By late 2007 I was committed to the idea of solar energy for our residence. It’s a long story and I’ll post about that later. [Why Solar Electric?] In the meantime, the Oregon Department of Energy provides a list of Top 5 reasons cited for investing in a solar energy system. They are in order:
- Personal preference and pride in owning a renewable energy generation system – Check!
- Fixed future energy costs – Check again.
- Return of investment from reduced energy bills – Certainly!
- Environmental stewardship – Yep!
- Supporting local economy and/or patriotism – That’s me!
I’m all of the above and even more.
For a myriad of reasons we decided to purchase and install Solar PV before this 2009 year-end. The work began and education is always the best place to start.
Although we know a deal more than your average person about solar power technology, it still wasn’t easy getting all the answers and making the decisions required.
There are a lot of vital questions to be asked … you know, the basics.
- How do we get started?
- Which site is best for solar availability?
- How will fit and look on my roof?
- How much PV power do we need?
- More importantly, how much can we really afford?
- How will we pay for it?
- How long will it take to recoup the costs?
- What incentives or credits are available?
- How does net metering work?
- What solar products do we buy/install?
- Which solar technology do we choose … mono, poly or thin film?
- Which modules are most efficient?
- Which Inverter do we use?
- How do we find a good Solar Installer company?
- What permits are needed?
- Do we need an electrician?
- When can we turn it on?
- Is there system monitoring?
- How long will all this take?
This is a basic starter list. There are many choices within each question and the decisions are important because you might be living with these things for the next 25 years as is our case. I intend to answer each of these questions for you kind reader if you’ll indulge me some time. There is a process to it (like most things), but I may not go in any particular order for purposes of categorization and explanation.
There’s lots more to know about, especially on the technical and market side, but I’ll cover that stuff after I’ve covered the basics on this starter list.