Most people realize the benefits of using renewable energy from the sun as a way to reduce your carbon footprint and maybe eventually even eliminate the burning of fossil fuels entirely. But there are plenty of reasons beyond just the environmental ones to consider solar panels for your home.

1: Self-Sufficiency

Getting solar energy is one of the best ways to make sure you don’t have to rely on the local power company to supply power to your home. This can be really helpful in places where things like severe weather can knock out power for days at a time, but it can also be helpful if power prices rise in the future. You won’t be at the mercy of the local power company to pay whatever price they demand for energy if you have your own way to generate unlimited energy from the sun. You can get a system that is tied to the grid but also has a battery backup for emergencies.

2: Build Anywhere You Want

Without your own way to generate power and electricity, you’re limited to building a home and living where the local power company can supply electricity. If you want to live “off the grid” you can do that with solar energy, so the places you can live are expanded from what’s possible with local power.

3: Make Money with Your Solar Energy

An average home uses about 30 kWh a day in energy, but if you have a solar system that produces more than you use, or you use less than average, you can often sell the extra energy you generate to the local power grid for them to sell to another consumer. Not only are you benefitting the environment even more (by helping others without solar energy to get power from a renewable resource), you can make some extra money from your system while saving money on your own power bill.

4: Tax Incentives

One final reason to consider solar energy for your home is the ability to get tax incentives available from both state and local government programs. These incentives will not be around forever, so right now is the time to get solar energy if that is important to you. Most programs are being phased out so the amount you can get from the program in the year 2020, and will continue to decline until they are gone within two to three years. Tax incentives can help reduce the total cost of the system so if you want to buy one, get it now before the incentives are gone.

Even if the environmental benefits are top of mind for you, there are certainly other reasons to consider solar energy as a viable alternative. Talk to Intermountain Wind & Solar today to learn how you can get it installed on your home.

Why pay a professional solar contractor when you can buy a solar panel kit and install it yourself? Wouldn’t that cost less?

Perhaps, but sticker price isn’t the only consideration. When you consider the bigger picture, paying a little less upfront and going the DIY route really isn’t a smart financial move. In the long run hiring a professional solar contractor can actually save you money.

Time is Money

How much do you know about installing solar panels? If you plan to handle your own photovoltaic installation, you’d better be ready to spend many, many hours reading manuals and watching instructional videos. The skills and knowledge you need to attain before embarking on the project include:

Time is money, as the saying goes. And this is just a partial list – and the less you know now, the more time you need to spend studying. If you don’t do your research, you might miss a crucial step. Don’t want to invest the time? Hire a professional solar contractor.

Mistakes are Costly

Let’s say you already know quite a bit about installing solar panels, or you don’t mind spending the time to learn. Why not handle your own project and skip hiring a professional contractor?

You can, but remember this – if you mess up even a minor part of the photovoltaic system installation process, you’ll bear the full weight of fixing the problem. Mistakes can be expensive to repair, and any you make could cancel out the initial savings of taking the DIY approach.

Mistakes can cost you in another way, too. You expect your solar panels to produce a certain amount of electricity, but if you get the orientation, tilt or placement wrong, you can count on a loss in energy production. In the hands of an experienced solar contractor, this won’t happen – you’ll see optimal energy savings from the start.

DIY Solar is a Gamble

DIY solar panel kits don’t come cheap – many cost tens of thousands of dollars or more. Do you really want to take any risks when spending that kind of money? Can you afford to shoulder the costs if your DIY installation goes sour?

With a professional solar contractor, you can enjoy the peace of mind in knowing that your photovoltaic system installation was completed with expert care and masterful workmanship. You’ll gain maximum energy production, while enjoying problem-free operation and the security of warranty coverage.

If you live in Utah, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada or Wyoming and are looking for an experienced professional contractor to handle your solar panel installation, call on the team at Intermountain Wind & Solar.

We can answer your questions, explain your options and design a cost-effective photovoltaic array that meets your electricity needs. Contact Intermountain Wind & Solar and schedule a free, no-obligation consultation and find out how a leading professional solar contractor can save you money today.

Solar trackers can boost the output of a PV system by as much as 20 to 40 percent. Trackers allow photovoltaic panels to follow the sun as it moves through the sky, which maximizes their exposure to sunlight and allows for optimal energy production.

As a concept, tracker technology sounds great. Creating electricity is the goal, after all, and your solar panels will make more if they always face the sun. So, you might think that adding a solar tracker to your PV system is the right choice.

Why, then, do professional photovoltaic contractors recommend fixed-tilt racks for most PV system installations?

Solar Trackers Cost More than Fixed-Tilt Racks

Fixed racks come at a fraction of the cost of solar trackers. The price difference can amount to hundreds or even thousands of dollars, depending upon the size of the PV system you’re installing.

Plus, installing a sun tracking system is a complex task – much more so than mounting photovoltaic panels to fixed-tilt racks. As such, the labor charges for professional installation tend to be significantly higher.

Investing in trackers for a boost in energy production might have made sense decades ago when solar panels were much more expensive. Now that panel prices are much lower, a sun tracking system usually isn’t worth the cost. If you need a greater amount of electricity, it’s almost always more cost-effective to install more photovoltaic panels.

Solar Trackers Require Routine Maintenance

Higher upfront costs aren’t all you’ll get if you choose to install solar trackers. You can also count on spending more for maintenance.

Sun tracking systems have motorized parts and, without routine professional maintenance, the machinery can fail. Regular maintenance ensures ongoing operation, but the added expense brings down the overall energy savings.

In comparison, fixed racks rarely need maintenance or repairs. For optimal PV system output, experts recommend annual professional inspections – but the likelihood of a problem is low.

Should Your PV System Include Solar Trackers?

As you can see, fixed-tilt racks provide a clear cost advantage. Sun tracking systems offer increased solar energy production, but the extra electricity doesn’t usually compensate for the expenses of installation and lifetime maintenance.

There are some installations where photovoltaic contractors recommend adding a sun tracking system, especially for commercial and industrial projects that need maximum energy output in a small amount of space. If there isn’t room for more solar panels, using trackers may be the only way to create the amount of electricity required.

If you’re planning to install a PV system, it’s always wise to compare your options. The professional contractors at Intermountain Wind & Solar can help you weigh the pros and cons of sun tracking systems and fixed-tilt racks to determine which type of mount makes better sense for your solar power project.

As the leading photovoltaic provider in Utah, Nevada, Idaho, Oregon and Wyoming, Intermountain Wind & Solar designs efficient, cost-effective PV systems that provide optimal energy production. Contact us today to schedule a consultation to discuss solar trackers and other types of mounting systems for your photovoltaic system.

Do you dream of building an off-grid solar home in the Intermountain West? You have lots of options for your location, as land is plentiful and affordable in this part of the United States.

off grid solar home

However, finding land that is ideal for living off-grid with solar energy can be challenging — unless you know what to look for.

Look for a Location That’s Appropriate for Off-Grid Solar Power

Like any type of real estate, location is key for building your off-grid solar home.

Consider how far out you prefer to live. Do you want to really get away from it all and build a life as a rural homesteader? Or do you want to be off the grid, but still able to get to the city in 15 or 20 minutes? Knowing your limit will help narrow down your search.

Powering your off-grid property with solar energy means you need a location with full access to the sun. So while you can always cut down a few trees here and there, you probably don’t want to buy heavily forested land or acreage that sits in the shadow of a mountain range.

Seek Land Without Building Restrictions for Your Off-Grid Solar Home

When considering land for your solar home, inquire about zoning restrictions. Many areas — particularly in larger cities — have rules about how property can be developed.

Zoning codes often restrict the types of structures that can be built on a given property. The number of buildings allowed per acre and their manner of construction could also be regulated.

If you buy land that isn’t zoned in your favor, you may not be able to get the building permits you need to build the type of off-grid solar home you want. Before you make an offer, be sure that you will be able to build a home that is not connected to municipal sewer, water and power. If utilities are available nearby, the municipality may require that you connect to them before you build.

Verify Access to Your Off-Grid Home Lot

In some cases, property buyers find out too late that they cannot legally access their land. Unless public roadways are in place — and they probably aren’t if you plan to live off the grid — you must cross someone else’s land to get to yours. Unless the owner of the property you must cross grants you a legal easement, you may find yourself unable to access your lot.

Even if the property is located along a road or has an established ingress route (like a driveway), don’t assume you have legal access rights. Easements are not automatic, and if the previous property owner didn’t have one, you need to secure legal access before you agree to purchase the property. The title company may be able to assist you, or you may need to enlist the services of a real estate attorney.

The Intermountain Wind & Solar team are the experts in off-grid solar in Utah, Idaho and throughout the Intermountain West. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our specialists. We can help you identify the necessary elements for making your dream of off-grid solar living a reality.

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