Solar photovoltaic (PV) panels allow you to generate your own renewable energy and reduce your reliance on the power generated by utilities. Even in the Pacific Northwest, depending on your site conditions, a solar PV system can make financial sense when you consider incentives like rebates and tax credits. Site factors should always be considered when assessing solar viability.
How Solar Panels Work
Solar PV panels convert sunlight to electricity. The panels are usually connected to the electric grid and directly power your home, which allows you to pull less or, during certain times, no electricity from the utility. Net metering allows you to sell electricity back to the utility when your solar production exceeds your home’s use; sometimes you can even watch your electric meter spin backwards! Battery backup systems and going “off the grid” are both costly and largely unnecessary for most homeowners.
Is Your Home Solar Ready?
A contractor will inspect your home for:
- Roof condition: 10+ years of roof life are required.
- Electrical compatibility: A modern electrical panel is required.
- Sufficient space: Enough roof space, and the right orientation, is required for panels to be installed. There also needs to be enough space for the inverter, a wall-mounted box which coverts solar energy from direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC) so that it is compatible with your home.
Cost and Lifetime Value
Optimum Site Conditions
Ideal site conditions include unobstructed solar exposure on a south-facing roof. West and east-facing exposure is also acceptable.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Solar
|Reduced electric utility costs Low installation cost after incentives Very little maintenance 20 year life||Potential high upfront cost before tax credits Not every location can benefit|
Thinking of starting a project? The first step is to schedule a solar phone consultation with Community Energy Project.