Keeping it simple pays. In general, the vast majority of customers install the simplest possible solar photovoltaic (PV) system on their roofs because this allows for the best return on investment. You can get real fancy with residential or commercial solar in Peoria or surrounding cities, 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. If you’re considering solar panels, Peoria-based Cool Blew Electric & Solar 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:


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 panels in Peoria, Phoenix, or any other city in the Valley, doesn’t always equate to savings.

Mounting Equipment

Mounting your PV panels is of critical importance. Since solar is among one of 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 appropriate 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 are very common and customers ask how we penetrate the roof; we ensure that we do not drill through roof tiles but simply use L brackets that safely go underneath the tile and are flashed, so you can be worry-free of cracks that could cause problems in the future.

DC-to-AC inverters

This is the most important part of your solar system design and reliability for the next 25 plus years. Typically, in the past most solar systems were designed with a central, or string, inverter. Central inverters are becoming obsolete, even though most providers of residential or commercial solar in Peoria and around the valley are still offering them for personal profit. The best and most efficient inverters are micro inverters or AC inverters that are attached to each individual panel and convert 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 of the efficiency and warranties that come with them, alongside lower voltage DC power on your roof. Micro inverters come with a 25-year parts and labor warranty and also eliminate 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 five to 10 years with only a parts warranty and if you live in hotter climates, they will last even less time due to the elements. When you are making the leap to choose the right product that is going to be on your home for over two decades, you want the peace of mind of never having to pay costly repair fees that diminish your return on investment.

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.