• COUNCIL BLUFFS IOWA SOLAR PANEL FAQs

    1. Do Solar Panels Use More Energy to Manufacture Than They Actually Produce in Council Bluffs Iowa?

    Researchers Sally Benson and Michael Dale decided to investigate the claim that solar panels use more energy than they produce. They published their results in Environmental Science & Technology. You can view their work here, as well as another article from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) that backs up the same findings. What they found was that solar panels generate more energy than they use, and have been doing so since at least 2010. Researchers found that it takes on average 4 years for solar panels to break even on their energy debt. This short turn around on the break even on the energy debt is due to more efficient processing of raw materials, more efficient solar panels converting more sunlight to useable energy, and solar panel production techniques have vastly improved. When you consider the fact that solar panels are designed to last 20 to 25 years on average, you can see Council Bluffs solar panels allow for 20 years+ of completely clean energy for your home or business and a net positive impact on the environment.

     

    2. How Much Does It Cost to Maintain Solar Panels in Council Bluffs Iowa?

    Solar panels require very little maintenance, but that minimal maintenance consists of leaning and general inspections to make sure that everything is working properly. Since solar panels sit on your roof they can get dirty as leaves, pollen, twigs, dirt, snow, and other various debris can build up on them, and you may need to clean them a few times/year, but most of the time the rain will wash away debris. You can clean them yourself by purchasing a water-fed pole that allows you to wash your panels and gently scrub them off, or you can hire a professional, and they should charge about $3 to $10 for each panel. You should also have your Council Bluffs solar panels inspected each year to check on sun damage, corrosion, loose wiring, or loose bolts or fasteners, and we at Loess Hills Solar Solutions will be happy to discuss potential costs for doing that for you as part of our installation

     

    3. How Much Money Can I Save Installing Council Bluffs Solar Panels?

    In Council Bluffs Iowa, homeowners are paying on average $2.77 per watt for solar panel installations, so depending on the kilowatt size of the system we install based on your specifications and your current electricity usage, times will vary of the duration of payback. However, keep in mind that the government is still offering a 26% federal tax credit for the installation of solar panel systems through the end of 2022 (22% through the end of 2023) which will help to reduce the total cost. If the total cost of the system after government incentives is $15,000, and your monthly electric bill is $150, then you will break even after 100 months, or about 8.33 years. That would leave about 17 years for the life of the solar panel in which you would be getting free electricity each month, possibly saving you upwards of $1800/year or $30,600 over the course of that 17 year period. The break even price will vary based on the current cost of electricity when you purchase the system and the incentives available to lower the price. Also, refer back to the homepage section to see how your home value can also increase with a Council Bluffs solar panel installation. Also check out the Solar Energy Calculator page for a solar power calculator and other calculators to help gauge the solar panel size and type for your Council Bluffs home or business.

     

    4. Do I Need Approval of the Home Owners Associate (HOA), Neighbors, or Local Government Before I Install Solar Panels in Council Bluffs Iowa?

    For any solar panel/solar photovoltaic installation in Council Bluffs Iowa, the Council Bluffs Renewable Energy website explains all the approvals and processes required. Please click here to read about the requirements for Council Bluffs solar panel/solar photovoltaic systems. However, in addition to the city and state ordinances, if you live in a neighborhood with a home owners associate (HOA), then you will likely need to make a formal request with the HOA board to install solar on your building. In most cases, homeowners’ associations won’t have any problems with your decision to install solar panels as they are unlikely to distract your neighbors, weaken property values, or impact the HOA in any major way.

    When installing solar on a shared roof of a home owners association townhome, you will most likely require your neighbors consent, but otherwise in is a rare situation that you would even need to notify your neighbors of your intent install solar panels in your Council Bluffs Iowa home. Solar panels are actually designed to minimize reflection, so even if your neighbor is looking directly at your solar panels, it is not going to reflect light in the same way as your windows or your shiny car might already do. It is absolutely true, however, that in accordance with being a good neighbor, it would be right for you to inform your neighbors of the solar panel installation project, and please recommend the services of Loess Hills Solar Solutions affiliated solar panel installers to them if they are interested in installing solar on their home or business as well.

     

    5. How Many Solar Panels Do I Need For My Council Bluffs Iowa Home or Business ?

    Solar panels are approximately 39 inches wide by 65 inches long, which is about 17.5 square feet. You can use these approximate metrics to calculate the number of solar panels that can fit on your roof. A simple preview of the calculation is available on the Google Sunroof website simply by entering your address and average monthly electric bill, and it will provide the approximate size of your roof and amount of solar panels required to meet your current electricity needs based on your monthly electric bill. Each solar panel produces between 270-400 watts (0.270-0.400 kW), so that will factor into how many you would actually need to put on your roof, and if your roof is large enough to install ample solar panels to meet your current electricity needs. However, there is one other restriction to know about before you calculate the number of solar panels for your roof, and we call it “solar panel setback”. Solar panel setback means that you can’t place solar panels edge-to-edge across your entire roof. There needs to be a certain amount of space on the sides of your roof per local regulations to allow firefighters to access the roof in the event of an emergency. Loess Hills Solar Solutions' affiliated solar contractors will happily explain more about that process in the initial free solar panel consultation. Check out the Solar Energy Calculator page for more details on calculating your Council Bluffs home or business solar power needs.

     

    6. What Are the Pros and Cons of Solar Panel Installation in Council Bluffs Iowa?

    PROS

    QUIET--Unlike wind turbines which are loud when you are near them, solar is completely quiet as there is no noise involved at all

     

    ECO-FRIENDLY--The energy to produce the panel is minimal compared to the energy produced over their lifetime. Our solar panels have a net positive impact on the environment for 20+ years, and improved efficiencies are making that number grow more and more each year.

     

    ABUNDANT--The earth absorbs more solar energy in one hour than we consume in one full year! It’s an abundant source of energy that isn’t going to disappear anytime soon

     

    GOVERNMENT FINANCIAL SUPPORT--Today, governments around the world are dedicated to reducing their nation’s dependence on unsustainable, non-renewable resources. Solar is one of the best forms of renewable energy for return on investment. That’s why many local (like Council Bluffs Iowa), regional, and national governments (26% federal tax credit) are promoting solar energy use with tax incentives and more

     

    MORE EFFICIENT TECHNOLOGY--Solar panel technology has improved significantly over the decades, and today's solar panels are cheaper and more efficient than ever before

     

    LOW MAINTENANCE--Solar panels require little maintenance other than solar panel owners needing to clean their panels a few times per year, monthly at the most. Solar panels are also increasingly durable as our solar panels have an estimated life of 20+ years.

     

     

    CONS

    EXPENSE-- Solar panel technology is a more advanced technology than standard electrical setup for your home, so the costs are higher up front. The panels are not free, and the installation is not free, but with the federal tax credit, deferred property tax assessment on the panels for five years, and the break even prices on most solar installations being close to 8 years, there are positives to the cost

     

    INTERMITTENT POWER--Everyone is America has severe weather, clouds, rain, and other things that can disrupt their solar energy production, and regardless of all the above, solar panels can’t access sunlight at night. You can add a solar battery to your solar panel system to release stored up additional energy from the day, but that does increase the expense.

     

    EXPENSIVE ENERGY STORAGE--Energy storage systems (batteries) are the best way to solve the intermittent power generation of solar power due to storms and nighttime conditions, however, as mentioned above, solar batteries are an extra expense, but they do provide solutions to the intermittent power issues.

     

    REQUIRES ROOF SPACE--Council Bluffs Iowa is an average sunny climate, so solar works quite well in most cases. However, if you don’t have enough space on your roof or your property, then you might not be able to produce enough solar to meet all your current electrical needs. What Loess Hills Solar Solutions can guarantee you is that our affiliated contractors will provide the best “power density”, measured in watts per square foot, as they possibly can. Weighing the pros and cons, solar is an excellent investment that can reduce energy bills, provides net positives our present and future world, and is highly promoted and supported in both Council Bluffs Iowa, the United States, and the World overall. Solar is the future, and we are Loess Hills Solar Solutions and our affiliated solar panel installers would enjoy the opportunity to answer any additional questions when you book a free solar panel installation consultation.

     

    7. Do I Need Batteries With My Solar Panel Installation in Council Bluffs Iowa?

    At night, on overcast days, or during occasional power outages, a solar battery can help to minimize your reliance on the electrical grid, but as mentioned above solar batteries add an extra expense to your solar panel system, and it may not compensate for the extra power required during those times. However, on sunny days where you have built up more power than you need for that day, you can feed your stored battery power back to the grid for a credit.

     

    8. If the Power Goes Out, Is My Council Bluffs Iowa Home Still Powered By Solar?

    On the same note as above, in the event of a power outage, your Council Bluffs home will not have solar power unless you have stored it in your solar battery, if you choose to purchase one. When the power goes out, grid-tied systems go out too because it’s not safe to be pushing electricity back out onto the electrical wires or via your solar panel system while workers are fixing the problem. If you do have Loess Hills Solar Solutions' affiliated solar panel contractors install an off-grid solar system with a solar battery, the charge controller signals to your battery to release stored power, which is then sent to your inverter (the big box near your meter that turns DC electricity created by the panels into usable AC current) to power your home for a period of time while the power is out.

     

    9. Will My Council Bluffs Iowa Solar Panels Work in Cold Weather?

    Council Bluffs Iowa gets cold in the fall and winter, but you might be surprised to know solar photovoltaic panels actually work better in colder weather as opposed to extremely hot temperatures. It is true that the sun does not shine as directly on your solar panels as it does in the summer due to our earth's rotation, but the cold days of winter in Council Bluffs Iowa could generate comparable amounts of solar energy to the hot, summer days.

     

    10. Do Council Bluffs Iowa Solar Panels Cause Roof Damage or Cause my Roof to Collapse?

    Solar panels actually protect and preserve the portion of the roof they cover, and a trained solar or roofing associate can always remove the solar panels and the mounted railing system if there is ever a problem that needs repair. If your roof already leaks or needs replacing, you should definitely complete the roof repairs before consider installing solar panels.

     

    11. Is My Council Bluffs Iowa Home Suitable For Solar Panel Installation?

    Solar panels are built to work in all climates, but some rooftops may not be suitable for solar panels due to tree cover, age or impair roof status, or orientation of the roof. The size, shape, and slope of your roof are important factors to consider as it is vital your solar panels have adequate exposure to direct sunlight as to make the investment worth the energy production. Typically, solar panels perform best on south-facing roofs sloping between 15 and 40 degrees, but most roofs can work for solar. Contact Loess Hills Solar Solutions today to schedule your free solar panel installation consultation, and we look forward to hearing from you soon!