Solar Panels San Diego

What should you consider before having solar panels installed in San Diego ? How should you decide which installation company is right for you? What type of solar should you choose? photovoltaic or solar thermal? Are there upkeep or maintenance costs?

All of these are valid and common questions when considering solar panels. It’s a big investment and so it’s understandable that you will have questions and concerns. I’ve collated some basic knowledge, tips and advice on how to ensure you find a good company to install your solar panels and highlight some of the points you should consider when having photovoltaic panels installed at your property.

Solar Panels For Your Home

1. MCS Approved Installers

Firstly, and most importantly, ensure that your chosen installer is an “MCS approved installer”. MCS stands for Microgeneration Certification Scheme and it is an indication to consumers that the installer has been assessed and adheres to standards and regulations that are set by the MCS.

MCS Approved Installers are awarded certification as a result of a thorough assessment of the supply, design, installation, set-to-work and commissioning of renewable microgeneration technologies, solar panels.

2. MCS Approved Solar Panels

Alongside MCS Approved installers, make sure that your panels are also MCS approved. MCS Approved Solar Panels also undergo rigorous standards.

To receive certification, MCS Approved Solar Panels not only receive product testing, but the manufacturing processes, materials, procedures and staff training also undergo assessment. Certification is only awarded if every step and stage meets the criteria.

3. NIC EIC Certification

All electricians who provide services in the UK should be NIC EIC certified. Solar installers are no different and you should make sure the company you choose has received certification. You will then be safe in the knowledge that your system complies with national safety requirements as stipulated by the governing body responsible NIC EIC certification.

4. Solar Panel Quotes

Don’t rely on the first or cheapest company you find – ask for quotes from a number solar installation companies, and let the companies know that you plan to do this. This should help ensure that you receive competitive quotes and it also gives you a benchmark from which you can compare quotes against quotes. It might give you some leverage to “play” companies off against one another to get that quote figure knocked down a little. Companies only exist to make money, so they won’t want to lose a potential customer.

Talk to companies who visit your property to provide you with quotes and ask plenty of questions. This will give better understanding and knowledge of what to expect and what you are told. Consider all your quotes before committing to any one in particular.

5. Cheapest Doesn’t Mean Best

As with most things in life, the cheapest quote you can find won’t necessarily get you the best end result. That doesn’t mean you should opt for the most expensive solar panels either. Find a quote which you feel is fair and just as importantly, choose a company that you feel comfortable about dealing with, a company who answers your questions and takes time to explain the technical side of things in a manner that you understand.

This doesn’t just apply to the company’s bottom line figure, but also the individual materials and equipment the company quotes for. If you haven’t been provided with a detail or itemised quote, ask for one. This way, you will know what equipment and materials you are paying for, and you can compare this to your other quotes.

How Much Does It Cost To Install A Solar Panel

6. Research!

The technology is constantly evolving and in terms of energy generation for the masses, it is still quite new so there will always be improvements and enhancements being made. Ask your company what products they will be using for your install and take some time to do some background research on them: Are there any problems with the panels? Are there newer versions? Is the price about right? Are there any forums which advise for or against them? Learn about solar panel technology and the terminology used, this will help you avoid being “blinded” by jargon.

7. Calculate Potential Feed in Tariff Earnings

The Government’s Feed in Tariff has been extremely influential in the popularity of solar panels. You get paid for all electricity generated from your solar panels, even if you consume it personally. As a general overview, from 3rd March 2012, the rate is 21p/kWh and then from 1st July 2012 the rate of return will be between 16.5p/kWh – 13.6p/kWh. This rate will depend on the number of panel installations completed between March and April 2012. You can also use one of the many online calculators to see how much money you could be earning on your potential investment.

The Feed in Tariff means that whilst your initial investment may be a big outlay, not only will you save money on your energy bills, but you will also generate an income. This takes the investment in solar panels way beyond most returns from other “normal” monetary investments. If you have money invested in savings accounts, maybe consider solar panels.

8. Solar Thermal and Photovoltaic Panels

Take some time to decide whether solar thermal or photovoltaic systems would be more beneficial to your property. Solar thermal generates hot water, whilst photovoltaic panels will generate electricity.

If you are unsure as to the system you want, contact companies and ask which system they would recommend. There’s no reason why you cannot have both systems installed and if you decide that solar thermal panels are your best option, still consider photovoltaic panels, if for no other reason than it could in theory pay for itself and your solar thermal panel system.

Best Solar Panels

9. RHI – The Renewable Heat Incentive

The Renewable Heat Incentive does not provide such a good return on your investment as the Feed in Tariff, but it is still a good incentive that deserves careful consideration. The scheme’s aim is to encourage property owners to reduce their heating energy consumption and carbon foot print by providing the following benefits:

0.085p per kWh return for 20 years
energy consumption reduction
A Government payment contribution
10. Maintenance Costs
You will undoubtedly be told that there are no upkeep or maintenance costs involved with solar, and throughout life expectancy of a solar panel installation, there should in fact be little maintenance or upkeep in regards to the panels themselves. However, the inverter, which converts direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC), will, at some point in the 25 years, need replacing. The cost to replace your inverter will be somewhere near 1000, and so this should form part of your calculation and consideration for solar panels.

How To Install A Solar Panel

Normally, solar systems will be installed on rooftops or high up above the ground in order to get the best exposure to direct sunlight especially in San Diego. The result of this is that less able-bodied people may require assistance to have the solar panels cleaned or to clear any fallen leaves or debris from on and around the panels to keep them working at their maximum capacity.

What Does My Dream Mean? Find Out for Free

Solar Panel Installation Cost solar cell research image by Albert Lozano from Fotolia.com If you go camping or hunting, or simply want to reduce your electricity bill, then a solar panel might make a good investment for you. Solar panels can charge batteries and run tools and appliances, all for free. They require no fuel, and because they have no moving parts, they need very little in the way of repair and maintenance. The only cost associated with solar panels is the up-front purchase cost. Even this can be reduced by making your own solar panels at home. Things You'll Need Solar cells Sheet of plywood Saw Narrow wooden strips Electrically conductive glue Spool of wire Wire cutters with wire-stripping attachments Silicone caulk Calculate the number of solar cells you will need to make your solar panel. Different cells provide different voltages. Divide the voltage you want your panel to produce by the voltage rating of your solar cells. This will give you the number of cells you need to produce 12 volts. Add a couple volts' worth of cells to this number to eliminate the danger of backcharging, which can damage your solar panel. Cut the plywood into a size just large enough to hold all the cells you need for your panel. Glue the narrow wooden strips all around the perimeter of the plywood you have cut. After your cell is assembled, these will hold up the Plexiglas cover to protect your panel from damage. Leave a small gap between two of the strips to run the wires out of the panel. Attach the solar cells to the panel of plywood, using the electrically conductive glue. Leave a small amount of this glue peeking above the top of each cell in order to form an electric link to the terminals on the bottoms of the cells. This edge of glue will be referred to as the "negative terminal" of each cell. Cut 6-inch lengths of wire from your spool of wire, using the wire cutters. Make as many short wires as there are cells in your panel, minus one. Remove 1 inch of insulation from one end of each wire, and 3 inches from the other ends, using the wire cutters. Glue the 3-inch-bare ends of these wires to the tops of the solar cells. Do not let any glue run from the top of the cell and touch the negative terminal of that cell. Do not let any bare wire touch the negative terminals of the cells. Leave the final cell without a short wire on top. Glue each of these wires to the exposed glue peeking over the edge of the cell next to it, after having allowed the glue on the other ends to dry. Allow this glue to dry. Cut two 3-foot sections of wire off the spool. Remove 1 inch of insulation from each end. Glue one to the negative terminal of the first cell, the one without any wire connected to it. Glue the other to the top of the cell on the other end, without any wire on top. Other People Are Reading How to Make a Solar Panel How to Make Homemade Solar Power Run the long wires out through the gap between the wooden strips. Glue them to the sides of the solar panel so that there is no possibility they will touch each other, which could short out your panel. Cut the Plexiglas sheet to match the size of your panel. Glue it to the top of the wooden strips. When the glue is dry, seal all the edges with silicone caulk to protect it from water. Tips & Warnings You can increase the power of your panel without changing the voltage by building other panels identical to the first. Connect their negative terminal wires to the negative terminal wire of the first panel, and their positive terminal wires (the wires connected to the top of the last solar cell) to the positive terminal wires of the first panel. Related Searches References SchoolPower Naturally: Solar Education for NY Solatron Technologies: Learn How to Wire Solar Panels and Batteries Photo Credit solar cell research image by Albert Lozano from Fotolia.com Promoted By Zergnet Comments Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus. Resources Green Living Tips: Solar Panel Basics You May Also Like How to Make a Solar Panel Solar cells convert the energy of the sun into electricity. By using items commonly found in the home or your local hardware... How to Make a Solar Panel Model A model of a solar panel can be a great visual aid for your science projects. Models help people to visualize how... How to Make Homemade Solar Power Humans have been using solar power for thousands of years to heat their homes. Making solar panels to collect and store the... Alternative Energy: How to Make Solar Cells & Solar Panels Free Solar Panel Construction Plans Free solar panel construction plans are available in a variety of places online. Some tutorials cover how a specific person built their...