Gear Required For A Grid
In a grid-tie, sometimes called on-grid, solar setup for rooftop, there are a few basic components needed for proper functioning.
- PV panels
- Mounting hardware
- Pure sine wave inverter suitable to a grid-tie setup
- DC or power optimizer
- Grid disconnect
- DC disconnect
- Combiner box
Note: There are three different types of inverters that could work in a grid-tie system. Whatever your choice, make sure its a pure sine wave type of inverter. .
String inverters are the most economical if you have a south-facing home with no shading issues. With this inverter, electric current from strings of several panels each are connected and feed into the inverter. If one panel in the string is affected by shading or it malfunctions, energy output from that entire string is reduced.
String inverter with a DC optimizer technology
A string inverter with DC optimizer technology overcomes this problem. A separate power optimizer is attached to each solar module in your array and functions independently of all the rest. All the DC coming from the optimizers is channeled to the inverter where the DC-AC conversion happens.
With this type of inverter, shading or malfunction would affect only specific panels . It is possible to monitor each panels operation with this type of inverter.
A microinverter is a type of inverter attached at each panel. DC to AC conversion occurs there. Then, the AC is channeled together from your roof and feeds directly to your home AC breaker box.
Natural Resources Defense Council
At least one major environmental group is pleased with the decision. That would be the Natural Resources Defense Council, or NRDC, which largely agrees with the utility industry that net metering is a massive giveaway from the poor to the rich.
NRDC senior scientist Mohit Chhabra told me hes especially pleased with the $600-million equity fund, which he expects will help pay for solar panels for low-income homes. He sees that as a better model than the Sierra Clubs proposal, because it would make it easier for low-income families to buy solar systems rather than lease them, and thus reap more of the long-term savings.
Chhabra says the primary goal of net metering shouldnt be to add as much rooftop solar as possible it should be to meet Californias overall climate goals, which will require a lot of rooftop solar but also many other forms of clean energy. That includes large solar and wind farms that generate renewable power at a lower cost than rooftop systems due to economies of scale.
Cheap, clean, pollution-free electricity for everybody is the first step. And then do your best to make sure solar is distributed equally, Chhabra said. Dont flip those two things.
Creating A Plan For Your Solar System
The first thing a potential installer will do is assess how many solar panels you will need. They will ask you to estimate your annual electricity usage based on your utility bills. Depending on how much energy you consume, an installer will then assess your property to see if it is suitable for solar panels. Above all, this involves estimating how much sunlight reaches your roof throughout the course of the year. Before you contact an installer, you can get a sense of your sun exposure by using the National Renewable Energy Laboratory PVWatts Calculator or Google’s Project Sunroof.
At the end of the assessment, it may turn out that your rooftop doesn’t receive enough sunlight to produce the amount of electricity to support your energy needsor to make your investment worth it. If you are still interested in bringing solar energy into your home, you may have the option of joining a community solar farm in your area. Should your property be suited for solar, the potential installer will then draw up an installation plan, including how many solar panels you will need and a schematic of how they will be arranged on your roofand, of course, an estimate of what it will cost, which will be discussed below.
Don’t Miss: How To Learn Solar Panel Installation
Getting The City To Approve Your Solar Plan
Getting the city to approve your solar plan can be one of the more challenging and frustrating portions of the DIY solar process. You must provide a formal, engineering schematic and architectural draft of your solar plan to your city government office for approval. If any aspect of your plan doesnt meet with state or local specification requirements, then it is quite literally back to the drawing board. This is a process that can take considerable time going back and forth when you are not already intimately familiar with the specific requirements of each of the departments involved.
Every city has different requirements for the solar permitting process. So, unfortunately, there is no magic formula that we can share with you here. This is the stage in the process where most DIY solar projects are abandoned and professional assistance is sought after.
Due to the fact that Baker Electric Home Energy has successfully installed thousands of residential solar projects throughout Southern California, we are able to navigate this process with efficiency that is extremely difficult to replicate.
Solar Panel Ground Mount Solar Panel Kits
Ground mount solar panel kits for home are hefty and require unused land but are cost-effective and highly efficient for properties with south-facing roofs and optimal sun exposure. Ground mount solar systems are also lower maintenance no need to modify your rooftop.
Our ground mount solar panels are easy for you or a licensed contractor to install. Each ground mounting kit includes tier-1 solar panels, grid tie inverters and mounting hardware. Plus, GoGreenSolar is the only solar company that offers a permit service and complete technical support to help you install your ground mount solar panels correctly.
*Listed pricing assumes a basic 3-row array your designed price may vary.
Read Also: How Much Sunlight Do Solar Panels Need
Benefits Of Working With West Coast Solar
- Were Northern Californias trusted solar experts
- Were working toward the same goal of being eco-friendly
- Well customize your solar power design to meet your needs and specifications
- Our unwavering dedication to our clients
- We provide thorough roof inspections to enhance our guarantee
- We genuinely love what we do
- Our technicians handle the entire installation no subcontractors
- We provide a range of full-service solar solutions
- Easy installation process
Why Ownership Is Key
Many of these great benefits are only available when you own your solar system. Not with a Power Purchase Agreement , like National Solar Companies sells.
When you choose a PPA, the solar companies will keep the tax credit for themselves
youll still be saving money but no where near as much.
The most important aspect of PPAs to understand?
Having a PPA or a leased system can make it more difficult to sell your home!
Any purchaser has to a. Qualify with a high FICO b. Be willing to assume a 20-year monthly payment agreement with an escalating cost.
While on the other hand, if you own the solar system outright it can make your home more appealing and increase the price.
Also Check: How Do Solar Panel Payments Work
Streamlined Solar Planning For Expedited Approval
Because solar plans can involve complicated engineering diagrams, its always best to have a qualified engineer draft your solar plans and be ready to make some time to answer any questions that your city planning department may have.
You should also know that the Solar America Board for Codes and Standards has recommended a formal Expedited Permit Process for PV Systems for systems that are under 15kW, and whose design specifications encompass the majority of systems submitted for approval. This expedited permit process is intended to simplify the structural and electrical review of small photovoltaic solar projects and minimize the need for detailed engineering studies and unnecessary delays. Unfortunately, the gap between a recommended Expedited Permit Process and the reality of getting your solar plan pushed through local government offices remains substantial in some cases.
At Baker Electric Home Energy we may perform hundreds of solar installations a year inside certain city jurisdictions. As a result, our engineers have well-established working relationships with their counterparts in local government. These relationships can streamline solar planning for expedited approval.
Does It Actually Pay To Go Solar
Lets do the numbers!
We are going to assume that you own the home and purchase solar .
Remember that solar increases home value at about $4.00/watt.
We sell most systems at $4.50-$5.00 per watt. Lets average at $4.75/watt. Thats before we add in the tax credit.
Lets add the tax credit in.
$4.75/watt * 70% = $3.33/watt
$3.33/watt. Thats how much you pay when you factor in the 30% tax credit
You pay $3.33/watt and your home increases in value by about $4.00/watt
Lets apply that to an average 4kW system.
Net Cost: $13,320 with tax credit
Equity Increase: $16,000
It pays to go solar
If you own the system!
And we havent even calculated the short-term bill savings, long-term returns, selling high and buying low with NEM Time of Use.
The positives just keep adding up.
I want to ask you: What is the number #1 thing you learned from this article?
Answer down below in the comments, and Ill be sure to read and reply to you.
Feel free to ask any questions you might have too!
Recommended Reading: How Does The Solar Panel Rebate Work
Gear Required For Off
The essential components of an off-grid system are similar to a grid-tie setup with the addition of:
- Charge controller
- Battery bank
- Balance of system components
The following short video from Su-Kam Solar describes the different uses for pure sine wave versus modified sine wave inverters. Not only will you see the difference in the graphical illustrations of both you will hear the contrasts, too.
Can You Install Your Own Solar Panels
Theres a lot involved in a solar installation and theres a right and a wrong scenario for do-it-yourself solar projects. Going solar has major financial benefits: it reduces your monthly electricity costs and can even increase the value of your home. Incentives like the federal tax credit for solar can reduce your net cost by 26 percent or more, but solar is still a big investment, and the price tag can result in sticker shock. To save money, its no surprise that many homeowners are considering DIY.
Per SolarSage here are the 5 steps to a DIY panel installation but they are usually prohibitive if you dont know much about solar panels, permitting, energy design, electrical and roof construction:
The 5 step process to DIY solar panels
1 Design and size your system based on energy needs2 Purchase your solar equipment 3 Install the racking or mounts for the panels4 Connect the solar panels to your racking equipment5 Install a solar inverter
According to data from the EnergySage Solar Marketplace, the average gross cost of going solar for homeowners is $17,460. Of that amount, design and installation labor costs contribute about ten percent of the total bill this ten percent is what homemade solar panels will save you in essence, since youll still have to buy the equipment yourself.
Finding The Right Installation Company
Long story short, while you technically can install panels yourself, you probably shouldnt. The small savings on solar panel installation costs is not enough to offset the risks and negative aspects of performing the task yourself.
Of course, that doesnt mean you still shouldnt save money. The best way to get the lowest solar panel installation cost is to compare your options before you choose. Compare pricing from qualified solar companies in your area before you commit.
Greenlife Solar is a free, online tool designed to help you do just that. Enter some information about your home and well match you with pre-screened professional solar companies in your area. Youll receive free quotes from each installer, helping you compare transparent pricing and information upfront.
Going green doesnt have to be a hassle. Save time and money when you choose a qualified solar installer through Greenlife Solar. Click the button below to get started.
Why Choose Diy Solar Panel Installation
One of the biggest potential benefits of handling your own solar panel installations is that you can save money. According to research from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, installation labor accounts for about 10 percent of the cost of installing solar panels.
Another reason you may want to install your own solar panels is that you have total control over your setup and can design your own system. Further, installing your own solar panels can help you get a better understanding of how these systems work and allow you to troubleshoot issues, should any arise, on your own.
DIY solar panel installations are also an option if you want to power a small building on your property. If you have a barn, a tool shed or an RV that youd like to get power to, DIY solar panel installation can be an affordable alternative. However, you should be aware that you will not be able to connect these buildings to the electrical grid if you handle the installation on your own.
Also Check: What Does A Solar System Cost
Con: Its A Lot Of Time And Effort
Installing solar yourself can be rewarding but only if youre actively seeking a serious DIY challenge.
If, however, your past experience with DIY projects is limited to assembling Scandinavian flatpack furniture, you might want to steer clear of taking on solar. Not only does it require a lot of planning and organizational skills, it is also a very time-consuming project: from conception to commissioning, a DIY solar installation usually takes between one to four months.
Getting Approval From Your Hoa For Solar
In addition to detailed solar plans, some cities also require that you submit a stamped letter of approval from your homeowners association before they will begin the permitting process. While this is not required in every city, it isnt an optional step. It is important to contact your city up front to ensure that you know whether this step will be required as a part of your solar permitting process.
Interestingly, though, the California Solar Rights Act was passed in 1978 to enable more individuals to own solar energy systems in their communities with fewer limitations from HOAs. This act provides the homeowners association of your community with a timeline of approval so that you can stay on track with your solar installation.
You May Like: How To Start A Solar Farm In Florida
What Is The Best Tilt Angle For Solar Panels In California
Best tilt angle for California solar panels?
For a fixed solar system 45 degrees is a compromise tilt angle that gives good power generation all year round..
If your installation has tilt adjustment, the summer setting for your panels should your location latitude minus 15 degrees. The winter tilt angle should be your location latitude plus 15 degrees. These settings will optimize the power output through the year.
For San Francisco, for example, this would be 22.77°for the summer and a winter tilt angle of 52.77°.
The table below shows difference in watts output over the year for San Francisco when a solar array is tilted at an angle of 52 degrees. The power output is compared to the power generated when a solar array is installed flat.
Potential Drawbacks Of Installing Your Own Panels
Theres a reason that many of the pros related with DIY solar power installations refer to small buildings and not home solar panels. It is because there are a number of significant issues that youll run into if you try to install your own solar panels.
Installing your own panels will limit the solar panels available to you, keep you from being able to connect to the electricity companys grid and potentially lead to issues with warranties and tax credits. Furthermore, installing panels can be complicated, and making mistakes can lead to potentially dangerous problems.
Most solar panel installation companies are able to purchase panels from a supplier that makes high-quality solar panels. However, most of these companies do not sell to individuals, so if you install your own panels, youre going to be very limited in the panels available to you.
Its also important to keep in mind that youll need a permit to install the panels. To apply for a permit, you will be required to provide electrical line drawings and performance output schematics, which in most cases, will need to be outsourced. Additionally, you will require an inspection once your system is installed. In order to take advantage of connecting to the local utility grid, youll need a site inspection and interconnection approval. In almost all cases, only an electrician is allowed to connect a home to the grid.
Recommended Reading: How Much Does One Solar Panel Cost
Install The Solar Panel System
At this point, you should have successfully applied for all necessary permits and approvals, and accepted delivery of your solar equipment. Its now time to install the panels!
The actual specifics of the installation will depend on what system type and equipment youve decided upon.
The process Im describing below is for a grid-tied system that uses microinverters for the direct current to alternating current power conversion.
Task 1: Install solar panel racking and mounting
Use a chalk line to measure and mark out exactly where on your roof the racking system will be installed.
Next, look for solid bits of the roof to drill into for the installation of lag bolts. You should consider using a stud finder with AC current detection to ensure youre not drilling through a power line.
Caulk the holes and install flashing to create a waterproof seal before you screw the lag bolts in. Once the lag bolts are all ready, you can install L-feet and then lock the rails on to them.
The method Ive described here is for a system using roof mounts. If your roof isnt suitable for an installation, you may want to consider ground mounts instead.
Task 2: Connect the microinverters
On to the microinverters. These are little boxes that will modulate the output of each panel. Youll connect them to the rails using the provided bolts. Each box will have a positive and negative wire coming out of it, which you will connect together to form a series connection for each array.