What Is PV?
When most people hear solar power, they think of solar panels. PV (photovoltaic) solar panels are silicon sheets that turn the light of the sun into electricity. Solar PV, also known as solar electric, is also the fastest growing form of solar energy technology. The alternative to PV is solar thermal energy, which heats water instead of producing electricity.
Not Your Founding Father's Solar Power
The price of solar panels has fallen to almost $1 per watt, from over $3 in 2007. Back in the '70s and '80s, solar panels were more expensive and less efficient, so consumers had to arrange their panels awkwardly to maximize output. Recently though, technology has put solar within reach for the mainstream consumer, making it cheaper and easier to install solar panels in an aesthetically pleasing way.
Why Go Solar In VA and DC?
Solar photovoltaics provide a free, in-house energy source. While the state of Virginia doesn't offer many incentives for solar, Virginia's private utility giant Dominion Power does. Add to that the U.S. government's 30% discounts on solar power systems, and solar energy is cheaper for Virginians than it has perhaps ever been.
We sometimes explain going solar as being paid to have a small power plant on your roof. Homeowners and businesses generally experience a 10% to 13% return on investment after payback for their systems. There is no maximum or minimum energy requirement for PV to be effective, and upkeep tends to be very minimal. Larger commercial systems see an even quicker return on investment than do domestic consumers.
Plus, sunshine never runs out. As much solar energy hits the earth's surface in a single hour as human beings use in an entire year, so you'll never be subject to rate hikes, taxes, or ceilings.
PV does not need bright sunlight and continues to generate electricity on cloudy days. Our systems work in conjunction with the power grid, automatically and seamlessly providing reliable energy around the clock. In fact, our American-assembled SMA inverters deliver an electrical current that is often more stable than grid service, keeping your machinery and appliances operating at peak performance, day and night.
If you're in Charlottesville, for example, you probably buy electricity from Dominion Power. We'll make sure that your solar panels link up with your provider, and that they credit or pay you for the surplus power that you generate. And if you don't want to be involved with a central utility, we can build you a system that's totally grid-free using back-up battery power.
Weather-Proof from Danville to Winchester
Our solar panels are guaranteed to be waterproof for a minimum of 40 years, and they have a 25-year power output guarantee. If anything happens to them, you're covered. But frankly, we're pretty sure nothing will. If you're living in Virginia or DC, the seasons are just too mild to put much of a dent in these panels.
Sigora buys Amercian-made panels from the solar manufacturer, SolarWorld. They build them to withstand Florida’s hurricanes and they are more than a match for Virginia's squalls. The panels bear up to 30 pounds of snow per square foot – 4 feet of fluffy snow or 2 feet of dense snow – more than Massanutten or Wintergreen generally see in an entire year. And just in case you're worried about hail, our panel manufacturer tested their products by firing golf ball-sized rocks of ice into them at terminal velocity. The panels withstood the impact.
If you're curious, here's a PDF about SolarWorld, and their high manufacturing standards.
Our panels, built in the USA, have a 25-year power output guarantee, which means that when your panels are 25 years old they will still produce 80% of their initial output. Generally, that is actually a cautious estimate. Most systems still produce 90% of their initial output at 35.
Our PV Projects
For some examples of our residential and commercial PV-Electric systems view the case studies below:
We'd love to hear from you. Contact us to schedule your free site assessment and to learn more about solar PV.