Solar Installers Solar Installers are arguably the most important aspect of your solar panel installation project

. Good Solar Installers can make all the difference in the performance of the system, ongoing reliability and warranty of your roofing, and overall after tax system cost. provides a free service for finding solar installers in your area. Solar Installers are a unique trade group since they require training and skills in both the electrical and roofing trades. This unique blend of skills is critical to a successful solar installation so be sure to check with your solar installation company to make sure they have strong experience in both areas.

Solar Installers & System Performance:
The best solar installers will pay very careful attention to the solar panel placement to make sure it's optimized for your individual sun pattern and shading characteristics. The three most important considerations in optimizing your system performance are Sun, Sun, and No Shade ! So an optimal solar panel placement will be southern facing (if you're in the northern hemisphere) and absolutely minimize shading. Even a little shade can drastically affect system performance, and smart installers will make sure that any shading is limited to a single panel rather than crossing multiple solar panels since a little shade on one panel can shut down the entire panels production! I've seen poorly designed system with chimney shading that runs across multiple panels when it just as easily could have spanned only a single panel if installed correctly í resulting in a dramatic loss of solar energy power generation

Solar Panels and Roof Warranties
It's absolutely critical that your solar installer understands roofing and how to install the panels without impacting the water tightness of the roof. They should use proper anchoring systems in order to minimize roof "penetrations". And any "penetrations" should be carefully sealed and "flashed" to eliminate the potential for water entry. In addition the solar installer should review the installation plan with the original roofing company and make sure nothing they're doing will void your roof warranty! The fact is that 80% of all construction related litigation is water related í so make sure your solar installer is also strong on roofing expertise! Properly designed mounting brackets can go a long way towards minimizing roof penetrations and, when absolutely necessary, can ensure that no leakage results from the penetrations. In addition good solar installers will avoid using galvanized aluminum since it is no longer acceptable according to most building society recommendations.

After Tax Solar Installation Costs
Good solar installers will understand all the Federal, State, and local government incentive

programs as well as all the current solar product rebates available. The combination of these incentives may drastically reduce your costs. I've recently seen $40,000 systems cost as little as $22,000 in after tax dollars in California! Your solar installer should be ready and willing to help you navigate through all the paperwork required to obtain permits, rebates, and apply for solar tax incentives. How to Manage Your Solar Installer Congratulations on your decision to install a solar electric, PV solar panel system. Hopefully our tips for selecting a solar panel installer were helpful. Now it's time to get the job done on time, on budget, and with a high level of installation quality. We've laid out this section in a checklist format so you can print it and use it directly for your project management. We'll cover all four phases of solar project management: 1. 2. 3. 4.

Pre purchase (define deliverables and timing) of your solar electric system Detailed timeline and payment schedule Change order process for a solar installation project Inspections, reviews, signoffs for your solar project


The most important thing you can do is to make sure you've completed every item on this checklist before moving forward with your solar panel installation project since this list defines your end result! y y Agreed KiloWatt (KW) level of the solar power panel system Agreed products (Manufacturers, model numbers) that will be utilized for the solar electric project. Key products are PV solar panels, solar panel mounting system, solar electric battery system, solar electric inverter, solar electric power management system. Agreed location for solar electric panel installation Agreed location for solar power battery system, and solar system control panel Approved visual aspects of solar electric system (solar power panels, solar panel mounting hardware, electrical conduits (colors, size, locations) Utility grid-tie approved by power company. If not approved, then process should be fully understood and underway and any potential issues understood Solar power permits pulled from local government agencies (usually your city or county of residence) Agreed total solar system cost including installation and ongoing maintenance

y y y y y y 2.

Detailed timeline and payment schedule.

It's very important to agree on a timeline with your solar installers í ideally with penalties for late deliveries. NOTE: Don't pay 100% upfront. If you do, you'll have no leverage to get your solar project completed correctly. Shoot for 25% upfront with progress payments along the way. You may need to pay for the solar panels and other solar electric system installation accessories and other solar energy system hardware as they are delivered. 3. Agree change order process for your solar install project

000kWh/year for both the main home and the cottage. Solar Installation Case Study In 2003 the Spar family of Woodside. invested in a tank-less hot water heater and replaced somewhere between 40 and 50 incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescents. The cottage roof turned out to be such a perfect location for solar panels that . Their goal was to produce all of the electricity for both the 2. who needs to signoff on any changes (you or someone you designate along with a supervisor from your contractor's company) 4. PV solar grid tie components. less than 65% of what it had been. 3 of which were essentially the same. healthier place for all of us. The decision to install solar panels came from a desire to power their home with clean renewable energy. signoffs for solar system installation. PV solar battery system. They ended up choosing to do a 4kW grid-tied system comprised of 30 Sharp 180-watt solar panels running through two Sunny Boy solar grid tied 2500 inverters.000kWh/year of electricity.As with any construction project there are bound to be issues that crop up along the way so you need to agree with your solar energy installer on a "change order process" before you even get started. cleaner. PV solar monitor and control gauges) Schedule final permit approval review for your solar power system. y y y Agree on review schedule (typically at the end of each workday or at start and mid-point of each week) Understand up-front what city/county inspections are required for solar power system installations in your area and schedule these into your project to avoid any re-work and potential change fees Agree on any milestones that you'll need to signoff on. Congratulations!!! You're done and are now helping make our planet a better. Inspections.e. Prior to replacing anything the house was using just about 11. CA decided to install solar panels on their 2. Milestones could include o o Solar power products delivered Major solar system components installed (PV solar roof panels. Key items to address are: y y Agree hourly rate or other costing method for approved changes (generally called "time and materials" í which means you pay for additional time (wages) and materials. Typically these will trigger a partial payment for work completed. They replaced a 25-year-old refrigerator with a modern side-by-side model. they solicited four bids from local contractors. With their demand reduced to minimum they set out to install solar panels. although the fourth was significantly more than the others.400 square foot main house and 800 square foot guest cottage. This process should be in writing to ensure there aren't any surprises. They live in a fairly typical two-story wooden-frame style house with fantastic southern sun exposure. Before beginning installation they chose to replace all of the older less efficient appliances and then match the solar system to the reduced demand. Agree signoff process í i.400 square foot home. not just to trim off expensive peak usage. These updates reduced their electricity demand to 7. reviews.

before they do that they will be adding solar thermal to provide hot water for the house in addition to the system they already have for heating their pool. saving them $1. However. Rats managed to find their way under the panels and caused a system failure when they chewed their way through the wires. They did have two unfortunate surprises. . and have plans to add another one or two kW along with the purchase of an electric car. the first came four years after installation. Sunny Boy still replaced it at no cost to the homeowners. Altogether they are very happy with their solar system. it should be noted that given the current state of the economy the cost of labor and materials has decreased such that they estimate they could do the installation for a few thousand dollars less resulting in a payback time of barely 10 years. However. after state credits from the California Energy Commission and Federal tax credits the ultimate cost to the family was less than half of that.they were installed flat against it instead of being on a solar tracker or a special frame. however.600/year in energy costs. Fortunately their contractor was very responsive to the mishap and helped to rat proof the system. They ended up with a final installed cost of just under $40. Based on these savings their projected payback time was 12 to 14 years.000. however. the system ended up producing 500kWh/year more than they needed. In addition. The second issue came when one of the inverters failed three months after the five-year warranty had expired.

As a matter of fact higher levels of efficiency can often be achieved from PV solar panels that are installed elsewhere around a homeowner's property. Dealing with Local Regulations .Will Solar Panels work on my roof? The 3 Keys for Solar Panel Efficiency: Southern Exposure. and Lack of Shade There are Solar Panel Solutions for all Roof and Property Types Solar panels have the capacity to generate electricity anywhere that they are exposed to sunlight. Clearly this can pose challenges to homes with roofs that lack southern exposure. however. solar panels can also be installed on a frame and rail system that¶s integrated with an electric motor which repositions the panels throughout the day to maximize sun exposure. This technique is known as Building Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV) and involves solar modules that are integrated into the structure of a building in such a way that they offer use beyond generating electricity. Proper Angle. This technology is referred to as a "solar tracker" and is the ultimate in efficiency. This is a great alternative to installing panels on a roof because the direction the panels face and the angle at which they are installed can be optimized for maximum efficiency since solar panel installers don't have to face the constraints of using existing structures. provides shade for employee¶s cars. They can also be elevated to eliminate shading. The panels are either used as the roof of a carport. However the only situation in which solar panels will not work on the roof of a home is when they would be shaded for a large portion of the day ± especially during the peak mid-day hours. Solar Trackers ± maximizing your efficiency Finally. Ground Mounted Solar Panels are a Great Alternative to Roof Mounting When a rooftop or other structure is not a suitable location for installing solar panels they can be installed on the ground somewhere else on the property. or rooftops with extremely steep slopes. Applied Materials in Sunnyvale CA has a huge carport BIPV structure that looks great. or as a means of providing shade over a patio. they simultaneously provide shade or shelter and generate electricity. Building Integrated Photovoltaics are Another Great Option for Solar Solar panels can also be integrated into existing structures other than just the roof of the home for which they will be generating electricity. solar panels should be installed in a south facing orientation and at an angle somewhere between 10 and 20 degrees. flat roofs. For homes in the Northern Hemisphere. Even in this situation there are still options for homeowners that want to use solar panels to generate their own electricity. and provides hundreds of Kilowatts of moneysaving electrical power. BIPV have the unique advantage of serving two functions. instead of on the roof of their house. it is important to remember that the amount of electricity a solar panel can generate is directly proportional to the amount of sunlight shining on it.

A licensed solar contractor will be aware and knowledgeable of building codes in your area. or the solar panels beings installed on improperly built (and therefore unsafe) frames. especially when it is visible from the outside. Only Permitted Solar Systems are Eligible for Government Incentives Finally. when problems with building code violations and unpermitted solar systems do crop up they almost invariably have to do with the same few issues: setback violations (systems that are too close to a neighbors house. our Federal government does not manage the building codes that apply to the installation of solar electric systems. With these solar incentives it is entirely possible to lower the month-to-month cost of homeownership as the savings in energy costs can more than offset the monthly payment for the solar panels. when a solar system is properly installed and permitted the homeowner will be eligible for financial incentives. However. Also. eliminating a lot of the hassle for the homeowner. or the road). so regulations vary from region to region. 3. Unfortunately. The state of California has some of the most generous financial incentives for homeowners including: .the state will pay the interest on a loan used for the sake of installing solar taxes eliminated on permitted solar systems . The incorporation of solar panels into your home�s energy system involves fairly complex wiring and it is important to make sure that this is all done properly and the system is safe. 1. 2. Be Sure to Get Permits for your Solar Installation It is important to check on building codes in your area and have your solar system permitted for a few reasons. usually at the county level. Your Solar Contractor is Best Prepared to Deal with the Permitting Process For these reasons it is usually easiest to have solar systems installed professionally by a solar system contractor. they will generally be prepared to take care of the permitting process before construction begins. Future problems can arise when unpermitted construction is done. . If solar panels are installed without a permit and a neighbor reports the new construction the owner of the solar electric system may be forced to tear down the panels or be subject to fines. You may not be able to legally sell your home if it has an unpermitted solar panel system or one that is not up to building regulations. In nearly all cases solar panel regulations are established and enforced by local government. Building codes exist in order to make sure that new construction is safe. improper wiring.Understand Local Building Codes Prior to Starting Your Solar Installation Before installing a solar system on your home it is very important to find out about any building regulations that may apply.

The primary application is for providing reliable solar power for remote structures that are far enough from a power grid that connecting is not feasible or cost effective. if attaching to the power grid is not something that can be done. While net metering will significantly decrease the payback time for a solar electric installation. For Best ROI Avoid a Battery System Batteries and all the necessary hardware can cost several thousand dollars which significantly increases payback time for a PV solar electric installation. Finally battery storage systems are a good solution for areas that have frequent blackouts as they can provide electricity when the grid has failed and solar panels are incapable of generating power. typically a person inside a home running on battery power would not notice a difference. Battery systems are generally designed to power a home overnight. This is not to say that it isn't worth it to install batteries. lots of battery systems have inverters built in. so electricity needs to go through an inverter to convert it from DC to AC before use. The length of time a battery system can power a home depends upon the size and number of batteries the system is composed of. but in an off-grid site with marginal sun. however. they may be sized to power a house for a couple of days in a row. It is important to note that direct current electricity is what is stored in batteries and alternating current is what most homes use. or if a homeowner simply wants to detach from the power grid and rely solely on clean solar energy. or for new structures that are too remote to connect to the electricity grid. Once the systems are installed they are very easy to use. Owners of solar systems that include batteries can be sure that all of the electricity used in their home comes from a clean and renewable source. then this is a great option. adding batteries to a solar system can increase the payback time for a new solar system. When electricity is needed it runs out of the batteries and through an inverter for use in the home. Batteries are also a good option for people who wish to disconnect from the power grid and become self-reliant. Direct current electricity runs out of the solar panels into batteries for storage. However. And battery backed-up PV solar systems provide reliable electricity for homes that are subject to frequent blackouts. Typically battery systems used in conjunction with photovoltaic solar cost around $600 to $1000 per kWh of storage capacity.How Solar Battery Systems Work Battery Systems Ideal for Remote Solar Installations Battery storage systems for solar electric systems can be very useful in a few specific situations. A reasonably energy efficient home can typically run for one or two days on 10kWh if energy is used carefully. they just should be conscious of their energy use. . How Battery Systems Work for Solar Power Batteries operate in a fairly simple manner. Courses and Workshops (At sites around the US and online) http://www.html Berkeley. CA Devin Ruiz (408) 625-7400 info@trainingforsolar.Photovoltaic (PV) System Design.Professional Program in Solar Energy and Green Building http://extension.PV Solar Training Programs CALIFORNIA PV Solar Training: UC Berkeley Extension .Renewable Energy Education .edu Martha Cuevas.Online and On-Site Workshops. CA (818) 240-1000 x3365 Headquarters: Carbondale.solarenergy. CA (707) 472-2450 Solar Energy International .edu Glendale Community College .com Solar Living Institute .com/ San NABCEP Certifications and Internships Not rated yet http://www. CA (510) 642-4151 Solar Training Institute .glendale. Counselor mcuevas@glendale. Installation and Solar Sales Workshops (3 days) Hopland. CO (970) 963-8855 .Greentech Environmental Programs http://www.aspx?page=2530 Glendale. Workshop Locations: Sacramento.Solar PV Training (NABCEP) CA P: 877.Solar Thermal Training / Solar Photovoltaic Training http://www.aspx?cid=139 MiraCosta College Oceanside.Online Solar Energy Courses (NABCEP Certification Prep) http://www.California Alternative Energy Training .com/ Santa Rosa.765. EnerCal Institute . CA (Courses online) Sylvain Dindy-Bolongo 707-508-8555 sylvain. CA Jeff Fairbanks (800) 431-8488 jfairbanks@aptc. CA Fontana. One week (40 hour) course. CA Eric Lacy (949) 598-0695 x5704 .edu/OurCourses/ShowElectricCourseDetails. CA Burt Price (888) 895-8186 bprice@mccae.Solar Energy Courses (NABCEP Certification Prep) http://www.php San Francisco / San Diego / Los Angeles / Applied Professional Training Entry Level Solar Photovoltaic Training. CA Silicon Solar .shtml#other Laguna Hills.sei@solarenergy.6299 P: Allied Schools .786.Solar Photovoltaic Systems (NABCEP) http://www.

Renewable Energy Technology AAS / Certificates Arvada.trainingsolar.icastusa.solarenergy. CO (970) 963-8855 COLORADO PV Solar Training: Pueblo Community College .edu/Academics/AreasStudy/BusinessTechnology/Technology/EnergyTech/ Maintenance Technology AAS / Certificate http://www. CO P: Silicon Solar .snyder@rrcc.Solar Thermal Training / Solar Photovoltaic Training http://www.6299 P: 303.2711 Red Rocks Community College .914. CO Larry Snyder Lead Faculty larry.elacy@alliedschools.Renewable Energy Education .6306 iCAST (International Center for Appropriate and Sustainable Technology) .php Lakewood.Solar Power Systems Installation Online Training http://www.Short Courses and Workshops (At sites around the US and online) Headquarters: Carbondale. CO Chris Stoneman .786.rrcc. CO 719-549-3200 Roger Weitzel Department Chair Solar Energy International .

solarenergy. Department Chair (303) 797-5863 ARIZONA PV Solar Training: Solar Energy International .Solar Energy Certificate http://coloradomtn.Solar and Natural Building Workshop Program http://www. Lazaro Hong .Renewable Energy Education .org Crestone Solar School . CO Doug Mugge. CO 800-621-8559 AZ Mesa.html Arapahoe Community College .303-462-4100 X802 Chris@icastusa.aspx?pageId=4981962 Glenwood Tucson. CO (970) 963-8855 West Campus . CO (719) 256-4656 Workshop Locations: Headquarters: Carbondale.Solar Installer Certificate Littleton.Energy Technology Certificate Programs Colorado Mountain College .Short Courses and Workshops (At sites around the US and online) http://www.crestonesolarschool. AZ Dr.pima. AZ Flagstaff Pima Community College.

MI Bill Queen 231-995-1700 Lansing.html Samantha Keeney Program Coordinator FLORIDA PV Solar Training: Brevard Community College http://www. Florida .520-206-6603 * MICHIGAN PV Solar Training: Northwestern Michigan College.fl.Energy Center . MI Tel: 517-646-6269 Fax: 517-646-8584 E-mail: Lansing Community College .edu Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association .glrea.Alternative Energy Engineering Technology AAS / Certificates Photovoltaic (PV) Electric Systems One-week Intensive and Solar Photovoltaic Level IIâ¼´Hands-on Systems Training http://www.brevard.Certification Seminars http://www.html Traverse MI George Berghorn Department Chair berghorg@lcc.

6299 P: 888. FL P: .ucf. FL Ron Phillips .net Silicon Solar .) degree programs require a minimum of two years of study and at least sixty (60) college credit hours. FL John Harrison 321 638-1506 harrison@fsec.) degree and Associate in Applied Science (A.Solar Thermal Training / Solar Photovoltaic Training Largo.php Orlando.321-632-1111 Applied Science Associates Associate in Science (A.Director of Training 800-329-1301 ext.S.fsec. or students who are employed and plan to use their educational experiences to advance in their career.Solar Source Institute .edu/en/education/cont_ed/pv/index.Photovoltaic Training Programs Cocoa. 121 ron@solarsource. Solar Source .2711 Florida Solar Energy Center .765.PV Systems: 5-Day NABCEP Certificate of Knowledge Preparation http://www.S. These programs are designed for students who plan to enter employment as technicians or semiprofessionals.

and local). Solar Energy Makes Good Economic Sense The economic argument for PV solar energy (solar panels) varies depending on current energy prices and current government subsidies (federal.S.7%/year and raised prices 30% in the last three years. the geopolitical benefits of solar energy may be the most compelling.Why Install Solar Solar Energy Provides the Best of All Worlds The unprecedented recent support for solar energy installation through PV solar (solar panels) and other forms of solar power generation is based on it's unique combination of environmental. USA Today reported that prices for solar rooftop systems are expected to drop as much as 20% in 2009. And once the solar system is paid for it's . Electricity produced through PV solar electric panels is also inherently efficient since it's produced at the point of consumption and thus doesn't suffer from the wastage associated with sending power through our tired power grid. However as energy prices continue to rise and solar panel efficiencies increase the return will keep looking better. Geopolitical Benefits of Solar Energy: Stop Sending Money to the Middle East Depending on your point of view. state. Sure there's some energy used to produce the cells. By installing a solar panel system you can free yourself from the uncertainty of utility pricing and get a better return than the stock market! The Future Looks Bright for Solar Energy Recent developments in thin-film photovoltaics from companies like NanoSolar could dramatically reduce the cost of solar panels. PV solar generates zero global warming gases í and this is what it's really all about if we're going to keep the planet alive for future generations.1% efficient solar cell (compared with an average of 15% today). and geo-political benefits along with the fact that solar energy is an infinite resource that releases no CO2. The combination of PV solar panel electricity for homes & businesses and plug-in hybrids like the GM volt which can run off that same solar electric power. Environmental Benefits of Solar Energy are Overwhelming The environmental benefits of PV solar energy are overwhelming. And today's latest generation solar cells are producing breaththroughs in efficiency with a recent announcement (Jan 16. The long term payoff today is around a 15% return on investment (or 6-10 years to pay for itself) in states like California that provide significant state level subsidies and have abundant sunlight. will be doing itself a huge favor by weaning ourselves off of imported energy . Over the long term the U. economic. but it's a fraction of the energy generated during the 21-25 year lifespan of today's solar panels. On average PG&E (Pacific Gas and Electric) has raised prices by 6. can truly free us from our dependence on Middle East oil and cutoff funding for terrorists. 2009) by The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE) of a 41.most of which comes from countries that are not our friends and may even be sponsors of terrorism.

Good resources Go to http://www. .org/ to find out what grants or incentives area available in your state.dsireusa. in California you can multiply your gross installed cost by 0. now is the time to jump into your own solar power project. and increasing efficiency of solar panels.essentially free (although you should plan for a nominal level of ongoing maintenance and repair costs). For instance. So between rising utility prices. continued government http://www.solartradingpost. After all a 15% return is a lot better than you can get with the stock market and a whole lot less risky as well í and you can feel good about what you're doing for our planet at the same time. In New York or New Jersey multiply by 0.65 to account for rebates and tax credits.5.

or be sent back into ³the grid´ for purchase by your utility provider. This electricity travels out of the panels and into a device called an inverter. completely out of the way. green. Solar electric. Most systems are mounted on rooftops.Solar Panels Transform the Sun's Energy Directly into Electricity What technology can reliably generate electricity for decades without emitting any pollutants and save you money in the process? Solar electric panels. into electricity. the excess is sent back into the power grid and bought by your utility company. Unlike many other forms of alternative energy. If the PV solar panels produce more electricity than you use. or ³photovoltaic´ panels transform the sun¶s energy directly into electricity. One of the best aspects of solar panel technology is that it converts sunlight. solar panels can be set up in a location where they cause no inconvenience. So how does this clean.cleansolarliving. an unlimited source of energy. The energy they generate can be used to seamlessly power your home or business. which transforms direct current (DC) electricity into alternating current (AC) electricity. In this situation you can literally watch your electric meter run backwards! Professional solar panel installers and contractors (click here to find your local solar panel installer: http://www. . of can easily install and integrate residential solar panels into nearly any home¶s energy system. technology work? Photovoltaic panels absorb the energy from the sun in the form of photons and convert the energy into direct current electricity. which is then used in your home.

or even at night from sunlight reflected off the moon. It is also important to install solar panels in a location where they won¶t be partially or completely shaded during part of the day. The solar panel frame just needs to be designed to position the solar panels in the optimal direction. But the number one consideration needs to be ensuring that your PV solar electric panels face south. when space is an issue (eliminating the option of using stationary frames or trackers which only serve one purpose) and panels can¶t be installed on the roof. When rooftop installations aren¶t an option we recommend you consider installing your solar panels on a tracker Consider Carports.Siting Considerations for Solar Panels Maximize your energy output with optimal solar panel placement Solar Panel Positioning is Key to Maximizing Efficiency Before beginning a PV solar panel installation it is important to give a lot of thought to location in order to ensure maximum efficiency from the panels. South facing solar panels will have some amount of sunlight shining on them all day as long as trees or other objects don¶t obstruct them. Stationary frames work well because they can be optimally positioned to capture the greatest amount of sunlight over the course of a day. Newer solar technologies advertise the ability to generate electricity when shaded. your contractor can build a frame for the solar panels to compensate. Trackers. The more direct sunlight that is shining on solar panels the more electricity they will produce. Carports or really any structure can be . Solar panels need to be installed so that they are exposed to as much direct sunlight as possible over the course of a day. Garages. are the ultimate in efficiency. They constantly rotate and adjust to follow the sun through the sky. energy output from the PV panels is directly proportional to the amount of sunlight shining on them. and Other Structures for Your Solar Panel Installation Finally. you should consider either a stationary or a moving frame (called a tracker). Off-roof solar Panel Installations Allow use of Solar Trackers for optimal efficiency When a rooftop solar panel installation for your home or business isn¶t an option. however. other structures may be used for holding solar panels. In addition the angle the solar panels are installed at along the horizontal axis needs to be taken into consideration. However. The optimal angle will vary depending upon latitude. this can be a great place to install them and is worth considering on almost all PV solar installation projects. If the angle of the roof is very different from what would be optimal. the fact is. South Facing Solar Panels Greatly Boost Energy Production Very often solar panels are seen on rooftops. This ensures that the solar panels are directly facing the sun at all times.

which helps avoid leaks. when new structures are built they can be designed so that the roof faces the optimal direction to achieve the highest efficiency from the panels.built to hold solar panels. and panels are easiest to install as part of new construction. If a new structure is an option. a new roof can be built around the frame the panels are to be installed -. Additionally. .

solar especially. California Solar Incentives In California there are several different loans. unlike basically all other states. In addition to rebates. Essentially the only solar technology that is excluded is passive solar (understandably because such an incentive could be applied to an entire remodel!). solar panels are tax-exempt." meaning any properly installed solar system.S.10 per kWh returned to the power grid by solar panels. New Jersey Solar Incentives In New Jersey solar systems are also tax-exempt. Finally.30 per watt (payable up to $11.Government Subsidies Generous Subsidies Make Solar Panels a Great Investment There are many great reasons to install solar panels on your home. however. Second. These solar installation financial incentives apply to photovoltaic panels. loans and tax credits a few of California's counties have Green Building Initiatives which give homeowners fast-tracked permitting and design assistance for homes that will be built to efficiently harness solar energy. Government will Pay for 30% of Your Solar System At the moment the U. but they are a result of country or city government catering to the needs of specific localities as opposed to a product of top-down regulation creating one policy for a large state with a diverse set of needs. right now almost all levels of government are offering incredibly generous financial incentives for doing so.S. In addition to government incentives many local utility providers offer rebates and other motivations in an effort to increase the percentage of energy in their grid coming from renewable sources.Solar Installation . New Jersey extends this exemption to include passive solar heating. government is offering either tax credits or grants for 30% of what is described as "qualified property. However. Nevada Solar Incentives Nevada also has very generous financial incentives for solar installations. Nevada utility providers offer rebates of around $0. With the inception of the California Solar Initiative at the beginning of 2006 it became clear that California was fully embracing alternative energy sources. First. their owners are eligible for a graduated rebate beginning at $2. In addition homeowners . These incentives can save you an additional 10% to 20% depending on your utility provider. U. The California Solar Initiative gave California a budget of over 2 billion dollars for both expected performance based incentives (which are paid up front before installation) and performance based incentives.500). solar water heaters and solar space heaters. rebates and tax exemptions that basically anyone looking to do a solar installation will qualify for. The financial incentives in California are quite a bit more complex than most other states.

Arizona has also done a great deal to encourage the installation and use of solar technologies. The DSIREUSA webpage for Arizona has a full list of the numerous incentives in Arizona. Similar to California Arizona has locally specific incentives that depend mainly upon a person's utility provider. Arizona Solar Incentives Lastly. Additionally. Like the previous few states. has a "Green Building Initiative" that provides many of the same benefits to homeowners that are looking to remodel or update their home. like California. . Arizona. solar systems in Arizona are tax-exempt and homeowners can receive loans from the state (usually for up to 25% of the cost of the project) and rebates starting at $0.50 per kWh.looking to install solar panels can receive loans from both the state and from their utility provider. New Jersey recently released a Renewable Energy Incentive Program that offers rebates to solar system owners for their surplus energy.

Solar is a natural fit for business structures Businesses are also uniquely suited for PV solar electric based on their large rooftop capacities. reduced focus on rooftop appearance. to detailed timelines. We suggest printing out and using the helpful checklist to ensure you don't miss a step. . This zero cost solution provides an immediate reduction in utility bills. In addition most businesses have less shading than many homes which results in more sun exposure. thermal solar) also provide the strong advantage of providing protection against rising utility costs as well as the ability to control and accurately forecast heating and electricity costs far into the future í a very strong advantage for cashflow management. This information packed page can save you lots of time and frustration by making your project run as smoothly as possible. and warehouses for possible mounting of solar arrays. garages. change order processes. Explore Zero Cost Solar Installation Options In addition there are a growing number of solar installation firms that provide no cost installation of the solar electric system and then sell you the generated electricity at a contracted price that is lower than your current utility rates with a fixed/agreed upon annual increase. and the permitting process and makes the case for why you should be sure to get permits for your next solar energy installation project.cleansolarliving. Our section on "Locating your solar installation" provides everything you need to know to make sure you situate maximize your energy output through proper placement of your solar system. and availability of additional structures like carports. local regulations. solar hot water. reduced zoning restrictions. Our section on "Dealing with local Solar Regulations" provides an overview of building codes. Solar energy systems (PV solar. Our "How to Manage Your Solar Installer" page provides everything from pre-purchase considerations.Solar for Business Lower Operating Expenses with Predictability Solar Energy is a natural fit for any business looking to lower their operating costs and gain greater control over future operating expenses. By taking advantage of the generous incentives from both the Federal and State government businesses can install a solar energy system and see a quick payback and long term savings. How To's for Solar Energy Installation Welcome to the "How To" section of In this section we'll provide helpful tips on a variety of topics to ensure your solar installation is a success. and even review and signoff procedures.

. etc) Solar performance factors (installation angle. there is also a strong economic benefit to installing a solar energy system in your home or business.5 hours of sunlight on average over a year whereas a cloudy location like London receives about 2. then your payback time is 10 years ( $60.000 after rebates and tax incentives. Here is a helpful list of current federal solar tax incentives or checkout our helpful writeup on Government Subsidies for Solar (link to Gov subsidies page) Utility company rebates Your utility costs Amount of sunlight in your area (strength of sun. this calculates to $6000/year. With energy costs rising there's never been a better time to utilize the clean power of solar. Although the rule of thumb for solar panel systems is a ten (10) year payback. tilt. cloud cover). As an example. Solar Installation costs are the single largest contributor to the total costs of a PV electric system. you'd also factor in any rebates from the utility company in arriving at the Payback time. PV module costs represent only about 50% of the total costs. southern exposure. PG&E has raised rates 30% over the last 3 years) Cost of labor in your area. Financing costs . If your system cost was $60. A sunny location like Los Angeles receives approx 5. if you save $500/month on your electric bill. In the case of a "net metering" arrangement.000 / $6000 = 10 ) Helpful Tip: Most utility companies offer free energy audits in which they'll come by your house and find ways for to cut down your electricity consumption.5 hours on average.Economic Benefits of Solar Energy While many people choose to install a Solar electric or solar heating system for the environmental benefits alone. location) í note that these also determine incentive levels under the California solar initiative Size of solar panel system (economies of scale Average annual utility rate increases (In California. These tips are usually very inexpensive and could cut your electricity usage by 10% or so.which are currently the lowest they've been in many years. Payback Time: The term "Payback time" refers to the amount of time it takes to pay for your system based on the reduction in your utility bills. the numbers can vary widely depending on the following factors: y y y y y y y y y y Government subsidies. Site specific considerations (tree coverage.

solar panels need to be facing south and mounted at an angle somewhere between 10 and 20 degrees.Solar Panels and Your Roof Type Key Considerations for Solar: Southern Facing and Roof Angle When installing solar panels on your home it is important to consider both the angle of the roof the panels will be installed on and the direction that the roof faces. Always remember: the amount of electricity solar panels can produce is directly proportional to the amount of light falling on them. but solar panels installed on a roof that faces in a true northerly direction wouldn¶t provide a sufficient return on investment. if the roof of a home faces southeast or southwest this isn't too big problem to overcome. for example a shed style roof that only has one angle. the solar panels will need to be installed on a frame which can be designed and constructed to maximize the solar arrays¶ exposure to the sun. Not only can the solar panels be set at the optimal angle. can actually provide a great starting point for incredibly high efficiencies. Typically with gabled or cross-gabled roofs you find a moderate pitch and if they are south facing the result is a perfect location for solar panels. but the panels can also be installed facing in the perfect direction for the highest efficiency. Hipped. . For a flat roof. This also extends to hipped and cross-hipped roofs. and Cross-Hipped Roofs are Great for Solar Panels Gable type roofs can be ideal for solar installations. which by themselves don¶t provide the proper solar panel angle. If Your Roof Faces North You Need to Look Elsewhere A more difficult obstacle to overcome is a roof that doesn¶t face south. If this angle is to the North the homeowner should consider installing panels elsewhere. a roofing material capable of generating electricity. however. It isn't necessarily a problem when panels aren't facing directly south. especially when they are south facing. Generally. Gable. The advantage these types of roofs have over flat roofs and roofs with extreme angles like mansard roofs or A-frames is that they are also suitable for photovoltaic shingles. they do limit some roof types from certain types of solar installations. Flat Roofs and Mansard Roofs Provide a Great Starting Point for High Efficiency Solar Flat roofs. as it is common to see a pitch that is also in the acceptable range for solar installations. These two requirements never really limit a home from being eligible for solar panels. The same is true for Mansard style roofs as they also feature relatively large flat spaces.

So how does this clean. If the PV solar panels produce more electricity than you use.How do solar electric panels work Solar Panels Transform the Sun's Energy Directly into Electricity What technology can reliably generate electricity for decades without emitting any pollutants and save you money in the process? Solar electric panels. but most state governments are offering such generous subsidies that it is possible to quickly start saving money with the installation of solar panels. completely out of the way. an unlimited source of energy. or be sent back into the grid for purchase by your utility provider. One of the best aspects of solar panel technology is that it converts sunlight. of course. which makes them very resistant to mechanical failure. which transforms direct current (DC) electricity into alternating current (AC) electricity. And in California and some other states. solar panels can be set up in a location where they cause no inconvenience. technology work? Photovoltaic panels absorb the energy from the sun in the form of photons and convert the energy into direct current electricity. Solar panels are capable of reliably converting sunlight into useful energy without noise or pollution for twenty years or more. This electricity travels out of the panels and into a device called an inverter. which is then used in your home. PV Solar panels are a good investment Solar panels are also a good investment. Unlike many other forms of alternative energy. Solar Panel Systems are the Cleanest Way to Generate Electricity One of the best aspects of solar panels is that they are free of moving parts. the excess is sent back into the power grid and bought by your utility company. solar systems are exempt from property taxes and the state government will pay the interest on a loan used to install a solar system. into electricity. In this situation you can literally watch your electric meter run backwards! Professional solar panel installers and contractors (click here to find your local solar panel installer) can easily install and integrate residential solar panels into nearly any home's energy system. green. The upfront cost is fairly sizable. If a solar panel system is financed for its expected life it is very common that the savings in an electricity bill will more than cover the loan payments. Most systems are mounted on rooftops. or photovoltaic panels transform the sun's energy directly into electricity. The energy they generate can be used to seamlessly power your home or business. Solar electric. Even hydroelectric damns and windmills can have detrimental impacts on our .

natural world. However job opportunities for solar panel installers are currently very strong and the demand for solar installers is expected to experience strong growth over the next 10 years due to: y y y new federal and state tax incentives new initiatives including the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) which provides funding for solar panels on federal government buildings the Federal economic stimulus package which removed the cap on federal tax credits for PV solar. And once you're ready. We also want to help the market grow by helping individuals learn how to become a solar panel installer. but almost all will require at least 1-2 years of relevant construction (and ideally electrical) experience. it should be quite easy to become a solar installer. or new to the building trades. So what does it take to become a solar panel installer? Key requirements for solar installer jobs commonly include: y y y y y y y State certified electrician credentials are a big plus.) Disciplined. and increase the value of your home or business! How do I Become A Solar Panel Installer CleanSolarLiving. If you're just out of college. roofing materials. Many companies are willing to provide training. If you're interested in a sales career in the solar energy field. To check out this great training resource Click Here! Solar Energy international offers both an online course as well as a two week hands-on . Solar Panel installation is unique in that it requires trade skills in both electrical and roofing. then it would be best to take some courses on electrical installation and get a year or two of experience prior to a full-on job search for a solar installer is the #1 resource for consumers looking to install solar panels on their homes. but some firms in high demand areas are willing to provide extensive training and only ask for some experience in electrical work and/or roofing (electrical background is generally the higher priority) Knowledge of the NEC Code and AC and DC electrical systems Knowledge of Universal Building Codes and building materials and techniques (ie lumber. Solar panels are the cleanest way we can generate electricity. provide a reasonable return on investment. you can use our fee solar classifieds to post your availability or to find solar installer jobs. we've discovered a great program at a great price. This program will give you everything you need to interview with confidence. etc. So if you're interested in a career in solar panel installation here's some helpful information. self motivated work style Ability to work well with others Good customer service skills Ability to get to the job site So if you're already a certified electrician.

Course content will vary. Or click here for a comprehensive list of companies. courses cover the following: y y y grid tied system installation grid tied with battery backup standalone (not grid tied) systems Here are some good books on PV Solar: Photovoltaics: Design and Installation Manual The Solar Electricity Handbook 2009: A .com/ Canadian Solar Industries Association http://www.workshop in locations in Arizona and Colorado for people interested in becoming solar installers .org/ Independent Energy Producers Association http://www. Solar Energy Industries Association (Est. 1974) European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) http://www. Solar Electric Power Association http://www. Practical Guide to Using Electric Solar Panels and Designing and Installing Photovoltaic Solar PV Systems Solar Power Your Home For Dummies There are also many national.cansia.solarelectricpower..seia.. international and local solar industry associations where you can find further information. and organizations offering a variety of PV solar installation training courses . but in general. including.

. a mounting system from Quick Mount PV provides a waterproof mounting and flashing system to drastically minimize the risk of water penetration. A careful solar installer would put down one or more layers of plywood to create a work area on the roof and carefully distribute and weigh loading around the roof. Depending on your type of roof shingles there may be special mounting brackets that can attach to your roof with a minimum amount of roof penetrations.Solar Installation . The rule is that "if you penetrate the roofing materials you must flash and waterproof to code to avoid voiding your roofing warranty". and even driving pallet loaders around the roof with no extra support. The key areas of focus should include: y y y Roof care Roof Penetration Sealing and Flashing Solar Installation & Roof Care Solar installers vary widely in how well they take care of your roof during the solar installation process. As an example. Some installers come from a roofing background and will take great care not to damage your roof during the installation process. If the solar installation looks shoddy it probably is. I've seen commercial solar installers stacking large pallets of very heavy materials on small portions of a flat roof. A proper PV solar installation will have smooth edges for water flow around joints and seams without gobs of sealant all over the place. This type of disregard for the roof is very likely to damage the roof's integrity resulting in multiple leaks down the road which may even require an "un-install" to trace down and repair. Roof Penetration from Solar Installers Careful solar installers will be very knowledgeable about roof penetrations (i. As an example.Solar Panel roof mounting Your roof is critical to the health of your home so you need to take the time to understand how your solar installer plans to install the solar panels on your roof.e. Other installers may have minimal roofing experience and focus on the electrical aspects of the job and pay less attention to your roof integrity. punching a hole through your roof) and take care to minimize them and do them the right way. Sealing and Flashing for Solar Installations Solar panel mounting will invariably require some amount of roof penetration so good solar installers will know how to use proper flashing and sealants to ensure that your roof integrity is maintained.