The Ease of Solar Install in Chandler, AZ
Solar Power Installation
Here in Chandler, Arizona we are fortunate to live in one of the country’s prime locations for efficient, year-round solar power. Whether for reasons of saving some (or all!) of your money on your monthly electricity bills, increasing the market value of your property, or reducing your carbon footprint and helping to save the environment and reverse the tide of climate change, if you have been considering switching from traditional carbon-based power utilities to an alternative energy source, owning your own solar energy system is a great choice.
If you have been considering upgrading to solar energy for your home, you have probably been asking yourself some questions about what, exactly, solar energy is, why you should switch to it, and how it works. Here are some answers to those key questions about solar systems and how they work.
What is solar energy?
Solar energy is power generated by the sun and collected by specialized photovoltaic cells made of semiconductor materials and ranging in size from a postage stamp to several inches. The photovoltaic cells absorbs photons from the sunlight, which produces an electric field across the layers of the cell. Each individual cell typically gathers 1 to 2 watts of power; these cells are protected by being sandwiched between layers of plastic or glass and are assembled into panels, which can themselves be connected into arrays. This modular structure makes it easy to build solar energy systems that can fit any range of structure sizes or shapes.
The energy gathered by the cells is in the form of direct current (DC), so a solar energy system also includes a computer-controlled solar inverter or micro inverter that converts the DC energy to alternating current (AC) that can be safely used in your home. From the inverter, the AC power that your house needs flows into the building’s main power control panel for distribution to the house’s circuits, outlets, fixtures, and appliances. Some systems are also designed with battery units to store additional energy, allowing your home to continue using solar-generated power even when the weather is overcast or cloudy. Any remaining power flows out through your home’s utility meter and onto the power grid, giving you valuable credits on your power bill or even cash payments from the power company.
Why should I switch to solar energy?
The benefits of switching to solar energy from conventional energy sources, such as fossil fuels like gas or oil, are numerous.
• Environmental benefits of solar energy. Switching to solar energy reduces your carbon footprint substantially. The typical American household produces 14,920 pounds of carbon dioxide per year by consuming 957 kilowatt hours of energy. Each kilowatt hour of solar energy produced by a home-based solar system reduces the home’s carbon footprint by around 3,000 pounds per year.
• Financial benefits of solar energy. One of the other main benefits to owning a solar energy system is that it saves money in the long-run. A solar energy system will reduce a home’s total power costs by between 40 percent and 70 percent on over the life of the system. For most American homes, this comes to about $1,500 per year. In combination with the state and federal tax credits, rebates, and Solar Renewable Energy Certificates that can be sold to electricity companies, the typical solar energy system pays for itself after just 5 years to 7 years of operation. As the price of fossil-fuel based energy continues to climb every year, having a solar energy system installed on your home provides you with the comfort of knowing that your home is powered by a consistent, renewable, and cost-steady source of energy from the sun
• Home improvement benefits of solar energy. There are several other added benefits to your property when you upgrade to solar energy. These include extending by as much as two times the life of your home’s heating, ventilating, air conditioning system and protecting your roof from natural wear and tear from the elements.
• Property value benefits of solar energy. Finally, installing a solar energy system to your home adds greatly to the market value of the property. On average, putting solar energy on your roof will boost the value of your home by over 4 percent. Homes that have solar systems sell 20 percent faster and for 17 percent more overall than homes that do not.
How do I switch to solar energy?
Once you have decided to switch to solar energy, the following steps can help you get your system up and running as quickly and smoothly as possible. It is important that you work with one of the solar power companies that is licensed, experienced, and certified. The Department of Energy recommends that the best way to install a solar system is by working with a qualified, certified professional who holds an industry certification from the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners.
1. Planning for your solar energy system.
There are a variety of online mapping services that can be used to evaluate what kind of solar energy system is appropriate for your property’s particular position, shading, energy usage, and roof design. A more accurate evaluation, however, can be conducted in person by professionals from one of the solar power companies in your area. During the site audit, they can also explain to you how the system would operate, what kind of local or neighborhood zoning regulations might impact your system, and may also be able to assist you with working through the paperwork necessary to arrange for financing, rebates, and credits.
2. Paying for your solar energy system.
There are several options available to you when it comes to paying for your home’s solar energy system. While some people choose to lease their solar equipment or buy their solar energy through a power purchase agreement, buying your solar energy system is the option that provides the greatest cost-savings in the long run and will make you eligible for most tax credits, including the 30 percent federal Solar Investment Tax Credit. If you do not have the cash reserves to buy a system outright, you can obtain financing from either a solar loan provider or through a mortgage or home equity line of credit. Solar loans are particularly attractive because they are typically subsidized and so offered at below-market interest rates.
3. Installing your solar energy system.
Once you have settled on the system that is right for your property and have squared away the payment option that fits your budget, you can schedule the installation of your system. Once the company you have retained for your solar power installation obtains any permits that it needs, a team of three or four licensed, certified solar energy professionals typically needs just one or two days to complete the system installation and get you up and running on solar energy. They will set up scaffolding or ladders to access the roof, ensure that your surrounding property is protected and clear, and inspect the system components to make sure none were damaged during shipment.
The solar power installation process itself is very straightforward and simple:
• Rail installation. Metal rails are mounted on the rooftop to hold the solar panels in place. The rails are connected to the roof structure with bolts or screws and the holes are sealed for protection against the weather.
• Electrical installation. The electrical components of the system are installed into your structure in a space that is accessible and safe; these include the inverter, any necessary conduits and wiring, and, if your system is a grid tie-in with battery backup, the battery units.
• Panel installation. The panels themselves will be set and mounted onto the rails and connected to the inverter and the main service panel for your house. They are then tested to ensure all panels are operating properly.
• Final inspection. A final inspection is conducted to ensure that all mounting hardware and wiring is secure, all panels are connected, all holes are sealed, and any tools, equipment, or debris resulting from the installation process are cleaned up and removed from the site.
Within the next week or two, the building department or other permitting authority for your locality will conduct a final inspection in order to confirm that the system has been installed safely and correctly. A few days after the system passes this inspection, the energy utility company for your area will connect your stem the main power grid and swap out your old energy meter for a new one—one that spins backwards, as you have now gone from being an energy-consumer to an energy-producer!
How do I use and maintain a solar energy system?
After your solar energy system is installed and activated, you do not need to do anything further in order to make it operate. The system will run on a consistent basis, providing power to your home as you need it; if the panels are unable to collect enough solar energy at any time, the system automatically draws power from the main grid. You will not notice a change in your energy supply when this happens.
Most inverters today are equipped with live monitoring capabilities so you can use a wired, wireless, or online reporting tool to find out how much energy has been produced, when it was produced, and how much extra power has been returned to the grid.
A quality solar power system can last for 20 years to 30 years, and because there are no moving parts and they are made of durable materials, they require relatively little maintenance. Most reputable installers of solar systems will provide robust warranties and sometimes the option to purchase extended warranties. They also can provide licensed inspection, repair, and maintenance work as needed in order to ensure that your system remains operating at maximum efficiency and capacity over its entire lifetime.
Solar Power Chandler Arizona
With our region’s year-round sunny weather and clear skies, solar power is an ideal solution for homes in Chandler, Arizona. Solar Power Chandler Arizona rates are also some of the most affordable in the country. According to Energy Sage, the average price for a typical 5 kilowatt residential solar energy system in Chandler is between $12,750 and $17,250, before factoring in the 26% Federal Investment Tax Credit and other local and state incentives, which can reduce the price by $5,000 or more. Most residential solar energy systems in Chandler, Arizona pay for themselves within 8 years and, over a typical 20 year equipment lifespan, result in a savings of $37,569 on home energy bills. On average, houses in Arizona that are equipped with purchased solar energy systems increase in market value by over 3% (notably, however, houses in Arizona that are equipped with leased solar energy systems actually decrease in market value by up to 8%).