Solar Technology

Solar energy, radiant light and heat from the sun, has been harnessed by humans since ancient times using a range of ever-evolving technologies. Solar energy technologies include solar heating, solar photovoltaic’s, solar thermal electricity, solar architecture and artificial photosynthesis, which can make considerable contributions to solving some of the most urgent energy problems the world now faces.

Is My Home Right for Solar???

Solar energy is a great way to save on electric costs, if you are looking into solar panels for your home, one of the first things to do is to discover whether your home is a good fit. Here are some things that you can look at on your own to help determined whether your home is a good candidate for grid-tied solar electricity.

Sun Exposure

If you live in bay area, you’ll obviously have plenty of sun, but even those who reside in cloudier parts of the country like the Pacific Northwest are also still good candidates for solar installation. Solar energy does penetrate regardless of the percentage of cloud cover your area experiences.

Roof Area

The design of your roof is actually one of the most important solar installation considerations. Your roof has to be mainly shade free, and it needs to face the south, east or west. Residential solar systems do require 300 to 600 feet of roof space, because it takes about 100 square feet to generate each kilowatt of electricity, and you’ll commonly want to produce three to six kilowatts for your home.

Roof Type

Composite roofs are the best, and there should be adequate space so the solar panels are unobstructed by plumbing vents or chimneys. Unfortunately, clay tile and slate roofs are not good candidates for solar insulation, but panels can be successfully installed on roofs made of concrete or even wood shake shingles.

Existing Trees

Can trees and solar panels coexist? While there is some disagreement about the detrimental impact the removal of a large shade tree will have upon the general energy efficiency of your home, it is common knowledge that shade and solar do not mix. If you are curious as to whether a tree you have might affect the production of your solar system meet with a solar energy expert and have them do a shade analysis, in many cases a tree will have minimal detriment or simply need to be trimmed.

Roof Condition and Age

Solar panels last for a minimum of 25 years (good ones have a warranty to back this), so if your roof is over 15 years old, you’ll probably want to replace it before the solar installation. It is possible to make roof repairs and actually replace a roof that has existing solar panels, but it’s easier to do the work before the solar system is installed. In many cases it’s ideal to work with your roofing company and solar installer at the same time to streamline the process.

Easy to Figure

With the inception of programs like Google Maps and Google Earth its now easier to tell if your home will be a good candidate for a solar energy system. Google Maps satellite view will show trees and other obstructions, while Google Earth will allow you to determine a property’s square footage available for solar purposes.

Your Utility bill

If your utility bill is more than $150.00 average per month including nature gas, you are illegible for solar system installed. If your utility bill is less than $150.00 your return of investment of solar system probably will over 10 years which may not worthwhile.If your home passes the tests, you’re ready for a solar installation. Please be aware, however, that there are some excellent alternatives if your roof is not quite right for solar. Many homeowners have had great success with ground mounted systems, especially if they have large yard areas.