Keeping it simple pays. In general, the vast majority of customers install the simplest possible system on their roofs because this allows for the best return on investment. You can get real fancy with solar photovoltaic (PV), but costs rise fast. You can choose to put a “skirt” around your solar panels, for example, to hide the underlying mounting frames and improve the appearance, but you pay extra for this option, and the production suffers as well because the panels operate at a hotter temperature (the skirt prevents cooling breezes). Stick with proven, field-tested equipment that’s as simple as your situation merits and you’ll achieve the best return on investment. Cool Blew Electric & Solar’s experts can advise you as to what system will best meet your needs for the best return on investment.

Solar photovoltaic (PV) systems are not particularly complex. First there are panels, which collect the sunlight and turn it into electricity. The DC signals are fed into an inverter, which converts the DC into grid-compatible AC power (which is what you use in your home). Various switch boxes are included for safety reasons, and the whole thing is connected via wires and conduit.

Here is a list of the PV system basics:

Panels

PV panels, which cost anywhere from $2.40 per watt to over $5 per watt, are the single biggest expense of a PV system. Their placement and mounting affect your system performance more than any other facet of the job. The cost of your Solar System doesn’t always equate to saings

Mounting Equipment

Mounting your PV panels is of critical importance. Since Solar is among the biggest investments you can make for your house and is something that will be on your home in excess of 25 years you want to ensure that the proper mounting brackets are properly placed on your tile or shingle roof to prevent future damages. All penetrations on your roof should be properly flashed and sealed according to manufacturer specifications. Tile roofs which are very common and customers ask how we penetrate the roof and we ensure that we do not drill through roof tiles but simply use L brackets that safely go underneath the tile and is flashed so you are worry free of cracks or damages that will cause future damages.

DC-to-AC inverters

This is the most important part of your Solar Systems design and reliability for the next 25 plus years. Typically in the past most Solar Systems are designed with a Central or (String Inverter), Central inverters are becoming obsolete even though most solar companies are still offering Central inverters only for personal profit gains. The best and most efficient inverters are Micro inverters or AC inverters that are attached to each individual panel and converters the DC power into AC power directly from the commercial Solar panel to your home. The reason Micro inverters are best by design is because the efficiency and warranties that come with it alongside lower voltage DC power that is on your Roof. Micro inverters come with a 25 year Parts and Labor warranty and also eliminates shading issues that may occur with other Central Inverters. Micro Inverters do not require monthly cleaning of the solar panels. Central inverters typically last as little as 5 – 10 years with only a parts warranty and if you live in hotter climates they will last even less due to the elements. When you are making the leap to choose the right product that is going to be on the home for over two decades with the peace of mind of never having to repair and pay high costly fees that eliminate your return on investments.

Disconnect Switches

Disconnect switches are of critical importance, and they need to be mounted within easy reach. Every member of your family should know exactly how to turn the PV system off for safety reasons. If any abnormal behavior occurs in your home’s electrical system, shut off the solar system first.

Wiring and Fuse Box Connections

Wiring, conduit, and connections to your household main fuse box are minor hardware expenses, but they comprise a big chunk of the labor when you’re installing a PV system.

Utility Power Meters

Conventional power meters are capable of spinning backward, but utility companies usually change to a special digital meter when you connect to the grid because most solar customers go to the TOU (time-of-use) rate structure, which requires more intelligent processing than a mechanical device is capable of.