By using solar energy and energy-efficient technologies in your home and business, you will:
- Help the environment
- Reduce your consumption of fossil fuels
- Lower your monthly bills
- Save money in the long term
Is my home or commercial property right for a solar energy system?
A photovoltaic (PV) system needs unobstructed access to the sun for most or all of the day throughout the year. PV panels are relatively unaffected by changing weather and the modules are angled to catch the sun, not snow, so any snow that does collect melts quickly. Here are some important tips that will help you determine if your property is right for PV:
- PV systems are best installed on a southern exposed roof, however some east or west exposures may also be acceptable.
- PV systems are ideally mounted parallel with the roof at a 35 degree roof pitch with no shading between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Shading can include trees, chimneys, TV antennas, satellite dishes, dormers and gables.
- A PV system can be installed on any well-structured roof. If your roof is older and needs to be replaced in the near future, you may want to replace it at the same time your PV system is installed.
- The amount of roof space needed for a PV system is based on the output and type of system. Your roof size and orientation will determine how much PV you can install on your roof.
If you want to purchase a PV system, you are probably going to need a PV installer. You can check your local phone directory under Solar Energy Equipment or view prescreened contractors list atwww.nabcep.org/installer-locator. It is always advisable to obtain several bids before making a selection.
Before you purchase a PV System:
- Shop around to compare prices before choosing a PV contractor. Compare system features, warranties and expected annual electrical output.
- Get two to three estimates from different contractors to compare pricing and PV systems.
- Ask each PV contractor for customer references. You can also check each contractor with your local Office of Consumer Affairs.
- Be sure your PV contractor provides you with a written contract that includes equipment pricing, installation costs, model numbers and warranty information. Make sure you know when to expect delivery and installation of your PV system.
- Understand your PV warranty and that you know who is responsible for honoring the warranty (the installer, dealer, builder or manufacturer).
- Verify that the PV system you receive matches the equipment listed on your contract.
- The PV contractor will assist you in obtaining all building permits and inspections. Your PV system must be inspected and approved by a City Inspector and utility company before it can operate.
- If you live in a homeowners’ association, verify that you have all required approvals from the Architectural Review Committee as applicable. Your contractor can help you with this process.
- Ask your PV contractor to review maintenance and operation of your new system. Be sure the contractor reviews your PV manual with you prior to completion of the installation.
- Another great resource is MARC's Consumer Guide to Solar: www.marc.org/solarguide
Still have questions?
North Kansas City has designated a Solar Coordinator, Mallory Brown, who can be reached by phone at 816.274.6006 or my email at firstname.lastname@example.org to answer your questions regarding installing a PV system on your property.