December 21 was the shortest day of the year and, though useful, not the optimal day for solar energy production. As the earth spins, the axis that runs between the poles was furthest at the northern extreme on that day. This makes December 21 the longest day of the year in the Southern hemisphere. But we live in the Northern hemisphere and our shorter days of winter are accompanied by cold temperatures, snow and ice.
The good news is that, from December 21 until June 21, the days are growing longer. Longer days occur as the earth’s axis comes around so the North pole is closer to the sun. As this happens, the weather around here will grow warmer. Summer will arrive and we will have survived another Northern Illinois winter as solar panels are prepared for higher production.
Longer days offer extra helpings of sunlight to feed solar panels
Solar panels collect the UV rays of the sun all year long. But, obviously, shorter days make for fewer UV rays. In translation, the approaching spring and summer promise more of the sun’s energy for solar panels to convert into electricity. That makes this an optimal time of year to have a solar array added to a home or office so that you’ll be ready as the longer days come along.
Through the warmer months of the year, solar panels are likely to absorb more UV rays than you need. That’s not a problem since the utility companies are required to use a tool called ‘Net-Metering’ as an electric savings account for customers who have solar energy systems.
The warmer months, therefore, aren’t just good for an abundance of UV rays providing energy production for use now. The warmer months, with longer days, are also good for building up electricity generation credits for the winter months when the days are shorter.
Doesn’t it seem like a shame to allow all those UV rays go to waste? You don’t have to capture the UV rays for your own uses. You can rely on utility companies to provide your electricity. They’ll pump electricity into the wires of your home day and night and with only occasional power disruptions.
Of course, the utility company will follow up the electricity they send with a monthly invoice. The sun, on the other hand, doesn’t bill us for electricity. The cost comes in setting up the equipment to capture those UV rays. That’s where the difference comes to play.
The utility company will send an invoice each month for the rest of your life. A solar energy system, used to capture the UV rays, only requires payments until the equipment is paid for. From that point forward, the UV rays are as free as sunlight.
With ‘net metering’ the utility company is even required to provide homeowners with solar energy systems with an electric savings account. You’ll receive credits contributed to the electric grid on bright sunny days and you can use those credits for the utility company’s electric on days and nights when the sun isn’t shining.
Another big advantage to capturing UV rays is that it’s pollution free. It also doesn’t create spent nuclear fuel we need to bury in mountains for a 159,200 years or however long it takes until they’re safe. The UV rays will come and it’s only a question of whether you want to catch them. You can almost think of solar energy panels as a modern rain barrel for energy.
A Website dedicated to exposing scams writes that solar scams are among ‘the biggest scams around’ this year. CBS News did a story July 30, 2018, that includes a section about solar energy scams. And they’re right. They are scam artists working the solar energy front to separate honest consumers from their money every day. In spite of the scam artists, solar energy is a great way to save money, cut the cord with energy companies and do something to protect and preserve the environment.
Unfortunately, when there is a good idea, and that idea is popular, people who want to break the rules and cheat their way to your hard-earned dollars come out of the woodwork. Those scammers see opportunity in the solar-energy market.
Some people are so eager to rush in and do something for the environment, while reaping the benefits of solar energy, that they aren’t sufficiently cautious with their money.
With solar energy, you can generate your own energy and reduce or eliminate the utility bills that show up, like clockwork, in your mailbox each month. And, there are government incentives and tax breaks that encourage consumers to take the plunge and go solar. But, that’s one way that the scam artists work on the good intentions of consumers.
Advertisements, often seen on social networks, will over-emphasize the incentives and tax breaks available to homeowners who have solar panels installed on their roofs. And when they come out to install the solar panels and hook up the solar energy system, with their focus on scamming consumers, the quality of their workmanship is often sadly lacking.
Protect yourself from scammers when shopping for solar energy products and installation
Like any purchase, the more you educate yourself, the better prepared you are to make a wise purchase and the less susceptible you are to scam artists. This is all the more important when making a major purchase, such as installing solar panels on your home.
There are strong emotional motivations for ‘going solar.’ But you don’t want your emotions to dominate your solar energy purchase. You want to take a good look at the company you hire to install your solar panels and connect your solar energy system. Are they an established company in your area? Do they have solid references – people you can talk to about their experiences with the solar energy contractor?
You want someone who can give you the story straight and without hype – someone who knows solar energy intricately. The right contactor will share the pros and the cons and will tell you up front what you can actually expect when you convert to solar energy.
A legitimate solar energy contractor knows that the benefits are great enough that solar energy will generally sell itself. The contractor doesn’t have to dazzle prospective buyers with nonsense. If solar energy isn’t the right fit for someone, it’s better that they find out and wait until it is right. There are more than enough people who will truly benefit from ‘going solar’ that truth is always the best approach.