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How Are Solar Panels Installed on a Roof. Non roof solar panels

How Are Solar Panels Installed on a Roof. Non roof solar panels

    Solar panels for backyard: From concept to reality

    Solar panels are a renewable and sustainable source of energy, but they also have the potential to save you thousands of dollars in the long run. In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of installing solar panels in the backyard, covering everything from initial planning to maintenance and troubleshooting.

    To roof or not to roof: Benefits of ground installation

    One of the pros of ground mounting is the possibility to install larger solar panel arrays, increasing the overall power output of your system. This is because the ground is better suited for installing big heavy panels in large numbers. Additionally, backyard installation allows for greater flexibility in panel orientation and tilt, which can increase the overall efficiency of your system.

    Another argument in favor of backyard solar is ease of maintenance and repairs. It is much easier to access and work on panels that are installed on the ground, rather than on a rooftop. This means that any issues can be addressed promptly, without the need for expensive equipment or scaffolding.

    Finally, ground installation offers increased tweaking and customization options. Non-roof solar panels can be easily adjusted and repositioned to optimize energy production, whereas roof-mounted panels are more limited in this regard. Additionally, ground-mounted panels can save the day if the roof is unusable due to angle or shading.

    However, there are also situations when roof installation is more beneficial. If you have a small or shaded backyard, or if you want to preserve it for other uses, then roof installation may be your only option.

    Get up to 25% more power by following the sun

    Solar trackers are devices that adjust the position of solar panels to optimize their exposure to sunlight. When installing solar panels on the ground, solar trackers can be used to increase their efficiency by up to 25% compared to fixed panels. The way they work is by following the sun’s movement throughout the day, adjusting the panel’s angle to always face the sun directly. This allows for more energy to be captured, leading to higher electricity production.

    Solar trackers come in two main types: single-axis and dual-axis. Single-axis trackers move the panels along one axis, following the sun’s east-west movement. Dual-axis trackers, on the other hand, move the panels along two axes, allowing them to also adjust for the sun’s elevation in the sky. Dual-axis trackers are generally more efficient, but also more expensive.

    When considering solar trackers for a backyard installation, it is important to take into account the cost-benefit ratio. While they can increase energy production, they also add to the overall cost of the installation. It’s recommended to use trackers in locations with high solar radiation and to consider the shading from nearby trees and buildings.

    Popular brands of backyard solar panels

    When it comes to installing backyard solar, there are a few brands that stand out as being reliable, efficient, and cost-effective for backyard solar installations.

    Canadian Solar is a well-known and reputable brand that offers a wide range of solar panels specifically designed for residential use. They have a strong FOCUS on quality, performance and reliability, making them a top choice for homeowners looking to install solar panels in their backyard.

    LG Solar has a reputation for producing high-efficiency solar panels that are perfect for backyard installations. Their panels feature a sleek and durable design, making them a great option for homeowners who want a visually appealing solar panel system. Additionally, LG Solar’s panels have been tested to withstand extreme weather conditions, making them ideal for outdoor use.

    Trina Solar is a global leader in the solar industry, known for producing high-quality and affordable solar panels. Their panels are designed for easy installation, making them a great option for homeowners who want a DIY installation. Trina Solar’s panels also have a high efficiency rate, which means they can generate more electricity per square foot of space, making them ideal for small backyards.

    How Are Solar Panels Installed on a Roof?

    Solar panels are a great way to generate clean, local energy and reduce your electricity bills. But, before you can start reaping the benefits of solar power, you need to get the panels and other equipment all set up. How are solar panels installed on a roof and what to expect from this process?

    The solar system installation may seem like a daunting task, but with the right information and preparation, it can be a straightforward process.

    Whether you are a homeowner looking to make the switch to solar energy or a contractor interested in expanding your services, this guide will give you a clear understanding of the installation process. So, let’s get started and learn all you need to know.

    Good reasons why to install solar panels on a roof

    Mounting solar panels on a roof has several advantages over setting them up on the ground. Here are a few of them to help you decide whether this is an option that would work for your property.

    Space utilization: Roof-mounted solar panels make use of otherwise unused space and do not take any valuable yard space.

    Aesthetics: Rooftop solar systems are less visible and blend in better with the surrounding environment compared to ground-mounted systems.

    Protection: The solar system is better protected from potential damage caused by weather, animals, or people.

    Improved energy production: Solar panels receive more direct sunlight. The risk of shading is also smaller.

    Making the decision whether roof mounted panels are the best option, depends on specific characteristics of your house and property. You should also consider the size and orientation of the roof, the available space, local zoning regulations, and your home’s energy needs in relation to the available solar irradiation.

    How are solar panels installed on a roof step by step

    Preparing for the installation of a rooftop solar system requires planning and calculating ahead of time. You have to calculate your annual energy consumption, assess the condition of your roof, and select a suitable solar system. It then continues by hiring a professional installer and reviewing your financing options.

    Here are the key steps when preparing for a solar panel roof installation.

    #1 The initial assessment of your roof

    You need to assess the condition of your roof and make sure it can support the weight of the panels. Check for any signs of damage and verify that the roof is structurally sound.

    Here are the key steps to conducting a roof assessment:

    • Check the age and condition of your roof: Check the age and overall condition of your roof to be certain that it is suitable for a solar panel installation. If your roof is older or in a poor condition, it may need to be repaired or even replaced beforehand.
    • Measure the size and angle of your roof: Measure the size and angle of your roof to determine the optimal placement for the solar panels. This information will define the number of panels your roof could sustain, and will affect the maximum amount of energy you can get from solar.
    • Check for shade: Look for areas of your roof that are shaded by trees, buildings, or other obstructions. Shade can significantly reduce the performance of your solar panels, so it is important to identify any potential spots with shade and make adjustments if necessary.
    • Evaluate the structural integrity of your roof: You may need a professional roofing contractor for this step. Your roof needs to support the additional weight of the panels. A professional contractor should assess the strength of the roof and determine if any additional support is needed.
    • Consult with a solar installer: Now is time to call a professional solar installer to discuss the specifics. In many cases, solar installation companies offer a detailed assessment of the roof as a part of their work.

    Based on the information you gathered during the inspection, you should select the solar equipment. Solar panels come in various sizes, efficiencies and capacities. Good quality solar panels are more likely to match your expectations and protect your roof than lower grade ones.

    Once the initial assessment is over, it is time to FOCUS on what happens next, and that is shortly before the team comes to mount your solar panels.

    #2 What should you do prior to the scheduled installation time?

    Before the installation of solar panels on your roof takes place, there are a few things you should do to help. These are:

    • Clear the work area: Make sure the area around your roof is clear of any obstacles that might hinder the work. Remove furniture from your balcony, potted plants, or other items from the area where they could stay in the way.
    • Secure any loose items: Check if any loose items on your roof, such as tiles or shingles, are secure. This will help to reduce the risk of damage during the installation.
    • Disconnect electrical devices: If you have any electrical devices, for example air conditioner, that are connected to the roof, you should disconnect them before the team arrives. This will help to reduce the risk of electrical shock.
    • Review the installation plan: Review the installation plan provided by the solar contractor one more time. Be prepared. Make sure you understand the process and any potential impacts on your property.
    • Communicate with neighbors: If you live in a shared building or your roof is visible from neighboring properties, you should communicate with your neighbors about the upcoming installation to avoid any misunderstandings or future disputes.

    By taking these steps before the work begins, you will prevent any unexpected events that would make the installation more difficult.

    Now comes the second stage, the moment when the installation team arrives and proceeds with mounting the solar equipment.

    #3 The installation process of the solar panels and other equipment

    With the arrival of the installation team, the process of mounting solar panels is underway. The following steps typically occur:

    Introduction and safety briefing: The installation team will introduce themselves and conduct a safety briefing to explain the risks and measures they will take before installing the panels.

    Layout and design: The technicians will lay out the design of the solar system and confirm the placement of the panels on your rooftop. They will take into account any shading issues, structural considerations, and other factors that affect the performance of the system.

    Preparing the roof: They will prepare the roof by cleaning and securing any loose tiles or shingles. That is if there are any that have not been secured prior to their arrival.

    Installing mounting hardware: Mounting hardware like brackets and rails is used to securely attach the panels to the roof. This hardware is typically installed using roof-friendly materials, such as silicone sealants or stainless-steel fasteners.

    Mounting the panels: The process of the actual installation of the solar panels is the next step. At this moment, each panel gets attached to the supports. The technicians also connect the wiring and install an inverter. Solar panels will be adjusted to optimize their exposure to the sun.

    Connecting the panels to the electrical system: The panels must be connected to the electrical system in order to generate electricity. This is being done with electrical wires that connect the panels to an inverter and then to the electrical panel.

    solar, panels, installed, roof

    Testing and commissioning: Once the panels are installed, the installation team will test how the system works. They will also commission the system and finalize any necessary connections.

    Monitoring performance: At this stage, it is important to monitor the performance of the solar system to be sure that everything runs smoothly. Performance monitoring systems serve this purpose. They track the amount of electricity generated as well as any issues that arise in the future.

    Cleaning up and final inspection: The work crew will clean up the work area and conduct a final inspection to review their work.

    solar, panels, installed, roof

    As you can see, this is a fairly complex process, which is a reason why it is recommended to work with a qualified contractor who has experience with this type of installation. In addition, local building codes and regulations must be followed, and any necessary permits should be obtained prior starting the installation.

    Mounting solar panels on a roof without drilling

    It is possible to attach solar panels without drilling holes into your roof by using adhesive or clamp-based mounting systems. These systems use specially designed brackets and clamps that hold the panels on the roof without puncturing it. The work begins by:

    • Choosing the right adhesive or clamp-based mounting system: Look for a mounting system that is specifically designed for your roof type, such as tile, metal, or asphalt shingle.
    • Cleaning the roof: Clean the roof to ensure that the adhesive or clamps have a clean surface to adhere to.
    • Installing the brackets or clamps: Install the brackets or clamps on the roof according to the manufacturer’s instructions and secure them with adhesive, screws, or clamps.
    • Attaching the panels: Once the brackets or clamps are in place, attach the panels to the mounting system.
    • Connecting the panels to the electrical system: Connect the panels to the electrical system, including the inverter and electrical panel.

    Some roof types may not be suitable for adhesive or clamp-based mounting systems, and it may be necessary to use drilling to secure the panels. Additionally, building codes and regulations must be checked whether this type of attachment is allowed.

    Are the non-drill mounting systems safe?

    Mounting solar panels on a roof without drilling is possible with certain types of mounting systems, such as those that use adhesive or ballast weights to hold the panels in place. However, these systems may not be suitable for all roofs, and may not be as secure or durable as systems that use drilled-in mounting hardware.

    Adhesive mounting systems are less durable over time and may not be able to withstand strong winds or heavy snow loads. Ballast-weighted systems are a more durable, but they are more difficult to install and require more roof space to accommodate the weights.

    Drilled-in mounting systems are generally considered to be the most secure option. These systems use brackets or clamps that are attached to the roof structure with screws or bolts, providing a stable and secure attachment for the panels.

    How close to the edge of a roof solar panels go?

    The exact distance from the edge of a roof depends on a variety of factors. They consider the weight of the panels, the strength and durability of the roof, the wind load capacity of the roof, and local building codes and regulations.

    In some areas, local building codes may have specific requirements regarding the minimum distance from the edge.

    However, the recommended distance of 2 to 4 feet from the edge of the roof is a commonly used industry standard that has been established.

    This distance provides a margin of safety to help ensure that the panels are stable and secure. It also prevents any damage to the panels or roof over time.

    Installing solar panels on a roof cost estimate

    The cost of installing roof-based solar panels can vary greatly. The final price depends on the size of the solar system, the type of roof, your location, and some other factors. But here is a rough estimate of the costs involved in the process.

    #1 Site assessment

    A site assessment typically costs between 0 to 500 and it starts with a professional installer inspecting your roof and electrical system to determine the feasibility of the installation. How much you will pay depends on the agreement with your contractor and their terms and conditions.

    #2 Equipment and materials

    This includes the cost of the panels, inverter, mounting system, electrical wiring, and other materials that are needed to set everything up. The cost can range from 3,000 to 10,000 or more, depending on the size of the system.

    Labor typically makes up a significant portion of the overall cost. Based on the size and complexity of the installation, labor costs can range from 1,500 to 10,000.

    #4 Permits and inspections

    Building permits and inspections can cost several hundred dollars. The amount varies depending on the location.

    #5 Net Metering and interconnection

    If you plan to connect the solar panels to the electrical grid and use net metering, you may have to pay a fee to the utility company. This fee can range from 100 to 1,000.As you can see, the final costs can vary by a few thousand dollars. For this reason, it is recommended to get quotes from different installers in your area to get your local price range. There may be various incentives and tax credits available that can help reduce the overall cost so you’ll have to check what options are available in your region.

    Problems with solar panels on a roof?

    Installing solar panels on a roof can come with several potential problems that could happen if some part of the process is neglected. These include:

    • Roof damage: If the panels are not installed correctly, they can damage the roof and cause leaks.
    • Incorrect installation: Improper installation of the panels or mounting system can result in electrical problems, reduced efficiency, or even panel failure.
    • Incompatible roof type: Certain roof types, such as flat roofs or roofs with limited space, may not be suitable for solar panel installation.
    • Shading issues: If the roof is shaded by trees or nearby buildings, the panels may not be able to generate as much energy as they would have if they were in direct sunlight.
    • Age of roof: If the roof is old or in poor condition, it may not be able to support the weight of the panels. The roof may need to be replaced before the panels are installed.
    • Weather damage: Solar panels can sustain damage during extreme weather conditions. High winds, hail, or heavy snow could change the output of your solar system.
    • Maintenance and repairs: Solar panels and other components of the system may need to be cleaned, repaired, or replaced eventually. This is a part that adds to the cost of owning and operating the system.

    You should work with a qualified solar installer who has experience in residential solar energy to help to minimize these potential problems. Additionally, a good warranty and insurance coverage can provide protection against damage and other issues that may arise over time.

    How to Go Solar

    There are many options to choose from to power your home with renewables.

    Choosing to go solar is a great way to help solve the climate crisis. There are lots of options for you to consider.

    Which Type of Solar is Right for Me?

    Ground-Mount and Rooftop Systems

    Traditional rooftop and ground-mounted solar systems are best for residents open to purchasing and owning solar panels. These systems can have higher upfront costs, and maintenance usually is up to the owners.

    Former Mayor Suzanne Jones Checks out a rooftop solar installation in Boulder

    Shares in a Solar Garden

    In Colorado, Xcel Energy customers have access to community solar gardens. These often provide similar bill credits to roof-top or ground-mount systems, but don’t require roof space on your home. This is a great option for people who rent, live in multi-family buildings or who don’t want to own solar.

    A team of residents install a solar garden north of Boulder

    Navigating the Hidden Costs of Rooftop Solar Panels

    While rooftop solar panels do offer an opportunity to make the transition to a renewable energy option, there are also some hidden costs and challenges that homeowners should take into consideration.

    End of Residential Renewable Energy Credit

    For the past several years, the cost of purchasing and installing solar panels from solar companies has been reduced thanks to the Investment Tax Credit (ITC), which is also known as the federal solar tax credit. With this credit, homeowners could deduct 30 % of the cost of solar energy systems for their homes from their electricity bill. Unfortunately, this credit ended for residential property owners in 2021, and in 2022 the federal tax credit was reduced to 26%. This means that the cost of solar panel purchase and installation is now significantly more expensive.

    Installation Costs of Solar Energy

    The average price of an installed residential solar system is between 7 and 9 per watt, depending on where you live and the type of roof covering your home. Since most households in the United States use around 11,000 kWh of energy per year, a home seeking to supply at least 75% of its energy with solar panels would need a 5 kW solar panel system for a total cost of around 25,000 to 30,000.

    How Long Does it Take To Pay Off a Solar Investment?

    The cost of electricity varies by states solar industry, but as an example, if you paid.13 per /kWh and you had a 6 kWh system that produced 7788 annually, your rooftop solar system would be generating a savings of around 84 per month in electricity costs. Meaning it would take at least 26 years to completely pay off the investment. Solar panels should have an expected life span of around 25 years, meaning that in some cases, and especially if the 30% solar tax credit is revoked, families might not pay off their initial investment by the time they need to replace their solar panel system. Along with costs, it’s important to understand how solar panels work for a residential solar system.

    Households that want the benefits that come with solar energy without the extra installation costs might do well to consider investing in a Community Solar energy program. Because solar farms are built at scale, subscribers are able to realize savings faster, and with Clearway’s program, savings is guaranteed in most territories.

    Hidden Costs of Rooftop Solar Panels

    Ties You to a Place

    Another potential financial setback that comes with rooftop solar panels is that it can make it more difficult to sell your home. The average American moves at least 11 times during their lifetime. Investing in a 30,000 rooftop solar panel system should theoretically increase the value of your home. However, it can certainly make it more difficult to sell your home since not every potential home buyer will be interested or willing to pay a premium price for the huge investment of a residential rooftop solar panel system.

    Potential Roof Damage and Insurance Premiums

    Solar panels need to be firmly attached to your roof to stay protected from wind, rain, snow, and other natural elements. When not done properly, the installation of rooftop solar panels can lead to a loss of energy efficiency in the home by compromising the insulation and thermal performance of your home. Ironically, a compromised roof through reduced installation and/or air leaks might require more energy to keep your home warm during the winter, thus increasing your overall electricity requirements.

    Furthermore, while most rooftop solar panel systems are eligible to be covered by a standard homeowner insurance policy, homeowners will most likely need to boost the amount of coverage they put on their homes due to the increased cost that comes with the solar panel system. This may raise the premium. which is another hidden cost of rooftop solar panels that many homeowners fail to take into consideration.

    Maintenance Costs of Solar Panels

    Lastly, it is important to mention that rooftop solar panel systems will require significant amounts of maintenance.

    In the case of utility-supplied electricity, homeowners have long understood that problems in the electrical grid would be fixed, maintained and updated by the utility company. For grid-tied rooftop solar systems, however, the solar panels are part of your property and you will be required to care for them.

    An average annual inspection of a rooftop solar panel system should cost you around 150 per year. To maintain your solar panels dust, dirt, and debris-free, you will also probably want an annual clearing, which could cost you 20 per panel unless you want to venture up onto your roof by yourself. For a home with an 8 kW system that contains 36 panels, you are looking at an additional 800 in annual cleaning costs.

    Is Clean Energy Worth it?

    All of these hidden costs of rooftop solar panels on your energy bill certainly add up and should be taken into consideration when calculating potential pay-back periods. For solar customers who want the benefits that come with solar energy without acquiring all of these hidden costs, community solar projects are continuing to grow and offer a viable alternative.

    Clearway Community Solar offers community solar projects in five different states across the country. Our active solar farms have produced over 70 million kWh of clean solar power to date and support over 15,000 subscribers. By signing up for a Community Solar Project, homeowners can avoid the potential setbacks and obstacles that routinely come with rooftop solar PV systems, avoid the hassles that often come with the installation of the panels themselves, and see economic rewards more immediately.

    Solar Panels by Sunrun

    Learn about our best-in-class solar products and services.

    Experience Peace of Mind for Decades to Come with Sunrun Rooftop Solar Panels

    When you team up with a solar company like Sunrun, you can create your own affordable, clean energy and gain independence from your utility company. A Sunrun solar installation can help power your home when the sun is out while you boost control over your energy usage and reduce your dependence on fossil fuels.

    We offer several residential solar plans to help you start your solar journey. Find out which is the ideal fit for your budget and unique energy needs.

    We offer some of the best solar rooftop panel systems on the market, and you can bring them home through a lease payment plan, flexible solar financing, or by paying outright. Our made-to-fit solar solutions, paired with exceptional service and our industry-leading solar guarantee, have positioned us as the leading residential solar and energy storage company in the U.S. 1

    Solar panels are just one part of the solution to experience energy freedom and security. To ensure you get the most out of your home energy system, consider adding a solar battery back-up service like Sunrun’s Brightbox. Hundreds of millions of people were affected by blackouts from 2008 to 2017. 2 With Brightbox, you can keep your lights on and your food fresh during outages with a Smart, affordable, and reliable back-up power system.

    Benefits of Adding Sunrun’s Battery Storage Service to Your Solar Panels

    Brightbox doesn’t need dangerous, expensive, and toxic fossil fuels to work. 3 When the sun is out, it can store clean and affordable back-up power for later use.

    Brightbox paired with a Tesla Powerwall can help you back up your entire home, or you can back up just the rooms you need with an LG Chem solar battery.

    Tesla Powerwall and LG Chem solar batteries can last anywhere from 10 to 15 years, and they typically come with a 10-year manufacturer warranty for your peace of mind.

    Solar with incentives

    Our Automated Site Modeling tool is a revolutionary technology that allows us to design a custom Sunrun home solar energy system based on your roof’s unique dimensions and layout.

    Sunrun’s Automated Site Modeling tool will use your roof’s individual profile, including shading, pitch, sun exposure, seasonality, and roof obstacles. This will ensure that the designed Sunrun solar panel system matches your home’s structure and unique energy needs. A customized system can let you know your potential control over your future electricity bills

    Sunrun’s Product Selector is an innovative and simple tool. It lets you know in minutes which solar plan, with or without a home battery, can give you and your family more benefits in the long run, depending on where you live.

    Sunrun’s Product Selector will use information about your roof’s type and pitch, your household size, and other important aspects, like if you have a home office or if you need back-up power, to recommend the best Sunrun home solar plan for you. This can help secure the peace of mind you deserve during rising energy costs and power outages while reducing your carbon footprint.

    Does my state offer incentives to go solar?

    See the states where Sunrun is currently available and the solar incentives that might be offered where you live. Some of the most common solar incentives include tax credits, property tax exemptions, and rebates. No matter what state you live in, you may be eligible for the Federal Solar Tax Credit (ITC) if you decide to purchase a home solar energy system.

    You can get a Sunrun monthly plan to lease your solar panels or prepay for your renewable energy through a solar power purchase agreement or PPA plan. As a result, any incentive savings you would receive through tax credits and rebates with a system purchase can be passed to you in the form of a lower solar bill.

    How do solar panels work?

    You can’t talk about solar panels without talking about silicon. Silicon is a non-metallic element and the second-most abundant material on earth. 4 It can also convert sunlight into electricity, and it’s a key component in a solar system (also known as a photovoltaic, or PV system). 5

    Solar panels, solar cells, or PV cells, are made by slicing crystalline silicon (also known as wafers) that are millimeters thin. These wafers are sandwiched between protective glass, insulation, and a protective back sheet, which make a solar panel. The back sheet helps to regulate the temperature and humidity to optimize the solar panel’s efficiency. 6 Multiple solar panels connected together create a solar array, and ultimately, a solar system.

    Then there’s the physics of how solar cells work: Electricity is made when electrons move between atoms. The top and bottom of a silicon wafer in the solar cell are treated with small amounts of atoms of extra materials—such as boron, gallium, or phosphorus—so that the top layer has more electrons and the bottom layer has less. When the sun activates the electrons in these oppositely charged layers, the electrons move through a circuit attached to the panels. This flow of electrons through the circuit is what generates the electrical current that ultimately powers a home. 7

    What are the different types of solar panels?

    Monocrystalline solar panels:

    Monocrystalline solar panels have the highest efficiency and power capacity out of all other types of solar panels. Another reason why people choose them is because of how they look. The solar cells within monocrystalline panels are square-shaped and have a single, flat black color, making them the most popular type of solar panels among homeowners. 8 Sunrun uses monocrystalline PV modules in all its home solar systems.

    Polycrystalline solar panels:

    The manufacturing process of polycrystalline solar panels is less costly than monocrystalline panels, but it also makes them less efficient. Usually, polycrystalline solar panels don’t have the corners cut off of them, so you won’t see the large white spaces on the front of the panel that you see on monocrystalline panels. 8

    Thin-film solar panels:

    Thin-film solar panels are less costly and easier to install than their counterparts. Still, they aren’t the best option for a home solar installation due to their efficiency, lightweight material, and durability. 8

    How long do solar panels really last?

    When you consider investing in a solar installation, you might wonder how long home solar panels last. Studies show that solar panels can last anywhere from 20 to 30 years, or sometimes longer. 9 Still, this doesn’t mean the panels on your roof will stop producing electricity after a couple of decades. It just means their energy production will decrease by what solar panel manufacturers consider optimal to meet the average household’s energy needs.

    Do home solar systems have a warranty?

    All of our solar equipment is backed by factory warranties. On top of that, our monthly solar lease plan and prepaid solar plan (also known as a solar PPA) come with 24/7 proactive monitoring and free maintenance on us. If we notice that your rooftop panels or solar battery aren’t working at their full capacity, we’ll send an expert over to fix it without you lifting a finger. This benefit sets Sunrun apart from the other solar installers in the country.

    How does Automated Site Modeling work?

    After you enter a few details about your home, our Automated Site Modeling tool will analyze hundreds of thousands of variables in home solar system designs to build a high-resolution image of the ideal system for your roof. These factors include your home’s pitch, seasonality, sun exposure, shading, and roof obstacles. This helps Sunrun guarantee you receive maximum benefits from your new home solar system.

    How does Sunrun’s Product Selector work?

    After you answer a few simple questions about your home’s details, lifestyle, and electricity usage, Sunrun’s Product Selector will let you know if a monthly lease plan, prepaying for your solar energy, financing a system, or purchasing outright—along with a back-up power service—is the most cost-effective solution for your unique needs.

    Are Automated Site Modeling and Sunrun’s Product Selector really free?

    Yes. At Sunrun, we’re committed to providing you with the best technology, services, and tools, like our Automated Site Modeling tool and Product Selector, to make your switch to solar as affordable and straightforward as possible. This can help you worry less about controlling your electric bills and protecting your home during outages while reducing your carbon emissions for decades.

    Do solar panels get hot?

    Rooftop solar panels can get hot, particularly during scorching summer days. If the panels do get hot or overheat, they can produce less energy as the temperature rises above their optimal energy production range.

    In general, residential solar panels are designed to reach their peak efficiency level at 77 °F (25 °C), but their efficiency will decrease by 0.5% for every degree above this temperature. The actual percentage of lower production varies by the solar panel’s manufacturer and model. Ultimately, you want to aim for an exterior temperature range of 59 to 95 °F (15 to 35 °C). Yet, it’s unrealistic for rooftop solar panels to stay within this range all year, especially in places where temperatures can go past 100 °F (37.8 °C). Fortunately, most solar panels can withstand heat up to 149 °F (65 °C). 10

    Nonetheless, solar panel overheating can be prevented. Many solar panel manufacturers cover the panels in a material that generally conducts and vents heat away from the glass. In addition, solar panels are usually mounted a few inches above the roof, which allows airflow space to help move heat away from the panels.

    Despite the reduction in efficiency from extreme heat, solar energy generation doesn’t stop. The lower electricity production due to scorching weather balances out with the longer days of sunlight throughout the seasons. Although solar panels work best on cold, sunny days, they produce solar power year-round in nearly every location and climate.

    Do solar panels work in cold weather?

    Solar panels create energy from sunlight—not the sun’s heat. In fact, solar panels produce electricity more efficiently in cooler conditions. Even in the most frigid weather, solar panels can turn sunlight into electricity.

    How does this work? Colder temperatures enhance solar energy production efficiency, which increases the amount of electricity produced. Electrons are at rest in cooler climates. When the electrons in solar panels are activated by increasing sunlight, a voltage difference is attained that creates an electric current.

    Warmer summer temperatures raise the overall energy levels of electrons in solar panels. This increased energy level decreases the energy differential that can be gained, producing less energy. A higher energy state interferes with solar panel electricity production since some energy transfers into heat instead of electricity. Your home doesn’t need to be in a warm-weather state like Arizona, California, Nevada, or Texas to generate year-round reliable solar power.

    Do solar panels work at night?

    While solar panels need sunlight to create electricity, there are two ways you can benefit from solar power during the nighttime: enroll in a net energy metering (NEM) program (if it’s offered where you live), or add a home battery storage service, like Sunrun’s Brightbox.

    Net energy metering (NEM): Lower-cost grid energy at night

    If NEM is offered in your state and by your utility, you may be eligible to earn credits on your bill for the excess solar energy you produce and send to your utility company. 11 At night, you could use those credits toward drawing electricity from the grid at a lower cost. Net metering may help you save money on your future electricity bills. Visit your utility company’s website for more information.

    Solar battery storage: Reliable, affordable back-up energy, day and night

    A battery storage service like Brightbox can let you store the excess solar power you produce for later use. This stored solar energy can help keep your devices and appliances running at night, during outages, cloudy days, and rainy afternoons.

    Brightbox offers two lithium-ion solar battery storage options: Tesla Powerwall and LG Chem. Tesla Powerwall can help yo back up your entire home while LG Chem can help you back up to four circuits inside your home. There are also differences in software and app functionality.

    Request a free, personalized quote to connect with a Sunrun Solar Advisor and determine which Sunrun back-up solution would work best for your home.

    How does Brightbox work?

    Brightbox allows you to store the excess energy your solar energy system produces during the day to use it in the evening, at night, or when the electric grid fails due to physical damage or an extreme weather event or.

    Do I need solar panels to use Brightbox?

    Aside from very rare exceptions, Sunrun’s Brightbox service includes rooftop solar panels. Brightbox can store 100% clean, renewable, home-grown solar power directly from the rooftop panels when the sun is out, so you can use it when you need it most.

    Can I add Brightbox to my current home solar system?

    At this time, Brightbox with a Tesla Powerwall or LG Chem solar battery is only available in the installation of a new Sunrun home solar system due to tech compatibility issues. We can’t install rooftop solar panels or a home battery if you already have an existing solar installation or if Brigtbox’s battery storage service isn’t available in your area.

    solar, panels, installed, roof

    What happens during a solar installation?

    Once you’re approved for a solar installation, your property will undergo a site assessment, and an expert solar technician will schedule a visit with you to confirm your system design.

    After that, our Solar Design Experts will make any necessary adjustments to your design and get your final approval. Once it’s approved, we’ll submit your design to the city for permitting, which can take up to eight weeks. From there, either Sunrun or one of our local certified partners will start your solar installation. We only partner with the top-rated solar installers, so you can rest easy knowing you’ll have the highest quality solar installation available.

    When your installation is finished, the city or county will perform a final inspection of your system. Once it’s approved, it’ll be connected to the grid, and we’ll submit your documents to the utility company. After your utility company grants Permission to Operate (PTO), you’ll be all set to start powering your home with the sun.

    What happens if I move?

    We have an entire team of professionals standing by to help you sell your solar home and transfer your contract, if applicable, to the new owners. Sunrun makes it easy to pass your solar lease or power purchase agreement (PPA) to the new owners. Our Service Transfer Specialists handle everything from educating realtors and potential buyers to working with escrow officers, title agents, home inspectors, as well as anyone else who might need to know about your system and solar lease or PPA agreement.

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