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Renewable energy sources are the wave of the future.

 

To promote self-sufficiency and sustainability, the United Stated must begin to heavily rely on renewable energy. 

 

Historically the United States relies heavily on coal, oil, and natural gas for energy consumption.  This is particularity alarming because as the world’s largest petroleum consumer, the United States imported about 50% of the petroleum it consumed during the past several years.   Renewable energy sources are extremely beneficial because they never are exhausted; resources such as the sun and wind.  Renewable energy sources now comprise approximately 9% of the total energy consumption. 

 

The prices of oil, natural gas and coal have been rising steadily and the fossil fuel prices can be volatile and unpredictable. The cost of fossil fuels continues to increase and the cost of renewable energy systems has decreased to a level in which renewables are very affordable with an accelerated payback period. 

 

Demand for renewable energy systems continues to expand in the United States and world-wide.  The growth is related to high energy prices, fossil fuel supply concerns, and current government support of green energy.  The U.S. Department of Energy; Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy program [EERE] released a preliminary report on the growth of renewable energy sources. This report has some good news on the growth of renewable energy. Renewable energy use is growing at greater than 10% per year world-wide, and at approximately 8% in the US.

 

Wind and sun is a free, renewable fuel that needs to be better used by modern society.  The sun is the planet's most powerful source of energy and also the most unused source of energy by humans. Southern Idaho, and regions surrounding, receive approximately 300 sun days/year with a daily average sunshine of 8.3 hours.  Idaho’s wind potential for renewable energy is ranked 13th in the USA.  The average wind speed in the general Boise area is approximately 8 mph, the average wind speed in eastern Idaho is 13 mph.

 

 

Benefits

Reduced impacts from commercial power rate increases or rate increase dependence.

A solar system fixes your energy cost for the life of the system.   With a solar electric system you are generating your own electrical power.  The initial investment is your final cost.  Electrical power rates increase on average of every year.  You are investing now for your future.  After the renewable energy payback period you can enjoy free energy for the life of the solar electric system (40+ years).  It’s a great investment with a return on your investment (ROI) of 8% typically.  

 

Increase in home value.

 

  •       Reduced monthly utility bills (savings based on the size of the solar electric system).
  •       As utility rates increase a renewable energy system becomes more valuable.
  •       The real estate market and bank evaluate your home is worth more than adjacent property without a solar system.
  •       Any future carbon taxes will consider a solar system.
  •       The house roof with solar panels will be cooler due to air space under the panels, and the blockage of direct sunlight on the roof where the panels are installed.  During the summer an air conditioner will work less due to the panels shading the roof with less attic heat. 
  •       Renewable energy reduces your retirement income needs.  Living on less when you retire, reduced utility bills, you may feel more in control of your retirement.

 

 

MATRIX RENEWABLE ENERGY SERVICES

Matrix Renewable Energy will assist you in determining what type of renewable energy solar system is best suited for your unique application.  We will understand your objective, assess your homes’ size and energy profile, and advance the best financial, economic, and overall renewable energy system package for your consideration.

  • Current Federal tax credits can reduce the cost of a solar system by 30%
  • Decrease your utility bills every month!
  • Solar power is a renewable resource. You solar energy won’t contribute to resource scarcity for your children and their children.
  • Solar energy is clean and non-polluting, unlike fossil fuels alternatives. This can be your contribution to reducing global warming.
  • Buying a solar system is like buying 50 years of energy at a fixed price, hedging your risk of rising energy prices. The more energy prices go up, the more you smile…
  • Solar panels come with a 10-year warranty.  Your system should operate with virtually no maintenance for 30-40 years (less than $50/year).
  • Producing your own energy is a source of satisfaction and independence.
  • A National Real-estate Association study estimates that your house will appreciate by $1,000 for every $100 of annual operating savings you create. Similar studies for Colorado say it appreciates by $2000.
  • Solar energy is harvested locally and reduces the need for nuclear waste storage, giant mining operations, burning and transporting fossil fuels, and geopolitical dependencies.  

RESOURCES

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Why should I install a solar system?
Solar Thermal or Solar Electric ?
Why should I choose to work with Capitol Solar?
What financial incentives are currently available in the state of Colorado?
Where Can I get more information on the Federal Tax Credit?
How long will it take for a solar energy system to pay for itself?
What does an average solar system cost?
What changes would be necessary to run solar thermal in my home?
Would I need to use different appliances?
Can my system Freeze?
What happens if it's cloudy or rainy for several days in a row?
Can I heat my home with a solar thermal system?
How long do solar panels last?
How efficient are solar panels? How much energy can they produce per square foot?
Can my roof support solar panels?
Can solar panels withstand hail?
How can I maximize my solar energy investment?
What is the maintenance cost of a solar system?
Can a Homeowner Association or Covenant block the installation of a solar system?

 

 

Solar Thermal or Solar Electric ?

A thermal system simply heats water, capturing 60% to 80% of the sun’s energy. An electric system uses complex photovoltaic silicon wafers to transform some of the sun’s energy into electric current, typically capturing only 12% to 18% of the sun’s energy.

In an equal amount of area on your roof, thermal panels will harvest roughly four times as much energy as electric panels. Thermal systems typically cost a lot less than electric systems. If you are concerned about the pay-back time, the cost of your system, your monthly energy savings, or the energy produced per square foot on your roof, thermal is the logical choice! The average solar hot water heating system produces as much energy per day as an 11 KW PV system, for less than a third of the cost.

 

  What financial incentives are currently available in the state of Colorado?

Colorado residents and businesses can benefit from both Federal and State financial incentives: (1) the new Federal Energy Bill provides a 30% federal tax credit for solar thermal systems installed on homes and businesses (there's no longer a $2,000 cap for residences and no cap for businesses).  

 

 Where Can I get more information on the Federal Tax Credit?

SEIA, the Solar Energy Industries Association has produced a tax manual which you can obtain from this link:

http://www.seia.org/manualdownload.php

 How long will it take for a solar energy system to pay for itself?

A solar energy thermal system will usually pay for itself with energy savings (and with any available installation rebates or tax credits) within the first quarter to half of its estimated lifespan. The actual length of time will depend on the type and size of the system. Generally speaking, a commercial system will pay for itself in less time than a residential system, and solar thermal (hot water) will pay for itself in less time than a photovoltaic (solar electricity) system. And a full solar thermal system, heating the water and the space, will pay for itself faster than just thermal hot water.

Also, solar systems increase the resale value of your home. The National Real-estate Association of America estimates that a home gains $1,000 in value when you reduce its operating cost by $100. A home heated by propane would save about $2,000 per year, this is about a seven year payback! With natural gas the savings are about half, but still a good tax free return at over 6% per year.

 

 What does an average solar system cost?

For a residential domestic hot water system (Two 40-sq ft Solene panels, 80 gallons of solar storage, low-maintenance drain-back system) installed in the front range, the incentives look as follows:

System price $9,500, estimated permit and engineering costs $400, federal tax credit up to -$2,970, State GEO incentive -$3,000 Net Price $3,930

A larger commercial rebate up to $15,000 is also available.

 

 What changes would be necessary to run solar thermal in my home?

Solar Panels are usually installed on your existing roof, while a storage tank is installed in your basement or utility room. These installations are usually done without any notable changes to your house.

 

  Can my system Freeze?

No, the system is protected by employing a glycol loop in the fluid loop.  Glycol is a non-toxic alcohol-based liquid which withstands winter temperatures without freezing.

 

 What happens if it's cloudy or rainy for several days in a row?

Your solar thermal system will capture heat on the sunny days, and even on seemingly cloudy days. This energy is stored in the tank, and is often enough to bridge the gap for fully overcast days. If your solar tank is “emptied” of all its usable heat, your regular appliance takes over, and you don't notice any difference inside your home.

 

 Can I heat my home with a solar thermal system?

Yes, it is usually the most cost effective method for heating your home. This can be done in interface with a regular forced air furnace, or with a boiler for radiant floors or baseboard heat.

 

 How long do solar panels last?

Solar thermal panels carry 10 year warranties, with life expectancies of 40 to 80 years. They might just outlast your house.

 

 How efficient are solar panels? How much energy can they produce per square foot?

Solar thermal panels are rated with efficiencies ranging from 50% to 78%, producing about 1000 BTUs per square foot per day - or 290 Watt-Hours per day per square foot.

Electric solar panels have efficiencies ranging from 11%-15% and produce about 12 watts per square foot - or 72 Watt-Hours per day per square foot.

Also, electric panels typically cost more than thermal panels. For the same financial investment, a thermal system produces 5 times more energy than an electric system. This explains why thermal systems are a superior way to harvest the sun’s energy. If you want ecology to rhyme with economy, thermal panels are the logical choice!

 

  Can my roof support solar panels?

We mount solar panels on all sorts of roofs, from flat to near vertical, from shingles to tile. We attach the panels to supporting beams inside your roof. In 25 years of installation and service, we’ve never had panels damage a roof. Only hurricane force winds capable of lifting the roof itself would be capable of damaging our panel installations.

 

 Can solar panels withstand hail?

Solar thermal panels are built with high-impact tempered glass. The solar industry standard dictates that panels should be able to withstand 3/4” hail at 60 mph. We have seen panels survive 2” hail. If your solar panels do suffer any hail damage, you can claim the damage on most homeowner's insurance policies. Homeowner insurance typically requires no changes or additional costs to cover your solar system.

 

  What is the maintenance cost of a solar system?

Our water drain-back thermal systems are designed for very low maintenance. Over the span of 25 years, to the best of our knowledge, our customers require an average maintenance of less than $50 per year.

Thermal systems installed in the early 80s with poor design can be quite costly to maintain. This is why we recommend to our service customers to consider upgrading to a water drain-back system while the federal tax credit is available.

Electric systems also typically require very little maintenance, and customers experience an average maintenance cost of less than $50 per year over the long run.

Maintenance needs usually occur once every 10 to 20 years. A pump ($100 to $400) or sensor ($25) can require replacement in a thermal system. Electric systems can require replacing AC/DC inverter ($2,500 to $3,500).

 

 Can a Homeowner Association or Covenant block the installation of a solar system?

No! In the State of Colorado, it is illegal for covenants to forbid you from installing a solar system for aesthetic reasons. This is clearly established by CO House Bill 133 of 1979. No matter what your covenant or Association might say, you have the legal right to install solar panels! We will be glad to provide you with a

 

Solar Space Heating & Hot water Drain-back System

This comprehensive system expands on the Solar Domestic Hot Water System, to also heat all or part of the house. The domestic water is pre-heated as in the domestic hot-water system above.

 

Careful cost benefit analysis shows that dual hot water and space heating systems have a shorter payback than domestic hot water only systems. Our system can save 70% of the total space heating and water heating bill of a house, offering the quickest pay-back of any solar energy home application!

 Interface with Forced Air Furnaces

In a standard furnace, cold air from the house returns to the furnace via the return air duct. It passes through the furnace which heats it by burning gas. It is then blown back to the house via the hot air vents.

With a solar space heating system, we install a fin-coil into the existing return vent right before the furnace. This interface preheats the cold return air. If the solar heated air is hot enough the gas remains off, if needed the gas heats side by side with the solar system.

The hot water from the solar storage tank is pumped to the coil in the furnace cold air return. The copper coil is augmented with aluminum fins that transfer the heat to the air.  This functions a bit like a car radiator with a reversed objective: In the case of a car, the radiator’s function is to cool the water with outside air. In a furnace interface, the radiator’s function is to heat the air with the hot water.

 

 Interface with Radiant Floors & Boiler

Radiant Floor heating systems offer many benefits.  Warm floors deliver the heat where you need it, reducing room stratification and heat loss through the ceiling.  This reduces energy use and increases human comfort. Radiant floors are also the most natural fit with a solar thermal system, as they heat with relatively low temperature water and store the heat in the house’s floor – these two factors help optimize the solar system’s energy production and storage.

The interface with a radiant floor is simple to imagine: a loop carries water through the solar tank to gain heat and then into the radiant floor house zones. Proper interaction of pump, mixing valve (mixing cold water with the tank-heated water) and sensors make sure the water going into the floor is at the proper temperature. The boiler is also connected to this loop, and will activate automatically to complete the work of the solar system during the coldest weather.

 

 Interface with Baseboard Hot Water               

Although baseboard heating can appear to be similar to radiant floors, it is quite different. Baseboard hot water radiators are not imbedded in a concrete floor slab. Rather, they are installed at the base of the wall and must dissipate heat through the air. This requires much hotter water to heat the space (typically around 170 F.)

A solar system can reach these temperatures, but is more efficient at lower temperatures.  Therefore baseboard heating requires a special interface that lowers the output temperature to the house based on the outdoor air temperature.  This allows the solar heat to be efficiently used. As a result, a solar interface with baseboard heat is less effective than other methods and must be done properly to be reasonably efficient.

 

 Pool & Spa Heating Systems

Pool heating is an excellent opportunity to utilize the sun’s energy. It’s a very low temperature application and the pool acts as a huge storage tank itself. Therefore, panel performance can be optimized and no storage tank is necessary, significantly reducing the cost of a system.

Spas can also be heated efficiently with thermal panels, typically as part of a broader system which includes space heating or hot water.

 

 Commercial Applications

As more businesses become sensitive to their corporate citizenship and environmental impact,