Solar Energy

Solar Energy


Eco El Paso supports the use of solar energy in all facets of our lives: Residential, Commercial, Industrial, City Facilities, and Schools. Higher energy bills, power outages, and air pollution are all problems we would like to avoid. Investing in solar power is a great choice for homeowners and business-owners that want to do their part in providing a solution to these climate change-related issues, while providing high paying jobs to our region. . 

Solar panels harness energy from the sun. The solar cells are made of semiconductive materials that is specially treated so that the sun's rays help create a flow of electrons, which can be used to power your home. A photovoltaic cell is a specially treated wafer of silicon, sandwiched between two thin contact plates. The top contact is positively charged and the back contact is negatively charged, making it a semiconductor.

We recommend that anyone interested in going solar should get 3+ quotes for your solar project, and we also recommend to use local companies that have local employees to do the installation and to provide the labor warranty on your system.

Contact us if you have any questions about solar!  Email our team:  info@ecoelpaso.org 

Smart Investment

There is a 26% Federal Tax Credit for solar energy customers, it increases your home’s value, and protects against rising energy costs.

Safe

Solar power has no greenhouse gas emissions and does not produce any radioactive waste.

Independent

Solar reduces the amount of electricity (coal, natural gas, oil, or nuclear) you need to purchase from a utility.

Types of Solar Energy Products


The sun’s free energy can be used in your business or home to help reduce the amount of energy you demand from your local utility provider while reducing your carbon footprint.

Although the most effective method to utilize the sun’s rays is to install a solar photovoltaic system, there are several smaller scale solar home improvement projects you can do to lower your energy bill.

Grid Tie Solar (DG)

  • Solar PV systems are groupings, or “arrays,” of modules wired together along with an inverter and utility meter to produce electrical power.
  • The panels are commonly protected with a 25-year warranty and are designed to withstand hail, lightening, and high winds.
  • A Grid Tie Solar Energy system is connected to the utility grid through your electrical panel to ensure a steady supply of electricity for your property from the sun and from the Utility when the sun is not shining, like at night. Any excess electricity the system produces during the day will be fed back to the grid.
  • Grid Tie solar typically refers to kilowatt hours (kWh) of solar production to offset your kWh's of energy consumption throughout the month. 

Off Grid Solar

  • Off Grid Solar systems use battery technology to store electricity so you can use it at night. Off Grid systems are not typically connected to the grid so some of the equipment is different.
  • When we talk about Off Grid solar, we talk about amp hours, which is how much power your batteries have and for how long. The size of your solar array is important to recharge your batteries, but the size of your battery bank is the most important element based on your electricity usage habits. 

Solar Thermal Hot Water Heating

  • A solar thermal hot water heating system uses a different kind of solar panel on your roof that acts like a radiator to heat up water or to heat up a glycol solution that is used to heat your hot water heaters. 
  • A solar hot water system operates differently than a solar PV system. Instead of using sunlight to make electricity, a solar thermal water heating system captures sunlight to use as a heat source for the fluid that is flowing through the solar thermal panels. 
  • A solar water heater uses solar collectors and a storage tank(s) that are typically 60-120 gallons each.
  • The most common solar collection option is a flat-plate collector, which is basically an insulated box covered with tempered glass. Inside the box is a series of parallel copper tubes that serve as passageways for water flow or glycol solutions. Flat-plate collectors resemble standard solar panels and two are usually enough to service a family of four.
  • There is a more efficient alternative called an evacuated tube collector, but it can cost twice as much per square foot. An evacuated tube collector is not flat and has a row of large glass tubes that act like thermoses. Within each large tube is a smaller glass or metal tube used to warm the water. This type of collector is suitable for regions that experience temperatures below freezing.

Solar Pool Heating

  • Solar pool heating systems use collector panels mounted on a house roof, ground rack or a pool maintenance building to warm the pool water as it passes through the collectors tubes.
  • Collectors are constructed from header pipes and a series of small tubes and exposed to the sun.
  • Heat from the sun is absorbed by the water and results in increased pool water temperatures: from 5 to 15 degrees above normal pool temperatures.

Solar Attic Fans

  • As temperatures rise, an attic can quickly become a cauldron of heat and contributes to higher energy bills as it heats the entire house.
  • Air-conditioning an attic can be costly; instead, install a solar attic fan to provide proper ventilation.
  • Solar powered attic fans only need a small solar panel to generate enough power for an attic. There is no electrical hookup needed, so once it is installed there are no operating costs.
  • The fan also reduces damaging moisture in attic. Moisture is constantly accumulated in a house through washing machines, showers and cooking. When this moisture migrates into the attic, it condenses, and can promote the growth of mold and mildew.
  • Attic fans are also extremely quiet; there is no harmonic hum typical of electric powered fans.

Solar Skylights

  • Solar skylights, which are literally windows on a roof, are a great economic choice for bringing natural light into a room while decreasing the need for electric lighting.
  • Skylights can save you money with their initial low-cost investment combined with their annual savings making it one of the most cost efficient products out there.
  • Skylights are made to fit almost any application: from the smallest bathroom to multiple units on large commercial structures.
  • A homeowner can choose to use a flat, traditional skylight or a tubular daylighting device (TDD) depending on the space.
  • Traditional solar powered skylights use a built-in solar panel to capture daylight to charge an efficient battery that opens and closes a skylight to let out stuffy air. No wiring is needed and the skylight can be operated with a wireless remote.
  • A tubular skylight captures daylight and delivers it via a highly reflective tunnel. A built-in solar powered dimmer allows a user to control the amount of light. Tubular skylights do not open.

Grid Tie Solar

  1. Solar Panels
  2. Racking
  3. Flashing for Roof Systems
  4. Inverters
  5. Solar Meter
  6. Wire and small parts 

Off Grid Solar

  1. Solar Panels
  2. Racking
  3. Flashing for Roof Systems
  4. Inverter
  5. Battery Charge Controllers
  6. Batteries
  7. Wire and small parts

Racking


Residential solar systems are mounted to the roof with a racking system designed to secure the panels while not damaging your roof. They are generally not adjustable and designed to position the solar panels at a consistent elevation above the surface to which they are mounted. Residential systems can be mounted to all roof types including shingles, tiles, and metal roofs. Commercial systems can be mounted on a flat roof with a ballasted roof mount, which does not penetrate the surface. Systems can also be mounted on the ground if there is enough un-shaded area available.

Solar Panels


Solar panels are comprised of many individual solar cells. Solar cells are made from layers of silicon, phosphorous (which gives the negative charge),and boron (which provides the positive charge). The solar cells are wired together in a circuit. When photons from the sun strike the surface of the solar panel, electrons are knocked out of their atomic orbits and released into the electric field. The circuit of solar cells then pulls the free electrons into a directional current (also known as DC electricity). This entire process is known as the Photovoltaic Effect. Multiple panels are required to meet the electricity requirements of an average household. The DC electricity generated from the solar panels is then sent to the inverter.

Inverters


Solar inverters convert the electricity from solar panels, DC (direct current) into AC (alternating current), which is the type of power used in most homes. The inverter will allow the system owner to see exactly how much DC electricity is being generated by the solar system. Once the electricity has been converted from DC to AC, it is then sent to the utility meter. Central Inverters typically support an entire solar array and has a 10 year warranty. Microinverters are used under each solar panel and typically have a 25 year warranty. 

Meters


When a building has a PV system installed, there is a PV meter installed to track the system’s energy generation (output) in kilowatt hours (kWh). The utility company replaces the existing building meter which tracks energy supplied to the home or business with a new dual-read billing meter (net meter). This dual-read meter captures two different readings: 1. The amount of energy supplied to the building by the utilities distribution grid and 2. Any excess energy generated by the solar PV system that was not used by the building at the time it was generated . This excess energy goes back into the distribution grid and is termed “push back.” This energy is “credited” to the customer’s bill.

Home Owners Associations & Property Owners Associations


There have been instances where the rules of a Homeowner Association (HOA) and Property Owner Association (POA) created barriers to the installation of solar energy equipment. The State Legislature addressed this situation by passing House Bill 362. This law amended Chapter 202 of the Texas Property Code by adding Sections 202.010 and 202.011.

The law defines the limited circumstances under which an HOA or POA can prohibit or require the relocation of a solar energy installation.

Link to the Law:  82(R) HB 362

Solar Radiation Map

Texas

Solar Radiation Map

New Mexico

El Paso Electric Co. - Residential Solar Programs

Learn More Here: Texas Residential Solar or New Mexico Residential Solar

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