Solar Topics Reno Residents Ask About the Most

NV Solar Facts
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Frequently Asked Nevada Solar Questions
Last Updated: May 12, 2021 

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, absorb solar radiation for conversion to solar electricity. Solar Panels capture energy from the sun, which then gets 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. The three main solar panel types today include thin film, monocrystalline and polycrystalline. 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 solar 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 to power our appliances and electronics.

The Difference Between Crystalline and Thin-film Solar Panels

To create a crystalline solar panel, first, 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 the cells get soldered together, they create a solar panel.

All solar panels join n-type and p-type semiconductors with junctions. N-type semiconductors have excess electrons, whereas p-type semiconductors lack 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 the home’s energy usage. If customers want, they can even add a backup supply to store energy.

Generally, we use a 270-watt solar panel. Annual energy usage and solar panel wattage help professionals determine how many modules will meet your energy needs.

How Solar Panels React to Inclement Weather

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

Although you need the sun for solar panels to function, they work better in colder temperatures. As the 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 make snow removal easier and often unnecessary. A custom solar array should consider the number of cloudy and snow days in your region – this helps determine the overall energy offset needs of the home.

Reno Solar Power Installation

What Makes a Property Suitable For a Solar Installation

Reno is a fantastic candidate for solar power. Nevada typically has over 300 days per year of sunshine. There are, however, some factors to consider when looking at solar power for your home. 

(1) Adequate South or West roof space. 

(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 benefit you. At Go Solar Group, we have found that 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 residential solar. Most solar companies include installation costs, hours worked, expertise, travel cost and other expenses into the price per kilowatt.

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

How to Install Solar Panels

DIY solar panel installations are possible, but they require intense research, city permitting, and someone knowledgeable in 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 the 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 work 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’s less likely that something or someone would mess with them. 

On the other hand, maintenance, when needed, is harder to accomplish.

Rooftop solar is the most popular option for residential installations 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.

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.

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 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 complete this process before or with the solar panel installation to reduce future maintenance costs.

Solar Panel Maintenance

Expected Life of Solar Panels

Solar panels last much longer than warranties guarantee. 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%. Installing solar panels with higher efficiency means that each module will produce more energy. Using efficient solar panels means you won’t need as many of them. The 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 it can produce the most power possible.

 Cleaning Your Solar Panels

For the highest efficiency, solar panels should be kept clean of leaves, heavy dust, snow and other obstructions. Maintaining solar panels 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 remove the solar panels because many solar companies have contractors complete their 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 between 75 and 95 percent on their power bills over two decades with solar arrays on their homes because solar panels can produce a much higher percentage of any given residence’s power in Reno. However, this depends on the size of the system and 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 the 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 80MW tiers. 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.

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 non-solar customers – meaning they pay the same Basic Service Charge and energy rate.

The NMR-405 rate class treats energy 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 credited based on when their rooftop solar application was received by NV Energy:

 CapacityCreditCredit Period
Tier 180 megawatts of solar capacity applied for95% of the retail electricity rate, excluding public policy charges20 years
Tier 280 megawatts of solar capacity applied for88% of the retail electricity rate, excluding public policy charges20 years
Tier 380 megawatts of solar capacity applied for81% of the retail electricity rate, excluding public policy charges20 years
Tier 4All solar capacity applied for following the closure of Tier 375% of the retail electricity rate, excluding public policy charges20 years

Is Solar Worth it in Reno?

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

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