You don’t have to be an expert on solar panels to know that Illinois is not the optimal place to install a solar panel system on your home, right? Think about it; with all that winter, certainly, you’re wasting half the year on days when the temperature is hardly conducive to solar energy production. Wrong!
Actually, Illinois is a great place for a solar panel system
How can that make sense? Winter in Northern Illinois generally lasts from early to mid-November through March and into April. Approximately, five months out of each year, in these parts, is under the blanket of winter. What good is a solar panel system in the middle of winter?
If the temperature had anything to do with the production of solar energy, you would have a point thinking that Northern Illinois is not in the optimal hemisphere for production of solar energy. But, the temperature actually has nothing to do with it.
In the winter, there is less sunlight and sunlight is the crucial factor for producing solar energy. But, there is still enough sunlight to make solar panels viable in Northern Illinois – plenty of sunlight. Even on a cloudy day, solar panels are producing solar energy – have you ever gotten a sunburn on a cloudy day? It’s the same principle. Even on cloudy days, solar panels can capture solar energy.
Look at it this way: you could even install a solar panel system on the North Pole. Granted, during that long night, from Dec. 21 until early March, there is no sunlight and your solar panels will generally stand by idle waiting for the sun to come back. But, you’d make up for it in summer when daylight lasts almost the entire season.
In Northern Illinois, we don’t have a night that lasts for several months. Then again, we also don’t have a day that lasts almost an equal period. Instead, we have 365 days out of the year that a solar panel system can create solar energy, assuming it’s properly installed. And, if optimally installed, we’re talking about a solar panel system that will take a big bite out of your electric bill, if not eliminating your electric bill altogether.
Statistics show that the Midwest is virtually on par with southwestern cities in the average solar resources available. This makes Northern Illinois an excellent location for adding a solar panel system to your home or office.
Not just for proper installation but for savings, too
Folks in your McHenry neighborhood are amazed at your skill as a Do-It-Yourselfer. The fence you put up, the garage you built, the windows you installed. Clearly, you’re not an amateur. Now, you’ve got your eyes set on the roof of your house, but not to replace the roofing. Rather, you see it as rich in energy potential and you’re thinking of installing your own solar panel system. Don’t do it. Solar panel installation is not a project for DIYers.
There are good reasons not to go all DIY on a new solar panel system. The idea of installing a solar-energy system on your roof is sound. It’s a wonderful idea from which you’ll derive benefits for years to come. You have an opportunity to chop a big chunk out of your electric bill with clean, renewable energy from your personal ‘powerplant.’ But, DIY …?
Working on the roof always come with the risks of falling off. Though, as a DIYer, you’re not afraid of working at heights, it complicates matters when you’re performing a less familiar task, particularly when working with panels that could catch the wind and sail you off your McHenry roof.
There’s also the risk of doing damage to your home or the solar energy system. Anytime you put screws into your roof, you have to know what you’re doing so that moisture won’t follow through the next time it rains or when snow and ice start to melt. With unfamiliarity, it’s also a concern that you could damage the solar panel system during installation. That is potentially costly. And yet, there is still an even better reason to skip the DIY solar-panel-system installation.
There are big savings if you skip the DIY and let the professionals install your solar panel system
That just doesn’t make sense, does it? One of the best things about Do-It-Yourself projects is that you experience substantial savings in the process. It’s a wonderful reward of DIYers. But, this proven benefit is turned on its head when it comes to solar panel system installation.
This illogical quandary didn’t travel through a black hole to land with energy potential on your McHenry rooftop. Rather, it arrived there as a result of a legal meteor launched from the state capital in the form of the Future Energy Jobs Act.
By “Jobs” they don’t mean DIYers. The goal of the law is to increase Illinois’ dependence on renewable energy while, at the same time, promoting job growth.
For someone with a residential solar panel system that generates under 10-killowatts per hour, they’ll receive a check from the state for 15 years of anticipated State Renewable Energy Credits. The payment is a lump sum at the time that the system is energized.
For someone with a system that is larger than 10kw, they will receive four annual SREC payments that are based on average use for the preceding year to cover the 15-year anticipated energy production.
When you stack those substantial savings aside of the 30-percent Federal Tax Credit that is available with the installation of a solar panel system, the Return On Investment for your solar energy system is three to five years. After that, it’s all gravy, assuming you resist the urge to go DIY on your McHenry solar panel system.
How durable are solar panels? Technology is largely disposable these days. How long will you keep your cell phone? For one thing, in a year or two, it’s outdated. For another thing, by that time, it’s worn out. The operating system is comparatively ancient, the buttons are touchy and, sometimes, nonfunctional and the screen is, at best, a bit cloudy. Those solar panels on the roof are not like this.
How about your car. Yes, it should last more than two years, but at what cost? How much time will it spend in the auto repair shop receiving maintenance and repairs? But, in answer to the question, “How durable are solar panels?” there is some very basic maintenance required with the solar panels on your roof but, for the most part, they will sit up there quietly generating energy for your benefit and without complaint.
One reason solar panels match up so well to the question, “How durable are solar panels? is that they are durable. They don’t have much in the way of moving parts and when parts move, wear is inevitable. A car engine uses oil to mitigate the effects of its moving parts. It also relies on coolant to further help carry away the heat generated by friction. There’s a lot of friction and a lot of heat.
How durable are solar panels? The key is in the installation
The key with solar panels, however, is proper installation. If not done right, you may find that the mounting brackets are causing leakage – water will make its way through your home’s roof. If not installed properly, the solar panels could catch a strong wind and rip up your roof and damage the panels in the process. This is not a significant concern as long as the solar panels were installed the right way.
Proper installation of the solar panels takes into account factors that go beyond simply facing them in the best direction to catch the most rays of the sun. Proper installation also includes considering the surface where the panels will be mounted. It will consider trees and structures that could block the panels from the sun. And it will consider the sail effect. The sail effect is what can happen when the panels are installed in a way where the wind can get at them and turn them into sails.
All these factors considered solar panels will sit up there on your roof capturing energy for decades. There are solar panels on roofs that have been up there for 30 years or more. And those panels are were made with technology that is now three decades old. Newer designs will last even longer.
It is true that, over time, your solar panels may lose some of their efficiency. With the kind of lifespan, you can expect from your solar panels, they’ll be saving you money long after you’ve recouped the cost of the solar panels.