What Are the Basics of Residential Solar Power?

Residential Solar Power

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From the outside looking in, residential solar power can appear incredibly complicated and foreign, with countless components and specialized equipment needs. While it is true that your solar installation will need equipment that you’ll likely have never seen before, it’s simpler than you might think, and your solar professional will make it even easier.

It Starts With The Panels

The solar panels are the first thing you’ll need and are responsible for actually creating the power from the light of the sun. Solar panels use a thin layer of photoelectric substrate that creates an electrical charge when it absorbs radiation from the sun’s light.

Each panel is composed of many smaller sections called “cells” that all create a portion of each panel’s current output. While these panels are usually the most obvious part of a solar power installation, they are useless without the appropriate supporting equipment.

Residential Power Needs Conversion

Since just about everything you have in your home that runs on electricity uses AC, or alternating current, the direct current or DC electricity that your panels produce will need to be converted to allow your appliances and devices can utilize it. This is where your inverter comes in, but while most solar installation companies use a single inverter, Barrett Solar uses a microinverter on every panel.

A standard inverter creates a single, expensive, point of failure for your solar system. Microinverters, however, give each panel the ability to create AC power, as well as the ability to easily isolate any failures for fast and easy replacement. The microinverters built into the panels installed by Barrett also include remote monitoring capabilities, so you and your solar professional can ensure they are operating optimally at all times.

Options For Mounting Your Residential Solar Installation

When considering the location of your residential solar equipment, you will generally have two options depending on your site specifics. The most common options are roof-mounted panels or a ground-mounted system, each having its own benefits and challenges.

Roof Mounts

Roof mounts are the most common solution in areas where there is enough roof area to support the number of panels that are needed. There are situations where the home may not have enough south-facing roofing area, so if your home fits into this category, your solar professional may recommend additional panels on the ground. If panels ever need to be replaced, they will require someone to be on the roof to do so.

Ground Mounts

For those with unconventional roofing, such as steeply sloped or flat roofing, or limited southern exposures, ground-mounted panels may be an option. While this mounting method does need some yard space, it can also make any potential future service easier by making the panels more accessible. Ground mounting is great for homes that are outside the city and have a little more space to work with.

Connections & Cabling

The various cabling and connections are how the system all comes together. Your panels will all be connected by your solar professionals to produce the appropriate voltage for your system’s needs. Then the solar panel array is connected to your home’s electrical distribution framework, as well as your new bi-directional power meter your utility company will install.

The Basics of Residential Solar Power: Trust Your Local Experts To Make The Process Simple

If you think you’d like to get more information about a potential solar installation, and want to discuss some of the numbers involved with your power needs and estimated costs, work with a trusted local solar expert. Reach out to Barrett Solar to get a free quote today, and decide if installing residential solar power equipment is right for your home as well as your future.

Solar panel systems are made of durable tempered glass and require little to no maintenance for the 25 to 35 years that they will generate power. In most cases, you don’t even need to clean your solar panels. You can let the rain or snow take care of that for you. If something does happen, you will have manufacturer warranties on all equipment installed by Barrett Solar.

Solar rebates and incentives vary depending on where you live. In Kansas the largest incentive available is the 26% federal investment tax credit (ITC) which allows you to deduct 26% of the cost of your solar energy system from your taxes. Certain municipalities and utilities also offer cash rebates and other incentives. If you are a business in a rural area or a farmer, the USDA offers grants as well.

Solar rebates and incentives vary depending on where you live. In Missouri the largest incentive available is the 26% federal investment tax credit (ITC) which allows you to deduct 26% of the cost of your solar energy system from your taxes. Certain municipalities and utilities also offer cash rebates and other incentives. Evergy in Missouri, Columbia power and Ameren have notable rebates available. If you are a business owner in a rural area or a farmer, the USDA offers grants as well.

Barrett Solar offers two options to finance your solar panel system. You can purchase your system in cash or take advantage of our zero down, low APR financing options. We have a lot of different options to choose from. 

Generally it takes very large hail or a major storm to damage your solar panel system. After you go solar you will want to make sure your homeowners insurance policy has enough coverage to replace any of your panels that may be damaged in a heavy storm.

The cost of a solar panel system will depend on many factors, including the size of the system, the equipment, and the financing method. A solar panel system should be viewed as a major home upgrade, and because every home is different it is never good to base an idea of what something should cost off a ballpark figure found on the internet. Barrett Solar offers completely free no obligation solar proposals, and in most cases we can give you an accurate quote with just your historical energy usage data.

Tyler Blanchard

Founder & CEO

Tyler is the CEO of Barrett Solar.

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