It all depends on how much electricity you use and how much of your power bill you wish to eliminate. Two homes of the exact same size will use different amounts of electricity and therefore require different size systems. Major electrical loads within a home are air conditioners, electric heaters, pools, etc. Additionally, when the family is getting ready in the morning and hairdryers, water heaters, toasters, lights and microwaves amongst other things, are all in use, your demand for power from the grid is at its highest. Contact GreenForm to schedule an onsite evaluation for a specific answer to determine the size system you would need. Please have at least 3-6 months of power bills available if possible.
Solar Tax Credits – The federal government currently offers a thirty percent solar tax credit. It is important to note that as a renewable energy credit, and not a deduction, you will receive the 30% back on your federal taxes (until 2016). Additionally, commercial customers can take a 5-year accelerated tax depreciation on their system cost.
Photovoltaic, or PV for short, is a technology that converts light directly into electricity. PV is a developing field and utilizes several different technologies: monocrystalline (single crystal), polycrystalline (multiple crystal), cadmium telluride, gallium arsenide, or amorphous silicon deposited as a thin film. The major advantage of monocrystalline cells is their higher efficiency and therefore smaller space requirements. Thin film can be cheaper to manufacture but is significantly less efficient, requiring more area which results in more labor, mounting hardware, and bottom-line costs. PV solar panels are usually either roof-mounted or ground-mounted. On a rooftop, rows of panels (called arrays) are mounted to face south or southwest at or near a 30-degree angle for maximum efficiency. The PV solar panels are fastened onto aluminum racks, which are then secured to the roof framing, providing sufficient support for the array. This same array layout can also be mounted on the ground if the property has large, usable ground space. Pole mounts are also a popular system, especially in more rural areas. The panels are generally mounted on the top of the pole but can also be mounted onto the side. Top-pole mounts require a steel pole about 12 feet in length set in concrete. These systems may include an auto-tracking feature which will automatically adjust the angle of the panels to follow the sun’s progress throughout the day.
Solar panels generally require very little maintenance since there are no moving parts. A few times per year, the panels should be inspected for any dirt or debris that may collect on them. Always make sure you are safety conscious when inspecting panels and don’t take any needless risks! If your panels are too high from the ground, feel free to call us (423) 531-0222. For a general cleaning, simply use a standard garden hose to wash the face of the panels during either the early morning or in the evening. Avoid spraying cold water onto hot panels or you could risk cracking them!