About Solar

Yes, solar is actually less expensive than paying for conventional energy whether it is electric, gas or fuel for heating a home.

The average warranty on panels is 25 years. This means there will be a slight diminishing of the efficiency over time and that the panels will be around 85% efficient at the end of 25 years. A homeowner would just add a few more panels to make up for the loss.

Solar panels are a sealed system and there are no toxic emissions at all.

There are federal laws which allow any homeowner to install solar on their home, regardless of any association’s protective covenants. Only in a condo or townhouse association, where the roofs are shared by other owners, are rule that prohibit installing solar.

According to a 2017 study done by the National Association of Realtors, homes with solar increase the value of the home by almost the amount invested into the solar. Furthermore, homes with solar, the study concluded, are on the market less time than homes without solar.

An average 1500 sq ft home with enough solar to be carbon neutral will save about $190/month.

The federal government enacted a 30% tax credit more than 6 years ago to help encourage investment in alternative energy sources. This tax credit will drop to 26% in 2020, then to 22% in 2021 and to 10% after 2021.

Most solar panels will withstand hail storms with up to 1” hail stones. Generally, anything bigger than this, will be causing roof damage and other significant damage as well.

Yes, as long as it is to prepare for solar to be installed.

An average home that uses about 1000 kwh/month will save almost 13,000 pounds of CO2 from entering the atmosphere per year!

Absolutely NOT!! Never rent to own a solar system. Companies who do this are making tons of money at the homeowners’ expense!

There are many lenders who specialize in financing solar projects. Shop on-line to find the best terms. Also, most banks or credit unions, where you already do banking, will offer great terms for financing your solar.

It really depends on the length and terms of the loan but, it typically is not much more than you regular bill and, you will be free from a utility bill in less than 7 years. (Actually, less when considering the national rate of increase of 4.6%/year).

There is a fair amount of work involved with securing solar arrays to roofs and even more to secure them to tiles. It is highly recommended to replace the shingles or tiles, if they are more than 10 years old. You can use the 30% tax credit for the roof replacement and, with solar protecting the shingles and tiles, the new roof will outlast a roof without solar.

This is a very important question because many, many solar firms are less than scrupulous. Since many homeowners know very little about solar, they take advantage and over-charge, do inferior installations and, have little or no experience in solar panel installation. The JLH Sustainable Homes Co is working to vet a National system of qualified installers so that unsuspecting homeowners can be assured they are getting the best price and service from their solar company.

There are many do-it-yourself solar companies who encourage homeowners to buy from them and install themselves. Unless you have a lot of knowledge of: roof structures, electrical power supplies and have a good relationship with a electrician who can pull the right permits for you, we highly recommend not doing it yourself!!

You can but, remember, the qualified electrician makes some of his income from selling products so, when you cut some of the profits from his income, you likely will not get the best service or installation.

This is not a frequently asked question, actually, but, some basic knowledge of this can empower you to at least speak semi-intelligently about solar and how it works…It certainly would help “yours truly” to not have to listen to people misuse common electrical terms.

Basically, a Kilowatt is an instantaneous measure of power and it determines how “powerful” an electric system is. It is sort of like horsepower in a car. It determines what the instantaneous potential power is of the car. A kilowatt-hour (KWH) is basically how many kilowatts (KW) are produced and/or used in an hour, just like the car that can travel so many miles in an hour, it all depends on how much potential there is and how much the demand for that potential is. 

A solar home system that is, say a 10 KW system, means that it has the maximum potential to produce 10 KW in a given moment. If the sun is out at its maximum angle for electrical production, it would be capable of producing 10 KW in one hour, hence the term 10 KWH. Most systems will lose 20% of that power converting from DC to Ac current (more shop talk but, helpful for wowing your guests) so, at maximum capacity the system might be capable of producing 8 kw of power in an hour. However, there is no “perfect” one hour of sunlight gain so, the wizards of computer and analytic science have pre-calculated average solar hour gains by region, throughout the US.

So, an average 10 KW system in Southern Florida is likely to be able to generate about 45 average kwh per day of electricity, based on around 5.8 solar hours of sun per day. The prototype solar home for JLH Sustainable, located in Naples Florida, for example, has a 6.8 kilowatt system and generates an average of about 29 kwh of power per day. This means the home is net neutral if the homeowner uses 900 kwh/month or less

Again, this is not a frequent question but, should be because it explains about 15 other Frequently Asked Questions about how solar systems work. 

Basically almost all states in the US have laws which make utility companies offer “net metering”. This means that when your system, designed by experts to match your house monthly electric load with the average solar hour days, will over produce a predicted amount of electricity and, the utility company buys, or “credits”, the homeowner for this excess. Then, at night or during cloudy/rainy/snowy days the utility company gives you your credited energy against the usage you put on the grid. Sort of like a savings account that you use all month to pay you bills at the end of the month. 

Ultimately, if the system is properly engineered for your projected demand for power, your utility bill should be close to zero (most utility companies are allowed to charge a small amount for using their grid). At the end of a year, if there is an excess, the homeowner will get paid the difference. Don’t expect a big check because they are only required to pay you the equivalent of about .10 on the dollar. If your rate is .15/kwh and you have a surplus of 1000 kwh then you will get a check for $15.

NO!. Unfortunately solar power does not really work the way most people think. First, it gets converted from direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC) and then it is sent directly onto the utility companies’ grid. Your home is credited and, then you are sent power from the utility company to supply your instantaneous demands. It is quite difficult to explain but, trust me, you cannot just pump power from the solar system and expect that at any given moment you will have enough to run the appliances in your home. To be able to meet a varying demand for power there has to be a constantly “varying” supply. This could not happen say, when the sun is behind clouds or it is nighttime.

This is probably the trillion-dollar question…no, really…if we had a 100% guarantee that there is an advantage to having battery storage, in conjunction with your solar system, big utility companies would be bankrupt in about 5 years. Well, and, for that matter, big oil would likely be the next to suffer greatly, hence the term “trillion-dollar” question.

Yes, theoretically, battery storage would ultimately put an end to the need for nonrenewable energy as we know it today. This is because, with a properly engineered battery storage system, the power grid could be circumvented and there would be very little, if any, need to depend on the grid for power, even during a power outage.

Battery technology is almost 80% in line with the efficiencies and competitive costs of solar itself but, getting the power loads to be uninterrupted, night or day, with the proper matching of stored power, is still in theory. The JLH Sustainable Homes Co. is investing time and resources in the technology of AI to help make this a viable solution for total energy independence.

About IMP Steel Homes

IMP (Insulated Metal Panel) technology has been around for many years. It has primarily been used in building refrigerated buildings where whole warehouses needed to be kept at very low temperatures. With its’ unique combination of steel outer casing, high density foam center and steel inner casing, this type of assembly is 400% more efficient than conventional building systems of concrete block or stick built structures with fiberglass or foam panel insulation.

This is a very common question and based on years of use in the field, the fact is that by not letting moisture into the building to begin with, these structures remain very moisture and humidity free. With properly engineered HVAC systems, the homes are well ventilated with fresh, moisture free air and, will not allow moisture in when there is heavy rain and excess humidity outside.

An IMP structure is actually much healthier to live in than conventional homes. It is almost impossible to avoid some type of VOC’s or air pollutants with wood and concrete structures with fiberglass insulation. The IMP shell actually shields any harmful VOC’s from entering into the home because of its’ engineered steel casing between the insulation and the interior living environment. Also, these environments have been cleared by USDA for storing Federally inspected meat and produce in large warehouses for more than 20 years.

Because the IMP panels are engineered and fabricated in a controlled environment before being sent to the homesite, there are not as many color options as you might find at Home Depot. However, there are many textures, styles and varieties of ways these panels can be assembled, giving the homeowner many creative and modern choices.

Yes, the panels can be painted but, the warranty on the original finish will be voided because the factory engineered process, designed to last 25 years or more, is compromised. The quality of the paint and the painting company should be familiarized with the IMP paint process before painting because these are steel and there are specific repainting protocols for painting steel versus wood or stucco.

Just like the siding on your house or the stucco covering, damages happen and matching a repair requires a skilled professional, in order for the repair to not be noticeable. Yes, the technology has been around for over 20 years and there are ways to repair the IMP to blend in as if nothing happened.

Because the entire frame and envelope is specifically engineered to withstand the elements of every county (wind in Florida, snow in Maine) these structures will lower most homeowners’ insurance premiums. With a 25 year warranty on the entire structure, this will save a lot from insurance companies paying claims for damage from natural causes.