June 4, 2017
I do not talk to people about renewable energy all the time, but whenever I do I’m attentive to their perception of it. Considering all the conversations I have had, one phrase protrudes: “The future”. We tend to believe that renewable energy is the future. I understand that it is wicked cool that we are literally transforming something as ubiquitous and ordinary as light, wind, heat, or rushing water into energy as a commodity, but is it really the future? The technology exists now. The people with the knowledge, the factories churning out rugged and tested products, the logistical infrastructure, supply chains, and the raw materials…all of it exists now.
According to the World Bank 55% of electricity produced in Denmark is renewable, 49% in Ecuador, 22% in China, 62% in Canada….CANADA (in fact Canada can be 100% renewable by 2035 according to some estimates), and 64% in Ghana. These are not lofty goals to give people a warm fuzzy feeling, they are production levels from 2014. The reality is the future that we all seem to be imagining is here and all around us. Renewable energy is not the future, it is the present.
About 14% of America’s electricity is produced renewably. This is mostly because electricity demands are so high in America, but the world average right now is 22% and that of high income countries is 20%. Can we get there and even exceed the average? You bet. How do we get there? A good start is understanding that we ARE the Jetsons. The future is now, and we can only rise as high as our vision.
Lets aim high, get in gear, and win.
June 1, 2017
In this post we will be discussing how to get ahead with solar. Investing in a solar system is a great step, but what do you do after it is paid off? What you do with the profits that are generated every month is what will mark you as a winner. Most people do not think this far ahead. Below is a simple 1-2 punch that allows you to not only retain your momentum but grow it!
- Find out the annual dollar average of what your system is offsetting in your electricity bill. This number should be provided on your sales contract. You can also calculate it from your electricity bills.
- The number you looked up in step 1 is what your budget will have in surplus every month because of your system. Take that amount of money and put it somewhere where it is difficult to access quickly. You could put it into your retirement fund, stocks/bonds, etc, anything that tends to grow over the long run as long as you pick one and stick with it.
And that’s all there is to it! The most important thing to remember about getting ahead with solar is that you do not want to simply “eat” or consume your profits by living in excess. Behave as though the profits did not exist at all. This is not difficult to do but does require discipline. Mind over matter guys! 😉
March 30, 2017
Lets talk about cost estimation. Just like other investments in life, when you are ready to buy a solar system it is a good idea to estimate what it should cost you so that you have a general idea of what prices you should see on quotes presented by different companies in your area. In this post you will learn how to estimate the cost of your solar system in 3 simple steps. Here is how you do it:
1) Call your electricity provider and tell them that you want know your electricity demand over the past year. They may tell you directly over the phone or even provide you with your last 12 electricity bills. If they provide you with bills, all you have to do is add up your usage for all 12 months, so break out your calculator! Your bills will look something like the picture below. Circled is the usage for a single month.
2) Before we actually crunch the numbers based on your total, there are two numbers that you need to remember: 2500 & 2000. 2500 kWh is the amount of energy generated by 1 kW of solar. 1 kW of solar costs about $2000 to install.
3) Now time for more math! Multiply your annual energy usage by $2000/kW and divide that number by 2500 kWh/kw. For example if your total electricity usage was 15000 kWh you would enter the following into your calculator:
And you should get $12000.
So if by your estimates your system should cost $12000 but a company is quoting you $22000. Then you know that either they will design a diamond encrusted solar system for you (which by the way serves no purpose in meeting your energy needs) or there is some funny business going on. Either way, being informed about any industry is critical to making sound purchase decisions, and now you are equipped to do just that!
What will your solar system cost? You will be surprised at your number! Post as a comment!
March 13, 2017
Lets talk about service. How much maintenance do solar systems really need? Is this covered in my solar system purchase? Do I need to do anything?
When designed and installed well solar systems require very little service because they have very few moving parts. However, when service is required rest assured that there are plans that spring into effect. All major system components are covered by product and performance warranties.
A product warranty protects the products from physical defects or issues, unaffiliated with the system owner, that would affect the performance of the system. An example of a product warranty claim would be a product that was damaged during shipping to our facility. A performance warranty protects the performance of the product within acceptable parameters. An example of a performance warranty claim is a panel that although unshaded consistently under-performs. A workmanship warranty protects the installation and ensures that it was done properly and correctly.
The major components of Humium Energy solar systems are covered by 25 year warranty. For example, racking, panels, and inverters are protected by a 25 year product and performance warranty. These service products, combined with Humium’s workmanship warranty allows us to meet all of your service needs.
March 5, 2017
February 26, 2017
Lets talk about trees. Trees are great for providing ice cool shade from the sweltering summer heat, but for solar systems they can be a problem. Panels need sun light in order to work. Here is the great news. Removing trees to improve the production of your solar system is perfectly fine for two reasons:
- The carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that are sequestered because of even a small solar system is equivalent to dozens of trees. Take a look at these EPA comparisons to the 4200 kWh of energy that a 3 kW solar system would produce every year.Equivalencies
How many trees are in 2.8 acres of forest land? Probably a lot more than what you may have removed in order to install your solar system.
- For every tree that is removed to improve production of a solar system, Humium Energy will plant 2 new ones via our partnership with local environmental relief organizations. If a new tree is planted every time a tree is cut down, that means that trees are being simply relocated rather than cut down. At Humium we take environmental stewardship very seriously, and we understand that a healthy environment will require not only deployment of renewable energy systems but also more direct environment-affirming actions such as recycling and reforestation.
So remember that when going solar with Humium you are doing environmental good!
February 13, 2017
Hybrid vehicles have been popular for many years and electric vehicles are gaining popularity. Since fuel cost as well as reduced CO2 emissions are usually the motivating forces behind the purchase of these cars, it is important that we compare options to see where our money is most productively spent. Here are a few facts that may surprise you.
1. The average number of dollars burned to purchase fuel this year is $1962.
2. Average cost of car insurance was around $1060 year.
3. Maintenance costs add up to around $445 per year based on the average miles driven of about 11000 in North Carolina and the $.04 per mile maintenance cost of electric vehicles.
Lets say you already own a vehicle and are considering buying an additional vehicle that is electric to save money. Ignoring the cost of electricity to charge, one will save $1962 while spending $1852, which adds up to a net savings of $457 every year. This is a step in the right direction, but can you spend less and accomplish more? Yes. Here is the reality check. Unless you are a taxi driver your car is a liability rather than an asset, thus overall it is a drain on your wealth.
A solar system, on the other hand, is an asset that unlike a vehicle pays for itself within 7 to 10 years and works whether or not you need to get somewhere via automobile (Incentives for business owners can drop the pay off time even lower). The average price of a hybrid is $23000 according to CarsDirect. Most cars last about 15 years, but if $23000 is instead spent on a solar system, by year 15 the investment would have paid for itself and generated at least $4600 in profit. Most solar systems have lifetimes of more than 30 years so over its remaining 30 years more profits will be rolling in.
Lets look at things environmentally. A solar system that costs $23000 will be about 6 kW in power and can generate 7000 kWh annually. According to EPA Estimates, this is about equivalent to the following:
A solar system offsets greenhouse gases equivalent to one car. Here is the kicker. Even if you buy an electric car which will cost significantly more than $23000, cars rarely last more than 20 years. Solar systems have about a 30 year lifetime.
Our choice is between an expenditure that will be a liability while only offsetting one car in green house gas emissions vs another expenditure that will proceed to generate $22600 essentially risk-free while offsetting as many as 30 cars in greenhouse gas emissions. Solar systems are the better choice both economically and environmentally. Hybrid and electric cars are still cool though.
Whether you would rather spend on your assets than liabilities or you want to do the most environmental good, decide to go solar.
Your Power, Your Profit
January 7, 2017
In response to an old but interesting article on Transmission and Distribution World, here are 4 reasons why you should have solar panels on your roof.
1. Grid Parity
For the best solar energy companies, grid parity has been reached and even exceeded. For example, electricity rates in North Carolina are on average 10.9¢/kWh which is actually 8% below the national average. At Humium Energy a 5 kW solar system will cost you around $10000, but kWh for kWh how does that compare with the average utility rate considering that there are about 5 peak sun hours per day and most of North Carolina has sunshine for about half of the days in a year? Lets run some quick numbers:
Power produced by solar systems designed and installed by Humium Energy (8.8¢/kWh) is actually less expensive than grid power.
2. Better Deals
While it is true that changes are happening in the solar energy industry, one should keep in mind that it is the job of the company to package a great investment for the homeowner. For the best solar companies, regulation changes are a design problem for the solar company and not the homeowner. Any company that simply passes costs and uncertainty along to the customer is not doing enough of their homework. At Humium, we pride ourselves on the firmness of our products as investments for our customers. As we say, when done correctly energy is an investment.
3. The Power of Ownership
Some utility companies are now offering solar systems for lease to homeowners, but depreciation is precisely the reason why leasing a solar system is a bad idea. Most lease agreements for solar systems require agreement periods of 20 years as the writer complains, but this is not even main problem. The fundamental issue with solar leasing is that while the system production declines, you the customer will pay the exact same rate. It is for this reason that few people see wisdom in renting their car rather than owning it. You will have to pay the utility company to be connected to the grid plus for whatever little bit of power that you system could not produce and you will also have to then pay the solar company your “lease rate”. On top of all of this, because you do not own the system you do not qualify for any tax incentives. Essentially, leasing a solar system creates yet another utility company for the home owner to deal with. It is for this reason that at Humium we highly encourage those interested in solar to own their solar system.
4. Payment Options Available
Though the price for solar energy has reduced significantly the optimum balance has yet to be reached. Nevertheless solar energy is already less expensive than conventional electricity. This may seem to some to not be the case because of the sticker price of purchasing a solar system, however even a monthly utility bill is $50 adds up to $15000 over 25 years which more than purchases a solar system capable of offsetting that electricity demand. When you do not own a solar system for your home you are throwing money away. There are many people that do not have the money to purchase a system with cash, however there are many options available to allow them to still buy one and invest in their home while saving money.
January 4, 2017
If your roof looks something like this, you probably should have it replaced. While for the vast majority of people the roof on their home or business is in much better condition than this, it may still be a good idea to think about your roof before going solar. The roof is important to the solar system because it hosts the array. Systems are installed with the utmost care and attention but the installation process alone may seriously damage a roof that is in poor condition.
The lifetime of the average asphalt shingle roof is about 30 years which approximately matches the warrantied lifetime of a solar system. A general indication of the age of a roof is time elapsed after installation, however a roof with a significant amount of shading has a longer lifetime due to lower UV exposure. The best way to figure out whether or not you should replace your roof before installing a solar system is to simply have an expert assess the condition. This can involve anything from a formal visit by a company to allowing a friend licensed in roofing to look at your roof. A benefit of replacing your roof before installing your solar system is that it can then be included into the overall cost of the project and thus qualify for the federal and state tax incentives that are available as long as the roof has some energy saving qualities to it. Most of the time roof replacement will not be absolutely required but the roofer’s assessment provides assurance.
Once the system is installed, the array behaves like a shield protecting your roof from the elements such as UV rays, hail, or debris. In the summer, the shade that the array provides helps reduce the temperature of your home!
December 30, 2016
There are 206 solar companies in North Carolina. After the last post you may be wondering, “Why Humium?”. Besides us being the hottest thing in the industry there are three additional compelling reasons for you to go with us.
Most of our competition is directed by salesmen. We have sales engineers, and every one of them has experience in the solar industry in various levels and capacities from installation all the way to sales. For us, it makes for an interesting workplace. For you, it makes for a simpler and more genuine process. Our sales engineers prevent many miscommunication, design, and even installation issues by positioning that knowledge at the tip of the company process. Above all, engineers are obligated to uphold safety of the public, workers, and clients as well as uphold the financial interests of the client. Anything we sell must pay itself off in a timely manner. We are in your corner.
While most of our competition has paired themselves with a particular equipment manufacturer, Humium has chosen to remain flexible to take full advantage of the industry which is evolving technologically every day while prices are decreasing. We have access to all the information needed to produce the best solution for you.
At Humium we make it no secret that we are partisan in the environmental discussion. Our philosophy is simple. We believe that the state of the community depends on the individuals within it. Owning solar energy systems is good for the individual and the community both environmentally and economically. We also believe that if one wants people to do good things, the process must be made as simple and inexpensive as possible. It is with this philosophy as a guide that the company was built from the ground up.
This adds up to an agile company that offers you great opportunities to invest in a solar system!