How much does it cost to install solar on my
cost to install a solar or Photovoltaic (PV) system on your house is somewhat
variable. There are several factors that
have to be considered when answering that question. Those considerations include whether or not
the solar panels can be installed on your existing roof, or whether a ground
mounted pedestal array may be better suited to your specific needs. As a general rule, you could expect to spend
somewhere in the neighborhood of $4.00/watt
for a roof mounted system, or $6.00/watt for a pedestal mounted system, before applicable
NYSERDA rebates and Federal and New York State Tax Credits. The total expense for a
system is dependent on the size of the system being installed. Our systems are typically sized in increments
of 2500 watts. An average roof usually
accommodates between 5000 and 10,000 watts.
Therefore, after incentives, a system can run in the neighborhood of
$8,000 to $16,000.
Is my house a good candidate for a PV system? Your
house is considered a good candidate for a PV system if your house has a
southern facing exposure with little to no shading. The solar arrays have to be installed facing
the southern sky. There has to be little
to no shading from trees or other structures that would cast shadows on the
solar array. For a roof mounted system, your current roof must be less than 10
years old and in good shape. What is the payback period on my system? In most
cases, the payback period is about 8 years.
The payback period is defined as the amount of time it takes for the
savings on your electrical utility bills offsets what you paid for the
system. After 8 years, all savings from
the system go directly to you, the homeowner. How big a system is required for my house?
The size of your system is determined by a set
of formulas that are derived from your electrical utility bill. The formula determines the optimum size of
your system based on the most efficient and shortest payback period. Once we have established the most cost efficient
sized system, the next set of factors that we take into account is the amount
of available space that is available at the site for the solar modules, as well
as what your budget would allow.
What are the advantages/disadvantages to a roof mounted array vs a pedistal mounted solar array? The primary
advantage to the roof mounted PV array is that it is generally less expensive
to install, therefore resulting in a quicker payback period. There are 2 primary disadvantages of the roof
mounted array. The first is that it mounts on top of your existing roofing
system. Your roof has to be less than 10
years old and in good condition for us to consider installing a roof mounted
array. Sooner or later the roof will
have to be replaced due to normal wear, and the solar array would then have to
be disassembled and reassembled during the reroofing process. The second issue is that the angle and direction
of your existing roof is fixed. It
determines the angle to the sun that the solar array will have. It may not allow for the optimum utilization
of the solar modules therefore resulting in less production and a slightly
longer payback period.
advantages to the pedestal mounted array is that the pedestal is permanently
installed at a chosen location in your yard, and the array can be aimed and
angled for optimum solar module utilization.
The primary disadvantage to the pedestal mounted array is cost. Pedestal mounted arrays are more expensive to
install than roof mounted arrays, and therefore have slightly longer payback
Whose solar panels and equipment do you use? We typically
utilize SunEdison modules. They are
NYSERDA approved, warrantied for 25 years and are manufactured and assembled in
the United States. Our installations
utilize Micro-Inverters manufactured by Enphase, the world leader in
Micro-Inverters, and are warranted for 25 years. Our racking systems are
manufactured by Iron Ridge & Uni-rack and are manufactured in the United
States. What licenses or certifications does your company have to perform this type of work? Because our parent company (John Mills Electric, Inc.) is an electrical contractor, our installers are licensed electricians. They hold electrical licenses in the Cities of Rochester, Ithaca, Johnson City, Endicott & Binghamton, New York. Twin Tiers Solar & Wind is NABCEP certified for PV installations. NABCEP is the industry leader in PV certifications and a requirement to be a NYSERDA business partner. If I an still interested, what's the next step? We would
need to gather some basic information from you so that we could proceed with putting
together a complete proposal package.
The basic information would include such things as your name, address,
telephone number & the age and condition of your existing roof. Additionally, we would need you to turn over
your previous 12 months of electrical utility bills. Once we have this information, we develop the
proposal and when completed, set up a face to face meeting at your house. At that time, we would conduct a site survey
to gather the remaining information that is required by NYSERDA to qualify for
Is there financing for PV systems available? If the
homeowner needs help financing their PV system, we can assist them through the
NYSERDA sponsored Green
Jobs-Green New York Financing Program. Plus, financing is availbale through our partner, SunEdison for well-qualified residential customers.
Do I have to upgrade or modify my existing electrical system? In most cases the answer is no.
Provided that the existing electrical service is rated for 100 amps or
greater and has no obvious code deficiencies, the existing service can usually
Will my solar panels provide me with power when the utility company suffers an outage? The answer to this question is an unqualified no. Your PV system is designed to shut down upon
loss of utility power. This prevents a
back-feed onto the utility company’s lines which could result in an
electrocution for utility company workers trying to restore power.
What should I do when my solar panels get covered in snow? Believe
it or not, the best and easiest way to get snow off a rooftop solar array is to
do nothing. Zip. Zero. In the words of Tony Soprano, forget about it.
There are several reasons
for this method. First, it works! The winter sun does a great job of melting
the snow off of the solar panels. It may take a day or two after the storm, but
roofs typically have enough of a slope to let the warm sun and gravity do the
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