What You Need to Know About Solar Installation
What happens before installation?
Reach out to Jo-Carroll Energy to discuss your energy goals. After you choose a contractor, they'll conduct a site visit to assess your property. The contractor usually files the paperwork necessary to have your system approved. Make sure the contractor has been approved by the ICC as a certified distributed generation installer in the state of Illinois. Also, ask if they are certified by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners.
Does my house have to face south for the installation?
Panels installed on south-facing roofs generate more power than any other direction. However, east- and west-facing systems usually generate enough power to be fully operational.
Where can I install panels?
The roof is the least expensive option and usually gets the most sunshine. Solar panels can be installed on almost any type of roof and almost any roof structure. Four factors to consider are orientation, shading, surface and durability. If your roof is more than 15 years old, you may need to replace it first.
Solar panels can also be pole-mounted or ground-mounted on a concrete base if you have enough land that's free of shade. Another option is to install them on a separate structure like a shed, gazebo or carport.
How much roof space is needed for a solar array?
Every kilowatt (kW) of solar array takes about 75 square feet. For example, a 3 kW array (12 panels) needs a roof area of about 11 feet by 20 feet (two rows of six panels). There may be other variables involved, including the size of panels, shade limits and your budget.
Do I need to install batteries with my solar power system?
Batteries aren't required because you will be connected to the grid. Excess power goes back into the grid and you can draw from the grid if you need more electricity. Solar power systems incorporating batteries are much more expensive.
What happens during installation?
Racks are installed on the roof to hold the panels. The panels are then connected to the racks. For metal roofs, the racks are attached directly to the seams with no roof penetrations. On asphalt roofs, each mount is sealed with a long-lasting polymer material to prevent any leaks. A typical rack system weighs less than five pounds per square foot.
How long will an installation take?
Once you've decided on a quote and contractor, contact JCE to fill out an interconnection application. The co-op will review your proposal and study the system to see how it will impact the distribution grid. If no system modifications are needed the co-op will give you the okay to begin construction. A typical residential project takes one to two days to install panels, inverter(s), racking system and wiring. Once complete, the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) and the co-op will need to complete an inspection and witness test prior to commencing operation of the facility.
How long will the installation last?
Life expectancy is about 30 years with minimal maintenance required if it's properly installed. Your solar contractor usually takes care of any maintenance. Most solar panels have a 20- to 25-year warranty with inverters warrantied up to 25 years.