Solar Topics Reno Residents Ask About the Most

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Frequently Asked Nevada Solar Questions

We provide solar so Reno natives can have freedom, convenience, peace of mind, and additional savings. As a solar company still ingrained in the philanthropic mission upon which we were founded, we are driven to make your life better through solar-powered homes, battery backup, emergency preparedness, and solar plus services.

Solar Panel Information for Reno Residents

Solar Panel Components and Creation Process

Photovoltaic solar cells (or solar panels) are a form of technology used to absorb solar radiation for the purpose of conversion to solar electricity. Solar Panels capture energy from the sun which is then converted into usable energy.

Believe it or not, solar panels are made from sand. Solar panels are made up of photovoltaic solar cells which are made of some form of silicon. High purity Silicon is produced by purifying quartz sand. The highest efficiency solar panels are made from monocrystalline silicon cells. (Product comparison chart).

The process of creating a solar panel is very labor intensive. Thin film, monocrystalline and polycrystalline are the three main panel types available today. Solar panels are made by framing small silicon cells protected by a pane of glass.

How Solar Panels Work

Solar panels use photovoltaic technology to release electrons from the rest of the atom. Electrons move around within the panel, which creates direct current (DC) electricity. An attached inverter will then convert the DC electricity into alternating current (AC) electricity. AC electricity is what we use on a daily basis to power our appliances and electronics.

The Difference Between Crystalline and Thin-film Solar Panels

To create a crystalline solar panel you first need to melt silicone into ingots. Ingots are large pieces of metal which are sliced into discs known as wafers. Each wafer is treated and metal conductors are added making them a solar cell. Once you solder the cells together you have created a solar panel.

All panels join n-type and p-type semiconductors with junctions. N-type semiconductors have excess electrons. Whereas p-type semiconductors lack sufficient electrons. Together these semiconductors can produce an electric current as electrons move across the junction. Thin film panels use cadmium telluride (CdTe) or copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) instead of silicon in the n-type and p-type layers.

The Number of Solar Panels Needed to Power Your Home

Go Solar Group systems normally use between 16 and 30 panels. This number, however, is entirely dependent upon the size of the installation area and your energy usage. And if you want you can even add a backup supply to store energy

Generally, we use a 270-watt solar panel. The wattage of your panels will determine how many of them you will need. When you get your last year of energy usage this helps professionals know how many panels are needed to meet your energy needs.

How Solar Panels React to Inclamate Weather

Although the production may be less, solar panels work on cloudy days. Go Solar Group designs solar systems to offset energy usage both night and day, meaning the energy produced by your system during the day will continue to offset your energy usage during the night. Solar panel efficiency on a cloudy day is lessened, but with the right system sizing, you’ll offset your usage over time.

Although you need the sun for solar panels to function they actually work better in colder temperatures because as a solar panel heats to extreme temperatures, the efficiency lessens. Solar panels in winter will function fully unless heavily coated with snow. In this case, you’d need to remove the snow to resume solar energy production.

Thankfully most roof pitches allow for easy snowfall and most often you will not need to remove it manually. Keep in mind, a custom solar system designed for your home should always take into consideration the number of cloudy days and winter snow days in your region – this helps determine what the overall energy offset needs to be so that you buy an array with enough solar panels.

Reno Solar Power Installation

What Makes a Property Suitable For a Solar Installation

Reno is a fantastic candidate for solar power. We typically have over 300 days per year of sunshine. There are, however, some factors that should be considered when looking at solar power for your home. 

(1) Adequate roof space oriented South and/or West.

(2) Shading and shadows affect the efficiency of your system, so less is better!

(3) The roof is in good condition (you don’t want to install solar on 20-year-old shingles).

(4) You need to use enough energy for solar to be a benefit to you. At Go Solar Group we have found that right around 6,000 watts a year is where people start to see the most savings. To better understand the process, learn how to go solar.

The Cost of a Reno Solar  Install

Installation is just one element in the overall price of a solar system which is dependent on many different factors. Most solar companies will build your installation costs into the price per kilowatt and include hours worked, expertise, travel cost, etc.

For specific pricing please schedule a free consultation with one of our solar experts.

How to Install Solar Panels

Installing your own solar panels is possible, but requires intense research, city permitting, and someone that is knowledgeable of safety procedures.

The overall process for solar panel installation includes the following steps: array electrical design, full-system engineering, city or county permitting, installation of mounting rack, installation of solar panels, system wiring and connection to the net meter.

Solar Installation Types

There are four main solar installation types. These include ground mount, pole mount, rooftop, and ballast. Each of these installation types has a  specific purpose.

Ground mounts are best for people that have large amounts of un-shaded property. If you are unable or don’t want panels on your home a ground mount is a great option.  

Pole mounts are best for powering small areas. Because these mounts are taller it is less likely that something or someone would mess with them. On the other hand, maintenance, when needed, is harder.

Rooftop solar is the most popular option for residential installations. This is because you can install solar even if you don’t have a lot of property.

Ballasted mounts are best for flat roof homes. Because they only have a cement block holding them in place they would fall off a pitched roof.

The Role Your Roof Type Plays in a Solar Installation

Roofs of all types are eligible for solar installations. Go Solar Group has installed on asphalt, metal, rubber, and tile roofs without any problems.

If you have a flat roof we can do a ballast installation. A ballast solar array is held in place with cement blocks instead of drilling holes.

The roof type is normally not the problem, but there are a couple of roof types that may be harder to install on. Slate and wood roofs are among the more difficult roof types to install on. This is because these roof types are more brittle and therefore could break more easily.

If your roof is unstable it may not be able to support a solar array. You will receive an inspection to make sure your roof is safe before the installation.

We recommend that old roofs that need re-shingling or replacing be completed before or at the time of solar panel installation to reduce maintenance costs in the future. 

Solar Panel Maintenance

Expected Life of Solar Panels

Solar panels last much longer than warranties will guarantee you. The industry standard is a 25-year warranty, however, with regular upkeep and maintenance, our systems will continue to generate clean, free energy for 30 or even 40 years.

On average, solar panel efficiency is between 14-22%. Getting panels with higher efficiency means that each panel will produce more energy. When you get efficient panels you won’t need as many of them. Highest-quality technology is always our promise when it comes to your system components.

Post Solar Installation Services

Solar power systems require very little maintenance because there are no moving parts. Cleaning the panels 1-2 times a year to maintain optimal efficiency is a good practice, though. Always make sure your system is free of debris so they can produce the most power possible.

 Cleaning Your Solar Panels

In order for highest efficiency, solar panels should be kept clean of leaves, heavy dust, snow and other obstructions. This can be done with a damp rag, water hose or other cleaning devices like a squeegee or roof rake.

If you regularly maintain your solar panel cleanliness, you won’t need to spend money on cleaning services. We recommend checking them once a month for any buildup, but you’ll rarely find a need to clean them.

Temporary Panel Removal Services

When your roof needs to be re-shingled it can be a headache to get the panels removed. This is because many solar companies don’t do their own installations. You will want to make sure you know who to call to get your panels removed.

Solar panels can be removed from the mounting system for individual repair and mounting racks can be removed and reinstalled during re-roofing.

Are you facing this now? Contact your installation provider to open a service ticket.

Reno Solar Panels Return on Investment

How Solar Lowers Your Electric Bills

Reno residents can save over 95% on their power bills over the span of two decades with solar arrays on their homes. This is because solar panels can produce a much higher percentage of any given residence’s power in Reno. This depends on the size of your system and your energy usage.

When you purchase a solar array meant to offset all your energy usage, you can accrue credits in the months that you use less energy to balance out energy you use in summer months (when most of us pay more for energy). So while you’re using more than you’re producing in the summer, you’re still taking advantage of the higher production in earlier months.

Incentives Available for your Reno Solar Installation

Below, you can see the Reno 2017 Settlement information. If you scroll down, you’ll see tranches of 80MW, and how the retail rate (what you get back for what you push onto the grid) adjusts every time the solar industry hits 80 MW of residential solar. For reference, the industry is now in the 1st tranche, and customers receive 95% of the retail rate for what they push back onto the grid.

Assembly Bill 405, which was passed by the Nevada Legislature and signed into law by Governor Brian Sandoval in June of 2017, established new rules for rooftop solar customers with systems under 25 kilowatts who applied for and installed a private rooftop solar system on or after June 15, 2017.

Assembly Bill 405 places all net metering customers in the same rate class as their otherwise applicable group of non-solar customers – meaning they pay the same Basic Service Charge and energy rate.

The NMR-405 rate class treats energy that is produced by the system, but not used on-site by the customer (exported energy) differently than the NMR-G and NMR-A rate classes. NMR-405 customers receive monthly netting of the electricity delivered by NV Energy and the electricity they export to the grid. The excess energy, which is the remaining exported energy after monthly netting is accounted for, is credited an amount based on when their rooftop solar application was received by NV Energy:

Capacity Credit Credit Period
Tier 1 80 megawatts of solar capacity applied for 95% of the retail volumetric electricity rate, excluding public policy charges 20 years
Tier 2 80 megawatts of solar capacity applied for 88% of the retail volumetric electricity rate, excluding public policy charges 20 years
Tier 3 80 megawatts of solar capacity applied for 81% of the retail volumetric electricity rate, excluding public policy charges 20 years
Tier 4 All solar capacity applied for following the closure of Tier 3 75% of the retail volumetric electricity rate, excluding public policy charges 20 years

Is Solar Worth it in Reno?

Solar is more than worth it. In fact, the holistic benefits of solar pay off because when you go solar, you can have the confidence that you are saving money, doing good for the planet, and securing yourself a more sustainable future.

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Super Clean Install

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Go Solar installed my system in less than half a day, and other than all of the new electronics on my roof I wouldn't have known they had been there! The system is all ready to go, I am just waiting for RMP to install the net meter so I can start producing some clean energy.
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