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Solar Installers Solar Installers are arguably the most important aspect of your solar panel installation project.

Good Solar Installers can make all the difference in the performance of the system, ongoing reliability and warranty of your roofing, and overall after tax system cost. CleanSolarLiving.com provides a free service for finding solar installers in your area. Solar Installers are a unique trade group since they require training and skills in both the electrical and roofing trades. This unique blend of skills is critical to a successful solar installation so be sure to check with your solar installation company to make sure they have strong experience in both areas.

Solar Installers & System Performance:


The best solar installers will pay very careful attention to the solar panel placement to make sure it's optimized for your individual sun pattern and shading characteristics. The three most important considerations in optimizing your system performance are Sun, Sun, and No Shade ! So an optimal solar panel placement will be southern facing (if you're in the northern hemisphere) and absolutely minimize shading. Even a little shade can drastically affect system performance, and smart installers will make sure that any shading is limited to a single panel rather than crossing multiple solar panels since a little shade on one panel can shut down the entire panels production! I've seen poorly designed system with chimney shading that runs across multiple panels when it just as easily could have spanned only a single panel if installed correctly resulting in a dramatic loss of solar energy power generation

Solar Panels and Roof Warranties


It's absolutely critical that your solar installer understands roofing and how to install the panels without impacting the water tightness of the roof. They should use proper anchoring systems in order to minimize roof "penetrations". And any "penetrations" should be carefully sealed and "flashed" to eliminate the potential for water entry. In addition the solar installer should review the installation plan with the original roofing company and make sure nothing they're doing will void your roof warranty! The fact is that 80% of all construction related litigation is water related so make sure your solar installer is also strong on roofing expertise! Properly designed mounting brackets can go a long way towards minimizing roof penetrations and, when absolutely necessary, can ensure that no leakage results from the penetrations. In addition good solar installers will avoid using galvanized aluminum since it is no longer acceptable according to most building society recommendations.

After Tax Solar Installation Costs


Good solar installers will understand all the Federal, State, and local government incentive

programs as well as all the current solar product rebates available. The combination of these incentives may drastically reduce your costs. I've recently seen $40,000 systems cost as little as $22,000 in after tax dollars in California! Your solar installer should be ready and willing to help you navigate through all the paperwork required to obtain permits, rebates, and apply for solar tax incentives. How to Manage Your Solar Installer Congratulations on your decision to install a solar electric, PV solar panel system. Hopefully our tips for selecting a solar panel installer were helpful. Now it's time to get the job done on time, on budget, and with a high level of installation quality. We've laid out this section in a checklist format so you can print it and use it directly for your project management. We'll cover all four phases of solar project management: 1. 2. 3. 4.
1.

Pre purchase (define deliverables and timing) of your solar electric system Detailed timeline and payment schedule Change order process for a solar installation project Inspections, reviews, signoffs for your solar project

Pre-purchase.

The most important thing you can do is to make sure you've completed every item on this checklist before moving forward with your solar panel installation project since this list defines your end result! y y Agreed KiloWatt (KW) level of the solar power panel system Agreed products (Manufacturers, model numbers) that will be utilized for the solar electric project. Key products are PV solar panels, solar panel mounting system, solar electric battery system, solar electric inverter, solar electric power management system. Agreed location for solar electric panel installation Agreed location for solar power battery system, and solar system control panel Approved visual aspects of solar electric system (solar power panels, solar panel mounting hardware, electrical conduits (colors, size, locations) Utility grid-tie approved by power company. If not approved, then process should be fully understood and underway and any potential issues understood Solar power permits pulled from local government agencies (usually your city or county of residence) Agreed total solar system cost including installation and ongoing maintenance

y y y y y y 2.

Detailed timeline and payment schedule.

It's very important to agree on a timeline with your solar installers ideally with penalties for late deliveries. NOTE: Don't pay 100% upfront. If you do, you'll have no leverage to get your solar project completed correctly. Shoot for 25% upfront with progress payments along the way. You may need to pay for the solar panels and other solar electric system installation accessories and other solar energy system hardware as they are delivered. 3. Agree change order process for your solar install project

As with any construction project there are bound to be issues that crop up along the way so you need to agree with your solar energy installer on a "change order process" before you even get started. This process should be in writing to ensure there aren't any surprises. Key items to address are: y y Agree hourly rate or other costing method for approved changes (generally called "time and materials" which means you pay for additional time (wages) and materials. Agree signoff process i.e. who needs to signoff on any changes (you or someone you designate along with a supervisor from your contractor's company)

4. Inspections, reviews, signoffs for solar system installation. y y y Agree on review schedule (typically at the end of each workday or at start and mid-point of each week) Understand up-front what city/county inspections are required for solar power system installations in your area and schedule these into your project to avoid any re-work and potential change fees Agree on any milestones that you'll need to signoff on. Typically these will trigger a partial payment for work completed. Milestones could include o o Solar power products delivered Major solar system components installed (PV solar roof panels, PV solar battery system, PV solar grid tie components, PV solar monitor and control gauges)

Schedule final permit approval review for your solar power system. Congratulations!!! You're done and are now helping make our planet a better, cleaner, healthier place for all of us.

Solar Installation Case Study In 2003 the Spar family of Woodside, CA decided to install solar panels on their 2,400 square foot home. They live in a fairly typical two-story wooden-frame style house with fantastic southern sun exposure. The decision to install solar panels came from a desire to power their home with clean renewable energy. Their goal was to produce all of the electricity for both the 2,400 square foot main house and 800 square foot guest cottage, not just to trim off expensive peak usage. Before beginning installation they chose to replace all of the older less efficient appliances and then match the solar system to the reduced demand. Prior to replacing anything the house was using just about 11,000kWh/year of electricity. They replaced a 25-year-old refrigerator with a modern side-by-side model, invested in a tank-less hot water heater and replaced somewhere between 40 and 50 incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescents. These updates reduced their electricity demand to 7,000kWh/year for both the main home and the cottage, less than 65% of what it had been. With their demand reduced to minimum they set out to install solar panels, they solicited four bids from local contractors, 3 of which were essentially the same, although the fourth was significantly more than the others. They ended up choosing to do a 4kW grid-tied system comprised of 30 Sharp 180-watt solar panels running through two Sunny Boy solar grid tied 2500 inverters. The cottage roof turned out to be such a perfect location for solar panels that

they were installed flat against it instead of being on a solar tracker or a special frame. They ended up with a final installed cost of just under $40,000; however, after state credits from the California Energy Commission and Federal tax credits the ultimate cost to the family was less than half of that. In addition, the system ended up producing 500kWh/year more than they needed, saving them $1,600/year in energy costs. Based on these savings their projected payback time was 12 to 14 years. However, it should be noted that given the current state of the economy the cost of labor and materials has decreased such that they estimate they could do the installation for a few thousand dollars less resulting in a payback time of barely 10 years. They did have two unfortunate surprises; the first came four years after installation. Rats managed to find their way under the panels and caused a system failure when they chewed their way through the wires. Fortunately their contractor was very responsive to the mishap and helped to rat proof the system. The second issue came when one of the inverters failed three months after the five-year warranty had expired; however, Sunny Boy still replaced it at no cost to the homeowners. Altogether they are very happy with their solar system, and have plans to add another one or two kW along with the purchase of an electric car. However, before they do that they will be adding solar thermal to provide hot water for the house in addition to the system they already have for heating their pool.

Will Solar Panels work on my roof? The 3 Keys for Solar Panel Efficiency: Southern Exposure, Proper Angle, and Lack of Shade There are Solar Panel Solutions for all Roof and Property Types Solar panels have the capacity to generate electricity anywhere that they are exposed to sunlight; however, it is important to remember that the amount of electricity a solar panel can generate is directly proportional to the amount of sunlight shining on it. For homes in the Northern Hemisphere, solar panels should be installed in a south facing orientation and at an angle somewhere between 10 and 20 degrees. Clearly this can pose challenges to homes with roofs that lack southern exposure, flat roofs, or rooftops with extremely steep slopes. However the only situation in which solar panels will not work on the roof of a home is when they would be shaded for a large portion of the day especially during the peak mid-day hours. Even in this situation there are still options for homeowners that want to use solar panels to generate their own electricity. As a matter of fact higher levels of efficiency can often be achieved from PV solar panels that are installed elsewhere around a homeowner's property, instead of on the roof of their house. Building Integrated Photovoltaics are Another Great Option for Solar Solar panels can also be integrated into existing structures other than just the roof of the home for which they will be generating electricity. This technique is known as Building Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV) and involves solar modules that are integrated into the structure of a building in such a way that they offer use beyond generating electricity. The panels are either used as the roof of a carport, or as a means of providing shade over a patio. BIPV have the unique advantage of serving two functions, they simultaneously provide shade or shelter and generate electricity. Applied Materials in Sunnyvale CA has a huge carport BIPV structure that looks great, provides shade for employees cars, and provides hundreds of Kilowatts of moneysaving electrical power. Ground Mounted Solar Panels are a Great Alternative to Roof Mounting When a rooftop or other structure is not a suitable location for installing solar panels they can be installed on the ground somewhere else on the property. This is a great alternative to installing panels on a roof because the direction the panels face and the angle at which they are installed can be optimized for maximum efficiency since solar panel installers don't have to face the constraints of using existing structures. Solar Trackers maximizing your efficiency Finally, solar panels can also be installed on a frame and rail system thats integrated with an electric motor which repositions the panels throughout the day to maximize sun exposure. They can also be elevated to eliminate shading. This technology is referred to as a "solar tracker" and is the ultimate in efficiency. Dealing with Local Regulations

Understand Local Building Codes Prior to Starting Your Solar Installation Before installing a solar system on your home it is very important to find out about any building regulations that may apply. Unfortunately, our Federal government does not manage the building codes that apply to the installation of solar electric systems, so regulations vary from region to region. In nearly all cases solar panel regulations are established and enforced by local government, usually at the county level. However, when problems with building code violations and unpermitted solar systems do crop up they almost invariably have to do with the same few issues: setback violations (systems that are too close to a neighbors house, or the road), improper wiring, or the solar panels beings installed on improperly built (and therefore unsafe) frames. Be Sure to Get Permits for your Solar Installation It is important to check on building codes in your area and have your solar system permitted for a few reasons. 1. Building codes exist in order to make sure that new construction is safe. The incorporation of solar panels into your homes energy system involves fairly complex wiring and it is important to make sure that this is all done properly and the system is safe. 2. Future problems can arise when unpermitted construction is done, especially when it is visible from the outside. If solar panels are installed without a permit and a neighbor reports the new construction the owner of the solar electric system may be forced to tear down the panels or be subject to fines. 3. You may not be able to legally sell your home if it has an unpermitted solar panel system or one that is not up to building regulations. Your Solar Contractor is Best Prepared to Deal with the Permitting Process For these reasons it is usually easiest to have solar systems installed professionally by a solar system contractor. A licensed solar contractor will be aware and knowledgeable of building codes in your area. Also, they will generally be prepared to take care of the permitting process before construction begins, eliminating a lot of the hassle for the homeowner. Only Permitted Solar Systems are Eligible for Government Incentives Finally, when a solar system is properly installed and permitted the homeowner will be eligible for financial incentives. The state of California has some of the most generous financial incentives for homeowners including: - property taxes eliminated on permitted solar systems - the state will pay the interest on a loan used for the sake of installing solar panels. With these solar incentives it is entirely possible to lower the month-to-month cost of homeownership as the savings in energy costs can more than offset the monthly payment for the solar panels.

How Solar Battery Systems Work

Battery Systems Ideal for Remote Solar Installations


Battery storage systems for solar electric systems can be very useful in a few specific situations. The primary application is for providing reliable solar power for remote structures that are far enough from a power grid that connecting is not feasible or cost effective. Batteries are also a good option for people who wish to disconnect from the power grid and become self-reliant. Finally battery storage systems are a good solution for areas that have frequent blackouts as they can provide electricity when the grid has failed and solar panels are incapable of generating power. How Battery Systems Work for Solar Power Batteries operate in a fairly simple manner. Direct current electricity runs out of the solar panels into batteries for storage. When electricity is needed it runs out of the batteries and through an inverter for use in the home. It is important to note that direct current electricity is what is stored in batteries and alternating current is what most homes use, so electricity needs to go through an inverter to convert it from DC to AC before use; however, lots of battery systems have inverters built in. The length of time a battery system can power a home depends upon the size and number of batteries the system is composed of. Typically battery systems used in conjunction with photovoltaic solar cost around $600 to $1000 per kWh of storage capacity. A reasonably energy efficient home can typically run for one or two days on 10kWh if energy is used carefully. Once the systems are installed they are very easy to use, typically a person inside a home running on battery power would not notice a difference, they just should be conscious of their energy use. For Best ROI Avoid a Battery System Batteries and all the necessary hardware can cost several thousand dollars which significantly increases payback time for a PV solar electric installation. However, if attaching to the power grid is not something that can be done, or if a homeowner simply wants to detach from the power grid and rely solely on clean solar energy, then this is a great option. Battery systems are generally designed to power a home overnight, but in an off-grid site with marginal sun, they may be sized to power a house for a couple of days in a row. While net metering will significantly decrease the payback time for a solar electric installation, adding batteries to a solar system can increase the payback time for a new solar system. This is not to say that it isn't worth it to install batteries. Owners of solar systems that include batteries can be sure that all of the electricity used in their home comes from a clean and renewable source. And battery backed-up PV solar systems provide reliable electricity for homes that are subject to frequent blackouts, or for new structures that are too remote to connect to the electricity grid.

PV Solar Training Programs

CALIFORNIA PV Solar Training:


UC Berkeley Extension - Professional Program in Solar Energy and Green Building http://extension.berkeley.edu/profseq/solar.html Berkeley, CA (510) 642-4151 course@unex.berkeley.edu Glendale Community College - Greentech Environmental Programs http://www.glendale.edu/index.aspx?page=2530 Glendale, CA (818) 240-1000 x3365 greentech@glendale.edu Martha Cuevas, Counselor mcuevas@glendale.edu Solar Training Institute - Photovoltaic (PV) System Design, Installation and Solar Sales Workshops (3 days) http://www.trainingforsolar.com/ San Jose, CA Devin Ruiz (408) 625-7400 info@trainingforsolar.com Solar Living Institute - Online and On-Site Workshops, NABCEP Certifications and Internships Not rated yet http://www.solarliving.org/ Hopland, CA (707) 472-2450 Solar Energy International - Renewable Energy Education - Short Courses and Workshops (At sites around the US and online) http://www.solarenergy.org Headquarters: Carbondale, CO (970) 963-8855

sei@solarenergy.org Workshop Locations: Sacramento, CA Fontana, CA Silicon Solar - Solar Thermal Training / Solar Photovoltaic Training http://www.trainingsolar.com/solartrainingcalifornia.php San Francisco / San Diego / Los Angeles / Sacramento, CA P: 877.786.6299 P: 888.765.2711 MiraCosta College - California Alternative Energy Training - Solar PV Training (NABCEP) http://mccae.org/ Oceanside, CA Burt Price (888) 895-8186 bprice@mccae.org Entry Level Solar Photovoltaic Training. One week (40 hour) course. EnerCal Institute - Online Solar Energy Courses (NABCEP Certification Prep) http://www.enercai.com/ Santa Rosa, CA (Courses online) Sylvain Dindy-Bolongo 707-508-8555 sylvain.dindybolongo@enercai.com Applied Professional Training - Solar Photovoltaic Systems (NABCEP) http://www.aptc.edu/OurCourses/ShowElectricCourseDetails.aspx?cid=139 Carlsbad, CA Jeff Fairbanks (800) 431-8488 jfairbanks@aptc.edu Allied Schools - Solar Energy Courses (NABCEP Certification Prep) http://www.alliedschools.com/green_emerging_technologies.shtml#other Laguna Hills, CA Eric Lacy (949) 598-0695 x5704

elacy@alliedschools.com

COLORADO PV Solar Training:


Pueblo Community College - Energy Maintenance Technology AAS / Certificate http://www.pueblocc.edu/Academics/AreasStudy/BusinessTechnology/Technology/EnergyTech/ Pueblo, CO 719-549-3200 Roger Weitzel Department Chair Solar Energy International - Renewable Energy Education - Short Courses and Workshops (At sites around the US and online) http://www.solarenergy.org Headquarters: Carbondale, CO (970) 963-8855 sei@solarenergy.org Silicon Solar - Solar Thermal Training / Solar Photovoltaic Training http://www.trainingsolar.com/solartrainingcolorado.php Denver, CO P: 877.786.6299 P: 888.765.2711 Red Rocks Community College - Renewable Energy Technology AAS / Certificates http://www.rrcc.edu/renewable/ Arvada, CO Larry Snyder Lead Faculty larry.snyder@rrcc.edu 303.914.6306 iCAST (International Center for Appropriate and Sustainable Technology) - Solar Power Systems Installation Online Training http://www.icastusa.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=22&Itemid=36 Lakewood, CO Chris Stoneman

303-462-4100 X802 Chris@icastusa.org Crestone Solar School - Solar and Natural Building Workshop Program http://www.crestonesolarschool.com/programs.html Crestone, CO (719) 256-4656 paulshippee@fairpoint.net Colorado Mountain College - Solar Energy Certificate http://coloradomtn.edu/cms/One.aspx?pageId=4981962 Glenwood Springs, CO 800-621-8559 taustin@coloradomtn.edu Arapahoe Community College - Energy Technology Certificate Programs http://www.arapahoe.edu/departments-and-programs/a-z-offerings/energy-technology Littleton, CO Doug Mugge, Department Chair (303) 797-5863

ARIZONA PV Solar Training:


Solar Energy International - Renewable Energy Education - Short Courses and Workshops (At sites around the US and online) http://www.solarenergy.org Headquarters: Carbondale, CO (970) 963-8855 sei@solarenergy.org Workshop Locations: Tucson, AZ Mesa, AZ Flagstaff Pima Community College, West Campus - Solar Installer Certificate http://www.pima.edu/program/construction/solarinstaller-cert.shtml Tucson, AZ Dr. Lazaro Hong

520-206-6603 Lazaro.Hong@pima.edu

MICHIGAN PV Solar Training:


Northwestern Michigan College- Energy Center - Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Electric Systems One-week Intensive and Solar Photovoltaic Level IIHands-on Systems Training http://www.nmc.edu/ees/energycenter/medc-workforce.html Traverse City, MI Bill Queen 231-995-1700 bqueen@nmc.edu Lansing Community College - Alternative Energy Engineering Technology AAS / Certificates http://www.lcc.edu/edbt/alternative/ Lansing, MI George Berghorn Department Chair berghorg@lcc.edu Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association - Certification Seminars http://www.glrea.org/seminars.html Dimondale, MI Tel: 517-646-6269 Fax: 517-646-8584 E-mail: info@glrea.org Samantha Keeney Program Coordinator

FLORIDA PV Solar Training:


Brevard Community College http://www.brevard.cc.fl.us/ *Cocoa, Florida

Contact- 321-632-1111 Applied Science Associates Associate in Science (A.S.) degree and Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree programs require a minimum of two years of study and at least sixty (60) college credit hours. These programs are designed for students who plan to enter employment as technicians or semiprofessionals, or students who are employed and plan to use their educational experiences to advance in their career. Solar Source - Solar Source Institute - PV Systems: 5-Day NABCEP Certificate of Knowledge Preparation http://www.solarsource.net/content/view/94/147/ Largo, FL Ron Phillips - Director of Training 800-329-1301 ext. 121 ron@solarsource.net Silicon Solar - Solar Thermal Training / Solar Photovoltaic Training http://www.trainingsolar.com/solartrainingflorida.php Orlando, FL P: 877.786.6299 P: 888.765.2711 Florida Solar Energy Center - Photovoltaic Training Programs http://www.fsec.ucf.edu/en/education/cont_ed/pv/index.htm Cocoa, FL John Harrison 321 638-1506 harrison@fsec.ucf.edu

Why Install Solar Solar Energy Provides the Best of All Worlds The unprecedented recent support for solar energy installation through PV solar (solar panels) and other forms of solar power generation is based on it's unique combination of environmental, economic, and geo-political benefits along with the fact that solar energy is an infinite resource that releases no CO2. Environmental Benefits of Solar Energy are Overwhelming The environmental benefits of PV solar energy are overwhelming. PV solar generates zero global warming gases and this is what it's really all about if we're going to keep the planet alive for future generations. Sure there's some energy used to produce the cells, but it's a fraction of the energy generated during the 21-25 year lifespan of today's solar panels. And today's latest generation solar cells are producing breaththroughs in efficiency with a recent announcement (Jan 16, 2009) by The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE) of a 41.1% efficient solar cell (compared with an average of 15% today). Electricity produced through PV solar electric panels is also inherently efficient since it's produced at the point of consumption and thus doesn't suffer from the wastage associated with sending power through our tired power grid. Geopolitical Benefits of Solar Energy: Stop Sending Money to the Middle East Depending on your point of view, the geopolitical benefits of solar energy may be the most compelling. Over the long term the U.S. will be doing itself a huge favor by weaning ourselves off of imported energy - most of which comes from countries that are not our friends and may even be sponsors of terrorism. The combination of PV solar panel electricity for homes & businesses and plug-in hybrids like the GM volt which can run off that same solar electric power, can truly free us from our dependence on Middle East oil and cutoff funding for terrorists. Solar Energy Makes Good Economic Sense The economic argument for PV solar energy (solar panels) varies depending on current energy prices and current government subsidies (federal, state, and local). The long term payoff today is around a 15% return on investment (or 6-10 years to pay for itself) in states like California that provide significant state level subsidies and have abundant sunlight. However as energy prices continue to rise and solar panel efficiencies increase the return will keep looking better. On average PG&E (Pacific Gas and Electric) has raised prices by 6.7%/year and raised prices 30% in the last three years. By installing a solar panel system you can free yourself from the uncertainty of utility pricing and get a better return than the stock market! The Future Looks Bright for Solar Energy Recent developments in thin-film photovoltaics from companies like NanoSolar could dramatically reduce the cost of solar panels. USA Today reported that prices for solar rooftop systems are expected to drop as much as 20% in 2009. And once the solar system is paid for it's

essentially free (although you should plan for a nominal level of ongoing maintenance and repair costs). So between rising utility prices, continued government subsidies, and increasing efficiency of solar panels, now is the time to jump into your own solar power project. After all a 15% return is a lot better than you can get with the stock market and a whole lot less risky as well and you can feel good about what you're doing for our planet at the same time. Good resources http://hubpages.com/hub/Solar-Power-Facts http://www.solartradingpost.com/info/36/solar-prices-falling-in-2009/ Go to http://www.dsireusa.org/ to find out what grants or incentives area available in your state. For instance, in California you can multiply your gross installed cost by 0.65 to account for rebates and tax credits. In New York or New Jersey multiply by 0.5.

Solar Panels Transform the Sun's Energy Directly into Electricity What technology can reliably generate electricity for decades without emitting any pollutants and save you money in the process? Solar electric panels, of course. Solar electric, or photovoltaic panels transform the suns energy directly into electricity. The energy they generate can be used to seamlessly power your home or business, or be sent back into the grid for purchase by your utility provider. One of the best aspects of solar panel technology is that it converts sunlight, an unlimited source of energy, into electricity. So how does this clean, green, technology work? Photovoltaic panels absorb the energy from the sun in the form of photons and convert the energy into direct current electricity. This electricity travels out of the panels and into a device called an inverter, which transforms direct current (DC) electricity into alternating current (AC) electricity, which is then used in your home. If the PV solar panels produce more electricity than you use, the excess is sent back into the power grid and bought by your utility company. In this situation you can literally watch your electric meter run backwards! Professional solar panel installers and contractors (click here to find your local solar panel installer: http://www.cleansolarliving.com) can easily install and integrate residential solar panels into nearly any homes energy system. Unlike many other forms of alternative energy, solar panels can be set up in a location where they cause no inconvenience. Most systems are mounted on rooftops, completely out of the way.

Siting Considerations for Solar Panels Maximize your energy output with optimal solar panel placement Solar Panel Positioning is Key to Maximizing Efficiency Before beginning a PV solar panel installation it is important to give a lot of thought to location in order to ensure maximum efficiency from the panels. Solar panels need to be installed so that they are exposed to as much direct sunlight as possible over the course of a day. It is also important to install solar panels in a location where they wont be partially or completely shaded during part of the day. Newer solar technologies advertise the ability to generate electricity when shaded, or even at night from sunlight reflected off the moon. However, the fact is, energy output from the PV panels is directly proportional to the amount of sunlight shining on them. The more direct sunlight that is shining on solar panels the more electricity they will produce. South Facing Solar Panels Greatly Boost Energy Production Very often solar panels are seen on rooftops; this can be a great place to install them and is worth considering on almost all PV solar installation projects. But the number one consideration needs to be ensuring that your PV solar electric panels face south. South facing solar panels will have some amount of sunlight shining on them all day as long as trees or other objects dont obstruct them. In addition the angle the solar panels are installed at along the horizontal axis needs to be taken into consideration. The optimal angle will vary depending upon latitude. If the angle of the roof is very different from what would be optimal, your contractor can build a frame for the solar panels to compensate. The solar panel frame just needs to be designed to position the solar panels in the optimal direction. Off-roof solar Panel Installations Allow use of Solar Trackers for optimal efficiency When a rooftop solar panel installation for your home or business isnt an option, you should consider either a stationary or a moving frame (called a tracker). Stationary frames work well because they can be optimally positioned to capture the greatest amount of sunlight over the course of a day. Trackers, however, are the ultimate in efficiency. They constantly rotate and adjust to follow the sun through the sky. This ensures that the solar panels are directly facing the sun at all times. When rooftop installations arent an option we recommend you consider installing your solar panels on a tracker Consider Carports, Garages, and Other Structures for Your Solar Panel Installation Finally, when space is an issue (eliminating the option of using stationary frames or trackers which only serve one purpose) and panels cant be installed on the roof, other structures may be used for holding solar panels. Carports or really any structure can be

built to hold solar panels, and panels are easiest to install as part of new construction. If a new structure is an option, a new roof can be built around the frame the panels are to be installed -- which helps avoid leaks. Additionally, when new structures are built they can be designed so that the roof faces the optimal direction to achieve the highest efficiency from the panels.

Solar Installation - Government Subsidies Generous Subsidies Make Solar Panels a Great Investment There are many great reasons to install solar panels on your home; however, right now almost all levels of government are offering incredibly generous financial incentives for doing so. In addition to government incentives many local utility providers offer rebates and other motivations in an effort to increase the percentage of energy in their grid coming from renewable sources. U.S. Government will Pay for 30% of Your Solar System At the moment the U.S. government is offering either tax credits or grants for 30% of what is described as "qualified property," meaning any properly installed solar system. These solar installation financial incentives apply to photovoltaic panels, solar water heaters and solar space heaters. Essentially the only solar technology that is excluded is passive solar (understandably because such an incentive could be applied to an entire remodel!). California Solar Incentives In California there are several different loans, rebates and tax exemptions that basically anyone looking to do a solar installation will qualify for. With the inception of the California Solar Initiative at the beginning of 2006 it became clear that California was fully embracing alternative energy sources, solar especially. The California Solar Initiative gave California a budget of over 2 billion dollars for both expected performance based incentives (which are paid up front before installation) and performance based incentives. These incentives can save you an additional 10% to 20% depending on your utility provider. In addition to rebates, loans and tax credits a few of California's counties have Green Building Initiatives which give homeowners fast-tracked permitting and design assistance for homes that will be built to efficiently harness solar energy. The financial incentives in California are quite a bit more complex than most other states, but they are a result of country or city government catering to the needs of specific localities as opposed to a product of top-down regulation creating one policy for a large state with a diverse set of needs. Nevada Solar Incentives Nevada also has very generous financial incentives for solar installations. First, solar panels are tax-exempt. Second, their owners are eligible for a graduated rebate beginning at $2.30 per watt (payable up to $11,500). Finally, Nevada utility providers offer rebates of around $0.10 per kWh returned to the power grid by solar panels. New Jersey Solar Incentives In New Jersey solar systems are also tax-exempt. However, unlike basically all other states, New Jersey extends this exemption to include passive solar heating. In addition homeowners

looking to install solar panels can receive loans from both the state and from their utility provider. Additionally, New Jersey recently released a Renewable Energy Incentive Program that offers rebates to solar system owners for their surplus energy. Arizona Solar Incentives Lastly, Arizona has also done a great deal to encourage the installation and use of solar technologies. Arizona, like California, has a "Green Building Initiative" that provides many of the same benefits to homeowners that are looking to remodel or update their home. Like the previous few states, solar systems in Arizona are tax-exempt and homeowners can receive loans from the state (usually for up to 25% of the cost of the project) and rebates starting at $0.50 per kWh. The DSIREUSA webpage for Arizona has a full list of the numerous incentives in Arizona. Similar to California Arizona has locally specific incentives that depend mainly upon a person's utility provider.

Solar for Business Lower Operating Expenses with Predictability Solar Energy is a natural fit for any business looking to lower their operating costs and gain greater control over future operating expenses. By taking advantage of the generous incentives from both the Federal and State government businesses can install a solar energy system and see a quick payback and long term savings. Solar energy systems (PV solar, solar hot water, thermal solar) also provide the strong advantage of providing protection against rising utility costs as well as the ability to control and accurately forecast heating and electricity costs far into the future a very strong advantage for cashflow management. Explore Zero Cost Solar Installation Options In addition there are a growing number of solar installation firms that provide no cost installation of the solar electric system and then sell you the generated electricity at a contracted price that is lower than your current utility rates with a fixed/agreed upon annual increase. This zero cost solution provides an immediate reduction in utility bills. Solar is a natural fit for business structures Businesses are also uniquely suited for PV solar electric based on their large rooftop capacities, reduced focus on rooftop appearance, reduced zoning restrictions, and availability of additional structures like carports, garages, and warehouses for possible mounting of solar arrays. In addition most businesses have less shading than many homes which results in more sun exposure. How To's for Solar Energy Installation Welcome to the "How To" section of http://www.cleansolarliving.com/ In this section we'll provide helpful tips on a variety of topics to ensure your solar installation is a success. Our "How to Manage Your Solar Installer" page provides everything from pre-purchase considerations, to detailed timelines, change order processes, and even review and signoff procedures. This information packed page can save you lots of time and frustration by making your project run as smoothly as possible. We suggest printing out and using the helpful checklist to ensure you don't miss a step. Our section on "Locating your solar installation" provides everything you need to know to make sure you situate maximize your energy output through proper placement of your solar system. Our section on "Dealing with local Solar Regulations" provides an overview of building codes, local regulations, and the permitting process and makes the case for why you should be sure to get permits for your next solar energy installation project.

Economic Benefits of Solar Energy While many people choose to install a Solar electric or solar heating system for the environmental benefits alone, there is also a strong economic benefit to installing a solar energy system in your home or business. With energy costs rising there's never been a better time to utilize the clean power of solar. Although the rule of thumb for solar panel systems is a ten (10) year payback, the numbers can vary widely depending on the following factors:
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Government subsidies. Here is a helpful list of current federal solar tax incentives or checkout our helpful writeup on Government Subsidies for Solar (link to Gov subsidies page) Utility company rebates Your utility costs Amount of sunlight in your area (strength of sun, cloud cover). A sunny location like Los Angeles receives approx 5.5 hours of sunlight on average over a year whereas a cloudy location like London receives about 2.5 hours on average. Site specific considerations (tree coverage, southern exposure, etc) Solar performance factors (installation angle, tilt, location) note that these also determine incentive levels under the California solar initiative Size of solar panel system (economies of scale Average annual utility rate increases (In California, PG&E has raised rates 30% over the last 3 years) Cost of labor in your area. Solar Installation costs are the single largest contributor to the total costs of a PV electric system. PV module costs represent only about 50% of the total costs. Financing costs - which are currently the lowest they've been in many years.

Payback Time: The term "Payback time" refers to the amount of time it takes to pay for your system based on the reduction in your utility bills. In the case of a "net metering" arrangement, you'd also factor in any rebates from the utility company in arriving at the Payback time. As an example, if you save $500/month on your electric bill, this calculates to $6000/year. If your system cost was $60,000 after rebates and tax incentives, then your payback time is 10 years ( $60,000 / $6000 = 10 ) Helpful Tip: Most utility companies offer free energy audits in which they'll come by your house and find ways for to cut down your electricity consumption. These tips are usually very inexpensive and could cut your electricity usage by 10% or so.

Solar Panels and Your Roof Type Key Considerations for Solar: Southern Facing and Roof Angle When installing solar panels on your home it is important to consider both the angle of the roof the panels will be installed on and the direction that the roof faces. Generally, solar panels need to be facing south and mounted at an angle somewhere between 10 and 20 degrees. These two requirements never really limit a home from being eligible for solar panels; however, they do limit some roof types from certain types of solar installations. Gable, Hipped, and Cross-Hipped Roofs are Great for Solar Panels Gable type roofs can be ideal for solar installations, especially when they are south facing. Typically with gabled or cross-gabled roofs you find a moderate pitch and if they are south facing the result is a perfect location for solar panels. This also extends to hipped and cross-hipped roofs, as it is common to see a pitch that is also in the acceptable range for solar installations. The advantage these types of roofs have over flat roofs and roofs with extreme angles like mansard roofs or A-frames is that they are also suitable for photovoltaic shingles, a roofing material capable of generating electricity. Flat Roofs and Mansard Roofs Provide a Great Starting Point for High Efficiency Solar Flat roofs, which by themselves dont provide the proper solar panel angle, can actually provide a great starting point for incredibly high efficiencies. For a flat roof, the solar panels will need to be installed on a frame which can be designed and constructed to maximize the solar arrays exposure to the sun. Not only can the solar panels be set at the optimal angle, but the panels can also be installed facing in the perfect direction for the highest efficiency. The same is true for Mansard style roofs as they also feature relatively large flat spaces. If Your Roof Faces North You Need to Look Elsewhere A more difficult obstacle to overcome is a roof that doesnt face south, for example a shed style roof that only has one angle. If this angle is to the North the homeowner should consider installing panels elsewhere. It isn't necessarily a problem when panels aren't facing directly south, if the roof of a home faces southeast or southwest this isn't too big problem to overcome, but solar panels installed on a roof that faces in a true northerly direction wouldnt provide a sufficient return on investment. Always remember: the amount of electricity solar panels can produce is directly proportional to the amount of light falling on them.

How do solar electric panels work

Solar Panels Transform the Sun's Energy Directly into Electricity


What technology can reliably generate electricity for decades without emitting any pollutants and save you money in the process? Solar electric panels, of course. Solar electric, or photovoltaic panels transform the sun's energy directly into electricity. The energy they generate can be used to seamlessly power your home or business, or be sent back into the grid for purchase by your utility provider. One of the best aspects of solar panel technology is that it converts sunlight, an unlimited source of energy, into electricity. So how does this clean, green, technology work? Photovoltaic panels absorb the energy from the sun in the form of photons and convert the energy into direct current electricity. This electricity travels out of the panels and into a device called an inverter, which transforms direct current (DC) electricity into alternating current (AC) electricity, which is then used in your home. If the PV solar panels produce more electricity than you use, the excess is sent back into the power grid and bought by your utility company. In this situation you can literally watch your electric meter run backwards! Professional solar panel installers and contractors (click here to find your local solar panel installer) can easily install and integrate residential solar panels into nearly any home's energy system. Unlike many other forms of alternative energy, solar panels can be set up in a location where they cause no inconvenience. Most systems are mounted on rooftops, completely out of the way.

PV Solar panels are a good investment


Solar panels are also a good investment. The upfront cost is fairly sizable, but most state governments are offering such generous subsidies that it is possible to quickly start saving money with the installation of solar panels. And in California and some other states, solar systems are exempt from property taxes and the state government will pay the interest on a loan used to install a solar system. If a solar panel system is financed for its expected life it is very common that the savings in an electricity bill will more than cover the loan payments.

Solar Panel Systems are the Cleanest Way to Generate Electricity


One of the best aspects of solar panels is that they are free of moving parts, which makes them very resistant to mechanical failure. Solar panels are capable of reliably converting sunlight into useful energy without noise or pollution for twenty years or more. Even hydroelectric damns and windmills can have detrimental impacts on our

natural world. Solar panels are the cleanest way we can generate electricity, provide a reasonable return on investment, and increase the value of your home or business! How do I Become A Solar Panel Installer CleanSolarLiving.com is the #1 resource for consumers looking to install solar panels on their homes. We also want to help the market grow by helping individuals learn how to become a solar panel installer. So if you're interested in a career in solar panel installation here's some helpful information. And once you're ready, you can use our fee solar classifieds to post your availability or to find solar installer jobs. Solar Panel installation is unique in that it requires trade skills in both electrical and roofing. However job opportunities for solar panel installers are currently very strong and the demand for solar installers is expected to experience strong growth over the next 10 years due to:
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new federal and state tax incentives new initiatives including the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) which provides funding for solar panels on federal government buildings the Federal economic stimulus package which removed the cap on federal tax credits for PV solar.

So what does it take to become a solar panel installer? Key requirements for solar installer jobs commonly include:
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State certified electrician credentials are a big plus, but some firms in high demand areas are willing to provide extensive training and only ask for some experience in electrical work and/or roofing (electrical background is generally the higher priority) Knowledge of the NEC Code and AC and DC electrical systems Knowledge of Universal Building Codes and building materials and techniques (ie lumber, roofing materials, etc.) Disciplined, self motivated work style Ability to work well with others Good customer service skills Ability to get to the job site

So if you're already a certified electrician, it should be quite easy to become a solar installer. If you're just out of college, or new to the building trades, then it would be best to take some courses on electrical installation and get a year or two of experience prior to a full-on job search for a solar installer position. Many companies are willing to provide training, but almost all will require at least 1-2 years of relevant construction (and ideally electrical) experience. If you're interested in a sales career in the solar energy field, we've discovered a great program at a great price. This program will give you everything you need to interview with confidence. To check out this great training resource Click Here! Solar Energy international offers both an online course as well as a two week hands-on

workshop in locations in Arizona and Colorado for people interested in becoming solar installers . Or click here for a comprehensive list of companies, schools, and organizations offering a variety of PV solar installation training courses . Course content will vary, but in general, courses cover the following:
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grid tied system installation grid tied with battery backup standalone (not grid tied) systems

Here are some good books on PV Solar: Photovoltaics: Design and Installation Manual The Solar Electricity Handbook 2009: A Simple, Practical Guide to Using Electric Solar Panels and Designing and Installing Photovoltaic Solar PV Systems Solar Power Your Home For Dummies There are also many national, international and local solar industry associations where you can find further information, including... Solar Energy Industries Association (Est. 1974) http://www.seia.org/ Solar Electric Power Association http://www.solarelectricpower.org/ Independent Energy Producers Association http://www.iepa.com/ Canadian Solar Industries Association http://www.cansia.ca/ European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) http://www.epia.org/

Solar Installation - Solar Panel roof mounting Your roof is critical to the health of your home so you need to take the time to understand how your solar installer plans to install the solar panels on your roof. The key areas of focus should include:
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Roof care Roof Penetration Sealing and Flashing

Solar Installation & Roof Care


Solar installers vary widely in how well they take care of your roof during the solar installation process. Some installers come from a roofing background and will take great care not to damage your roof during the installation process. Other installers may have minimal roofing experience and focus on the electrical aspects of the job and pay less attention to your roof integrity. As an example, I've seen commercial solar installers stacking large pallets of very heavy materials on small portions of a flat roof, and even driving pallet loaders around the roof with no extra support. This type of disregard for the roof is very likely to damage the roof's integrity resulting in multiple leaks down the road which may even require an "un-install" to trace down and repair. A careful solar installer would put down one or more layers of plywood to create a work area on the roof and carefully distribute and weigh loading around the roof.

Roof Penetration from Solar Installers


Careful solar installers will be very knowledgeable about roof penetrations (i.e. punching a hole through your roof) and take care to minimize them and do them the right way. The rule is that "if you penetrate the roofing materials you must flash and waterproof to code to avoid voiding your roofing warranty". Depending on your type of roof shingles there may be special mounting brackets that can attach to your roof with a minimum amount of roof penetrations. As an example, a mounting system from Quick Mount PV provides a waterproof mounting and flashing system to drastically minimize the risk of water penetration.

Sealing and Flashing for Solar Installations


Solar panel mounting will invariably require some amount of roof penetration so good solar installers will know how to use proper flashing and sealants to ensure that your roof integrity is maintained. If the solar installation looks shoddy it probably is. A proper PV solar installation will have smooth edges for water flow around joints and seams without gobs of sealant all over the place.