All over America, there seems to be a few snags to installing solar panels on every sunny rooftop. While some of these holdups are related to alleged energy industry villains or outdated local laws, some people are simply ignorant about how solar panels actually work. Due to a solar panel installation experience I had in San Francisco, I feel like I learned a lot about solar panel installation. I also learned a lot about the homeowner viewpoints from an interview I did with a top solar panel installation CEO.
Solar panels on a shed is all you need?
When I lived in San Francisco in 2010 to 2011, I worked in a warehouse that started out having no means of being powered. Eventually, we were able to get permission from a neighbor to use their pre-installed electrical connection. For the six months before that occurrence, we were heavily invested in finding a way to power the warehouse workspaces without using a generator or extension cord. Along the way, we learned many hard lessons. Mainly, it helps to have a few things already in place to make sure solar power can be easily stored and used.
Solar panels are one of four parts of a solution
When you gather energy, do you know how it is stored? Since we were off the grid completely, we had to figure out a way to store the energy we collected. We found a solution with solar-related marine batteries (AKA deep cycle batteries) that were previously used for emergency backup power by a skyscraper. Along with four of these batteries, we also had to buy an inverter, charge controller, and the solar panels.
Installing a solar panel at home requires professional help
Running a few lights at a workspace in a warehouse with a few solar panels can be done with a small investment and minimal labor. However, when you are considering powering the whole house with solar, a few other preparations will need to be made. In almost every case, professional electricians will need to be hired. For instance, the electrician will help you sign off on any permits for solar panels you will need as well as give you the correct information to keep your homeowner’s insurance premiums at bay.
A professional electrician with solar panel installation experience will also help you with any disputes you may have with the local electric company. It also goes without saying that they will know how to test your solar panel setup to ensure you do not fry your current electrical system and cause a fire. Finally, depending on which state you live in, you will want a professional electrician to help you get energy-efficiency tax rebates.
Solar panel problems caused by ignorant laws
When interviewing Lynn Jurich, President of Sun Run, I was alerted to the inefficient laws on the books throughout America that cause unnecessary barriers for homeowners and businesses that want to install solar panels. For example, Oklahoma passed a law in late April, 2014 that will tax solar panel users for accessing the electrical grid. Alternet reports that this anti-solar panel angle was pushed by electric energy millionaires, the Koch Brothers.
In a perfect world, people would use a contractor to install solar panels from the very beginning with ease at an affordable or subsidized rate. There would be no barriers between the consumer and the sun panels except a certified electrician. For now, some communities will need to work with local lawmakers to get these anti-solar panel regulations off the books.
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