Going Solar - Go Green

Common Solar Components

Considering solar power?  We hope this helps answer some of the common questions. If you still have questions or want a free estimate, please call us at 724-427-6900.


Solar Photovoltaics (PV) Solutions:

Whether off-grid...where you create all of the electricity you use...or grid-attached...which allows you to reduce or eliminate your monthly electric bill while remaining connected to the public power grid...solar systems may include the following components:  solar panels, inverters, racking systems, batteries, and charge controllers.  Of course, there may be are other components required like combiners, labels (as required by NEC code), conduit, etc.  Let us help you determine the best and most effective components for your PV system.

Solar Heat & Energy

SOLAR is an area of overlap for GREEN HEAT and GREEN ENERGY.  Most often people think of creating electricity using solar radiation...known as Photovoltaics (or PV) --- Green ENERGY.  The sun, however, has been used for much longer to heat air and water -- Green HEAT.   We offer both services.

What's Involved with Adding Solar Power?

Solar Panels

Solar panels or solar modules are made up of cells which capture rays from the sun and convert them into Direct Current (DC) electrical power.  Select panels which have a good warranty…for defects and for performance. We don’t sell modules with less than a 10-year defect warranty and a 25-year performance warranty.  

Inverter

An inverter takes the Direct Current (DC) from the solar module and transforms it into Alternating Current (AC) which is what is used by most modern electronic devices (laptops, TVs, coffee makers, etc.).  The inverter needs to be sized appropriately for the amount of DC power produced and the amount of AC power needed. 

Racking System

The racking system secures the solar panels onto a pole, roof or on the ground, and it will vary based on the location of the solar array (group of panels).  Some mounting systems can allow the panels to follow the path of the sun to get the optimal exposure, although the majority of installation hold the solar panels in a fixed position. 

Disconnects

Usually DC and AC power disconnects are required to allow maintainers, first responders (e.g., Firefighters) and owners to shut off power.  Note: All systems we install meet the various safety and compliance codes. This means that any grid-tied system is "grid aware" and shuts down automatically if the grid is down.  This prevents technicians from injury when repairing down power lines.  

Batteries

If you want to access the power created by solar at night, then you will need batteries to store electricity until needed.  The type of battery will determine how and where they need to be stored.  The batteries need to be sized for the expected power consumption before being recharged.  We can help determine the number of batteries needed based on their capacity and depth of discharge rating.  

Charge Controller

If batteries are included in your solar system, then you will need a battery charger control to prevent overcharging the batteries.  Sometimes other components (e.g. inverters) incorporate the charge controller function, but usually it is best to get dedicated equipment for this function.  Again, let us help you size the charge controller to match the batteries and power output of the solar panels. 

What's this going to cost me?

Items affecting the cost

The price of the system will vary based on the size, complexity and location.  The good news is that the price of many of the components has dropped significantly from even four or five years ago...and they continue to decline.  The addition of batteries adds flexibility but also increases the cost. A typical grid-tied system (without batteries) can cost in the range from $8,000 to $18,000 (or higher).  Let us give you a free estimate.

Any Incentives Available?

Homeowners can still take advantage of a Federal 30% Tax credit.  We constantly watch for ways to help make solar installations cheaper for owners.  Part of our process includes a more in-depth conversation about loans, grants and incentives available.

I want to learn more

Check out some of the solar power and solar installation Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) from the SolarWorld website:

Other Tools and Pricing Calculators

The Alternative Energy Store (AlteStore.com) also has a number of very useful resources and videos to help educate and inform. 

Solar HOT WATER SOLUTIONS

Domestic Hot Water

We offer 3 sizes sizes and various styles of evacuated tube solar heating systems to heat (or pre-heat) your domestic hot water.   We use the evacuated tube system due to concerns about winter freezing which can occur with other solar hot water systems.

Solar Pool Heaters

We also offer cost-effective solutions to heat your swimming pool using solar energy.  These can be installed permanently (e.g. on your roof) or set up seasonally.  Either way, it's great to save money on heating costs, while enjoying your swimming pool.