Getting Help with a Solar Electric System

Part 17 of Get Your Power from the Sun. For more information on solar electric systems, please contact: National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) 1414 Prince Street Suite 200 Alexandria, Virginia 22314 Phone: 703-299-8800 • Fax: 703-299-6208 Check the Web site to find the contact for your state energy office, which typically promotes the […]

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What should you know about warranties?

Part 16 of Get Your Power from the Sun. Warranties are key to ensuring that your photovoltaic system will be repaired if something should malfunction during the warranty period. photovoltaic systems eligible for some solar rebate programs must carry a full (not “limited”) two-year warranty, in addition to any manufacturers’ warranties on specific components. This […]

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What should you know about utility and inspection sign-off?

Part 15 of Get Your Power from the Sun. After your new photovoltaic system is installed, it must be inspected and “signed off” by the local permitting agency (usually a building or electrical inspector) and most likely by the electric utility with which you entered into an interconnection agreement. Inspectors may require your photovoltaic provider […]

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How do you get an interconnection agreement?

Part 14 of Get Your Power from the Sun. Connecting your photovoltaic system to the utility grid will require an interconnection agreement and a purchase and sale agreement. Federal law and some state public utility commission regulations require utilities to supply you with an interconnection agreement. Some utilities have developed simplified, standardized interconnection agreements for […]

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What should you know about insurance?

Part 13 of Get Your Power from the Sun. For grid-connected photovoltaic systems, your electric utility will require that you enter into an interconnection agreement (see also the next section). Usually, these agreements set forth the minimum insurance requirements to keep in force. If you are buying a photovoltaic system for your home, your standard […]

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What should you know about permits?

Part 12 of Get Your Power from the Sun. If you live where a homeowners association must approve a solar electric system, you or your photovoltaic provider may need to submit your plans. You’ll need approval before you begin installing your photovoltaic system. However, some state laws stipulate that you have the right to install […]

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How do you choose among competing bids?

Part 11 of Get Your Power from the Sun. If you decide to get more than one bid for the installation of your photovoltaic system (always a good idea), make sure that all bids are made on the same basis. For example, a bid for a system mounted on the ground is usually very different […]

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How do you choose among photovoltaic providers?

Part 10 of Get Your Power from the Sun. Compile a list of prospective photovoltaic providers. (Those closest to you should have the lowest travel costs). Contact these providers and find out what products and services they offer. The following questions may give you a good sense of their capabilities: Has the company installed grid-connected […]

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Who sells and installs photovoltaic systems?

Part 9 of Get Your Power from the Sun. In some areas, finding a photovoltaic provider can be as simple as picking up the telephone directory and looking under “Solar Energy Equipment and Systems—Dealers.” However, many of the listings are solar water-heating companies and many companies might not be experienced in photovoltaic system design or […]

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How can you finance the cost of your photovoltaic system?

Part 8 of Get Your Power from the Sun. When it comes to financing the cost of purchasing and installing your photovoltaic system, there are some special programs particular to financing solar and other renewable energy investments. But most of the options will be familiar to you. The best way to finance photovoltaic systems for […]

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How much does a photovoltaic system cost?

Part 7 of Get Your Power from the Sun. No single answer applies in every case. But a solar rebate and other incentives can always reduce the cost. Your price depends on a number of factors, including whether your home is under construction and whether photovoltaic is integrated into the roof or mounted on top […]

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How much will you save with your photovoltaic system?

Part 6 of Get Your Power from the Sun. The value of your photovoltaic system’s electricity depends on how much you pay for electricity now and how much your utility will pay you for any excess power that you generate. If your utility offers net metering (and so pays the full retail price for your […]

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Is your home or business a good place for a photovoltaic system?

Part 5 of Get Your Power from the Sun. Can you locate your system so it works well? A well-designed photovoltaic system needs clear and unobstructed access to the sun’s rays for most or all of the day, throughout the year. You can make an initial assessment yourself. If the location looks promising, your photovoltaic provider […]

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Why should you buy a photovoltaic system?

Part 4 of Get Your Power from the Sun. People decide to buy photovoltaic systems for a variety of reasons. Some people want to help preserve the Earth’s finite fossil-fuel resources and reduce air pollution. Others want to invest in an energy-producing improvement to their property. Some people like the security of reducing the amount […]

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Are incentives available to help reduce the cost?

Part 3 of Get Your Power from the Sun. Yes, many states offer incentives. For specific information, call one of the contacts listed under “Getting Help”. Another excellent source is the National Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy (DSIRE). Prepared by the North Carolina Solar Center, this database contains information on financial and regulatory […]

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What is a solar electric or photovoltaic system?

Part 2 of Get Your Power from the Sun. Photovoltaic (PV) systems convert sunlight directly to electricity. They work any time the sun is shining, but more electricity is produced when the sunlight is more intense and strikes the photovoltaic modules directly (as when rays of sunlight are perpendicular to the photovoltaic modules). Unlike solar […]

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Get Your Power from the Sun

Part 1 of Get Your Power from the Sun. Are you thinking about buying a solar electric system for your home or business? If so, this story provides some basic information that can help you. Solar electric systems, which are also called photovoltaic or PV systems, are reliable and pollution-free. They make use of a […]

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