If you are making the switch to solar energy, you might have a few questions. For starters, you may want to know about how much it is going to cost and how much money you are likely to save. These are quite common questions that many people have before they make the decision to invest in solar panels. But according to the experts at Vivint Solar, there are a host of questions that people have about the actual installation as well as what is involved in it. Below are a few examples:
What is involved in a solar panel installation?
A big question that many folks have is what will happen during the solar panel installation. Initially, someone will visit your home to do an assessment. This assessment allows the solar panel provider to gauge the best location for your panels. If the solar panel system is to be attached to the roof, it may be necessary for the installer to remove some tiles. This will allow the mounting brackets to be fixed to the rafters, after which the tiles will be replaced. When the brackets are in place, rails will be attached that are designed to support the solar panels. The panels are securely clipped to the rails to keep them in place. The panel cables will then be connected to DC isolators and then to the inverter, which will likely be placed in your attic.
How much roof space do I need?
Perhaps one of the most important questions when thinking about solar panel installation is the amount of roof space that is required to house the panels. The size of the panels and the number required for your home will have a direct impact on the amount of space that is needed. The average electricity consumption in the U.S. is around 886 kilowatt hours (kWh) per month or just under 30kWh per day (according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)). The average American home would therefore need a system capable of providing enough power to cover 30kWh per day. When you consider that the average number of peak sunlight hours is five, that would mean the system would need to be providing six kilowatts every hour. Most panels can produce around 250 watts, so you would need four panels to produce one kilowatt, or twenty-four panels to produce six kilowatts. The space required for this would be around 700 sq ft.
How long will it take for my solar panels to be installed?
The length of a solar panel installations varies from one installation to the next. On average, it will take between one and three days from start to finish. However, it really does depend on how complex the installation is.
Do I need a permit?
Whether you need a permit for a solar panel installation depends on where you live. The requirement for permits varies from one jurisdiction to the next. It may be that the permit you require is solar specific, or it could be that you need to get a building or electrical permit. It is therefore especially important to check with your local building department to find out what is needed and to make sure you have everything in place before any work begins.
Is my roof suitable for solar panels?
It will be necessary for the solar provider to carry out an assessment on your home to determine suitability for panels as not all roofs are suitable. You might think that simply having a slanted roof is enough, but some older homes cannot hold the weight of such a system. Furthermore, the solar panels need to be oriented in a specific direction to achieve their maximum potential. It could be that your roof is not facing the right way, or it is shaded by large trees or buildings nearby. Solar panels cannot be placed in a shaded area because they will not work effectively.
Do solar panels require much maintenance?
The wonderful thing about solar panels is that they are low maintenance by design, and you really don’t need to do much except monitor their output. The experts recommend getting your solar panel system serviced every year and making sure that the panels are occasionally cleaned. Most people will hire a solar panel servicer to come and look at their system once a year, and during this service the panels will be cleaned.
What should I look for in a solar panel installer?
When looking for someone to install your solar panel system, it is important to take some time to find the right provider. Look for a provider with a good reputation and plenty of positive customer feedback. You should compare the prices and terms of a few different suppliers to find the one that best suits your needs and budget. A good solar panel supplier will have plenty of experience and will provide you with a full assessment and a breakdown of the costs involved.
Can I install solar panels myself?
Some people think that by installing solar panels themselves, they will save quite a bit of money on labor. The reality is that you should never attempt this type of work unless you have experience in both roofing and electrics. You should also check with your local planning department because your permit may require that the installation be carried out by a professional installer. Furthermore, your warranty could be voided if you do the work yourself.
When considering going solar, there is plenty to consider. As well as the cost of the panels and information about how much money you might save, people often ask about what will happen during installation and whether they could do a self-install.
We hope the above FAQs have helped to provide you with the answers you need to make a more informed decision about a solar panel installation. Once you go solar, you will be doing your bit to help the planet by reducing your reliance on harmful fossil fuels. And, of course, you can save yourself some money in the process.