Nationwide Home Solar Power Contractors and Information
Ron Mulick, president of SOLARTRONICS, Inc., recently made an appearance on Ask the Solar Pros with a breakdown of federal and state incentives available for solar electric installations. Mulick's company has a 35-year history in construction and solar electric design and installation in Southern California. Today, Mulick will answer another question for homeowners. How do you determine if your home is a "good" or "bad" solar candidate? Here's Mulick's answer:
Virtually every home is solar ready. The solar electric power that is generated from the solar array enters the house through the existing "main electric service panel." Every house has an electric main service panel. This is where the electricity enters the house and it is where the electric meter is installed.
Some homes, however, are better candidates for a solar electric system than others. Some of the factors that make a home a "good" or "bad" candidate are as follows:
Space For The Equipment
The solar modules, that generate the electricity, are about 32" x 60," around 13 square feet each. The average house will require somewhere between ten and forty modules, which equates to 130 to 520 square feet of space. The modules need to face either south or west for optimum performance. The modules can be mounted either on the roof, or on the ground. Both installation techniques require racking to hold them up off the ground or attach them to the roof. In either case, there must be enough available roof space, or space on the ground, to install the solar array.
The solar modules require unobstructed sunlight throughout the day. If the preferred location for the solar array is shaded, even for a part of the day, the amount of generated electricity will be reduced. In the case of a system that is receiving an incentive or rebate, a shading analysis must be submitted along with the application for the rebate. Shading will reduce the size of the rebate as well as the amount of electricity generated by the system. Shading can negatively affect the rate of return on the investment. So it is important to evaluate this issue properly. A professional solar electric company has equipment that can evaluate the shading impact on the proposed array location with a great deal of accuracy, before it is installed. You can contact Solartronics, Inc. at (818)889-0440 or email email@example.com for a free site analysis.
Factors That Add to the Cost of Installing Solar Electric
The type of roofing material can have an impact on the cost of the installation. A concrete or clay roof tile roof system will have to be removed and replaced during the installation process. These types of roof tiles will break when walked on, so removal during installation of the solar system is imperative. Another issue that is common is an overloaded or crowded main electrical service panel. Since the solar electric system "lands in" or is "connected" to the main service panel, there must be room on the bus bar (the place where the circuit breakers are installed). If there is not any room for another 220 breaker, or if the load on the panel is close to its rated maximum load, an upgraded panel will have to be installed.
Installing a solar electric system is a complex job that includes electrical load analysis, waterproofing roof penetrations, safely running electrical circuitry, handling high voltage lines, working safely on high, angled surfaces, and handling the paperwork required for incentives. All of these items require a professional firm that has experience and plenty of insurance.
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C.E. Solar / Connector Electric did a first class job for us! We shopped around, they had the best price and really know their business. George designed a system that is far superior to the other companies for a lot less money. I would recommend them to everyone.
I am very happy that I chose to work with this company. They did a great job, and just as important, they were nice people. They were very accommodating of my requests. Mid-project, I decided to change the location of the panels, and they happily adjusted. The changes were addressed right away and without any problems. Great work. A fine company.