Lighten Your Energy Load: Reducing Energy Consumption at the 2016 Tri-State Home Show

Chattanooga, TN:  Spring will soon be upon us, along with yard projects and home renovations. But have you ever thought about adding a home improvement that saves money? Going solar on only adds value to your home, but can eliminate your electric bill.

If you have already invested in significant efficiency upgrades to its lighting and HVAC systems, you have reduced your energy load to those functions, so your plug load could equate to as much as 50 percent. So why not Go SOLAR!

Tennessee Solar Solutions  and Green’s Eco Build + Design will be at the 50th Tri-State Home Show is February 26th –12219365_10156179853240223_3344304507694279167_n28th at the Chattanooga Convention Center.  If you are planning to build or remodel your home and want to do it right stop by our booth.  Come get expert advice for your green remodeling project or new home design. Register to win great products for your home.
Admission is $8 and children 16 and under are free.  Friday seniors receive $1 off and Saturday and Sunday bring a can good to benefit the Chattanooga Food bank and receive $1 off. Discounts can not be combined.

SHOW HOURS:

Friday, February 26, 2016 10 AM-8 PM
Saturday, February 27, 2016 10 AM-8 PM
Sunday, February 28, 2016  11 AM-5 PM

 Cost: $8 Children 16 and Under are FREE

 

Solar, Schools and Sustainability: Urban Green Lab

By: Jennifer Westerholm, Director

It’s not everyday that a non-profit’s dreams and a 34-foot gooseneck trailer go hand in hand, but for us here at Urban Green Lab, that’s exactly what is happening.

In a matter of weeks, this trailer will soon be overhauled into a sustainability laboratory and classroom on wheels that we call the “mobile lab”. Our mobile lab will enable us to reach diverse and underserved populations to enhance middle and high schools’ science and technology curricula and inspire sustainable behaviors.

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The lab explores five important topics in sustainability: energy, water, green building, food & agriculture, and sustainable transportation. It challenges students to make everyday choices that save money, resources, and improve their quality of life. Developed in collaboration with teachers, school staff, and students, the mobile lab prevents the need to spend time, energy, and money on permission slips and school buses by bringing hands on activities directly to the students. The lab connects classroom learning with real world applications, employing problem-based learning and interactive activities. As a se2015Mar22BoardRetreat41rvice to our Nashville community, the mobile lab will be offered free of charge to Metro Nashville public middle and high schools and will be available for a reasonable rate to other schools, programs and businesses.

One of the most exciting features is the six 300 watt panels currently being installed by Tennessee Solar Solutions that will power 90% of all the lab’s energy needs. The solar panels enable us to save energy and money on operations costs. Even more importantly we are able to give students a real world experience of the power of solar energy. Incorporating green materials and technologies into the lab creates teachable moments and allows us to “walk the talk”.--+Print+interior+v01+24x15-5-page-001

It is Tennessee Solar Solutions’, along with our other generous sponsors’ contribution of time and materials  that make it all possible! If
you are in Middle Tennessee, be on the lookout for
the mobile lab near you, beginning in February 2016.

 

 

 

For more information about the Urban Green Lab contact:

Devon Barnhard

Communications and Community Engagement, Urban Green Lab

AmeriCorps VISTA

www.urbangreenlab.org

cell:  615-442-7072

How Many Solar Panels Do You Need?

By: Kelsey Meyers, Modernize

Whether you’re still considering going solar or you’re ready to take the first step, you probably want to know what system size you need and how that aspect will affect the cost. Unfortunately, it’s not easy for installers to give you an estimate based just on the size of your house or the dollar signs on your utility bill. But you can use your average monthly energy usage to get an idea of the number of panels you will need.

Determine Your Monthly Electrical Use

1606950_10155702738245223_6135075260557403156_nLook at your monthly energy bills for the last year and determine the average number of kWh, or kilowatts per hour. Divide this by 30 to get your daily kWh. Conservatively assuming that one standard solar cell produces 1 kWh per day, the number you just calculated is the number of panels you would need in order to completely cover your home’s energy needs.

In the meantime, reduce your home’s energy demands by buying more energy efficient appliances—that way, you may not have to buy as many solar panels as the calculator shows. Modernize has plenty of ideas for increasing the efficiency of your home before you install a solar system.

Find Out the Average Peak Sunlight Hours

But energy use isn’t the only factor. The amount of sunlight that your panels get also affects how many you will need to install. The more sunlight they receive, the more they are able to convert that radiant heat and light into energy for your home. If parts of your roof are shaded at certain times a day, you will need more panels to make up for that. As you monitor the quality and amount of sunlight that your roof gets, keep in mind that you’re going to need to install the panels on a south-facing roof for optimum efficiency. If trees or other buildings cast shade on your roof, or if you live in an area that doesn’t receive many hours of sunlight, you’re going to need to plan accordingly.

Decide How You Want to Use Your Solar System

While many prospective solar users dream of covering all of their energy costs, covering just a percentage is also an option. You may only decide to install enough solar panels to keep you out of the higher tiers of energy consumption, or you may just want to start off with just a few panels and build from there. You can cust11889450_10155951057030223_2213302186479320315_nomize your system to your budget—just be sure to avoid making compromises where it counts. For example, you wouldn’t want to buy a cheaper inverter to save money because this will only end up costing you, but you could start off with just one panel and slowly transition to using solar.

Contact the Experts at TN Solar Solar today.

Two State-wide Solar Boards Shine Bright as Members of Local Solar Co Join Their Ranks

For Immediate Release

Local Solar Company’s President and COO to State-wide TSEA and TenneSEIA Board Positions

Chattanooga, TN/USA, November 17, 2015: Tennessee Solar Solutions President, Anthony Roden was appointed to the AnthonyBoard of Directors for Tennessee Solar Energy Association (TSEA), the state chapter American Solar Energy Society. Tennessee Solar Energy Association believes that widespread adoption of solar technology in the state of Tennessee will help create energy independence, lessen harmful environmental impacts, and result in cost savings for consumers.  Roden’s company, established in 2007, is the only solar company in the greater Chattanooga area with a sole focus on solar energy systems for the community, residential, business and Agri-business.

“I am honored to be a bigger part of TSEA. I feel we have to do our part to promote events and educational opportunities about solar energy. By sharing this knowledge we can empower our communities to generate their own electricity. Best part, we are making the world a better place than we found it.”

KincerGinny Kincer, Tennessee Solar Solutions’ Chief Operations Officer was recently elected to the Tennessee Solar Energy Industries (TenneSEIA) Association Board of Directors. TenneSEIA is the state chapter for the national Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), and represents the interest of the solar energy industry in Tennessee. The mission of TenneSEIA is to make solar energy a mainstream energy source and realize the full potential of the solar industry in Tennessee.

Kincer already is Chairwoman of the Lifetime Achievement in Solar Award for TenneSEIA. This newly established honor was the vision of TenneSEIA members that was spearheaded by Kincer this year.

“TenneSEIA is a strong voice for the solar industry here in Tennessee, as well as SEIA nationwide. As an advocate for solar energy, becoming more involved was a natural fit.”

Tennessee Solar Solutions, LLC opened its doors in 2007 with the mission to help others produce their own free, clean, earth friendly electricity! Tennessee Solar Solutions, 2015 Top Solar Contractor in North America, designs, installs and maintains solar energy systems throughout the southeast.

Contact: Ginny Kincer, 423-298-1688, ginny@tennesseesolarsolutions.com

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Pitch Prefect

 One of the key considerations when installing an array of solar panels is the direction that the roof is tilted, as well as the angle, or pitch, of the roof.

A roof can be repaired or reinforced before installation if it’s damaged, but you can’t do much about the location, orientation, or pitch of the roof, short of moving to a new house, so knowing where and when and for how long the sun hits the potential location of the solar array is important. Because that is variable throughout the year, just as power consumption is variable throughout the day, it can be confusing when trying to pin down the ‘best’ solar panel angle and array orientation.

A home solar array is only as useful as it is appropriately sized, oriented, and installed. A poorly-matched system installed in a suboptimal location can be a big disappointment, so it’s important to pay attention to a lot of little details when planning to go solar.

All the right angles help you get the most out of your solar energy system.
All the right angles help you get the most out of your solar energy system.

We’re all pretty aware that the sun appears to move through the sky during the day, from east to west, and that the days are longer (more hours of sunlight) in the summer, with shorter days (fewer hours of sunlight) in the winter. But there’s another variable when it comes to the sun’s energy, and that is the angle of inclination that the sun takes (its ‘height’ in the sky), which also shifts gradually throughout the year, so not only do we have to capture the most energy we can from a sun that’s moving across the sky, but one that’s also moving higher or lower in the sky, depending on the season.

And all of those variables are affected by yet another one, which is the physical location on the planet, because depending on where your house is, the amount of sunlight your solar panels will receive on any given day will vary from another location, such as more to the north or south of you. All of that is to say that there is no ‘one size fits all’ solar array that can be installed the same way every time and yet produce the exact same amount of electricity throughout the year, even not accounting for individual differences in homes or neighborhoods (tree cover, tall buildings casting shade, etc.)

When evaluating your own potential solar site, most likely your roof, it’s helpful to understand the particulars of your situation, such as the pitch, or angle, of the roof, as well as the direction that the intended surface faces, and to then relate that to the path of the sun through the sky during each of the four seasons.

Depending on where and when your house was built, the angle of your roof can be anything from flat (not very common, except in some arid regions) up to 45° or more (such as in snowy locations with steeply pitched roofs), but many homes have an angle somewhere right in the middle, around 30° or so. Because the most cost-effective and efficient way to install solar panels is parallel to the roof, your roof pitch will essentially be your future solar panel angle (unless a fixed-angle racking system is added to it), so it’s an important figure to know.

The other fixed variable is the direction that the home and its roof surfaces are pointed. In the northern hemisphere, the most sun will hit the southern faces of roofs, on average, throughout the year, so a south-facing roof has been the default for most solar installations. However, the sun also lights up the eastern surfaces in the mornings, and western surfaces in the afternoons, so roof planes that aren’t facing true south aren’t necessarily out of the question for solar panels (and western-facing solar arrays may actually be more useful to the grid, as they produce optimally during times of high demand).

Because the location of the sun in the sky each day varies by geographic location, the optimal solar panel angle is usually said to be equal to the latitude of the location, although because the angle of the roof and the latitude aren’t often an exact match, the solar array is usually simply installed parallel to the roof, in a fixed position. And according to a study at EnergySage, that’s probably the best way to do it, because the additional costs of racking to get the best solar panel angle may not achieve enough of a performance gain to make a big difference. In a location with higher electricity prices, it may make the most sense to use additional racking adjust the angle of the array for optimal production, and in other locations, lower electricity costs may not justify any additional expense for racking.

For those who want to boost their solar production in the winter and the summer, and not just have their solar panel angle be fixed year-round, an adjustable racking system may allow for optimal solar electricity generation. By tilting the panels 15° steeper in the winter and 15° down in the summer, it’s possible to increase the amount of energy your system can capture during those seasons, but there are also a number of different ways of determiningwhen and how much to adjust the angle on a solar array if a default 15° isn’t enough for you.

The other major factor in a home solar array is the available roof space for a system that is sized appropriately to both your budget and your electricity needs. For some homes, with multiple-plane roofs, it may not be possible to put the entire array all together at the same angle, and so some solar panels will have to be installed at different angles from the rest, as the photo at the top illustrates.

If cost was no object, the absolute best performing solar electric array would probably be one mounted on poles, using dual axis tracking so that it can effectively track the sun through the sky and remain directly pointed at it all day long, regardless of what season it is. However, for most of us, a fixed angle rooftop solar array, pointed south, is already economically viable in most places, so there’s no need to invest the extra money to get a great return. Basically, the best solar panel angle for you is the one that either matches your roof pitch, because it’s cost-effective to install an array that way, or the one that gets you the most bang for your buck, electricity-wise, in your location, and your local solar installer can help you figure that out.

Excerpt from COST OF SOLAR, read more details here