We do our best to answer all of the questions interested homeowners and businesses have about solar.
So if you only understand the basics of how solar energy works, you’re missing quite a bit of information. And you’re probably bursting with questions. Whether you’re a solar energy newbie or a curious solar supporter not quite sure you’re ready to make the switch, today we’ll be covering the most frequently asked questions about solar energy to cover all your bases.
Grid-tied solar electricity offers a way to fix your electricity rate for more than 25 years. The maintenance-free panels come with a 25-year production warranty and the expected useful lifespan is up to 50 years (output starts to slow down over time but is still significant). A grid-tied PV system can protect you from electricity price increases for decades. That’s a feeling of energy security that is hard to duplicate.
Our typical residential solar power job takes us about 40 hours of installation time on the roof and about 10 hours inside the house. We typically send two technicians, so most jobs are completed in 2-3 days. That said, our installation queue is typically 6-8 weeks out, sometimes longer, so contact us as soon as you’re interested if you have a sense of urgency about your solar project.
We do! We are a 100% employee-owned company and take pride in installing all of the residential work ourselves. This means you have a consistent experience with one company; all aligned on making sure you are delighted with your solar experience every step of the way. Our install crews are friendly, professional, and well-reviewed from San Diego to San Francisco
Simply put – the sooner you get solar, the sooner you will enjoy its benefits! If you wait for some unproven technology down the road, you will have missed the opportunity to generate your own power now. Solar is like saving for retirement – the sooner you start doing it, the better.
In California, the ideal roof orientation is 196 degrees on the compass (known as ‘solar south’), but an installation of +/- 50 degrees (155 -245) is also fine. Within this range, power output stays within seven or eight percent of maximum. Even more easterly and westerly roof installations are viable, especially on shallower roofs. For example, a 7/12 roof that is due east or due west still achieves 77% of a system’s potential performance. More important than angle, generally, is shading. We don’t want to see any shading on a solar roof from 9 am to 3 pm, year-round. Technological improvements such as micro-inverters can compensate for shading issues to some extent.
We mount solar panels on a purpose-built aluminum rail system that is fastened about every four feet by penetrations into roof rafters. On a standing seam metal roof, these attachments are made directly to the standing seams, with no roof penetrations. On asphalt roofs, each mount is sealed with a 50-year Tripolymer sealant to prevent any leaks. We guarantee all roof work will be free from leaks. As for the weight of the array, it is less than 5 pounds per square foot, so a typically framed roof is more than adequate to carry the weight.
Every kilowatt of the solar array takes about 75 square feet. So a typical 3kW array (twelve panels) will take a roof area about 11′ tall by 20′ wide (two rows of six).
That varies from home to home (or business to business) based on energy usage, solar exposure, and the size of the building, alongside a few other factors. For a very quick estimate of your particular need, check out our Solar Calculator. For a more exact estimate, follow that up with a chat with one of our System Design Specialists.
Today nearly all inverters come with built-in monitoring that varies based on manufacturer. By reconciling your production with your electric bill, you can get a good idea what your household’s electric load is and how much of a difference the photovoltaic system is making. Also we recommend using our solar usage mobile application as described below.
Solar energy systems are sophisticated pieces of equipment and not suitable for DIY type projects. With grid-tied solar electric, you need to contract with a professional company to meet most state rebate program requirements, as well as to perform the interconnection with the utility. With solar hot water, while you can do the plumbing yourself, the cost and risk associated with a poor installation greatly outweigh the cost of hiring a professional.
It will be smaller! With solar, your inverter and your household loads are all “behind the meter,” meaning that if the sun is out and you are in your house and running loads – say a TV, dryer, and electric stove – your solar-generated power will be consumed without it ever being registered by the utility company. So at the end of the month, your electric bill will say you’ve exported fewer kWh to the grid than your inverter says you have generated. This is because your home consumed some solar power before it was ever sold to the utility. Though it can be a bit confusing, you can feel good about this situation because every kWh you didn’t export, is also a kWh you didn’t have to buy! That’s putting your photovoltaic system to work.
Solar electricity is identical to grid power, so you will never notice that the house is running on solar power. What you will see, of course, is a smaller electric bill!
We use a variety of top, well-respected solar panel manufacturers depending on the application. We usually carry three options, which we call “Good,” “Better,” and “Best.” Our “Better” option is a panel by electronics manufacturer LG. All reputable solar manufacturers offer a 25-year warranty on their panels, which are expected to live roughly twice that long.
Gina T. Holland
We’ve made getting solar such an easy process that you’ll be amazed how fast and efficient our business works.
We’ll talk to see if solar is right for you and create a free quote based on your energy usage and satellite images of your roof. Take a few minutes and find the benefits of solar.
You’ll secure predictable solar costs for years to come depending on your payment option. No hidden fees or worries thanks to our incredible 25 year warranty.
We’ll visit your home to examine your roof and take measurements. Then, our engineers will design a custom system to meet your energy demand needs.
Most solar installations take one day. Our solar project manager handles everything from permits to inspections. We cover it all so you don’t have to worry about anything.
Once the utility gives approval, you can start generating your own clean, renewable energy, and what’s more you’ll be able to sell back your unused energy back into the grid.
Emoncms is a powerful open-source web-app for processing, logging and visualising energy, temperature and other environmental data.
The OpenEnergyMonitor can be used as a simple home energy monitoring system for analyzing real-time power use and daily energy consumption. Providing real-time and historic information on your solar generation and demand matching, it will help you make better use of available solar power.