Why solar?

In the Florida Keys we have an abundance of natural energy that can be easily harvested by solar panels. Beyond the obvious environmental benefits of reducing our carbon footprint, solar systems are easy to maintain, cost effective, and can provide emergency power during power outages.

Does a solar installation require batteries?

Batteries are not necessary for grid-tied applications. For more information on batteries, contact us.

Can solar replace a generator?

Solar systems are able to provide energy when the grid is down, like a generator, when the sun is shining. Solar systems, however, run daily unlike a generator, and provide usable power that will offset your electricity bill and eventually pay itself off. By law, a solar system is not allowed to power the house, if grid-tied, when the grid is down. However, the inverter that we recommend, and personally use, allows for a secure power source that will allow use of electricity during long term black outs.

How long does it typically take to pay off a solar system?

It will take approximately 8-12 years to pay off your solar system. Currently there is a 30% federal investment tax credit on installed solar systems. This credit will, however, will decrease at the end of 2019.

Will solar run my air conditioner?

This is a very important question for those of us in the Keys. If your solar system provides more energy than your air conditioner requires, it will run your air conditioner. More generally, the power generated by the solar array will power your electrical devices. If the produced power is greater than your demand, it will feed back into the grid and you will be credited. If it does not reach your demand, your devices will be supplemented by energy provided by the grid.

Why storage containers?

Houses in Florida need to sustain 180 mph winds in order to receive a building permit. Storage containers are conveniently built to sustain 200 mph loads, and thus meet the code requirements for buildings. There are also many storage container products used in transportation that connect containers together, allowing us to easily combine containers and meet code requirements. Above all of this we have devised an effective way of mounting solar panels on top that similarly meets requirements by bringing the panels above flood level. Storage containers are cheap, applicable in many situations, and readily available.

What permits are needed for solar systems and shipping containers?

For a solar array on any roof, an electrical permit that also meets wind codes of the Florida Keys is required. It also requires an agreement with the utility for connection to the grid. Shipping containers require a seal of approval by the engineer that the foundation is sound and the structure meets zoning setbacks. Benson Green Technologies provides assistance in obtaining these permits and engineering approvals.

Does the county permit a shipping container for living?

If all codes are met and an engineer seals the drawings, the county will permit a shipping container for living.

How much does a container house with a solar system cost?

We are working on a basic design that will total $150,000. Some container houses sell for millions of dollars.