The addition of a solar array to your home or office is a wise investment that, over time, can pay for itself, and all the more quickly when energy prices go up. Once you’ve made the decision to consider a solar array installation, however, it’s essential that you continue to approach the idea with wisdom and foresight. A bright idea can turn out badly if it’s not carried out properly.
There are three initial issues to consider when you decide to install a solar array on your home or office:
- The price
- The quality of the equipment
- The quality of the installation
A solar array is not a DIY kind of project. It requires someone with experience and the proper skill set. You need someone who is trained and experienced installing solar arrays. A certified solar array installer will help you to maximize your investment. They’ll help you to choose the best possible array for your money – an array that fits your requirements. Then, they’ll make sure it’s properly installed.
Proper installation includes installing the array with the best exposure to the sun so that it achieves the maximum efficiency. Proper installation also means that they’ll install the array without creating the kinds of significant problems that haunt people who weren’t so careful when they chose someone to install their solar array.
What could possibly go wrong? A lot. Along with proper exposure of the solar array, it needs to be installed according to all applicable codes and ordinances. The electrical work requires an actual electrician. A solar array is not like a microwave – something you just plug into the wall. If the solar array isn’t wired properly, you risk that it won’t work, that varmints or weather could damage the wiring, or even that it could cause a fire.
Most solar arrays are mounted on roofs – actually attached to the roofs. Anytime you attach something to the roof, if it’s not done properly, using the right equipment, you risk causing leaks. A small leak is a nuisance, at first. Over time, however, it could cause serious structural damage.
The solar array covers a significant area. If you mounted it upright on a boat, the wind would move the boat. In other words, it would serve as a sail. Houses aren’t built to move with the wind and no one wants a sail on top of their house. Cantilevering or propping the panels will accentuate this effect.
A Certified Installer will install your solar panels so that the wind, even with a significant storm, can’t use the panels as a sail. Otherwise, with extreme winds, the panels could pull the roof off the house or the panels could break loose from the roof. In either case, it’s a costly problem.
In the Northern climates, winter brings snow. A qualified technician will take into account the weight of possible snowfalls so that your roof, and solar panels, can bear the load.
The question, of course, is ‘how do you find that Certified technician to install your solar array?’
You need to do some investigating. You’ll want to check with the Better Business Bureau. Be careful of certifications, though. There are organizations that claim to certify people who install solar arrays. However, with some of them, anyone with $3,000 can obtain a certification, whether they’re qualified or not. It’s better to check around and ask for references. It doesn’t hurt to get a second quote, too.
Look for someone with the UL certification. The UL requirements are far and above those of any other certification body. They require a minimum of five years of experience as an electrician, five installations, and an OSHA 30-hour certification. Also, make sure that at least one of the people actually doing the installation have this certification. Many times, someone from the company may have the certification, but the people doing the actual installation do not.