits REC solar panels.

According to Clean Energy Reviews, REC is “one of the solar industry pioneers and a leading innovator of solar PV [photovoltaic] technology.”

In terms of efficiency and performance, their solar panels are ranked among the world’s top ten.

Solar Reviews calls REC solar panels “an excellent choice,” noting that “If you are looking for a panel that is built with quality in mind that will power your home for years to come, REC panels will deliver.”

While that’s the reason we’ve been recommending and installing REC panels for years, it’s only part of the reason REC named us as a Certified Solar Professional.

What REC calls Milestone’s regional solar expertise is one reason they selected us for this certification – but only one of them.

First, we underwent a thorough screening.

Next, we had to complete three courses of technical and onboarding training, pass a separate exam on each with a grade of 100%, and then complete in-person training with an REC regional manager.

Having earned REC’s certification, we can offer two important assurances that other solar installers – even those who install REC panels – can’t.

One is the assurance that we really know the product and know how to install it properly.

The second (but probably first in importance to home and business owners), is that only certified installers like Milestone can offer even stronger protection than REC’s already impressive standard warranty: 25 years of product coverage instead of REC’s standard 20, plus up to 25 years’ coverage for labor, which REC’s standard warranty doesn’t cover at all.

Residential or commercial solar is a big investment. It’s one that can pay dividends in the form of utility-bill savings, tax credits, and increased property value. So it makes good sense to protect that investment by choosing a solar installer with the certified knowhow to do the job right.