How many solar installations in Pennsylvania have you worked on? About how many kW of installed capacity is that?
Since starting as an installer 7 years ago, I’ve been involved in over 80 photovoltaic installations. Combined, these installations have increased installed solar capacity across the state of Pennsylvania by about 760 kW. I have also been part of 15 plus solar hot water installations.
Myth 1: Getting Solar is Time-Consuming!
Every solar installation starts with an inquiry. After a client expresses interest in solar, what is the general process you follow?
Here is a general progression of events after an inquiry:
-We sit down with the client to discuss their needs
-Next, we visit the site and analyze its solar potential
-Then, we examine the client’s energy bills to determine the ideal generation amount
-Using all of this information, we design and model the solar array using 3D and energy modeling software
-We conduct an economic assessment of the proposed system and determine the payback period based on this model
-We organize all of this information and submit a proposal to the client
-Once the client accepts, permitting begins (this usually takes a couple of months)
-Installation occurs next, and usually takes 1-2 weeks
-Finally, the client can sit back and enjoy their energy and monetary savings!
Myth 2: Solar Power is Complicated!
In your experience, what is the greatest misconception people have about solar power?
Most people seem to think that it is way too cloudy in Pennsylvania for solar to work, but that is completely untrue. We may not get as many sunny days as Arizona, but we have amazing solar resources here. There is a lot of solar potential in Pennsylvania, and Envinity helps clients capitalize on that potential.
Myth 3: Solar Isn’t Scale-able!
What is the biggest array you’ve installed in your career?
Over the years I have worked on a couple of smaller-sized commercial arrays. I’ve installed a few arrays in the 40 kW range on various farms. The biggest array was for an equipment rental company, and had a capacity of 75 kW. The array generates about 82,000 kWh annually!
Myth 4: Solar is Boring!
What was the most interesting solar installation project you’ve ever worked on?
Though I’ve done several unique installations over the the years, our work on an organic goat farm stands out to me. For the project, we installed a 10.32 kW PV array and a 160 gallon solar hot water system on the property. The PV supplied a good portion of the farm’s electrical needs. The hot water system supplied space heating and hot water to the milk house, which is used for cleaning and pasteurization. I think that farms and solar power are the perfect combination!
Myth 5: The Lowest Bid is the Best Bid! All Solar Installers are the Same!
What advice do you have for someone who is interested in getting solar panels?
I would advise anyone interested in solar panels to do research on the installers. I have seen some pretty terrible and questionable installs out there. An improper install can lead to more expenses later and can cause serious safety concerns, both structural and electric. Cheaper isn’t always better!
Want to bust more Solar Myths? Read more at Energy Sage’s Top Solar Myths