Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Planning to go Solar

I just had a site evaluation with an installer we're considering. He checked a few things out - the roof - and it's in great shape and the electrical panel - which can easily accommodate the extra amperage. Then he ducked into the attic to check the structure and take a few pictures. While on the roof, he took measurements and made note of obstructions like vents. Some short vents can be cut even shorter and panels can be installed over them. The lowest efficiency we'll have would be about 98% due to our back neighbor's Italian Cypress, which will cause some shading in the early morning. I may ask the neighbor if we can cut it down a little. Our back roof has a SE facing, while not optimal, is still very good in terms of sun exposure. Based on this, we should qualify for 92% of the California solar rebate. Next step is for the installer to send a couple plans with different panels and outputs. We're looking at a 3.5-4 kW system which will reduce our yearly electricity bill by about 72%. I also need to think about future needs and roof space for expansion like an EV car or 40" LCD touchpanels for automation ;) The installer has a bit of a backlog, combined with the winter weather and holidays, the soonest they could start would be January. Power on might not happen until March due to inspections from the city & utility. I have 3 other installers to look at, but I'm leaning toward this one as they did a great job on my co-worker's array several months ago and have had an answer for every one of my questions (I ask tough questions! ;)

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