Solar Basics

Great install, very knowledgable about all solar programs, hands on, very neat look on my house, overall perfect job. Love to see that PSEG bill every month. Oh wait I havent seen it since Green Sun installed my panels. PSEG has now paid both my gas and electric bill for the past three months because I have over producted so much energy. Easily and extra 200-300 dollars a month in my pocket. Thanks Green Sun!  - Sean P. in South Plainfield  |  Review Source: Google Places 

How Does Solar Work?

There are two primary types of solar available today: Solar Thermal and Photovoltaic (or solar electric). When most people mention "solar power," they are referring to the photovoltaic effect. This occurs when certain materials, such as semiconductors are struck by solar irradiation from the Sun. This radiation charges these materials' electrons into a higher energy state, which generates electricity.

Solar panel systems (or solar energy systems) use Photovoltaic (PV) cells to convert sunlight into Direct Current (DC) electricity. Solar cells are made from silicon are wired together in panels. A group of solar panels mounted on a frame is called a solar panel array. 

When the sun is shining, electricity travels from the panels through wires into a piece of equipment called an inverter. An inverter converts the DC electricity produced by the panels into the type of power your house uses (called Alternating Current, or AC). Once the electricity goes through the inverter, it then travels through wire into your home’s electrical panel.

Since solar systems are made up of individual modules and panels, so they can be designed to meet most electrical requirements, large and small. The size of the system is expressed in terms of kilowatts (kW) of power, and the electricity produced by a system is expressed in kilowatt hours (kWh) of energy. 

Systems are said to be “gridconnected” when they remain connected to the local electric utility. Gridconnected systems rely on their utility to provide power at night. But during the day, your solar panels may produce more power than you consume, feeding power back into the utility grid, supplying clean electricity to your community and spinning your meter backwards!  

How are Solar Panels Made?

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Is My House A Good Candidate For Solar?

Here are the three key ingredients that make a NJ home great for solar:

  1. A lack of shade
  2. Orientation of your roof
  3. Roofing material, shape and Size

let's take a look at each of these individually....

1. Lack Of Shade

Shade

If your house has an unshaded roof then you may be an ideal candidate for solar.  But, having a shady roof doesn’t have to end of your chances of going solar.  There are a few ways to overcome the challenges of shade. 

 

  • We implement systems with Power Optimizers or Micro Inverters.  This technology allows each panel to work independently, ensuring that each panel puts out as much electricity as it can. When one panel is shaded, its output goes down, but the rest of the system is unaffected.
  • Tree trimming can be a great solution to your problems. You’ll have to do it every couple of years, and stay vigilant for any stray branches that seek to harsh your solar mellow, but shade on solar panels really is that big of a problem.

2. Orientation Of Your Roof

Solar Orientation

In the northern hemisphere (where NJ is), it is ideal for solar panels to face south.  But if your house doesn’t have a large, unshaded south-facing roof, it's still okay.   East and West-facing roofs get less sun than those that face south, but it’s not as little as you may think.  According to the Concord Consortium, makers of Energy3D solar energy modeling software, a home with panels that face east or west would get about 80% of the electricity that a house with south-facing panels would.  Add in the use of Micro Inverters or Power Optimizers on a low pitched roof and percentage increases closer to 85 or 90%.  

3. Roofing Material, Shape and Size

Civil Engineering and Architecture. Unit 2 – Lesson 2.1 – Building Design and Construction. Roof Types. Shed. Gable. Hip. Gable with Dormer. Gable & Valley. Hip & Valley. Low-Slope. (Flat) Gambrel. Project Lead The Way, Inc. Copyright 2010.

Ideally, in New Jersey, you’ll have a rectangle-shaped roof (called a gable roof) with standing-seam metal or asphalt shingles.  Other materials such as tile increase the cost of the mounting systems.  Since Solar panels are rectangles, you can fit more panels on a rectangular roof. That’s not to say other roof shapes are bad, necessarily. Hip roofs can be great for solar panels, but you’ll have reduced area to install them.  Also, roofs with lots of dormers or valleys make it difficult to fit a nice amount of solar panels on the roof.   

Solar In New Jersey

New Jersey-2

New Jersey has an excellent financial environment for going solar. To make installing solar power more attractive, the federal government is providing a 30% tax credit for solar installation costs to homeowners. In addition, the New Jersey state legislature is doing its part by offering additional incentives known as New Jersey Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SRECs).Once we install your solar panels, you no longer have to worry about rising electricity prices for the portion of your electricity that comes from solar. As utility prices increase, you receive an even bigger benefit from making the switch to home solar power.

Your New Jersey home probably gets more sun than you think! Believe it or not, we get 50% more sunshine than Germany, the world leader in solar installations. Sunlight is free, so let us help you harness the sun’s full potential to save you money on electricity.

NJSolarIrradiation

New Jersey electricity rates have increased by about 56% in just 10 years! Solar is a great way to protect your family from volatile electricity prices and save thousands in energy costs over the lifetime of your home solar system.

NJResElecPrices

NJ Solar Panel Systems

Solar panels are currently priced very affordably in the market, and the cost can be lowered further by federal and state incentives. Your NJ solar panels will produce power on your roof for more than 25 years – so, choosing the right solar panel can increase your energy production and maximize your profits over the life of your NJ solar system.

When you install solar power for your home, you are investing in a future energy solution that should last for at least 25 years. Green Sun Energy Services will make sure you get the full lifetime benefit of this investment by only using high rated panels and more importantly EnPhase micro inveters, guaranteed to be efficient and protected against weather and damage.

 

NJ Solar Installers

It is imperative that when you install a NJ solar system, the process is done right the first time to avoid failures. Such failures can range from performance issues such as reduced power output to fire hazards, electrical hazards, leaks, or structural hazards. You may not notice the inadequacies in your system until the second or third year, by which time it might be too late to get have your installer repair the problem. Spending a little more on a quality company initially can save you thousands of dollars in repairs and maintenance over the duration of your solar systems' life.

Therefore, it is best to make your decision on which NJ solar installer you will choose based on more than just price. In fact, the price is merely one of over a dozen issues you should consider about your NJ solar installer before you sign a contract to install solar panels on your home.

Government Programs

For Solar

Aided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, providing an Investment Tax Credit equal to 30% of qualified expenditures for photovoltaic (solar) systems, and New Jersey’s Energy Master Plan, the Garden State has ranked number 2 in the Nation for solar installations. The Energy Master Plan requires all electric producers to reduce energy usage by 20% and produce 30% of their energy (4,400 MW) from renewable sources by 2020; of which 1/3 of the goal is targeted to come from solar. In other words, we will need to install solar on the equivalent of 10,000 houses a year to meet the solar goal.

Investment Tax Credit

Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit

According to the Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA), A tax credit is a dollar-for-dollar reduction in the income taxes that a person or company claiming the credit would otherwise pay the federal government. The ITC is based on the amount of investment in solar property.

A taxpayer may claim a credit for qualified expenditures for a system that serves a dwelling unit located in the United States that is owned and used as a residence by the taxpayer. Expenditures with respect to the equipment are treated as made when the installation is completed. If the installation is at a new home, the "placed in service" date is the date of occupancy by the homeowner. Expenditures include labor costs for on-site preparation, assembly or original system installation, and for piping or wiring to interconnect a system to the home. If the federal tax credit exceeds tax liability, the excess amount may be carried forward to the succeeding taxable year.

For Solar-electric property, A taxpayer may claim a credit of:

  • 30% for systems placed in service by 12/31/2019
  • 26% for systems placed in service after 12/31/2019 and before 01/01/2021
  • 22% for systems placed in service after 12/31/2020 and before 01/01/2022
  • There is no maximum credit for systems placed in service after 2008.
  • Systems must be placed in service on or after January 1, 2006, and on or before December 31, 2021.
  • The home served by the system does not have to be the taxpayer’s principal residence.

Business Energy Investment Tax Credit (ITC)

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 allows taxpayers eligible for the federal renewable electricity production tax credit (PTC)** to take the federal business energy investment tax credit (ITC) or to receive a grant from the U.S. Treasury Department instead of taking the PTC for new installations. The new law also allows taxpayers eligible for the business ITC to receive a grant from the U.S. Treasury Department instead of taking the business ITC for new installations. The grant is only available to systems where construction begins prior to December 31, 2011. The Treasury Department issued Notice 2009-52 in June 2009, giving limited guidance on how to take the federal business ITC instead of the federal renewable electricity production tax credit. The federal business energy investment tax credit available under 26 USC § 48 was expanded significantly by the Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008 (H.R. 1424), enacted in October 2008. This law extended the duration -- by eight years -- of the existing credits for solar energy, fuel cells and microturbines; increased the credit amount for fuel cells; established new credits for small wind-energy systems, geothermal heat pumps, and combined heat and power (CHP) systems; allowed utilities to use the credits; and allowed taxpayers to take the credit against the alternative minimum tax (AMT), subject to certain limitations. The credit was further expanded by The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, enacted in February 2009. The federal Business Energy Investment Tax Credit (ITC) has been amended a number of times, most recently in December 2015. The bullets below shows the value of the investment tax credit for each technology by year. The expiration date for solar technologies and wind is based on when construction begins. For all other technologies, the expiration date is based on when the system is placed in service (fully installed and being used for its intended purpose).

For Solar-electric property, A taxpayer may claim a credit of:

  • 30% for systems placed in service by 12/31/2019
  • 26% for systems placed in service after 12/31/2019 and before 01/01/2021
  • 22% for systems placed in service after 12/31/2020 and before 01/01/2022
  • 20% for systems placed in service after 12/31/2022

Eligible solar energy property includes equipment that uses solar energy to generate electricity, to heat or cool (or provide hot water for use in) a structure, or to provide solar process heat. Hybrid solar lighting systems, which use solar energy to illuminate the inside of a structure using fiber-optic distributed sunlight, are eligible. Passive solar systems and solar pool-heating systems are not eligible. The Consolidated Appropriations Act, signed in December 2015, extended the expiration date for PV and solar thermal technologies, and introduced a gradual step down in the credit value for these technologies. The credit for all other technologies will expire at the end of 2016.

New Jersey Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs)

New Jersey’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) requires electricity suppliers to secure a portion of their electricity from solar facilities connected to the local distribution grid in New Jersey. Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SRECs) represent the renewable attributes from your solar facility, bundled in minimum denominations of one megawatt hour of production. SRECs are designed to provide you with an economic incentive to investing in solar electric systems which improve our electric distribution grid. The SRECs program provides a means for solar certificates to be created on your behalf and sold to electric suppliers to meet their solar RPS requirement. All electric suppliers are required to use the SRECs program to show compliance with this part of the State’s Renewable Portfolio Standard.

EDC Solar Financing Incentive (ESFI)

To encourage participation in the EDC SREC-Based Financing Program, incentives will be available to those SRP projects which enter into a long term contract to sell SRECs to either JCP and L, ACE or RECO. PSEG solar loan projects, and any other bi-lateral contracts negotiated between SREC buyers and sellers which are not the result of participation in the EDC SREC auctions, are not eligible for participation in the ESFI.

New Jersey Solar Energy Sales Tax Exemption

New Jersey offers a full exemption from the state's sales tax for all solar energy equipment. This exemption is available to all taxpayers.

Property Tax Exemption for Renewable Energy Systems

In October 2008, New Jersey enacted legislation exempting renewable energy systems used to meet on-site electricity, heating, cooling, or general energy needs from local property taxes.

To learn more about the Federal and State Programs and Incentives, visit The Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency.

Primary Solar Service Areas

Monmouth CountyAberdeen | Allenhurst | Allentown | Asbury Park | Atlantic Highlands | Avon-by-the-Sea | Belford | Belmar | Bradley Beach | Brielle | Clarksburg | Cliffwood Beach | Colts Neck | Cream Ridge | Deal | East Freehold | Eatontown | Englishtown | Fair Haven | Farmingdale | Fort Monmouth | Freehold | Freewood Acres | Hazlet | Highlands | Holmdel | Hornerstown | Howell | Imlaystown | Keansburg | Keyport | Leonardo | Lincroft | Little Silver | Loch Arbour | Locust | Long Branch |Manalapan | Manasquan | Marlboro | Matawan | Middletown | Millhurst | Monmouth Beach | Navesink | Neptune | Neptune City | Oakhurst | Ocean Township | Oceanport | Port Monmouth | Red Bank | Robertsville | Roosevelt | Rumson | Sandy Hook | Sea Bright | Sea Girt | Shrewsbury | Smithburg | South Belmar | Southard | Spring Lake | Spring Lake Heights | Strathmore | Tinton Falls | Union Beach | Wall Township | Wanamassa | West Freehold | West Long Branch | Wickatunk

Ocean County – Barnegat Light | Barnegat Township | Bay Head | Bayville | Beach Haven | Beachwood | Berkeley Township | Brick Township | Dover Beaches | Eagleswood Township | Forked River | Harvey Cedars | Island Heights | Jackson Township | Lacey Township | Lanoka Harbor | Lakehurst | Lavallette | Little Egg Harbor Township | Long Beach Township | North Beach Haven | Manchester Township | Manahawkin | Mantoloking | Mystic Island | Ocean Gate | Ocean Township | Pine Beach | Plumsted Township | New Egypt | Point Pleasant | Point Pleasant Beach | Seaside Heights | Seaside Park | Ship Bottom | South Toms River | Stafford Township | Surf City | Toms River Township | Tuckerton | Waretown | Whiting

Middlesex County – Avenel | Barber | Brownville | Carteret | Chrome | Clearbrook Park | Colonia | Concordia | Cranbury | Crossmans | Dayton | Dunellen | East Brunswick | Edgebrook | Edison | Ernston | Fords | Gillespie | Heathcote | Helmetta | Highland Park | Iselin | Jamesburg | Kendall Park | Laurence Harbor | Lincoln Park | Madison Park | Melrose | Metuchen | Middlesex | Milltown | Monmouth Junction | Monroe Township | Morgan Heights | New Brunswick | Old Bridge | Perth Amboy | Piscataway | Plainsboro Center | Port Reading | Princeton Meadows | Raritan Gardens | Rossmoor | Sayre Woods | Sayreville | Sayreville Junction | Sewaren | Society Hill | South Amboy | South Plainfield | South River | Spotswood | West Carteret | Westons Mills | Woodbridge Township

Somerset County – Belle Mead | Bernardsville | Blackwells Mills | Blawenburg | Bound Brook |Bradley Gardens | Branchburg | Clyde | East Millstone | Far Hills | Finderne | Gladstone | Green Knoll | Griggstown | Harlingen | Hillsborough Kingston | Manville | Martinsville | Middlebush | Millstone | Mine Brook | North Plainfield | Peapack | Pleasant Plains | Raritan | Rocky Hill | Skillman | Somerset | Somerville | South Bound Brook | Ten Mile Run | Voorhees | Warren | Watchung | Weston | Zarephath

Mercer County – Ewing | Groveville | Hamilton Square | Hightstown | Hillcrest | Hopewell | Lawrenceville | Mercerville | Pennington | Princeton | Princeton Junction | Robbinsville | Trenton | Twin Rivers | White Horse | Yardville

Union County – Union | Elizabeth | Linden | Plainfield | Rahway | Summit | Westfield | Berkeley Heights | Clark | Cranford | Hillside | Scotch Plains | Springfield Township | Union Township | Winfield Township | Fanwood | Garwood | Kenilworth | Mountainside | New Providence | Roselle | Roselle Park