solar panels on roofYou’ve decided to have solar panels installed. Congratulations! But, what’s the next step? Let us walk you through the process. We’ll also give you some climate information for new solar panel homeowners.  

What is the installation process?

checklist for solar panel installastion

Engineering visit

First, you need to arrange an engineering site visit. The engineer will come to your house to make sure that everything is compatible with your new solar panel system. For example, they will make sure the roof is structurally sound. After that, they will check your electrical panel to ensure it can handle the amps from the solar panel. In some cases, you will need to update the electrical panel in your home, so it can optimize all the amps. This is just the engineer visit, not a general site visit. The engineer will check the basic components on the roof, but the main thing they look at is the electrical side of this process. Your installer will come out later to measure the roof for panel sizes and quantity. In addition, they will the type of roof you have along with pitch angle and areas of the roof that receive shade.

paperwork for solar panel installation

State and local paperwork

The second step involves filling out all the paperwork. Every city or town has local permits that need to be filed. Sometimes your installer will do this for you, but make sure to have everything in order before starting the actual installation. One of the most important things you will be doing is applying for state and federal solar incentives like Federal ITC, local solar programs, PACE, which is a clean energy financing initiative, along with government rebates and Solar Renewable Energy Certificates or SRECs. While that sounds like a bunch of jargon, your installer will be more than happy to assist you will all of this, so don’t worry! Permits are the other big thing to make sure to get done in a timely manner. Again, the installer will be able to help you collect all the ones you need, and in some cases, will already have them filled out for you.

choosing solar panel inverter

Equipment selection

The third step is to choose your equipment. Your installer will provide a list of options for you to, and probably offer you suggestions. Even so, we recommend that you do some research on the topic yourself. For example, you will definitely want to understand the differences between inverters

Installation

The fourth thing to happen is the day of the installation! First, the workers will prep the roof by making sure all your tiles or shingles are secure. Then they set up the wiring that connects to your electrical panel and general power systems. Next, they install the rack. The rack is the only thing physically connected to the roof. After that, they place the panels on the racking and secure them. Finally, they attach the inverters to your panels. The entire process can take from one to three days, depending on if you need a power meter, for net metering, installed.  

Inspections

The last step takes place once all the paperwork is complete and the solar panels are installed. A government official and an electric company official will come out and inspect the work. Once they do that and give it the “thumbs up”, they will connect your house to the grid and you can start using your panels. From the engineer visit to installation day, this whole process can take between one and two months.  

What is the best climate for Solar Panels?

One of the most important factors to consider when looking into solar panels is CLIMATE.  

sunlight on solar panelsSolar panels and sunlight

Proper and beneficial use of solar panels requires consistent sunlight for the panels to work. However, just because solar panels require sunlight to work, doesn’t mean that they can handle the heat that comes along with it in some areas. Solar panels have efficiency limits regarding sunlight intensity. For example, higher temperatures will impede the function of the solar panels. This results in a less efficient solar panel system.

Solar panels and heat

How does heat interfere with the process? As we discussed in our previous post, the normal process of photovoltaic energy production requires sunlight. The sunlight heats up the electrons. As they heat, the electrons begin moving. This movement creates the direct current energy collected by the panels. Direct current energy passes into the inverter and transformed into usable AC energy.

Bottom line

Too much persistent heat, however, can reduce the amount of energy produced. This happens because the electrons are already “warm” rather than “cold” when the sunlight strikes them. The result is less energy transfer. So, what is the bottom line with regard to climate? Although, industry consensus tells us that solar panels perform best in climates with at least some cooler temperatures on a consistent basis many installers provide specialized power cells with higher heat tolerance. So–bottom line? Keep your climate in mind as you select what’s best for your solar energy solution.

Conclusion

Deciding whether or not to get solar panels can be confusing. Whether you’re exploring your options or you have already made a decision to have solar panels installed, we’re happy to help answer any questions you have. Just give us a call!

 

Have you ever looked at your neighbors’ roof and wondered why it’s so shiny? Have you driven through a neighborhood with futuristic-looking roofs and wondered what in the world their roof is made of? While it’s possible that what you saw were solar panels, it could also have been a solar tiled roof. In this article, we will discuss what solar tiles are, what they are made of, how they work and are installed, and a short list of pros and cons. Buckle up and let’s go!

What are Solar Roof Tiles?

solar tiles on roofMuch like their cousins, the solar panels, solar tiles are thin, photovoltaic sheets that can either replace or lay on top of your shingles. Just like the solar panels, solar tiles harness the energy they create from sunlight to power your home. A very interesting fact for this type of shingle is that it can be installed in any climate. This type of roof shingle is really a testament to how far technology has advanced and opens doors for even more possibilities for the future of roofing.

How do they work?

Great question! The sunlight hits a solar shingle that has been coated with a special surface that knocks off an electron from particles of light. Then, the free electron goes through an electrical circuit where other electrons are being stored. This compilation of electrons is then used to generate a current. That is how all our solar electricity works, no mater what form the photovoltaic device is in.

What are they made of?

They are about 12 inches wide and 86 inches long and weigh about 13 pounds per square foot. The thin-film solar cells are made from copper indium gallium selenide. This is a semiconductor that allows the cells to be thin and flexible. They are usually less than an inch thick, so they won’t look big and bulky like a solar panel.

How are They Installed?

Since these high-efficiency energy savers are so high-tech, it is best to have a professional roofer install them for you. Having a professional do it also helps assure the best return out of your investment. The way they are installed requires a lot of labor and TLC. Your roofer will put in shingle after shingle while wiring each one inside your home. This is a tedious job that should be done ONLY by professionals. There are a lot of permits and paperwork that go into owning solar powered anything. This is something professionals can handle for you, as well as saving you time and energy on doing the project yourself.

 

Pros and Cons of Having Solar Tiles

The benefits of installing solar tiles to your home are awesome! But as with a lot of things in life, nothing is perfect, which means there are some downsides to installing solar tiles. Below is a list of just a few pros and cons to having solar tiles:

Pro: Save Money! Like the solar panels, solar tiles will help cut your electricity bill in half, and you may even be able to make money from your electric company for excess power that your roof supplies back into the grid.

Pro: Solar tiles bring a certain je ne sais quoi to your overall home aesthetic. They have a more modern to futuristic look to them that a lot of prospective homeowners will find appealing. This is something to keep in mind if you envision yourself moving in the future. These tiles are designed to match existing roofing, so they will blend in making a nice finish on your roof.

Con: It’s true that solar tiles are quite energy efficient, but they cannot completely compare to the solar panels. Panels can be tilted for best sun exposure whereas tiles cannot. This may result in purchasing more tiles down the line to reach the same energy output as your neighbors with panels.

Con: While they will save you tons of money in the long run, the initial cost of installation can be quite a hefty chunk of money. This can cost anywhere from 10k to 20k. However, most states have grant programs to help with initial costs.

Ultimately it is your decision whether solar tiles are right for you. We would be more than happy to help you with your home improvement journey, so call us today!

There are 4 main types of solar energy; electric systems, solar hot water, solar pool heating, and concentrated solar power. It’s important to know what kind of technologies are available to choose the best one or more for your home and family. California is the leading state in solar power jobs and solar energy use, followed by Arizona and North Carolina. Solar electric systems, or sometimes referred to as photovoltaic panels (PV), are the most common type in California. They capture and convert the sun’s energy into electricity through the photovoltaic process. Solar hot water panels, or domestic hot water (DHW), is a very accessible technology that can provide your home hot water with just 2-4 panels installed. This water can be used for all your needs, including laundry, dishes, and showering. This technology is well-established, having been used in Southern California since the 1900s. Solar pool heating is another option for pool owners. You know owning a pool can become costly and using solar energy for it can make this luxury more affordable. It is the simplest technology of them all. It simply pumps your pool water up to the panels on your roof, of which the sun is beating down on, soaks up the warmth, and heads back to its original body of water. Concentrated solar power, or CSP, is actually the conversion of thermal energy (heat). It’s not for the typical consumer, but a larger installation such as a utility company itself. Thousands of mirrors direct the sun’s rays to one point of concentration, and that heat is used to power a steam turbine system that converts it to electricity. It’s most publicized use is at Mohave Desert’s Ivanpah Solar Energy Generating System where the energy from its CSP system is expected to power 140,000 homes.

Why Solar?

Solar energy is an affordable energy supplement that saves you a substantial amount of money and is more gentle on the environment than traditional energy. You can save as much as half on your energy bill and the installation itself is often covered by government incentives. Not only this, but its growing popularity and technology development is driving its product and cost down, so that it will become more and more accessible and affordable. Having solar energy systems installed can also increase a home’s value or entice home buyers, especially first time home buyers who are trying to be financially conservative and looking for a turn-key type home.

Since California has invested so much in solar energy, the state added about 2740 megawatts of energy in 2013, enough power to give energy to 600,000 homes. Imagine what that statistic is today.

More About Incentives and Rebates

Each state has its own incentives about installing more sustainable energy technology. Currently, a Federal tax credit is being offered on technology purchases made before December 31st, 2021 and you can search ‘solar energy incentive map’, click on your state, and see what local incentives you can take advantage of. You can also streamline your research by contacting a local solar energy installation company. They will be able to assess your situation and make recommendations based on your home and its past energy bills, as well as point you in the direction of technology vendors, and the most current incentives and promotions.

Your roof is a simple, yet valuable investment for your home, as any reputable roofing company will tell you. The roof’s sole purpose is to keep your home safe from the wind, water, and the sun. What if the sun could be converted into a natural resource for your home? That is the purpose of solar roof panel shingles: to turn this sustainable resource into energy. But how do you know if such an investment is right for you?

1. You are a permanent resident in your home and plan to live there for many more years.

Solar shingles are a large investment. Homeowners who intend to live in their home for many years to come will often find that the purchase of solar shingles will benefit them in the long run.

2. It meets your HOA restrictions

Depending on where you live, your home might fall under the purview of a homeowners association. If this is the case, you might want to check with the organization to make sure that solar shingles will not violate any restrictions or rules. Some gated communities may not allow solar panels of any kind. Other HOAs may have restrictions about the types of shingles you may use. Be sure to check with your local association if you have one when working with your roofing company.

3. Your home is in direct sunlight

While the idea of solar shingles as part of your roof’s single system may appeal to you, they would serve no purpose if your home is in the constant shade or only gets sunlight for two or three hours per day. If your home has high exposure to the sun’s rays from the south, it might be a prime candidate for solar shingles on your roof.

If you own a home and want to tap into this precious natural resource, look into solar shingles . These are a smooth and aesthetically pleasing alternative to regular, large solar panels. If you have questions or want to try solar shingles, Beneficial Roofing is the premier roofing company in Cumberland to offer the service.