This is the third article in our series on installing a solar system for our house. Previously, I have discussed our rationale and obtaining financing. The next step is siting the solar panels and preparing the site.
We were approved for refinancing our house to include the solar system, minus the tax credit we will receive from the federal government. That portion of the financing will be in the form of a year-long no-interest loan which will be paid off when we get our tax credit after filing our 2016 taxes.
Our next step was to survey and prepare the site for the solar install. Our solar contractor sent out someone to take measurements the following week. We removed a large oak tree from our backyard to give more room for the solar panels. Due to the way our house is oriented on the property, we did not have enough roof facing due south to place solar on our roof. We had to place the solar panels in our back yard.
At our location in Huntsville, Alabama, we needed to orient our panels at 180 deg azimuth (due south) at an angle of 30 degrees from horizontal for best year long electrical generation. Our panels will be at approximately 10 feet above ground on a pergola.
Placing the solar panels on top of the pergola will gain a couple more hours of daylight for us since the house will block part of the structure in the afternoon if the panels are on the ground. We will also have a shaded area replacing the shade from the tree we had to remove.
Next, I discuss how a grid tied system works with our electrical company and how we can sell our excess electrical power to the electrical company. I will post the story when we have completed tying our system to the Tennessee Valley Authority electrical grid.
The Solar Install Series: