The Installation Process
Supply & Procurement
SolEnergy’s engineers design the most cost-effective and long-term infrastructure to meet each customer’s specific financial needs and site requirements.
Solenergy sources the latest PV technologies for its renewable energy system components from “best of breed” manufacturers, including both mono-crystalline and poly-crystalline solar panels, as well as amorphous silicon modules, to satisfy the widest variety of applications. By working with our large volume partners, we are guaranteed the most competitive pricing in the industry.
Mounting hardware for rooftop photovoltaic applications are divided into two main categories –
1) ballasted (non-penetrating) for flat roofs and
2) penetrating – on poles, racks or stanchions on pitched (sometimes flat roofs). Land based systems typically have a metal racking system that is “pile driven” in the ground. Some projects use a combination of different mounting systems in order to provide maximum performance, structural integrity, and economics.
High Efficiency Inverters
Inverters are designed specifically for each project. SolEnergy works with our electrical engineers and installation team to ensure the overall integration of the system meets all of the electrical specifications and is installed correctly to meet local code requirements.
SolEnergy project manages every step of the physical construction process. Construction starts with a safety plan designed specifically for the project and site conditions. Our certified installers prep the site with safety equipment and isolate a work area to minimize impact to business operations. Upon delivery of all equipment, our technicians assemble racking and panels to the engineered specifications and the electricians then facilitate all DC wiring, bonding and inverter tie-in to the AC switching gear. SolEnergy’s technicians then finalize metering and monitoring connections to prepare the system for final commissioning.
Interconnection is the process of connecting a distributed generation system to the electric grid. Prior to interconnecting, distributed generation system owners seeking to operate their systems in parallel with grid power must have a signed interconnection authorization from the local utility. The interconnection process actually starts well before the procurement and solar installation phases. Before a solar system can be installed, the project owner must first apply for the interconnection process. The interconnection process is complex and completing the process in a timely and cost-effective manner is crucial for a project’s success. SolEnergy works closely with each client to ensure that the interconnection process is being completed in the most efficient and timely fashion in order to keep the project moving forward and on target.
Installation Process - Solar Panels (PV or Photovoltaic)
SolEnergy is always available to discuss your solar questions or requirements. Stop by one of our offices or see us at our booths at the local farmer's markets or arts and crafts shows. For the installation process for Solar Photovoltaic Panels for electricity, please review the following:
1. Pre-install information and questions to answer:
Solar Panels are typically installed on rooftops, building tops, or stand-alone facilities. It is vital to install your solar panel so that it gets the most direct sun exposure - you want to make sure your solar panel is maximally effective year round. To do this, SolEnergy has solar resources to help you properly set up and install your solar panels by tracking the position of the sun in the sky over the course of the year. Position your solar panel in direct sunlight. Solar Panels perform at optimum capacity when placed in direct sunlight. Try to position your photovoltaic array directly under the noontime sun for maximum efficiency from your photovoltaic unit.
Remove all items unnecessary items or trim branches that may be blocking sunlight to your solar unit. Trace the path of the sun in the sky to determine if an object will be casting a shadow over your solar photovoltaic panels. If this is the case, then the operating efficiency of your unit will undoubtedly suffer.
Do you have a south-facing area of roof or land that can accommodate your solar system?
A south facing roof will provide the optimum potential for your system. However, depending on your building orientation, other directions can also provide sufficient production.
Do you have any daytime shading issues on your south-facing space?
Shading by trees, buildings, etc. will have a negative impact on a PV system’s performance, if the shading issues cannot be solved, perhaps your property is not a good choice for solar. SolEnergy can help you determine the impact of shading with a site visit.
Will you need to repair or replace your roof in the next 5 years?
If you do, then you might want to wait to add your solar system during that time, or consider re-roofing now to add your system. You should have at least a 15-year life expectancy with your existing roof.
2. Site Visit
SolEnergy will arrange with you to come out to your home or business and determine the best possible solution for you solar requirements. SolEnergy's solar engineer will determine:
Direction of the roof, type of roof, roof condition, and angle of the roof in order to best determine the solar panel requirements
Measure the roof surface to determine the square footage available for placing solar panels or solar hot water heating collectors
Determine if roof, or ground mounted systems would be best for the situation
Draw a plan of the roof or ground area to review with the best possible placement
Discuss the plan with you and determine the next steps
Solar Panels Installation
Prior to installation SolEnergy will have submitted to the County and have obtained all the required permits, permissions and authorization (such as compliance with community CCR's) in order to proceed.
Mounting the solar panels
Solar Panel Mounts are used to install photovoltaic solar panels. Solar panel mounts come in three main varieties: pole mounts, roof-ground mounts, and flush mounts. Using these mounts, you can install your solar panel on top of or against the side of a pole, on your roof, or even install them as a free-standing unit.
Mounts for your solar photovoltaic system can come in all shapes and sizes; some are stand-alone, others are designed for special situations, such as pole mounts designed to track the sun in the sky for optimal output.
Types of Solar Panel Mounts
Solar Panel Mounts are available in three primary categories: flush mounts, roof/ground (or universal) mounts, and pole mounts. Each type of solar panel mount has its own merits and disadvantages, SolEnergy will help you determine which type mounts are the best for your installation.
Flush mounts are the cheapest and most simple solar panel mounting solution available, and are achieved by placing a metal end bracket on each side of the solar panel, elevating it several inches from the surface. Flush Mounts are typically used with small solar arrays on rooftops and RVs, because the structural design of a flush mount cannot support large solar panels. When installing a flush mount with your solar panel, be sure that you have ample clearance between the surface of the roof and the underside of your solar panel. This distance should be at a minimum of 2-4 inches, so that air can flow under the unit and keep it cool. This is vitally important for your flush mount system: if you do not allow clearance, your solar unit will rapidly overheat and the functional lifespan will be significantly reduced.
Roof-Ground solar panel mounts are typically used with larger solar panel systems, or in areas away from the city electric grid. Roof-Ground mounts are called by that name because they can be installed both on the ground and on rooftops. Roof-Ground mounts are typically constructed by a grid-like system of supports.
Many Roof-ground mounts are adjustable, and if you change the tilt of your solar panel at the prescribed 1/4 year interval, your system will produce a little more power than a standard unit. Roof-ground systems are more expensive than flush mounts, and they may be difficult to install on rooftops due to heavy wind resistance or city ordinances, but they may be your only solution if you have a particularly large solar panel system.
Pole mounts are divided into 3 subcategories: top of pole mounts, side of pole mounts, and poll tracking mounts. These poll mounts are differentiated by how they are positioned on the pole. Top of Pole Mounts are comprised of a metal rack and rail unit that is bolted to a large sleeve that rests on top of the pole. In order to install a top of pole mount, you will need to use an existing pole at least 3-8 inches wide with a concrete base, or construct one yourself. The mount simply slips over the top of the pole, and you can bolt (or weld) your solar panel unit into place. Large Top of pole mounts can encounter a substantial measure of wind resistance and can be very heavy. Side of Pole Mounts are typically fastened and bolted to the side of telephone or utility poles. Side of pole solar panel mounts typically involve small solar panels, for larger units, it is recommended that you use a top of pole solar panel mount.
Tracking pole mounts are top of pole mounts with a special function - tracking pole mounts track the motion of the sun in the sky throughout the course of the day. This maximizes the operating efficiency of the solar panel unit.
Once the installation is complete, we will schedule your System Start-up Day. Your Solar Advisor will come out to your home and walk you through each part of your new solar electric system so you can get a better understanding of how it works. They will also deliver your Operations Manual and answer any additional questions you may have.
Then we begin the process of connecting your system to the electric grid. This is called, “Interconnecting”; Prior to interconnecting, distributed generation system owners seeking to operate their systems in parallel with grid power must have a signed interconnection authorization from the local utility. The interconnection process actually starts well before the procurement and solar installation phases. Before a solar system can be installed, the project owner must first apply for the interconnection process. The interconnection process is complex and completing the process in a timely and cost-effective manner is crucial for a project’s success. SolEnergy works closely with each client to ensure that the interconnection process is being completed in the most efficient and timely fashion in order to keep the project moving forward and on target.
The last step of the solar panel installation process is tying them to the house electric system. Most solar panels come with a 20 up to 25 years warrantee, while the invertors have a 5 to 10 years warrantee. However, with a proper solar panel installation and minimum maintenance, a solar panel can resist up to 30 years and produce an average of 250 kWh annually. Hosing the system once or twice a year with plain water (no detergent or cleaning substance should be used, unless otherwise specified by the producer) will keep the system in good condition and will remove the dirt build-up which affects the panel’s efficacy. A 0.5% of the conversion may be lost annually if the system is not properly maintained.