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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

How to Build a Solar Energy System

Solar Pool Heater With growing concerns over the environmental effects of burning fossil fuels and rising energy prices, many people are looking to renewable energy as a clean alternative and a way to cut down on energy costs. Installing solar panels into a home not only will reduce electrical bills, but may also actually help you make money by generating electricity. Although the installation cost can be expensive, the government offers programs and tax credits for "green" home improvement projects like this one. Things You'll Need Solar panel array Chalk Stud finder Solar panel mounts Drill Stainless steel lag bolts Metal flashings Metal rails 3/8" stainless steel bolts Electrical conduit Circuit breaker Installing Solar Panels Determine how big the array on your roof will be and mark off where it will be installed. Use a stud finder to locate the studs in the area where the panels will be installed and mark them off. The attachment points will be spaced in a rectangular grid pattern, 4 to 6 feet apart. Align the mount over the stud where it will be attached and drill a pilot hole. Use stainless steel lag bolts to attach the mounts to the roof, driving them in through the pilot holes you've drilled. Slide the flashings over the mounts, tucking the top edge under the shingle and nailing it to the roof. Attach metal rails to the posts with 3/8" stainless steel bolts. Install the solar panels and connect them so they form an array and also install all the wiring connections. Wiring Run the electrical conduit from the array to the place the inverter will be located, attaching it to the roof. Other People Are Reading How to Calculate Solar Panel Angle The Average Cost of Switching to Solar Energy Run the wiring through the electrical conduit, following the instructions provided by the manufacturer to connect the wires to the solar panels correctly. Take the side of the wiring that's not attached to the array and run it into the inverter and disconnect switches. The inverter converts the DC current that the solar panels produce into the AC current you use in your house. The disconnect switches allow you to turn the system off so that you can safely make repairs. The control equipment should be placed near your electrical box. Install a new circuit breaker in your electrical box and feed the lines leading from the solar array into the electrical box through the new circuit breaker. You might want to hire an electrician for this step if you're not comfortable doing it. Tips & Warnings Ideally, you should install the solar panels while the house is under construction or a new roof is being installed. When you're attaching the mounts to the roof, use a chalk line or laser sight to keep them in a straight line. Related Searches References Ameco Renewzle.com SolarPowerRocks.com Promoted By Zergnet Comments Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus. Resources Solar Panel Installation You May Also Like Solar Roof Panels to Prevent Ice Dams In the winter, melting snow can lead to ice dams. These dangerous, costly packs on your roof can be difficult to remove.... How to Install Solar Panels on a Tile Roof Solar panels can be installed on many roof types. The panels can be tilted up as well as flush-mounted. It is much... Flat Roof Pros & Cons While pitched roofs are used on many houses, a flat roof is a viable option for many homes. As the name implies,...