Let’s face it, considering if Solar is the right fit for you and your family’s needs is a dauting task, and a large financial commitment.  In order to help better your judgment, AES has put together this Solar Installation Guide that outlines the entire process: what to ask yourself before signing your solar contract, what to expect after you sign-off on your solar panel installation, and what will be needed to maintain your solar system!

What to consider before purchasing your solar system

How good is the warranty?

Usually, the better-quality solar installations are backed by better warranties, because their equipment is built to last longer. Therefore, the solar companies see extended warranties as more of a selling point than a liability, because they have confidence in their product. These warranties not only include malfunctions and wear and tear, but also performance guarantees. As your solar system ages, the solar energy it generates is likely to decrease. It might be worth extending your warranty even further to help give you piece of mind.

Do you expect your energy needs to  remain the same?

If you are anticipating increasing your energy expenditure in the future, with the change from gas to electric appliances, or even buying a new electric car, you may want to consider investing in more expensive, higher quality equipment. By using higher quality panels, you will likely not need as many panels to support the electric needs of your household. If your needs increase in the future, you can always add more solar panels down the line.

How much space does your roof have for your solar system?

Higher quality equipment tends to produce more energy in less space. If you have more space on your roof, you may not need to invest in the highest quality product. However, if the surface area of your roof is smaller and you have a high electric expenditure, you may want to consider investing in higher quality equipment to make sure your needs and expectations are being met.

Can you afford premium equipment?

It is important to establish a budget beforehand so you can determine which equipment is best for you. Fortunately, American Energy and Solar can help you bundle the cost of your solar panels into your mortgage. Therefore, instead of having a large upfront cost, you can make small monthly payments, while drastically reducing your energy bill. Much of this cost can even be recouped upon selling your home, as having solar panels installed is a great selling point which many homebuyers are looking for.

If you are interested in learning just how much money solar panels can save you, and you live in the Las Vegas area, American Energy and Solar can help you with that. Las Vegas solar panels are a great investment, and can help you save thousands. Give us a call today to learn how we can help you. Click here to check out our custom Solar and Mortgage Calculator to see how much solar panels can save you each month.

How will solar installation effect my home’s value?

Average Cost of Solar Panels

In order to calculate an estimate of your solar system, you need to know how many kilowatts your solar system will be able to generate. The average price per watt is around $3, and the Center for Sustainable Energy states that the average residential solar system has a total capacity of 5 kilowatts. Based on these numbers, you can expect to spend around $15,000 on your solar system. Fortunately, you don’t need to break the bank to get solar panels for your home. American Energy and Solar can help you bundle this into the cost of your mortgage to be able to amortize this expense. Check out our mortgage and solar power calculator here to get an idea of what your new mortgage could look like with solar power.

How much do Solar Panels Add to Home Value?

Installing solar panels on your home will not only help to decrease your energy bill, but it will also add to the value of your home, so when you choose to sell your home, not only can you have already saved tens of thousands of dollars on your energy bill, but you can also recoup a large portion of your investment. According to Zillow, the average value increase on a home with solar panels is around $9,274. However, the exact value that is added to your home depends on where you live and how much sunlight your area gets per year. If you live somewhere sunny, like Las Vegas, having solar panels on your home could be a major selling point and can make your property stand out to potential buyers. If where you live gets a fair amount of sunny days each year, you can rest assured that you will be able to get top dollar when selling your home with solar panels installed.

Are Solar Panels Worth It?

Let’s run some numbers based on the average homeowner to help give you an idea of what your savings could look like. Over a 30-year span solar panels save homeowners around $19,000 in energy expenses. Based on the average solar system cost of $15,000, this homeowner has already recouped their entire expense as well as saved thousands of dollars on their electricity bill. If this homeowner then chooses to sell their home, they can then increase their asking price by an average of $9,274, increasing their return on investment even further. This example person has not only completely recouped their investment, but has also made a return of $13,274. Millions of Americans have already decided to make the switch to sustainable energy because it just makes sense.

In 2020, the average Solar System saved homeowners 94% of their electricity usage.  At that rate, the average solar system installation would be paid off in 8 years’ time.  With the lifespan of your average solar system lasting about 25 years, the little costs associated with the maintenance of your panels, and the corresponding added value to your home’s resale value, it is a no-brainer that going solar is a smart financial decision long term.

If you are interested in learning more about solar power and finding out what American Energy and Solar can do for you, check out AES’s Contact Page.

What to expect after signing your solar installation contract?

Installing solar panels doesn’t happen overnight – there’s a process for what needs to happen to get your panels ready to begin powering your home. Overall, from the day you sign your contract with your installer, it will typically take between one and three months before your solar panels are grid-connected and producing energy for your home. There are five major steps to a solar installation that your chosen solar company will generally follow.

  1. The Initial Site Visit
  2. Permit Application
  3. Equipment purchase
  4. Solar Panel Installation
  5. Final Approval

1. The Initial Site Visit

Before you sign your contract, the installer will typically visit your home and evaluate your property to consider the potential system size, roof type, roof angle, shading, general environment, etc.  In some cases, the installer will take pictures of your home to show the licensed engineer associated with the company.  If the engineer feels comfortable signing off on the project without coming onsite to evaluate your home, then no further onsite visits are necessary.  Otherwise, after you sign the contract, an engineer will  need to make a second visit to your home.

After you sign the initial contract agreement, an engineer will also come to the property to evaluate your home.  These engineers typically evaluate the electrical panel of your home, the condition of your roof, its surrounding structure, and ensure the system discussed in your initial agreement is compatible with your home.  Engineers typically work hand in hand with the installer, but can be contracted independently.  Talk to the engineer for more information and details regarding the onsite visit.  The engineer will inform the installer of the details for surrounding their onsite audit, and you will be informed of any upgrades that need to be done before the solar panel installation can take place.

2. Permit Application

As with any big purchase, there is a ton of paperwork that needs to be filled out.  Luckily, the installer will take care of the majority of the paperwork.  Your installer will try to apply for federal and state solar incentives.  You installer should know the restrictions and requirements of the states in which they operate, and can help you figure out which permits you need – in many cases, the installer will fill out this paperwork for you.  The time frame for this step is mainly dependent on how long it takes your installer to get it all finished and submitted. If you’re eager to get your panel system up and running immediately, just make sure to follow up with your installer to check on the progress of your paperwork.

3. Equipment Purchase

Before you sign your contract, the equipment required for the job is discussed. The two primary components of your solar system are the solar panels and the inverter.  Your installer will likely recommend a particular brand of each with other incentives of purchase. Be sure to do your research and look particularly at the durability, efficiency and aesthetic ratings of each brand discussed (as well as the price of course). Spend some time looking at the advantages and disadvantages of microinverters, string inverters, power optimizers, Polycrystalline, Monocrystalline and Amorphous silicon cells, and other key features associated with the best solar panels on market.

After the required paperwork is submitted, your installer will need to place the order for the equipment needed for installation.   It takes about one to two months for your paperwork to be approved and your equipment to be shipped.

4. Solar Panel Installation

Installation Day! Finally…

First your solar installer will start prepping the roof, and checks that the tiles/shingles are secure. Then, they begin to install the electrical wiring that will connect your solar panel to the general power system.  Racks, which are responsible for securing the panels to your roof, are installed.  Panels are then secured to the racks and connected to the inverter.  The inverter is responsible for inverting direct current energy into alternating current energy.  Alternating current energy is usable energy used in homes.

It takes about 1-3 days for the installation to take place, depending on the size of the system purchased.

5. Final Approval

Finally, a representative from your town government will need to inspect the system and give the final approval, basically double checking the installer’s work. A representative you’re your electrical company may also visit to of their own final evaluation of the solar panel system. Following the local inspection, you will be ready to connect your panel to the grid. After these miscellaneous inspections are approved, you’re finally able to connect your system to the grid.

It takes a couple weeks to a month for the town approval and utility approval to occur and the interconnection to go live.

Solar Maintenance

Why is it important to clean your solar panels?

Like any other machine, solar panels need to be routinely cleaned to maintain max efficiency.  In this article, we will cover the biggest questions surrounding solar panel maintenance and when you should start thinking about calling in the professionals. By not keeping on top of general solar panel maintenance you run the risk of losing panel efficiency. For example, just after three months you can lose 5% energy loss if the solar panels aren’t properly maintained.  After two years, some solar panels can lose up to 35% efficiency.

How often should I clean my solar panels?

Experts recommend cleaning your system at least twice a year. Doing so keeps your investment in tip-top shape to ensure better efficiency and cost-savings for the future. These systems generally require very little maintenance year round. Areas that receive less rain, however, may require more frequent cleaning.

This will vary depending on the environment you are in.  For example, if you live in Las Vegas, you will most likely need to clean your system more often due to the accumulation of excessive dust and grime.  This would also be the case if you live next to large trees that increase the likelihood of debris or bird droppings falling onto your solar panels.

Note:  Another thing to consider is the angle of your solar panel array.  Flat panels will need more upkeep, as water can pool up and leave a muddy residue when it evaporates.  Angled panels take advantage of rain running across them to clean them.

What are the typical costs of solar panel upkeep?

The average spend for cleaning solar panels averages to roughly $150, but can vary based on the roof slant, amount of panels, and height of the house. Business may charge a flat rate that can range between $100 to $35. Some companies charge by panel, which can range from $5-$10 per panel. You may opt to clean your solar panels yourself, but proper equipment is essential. Pro-Tip: If possible, clean solar panels on level ground if you decide to do it yourself.

When should I clean my solar panels?

Clean your solar cells on an overcast day, or early in the morning.  If the sun is beating on the panels, any water used can quickly evaporate and dirt will be smeared across the Solar Cells, inadvertently affecting their efficiency, and potentially damaging the panel.  The dew that settles on the panel overnight and into the morning would likely soften any grime that has accumulated on the panels over time, making it an optimal time to clean your solar system.

What are solar blockers?

Solar blockers are any obstruction on the panel that deters the path of light. Anything that blocks the lights path to the solar cell will reduce the amount of energy your panels can provide.  Some common solar blockers include dust, leaves, water, and bird droppings. NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory) analysis reports illustrated a potential 30% energy yield loss per year when the solar cells were not cleaned routinely.  Using improper equipment can also add obstruction to your solar panel. Any dust or streaking can cause shadows which will reduce the effectiveness of your panels.

What equipment should I use to clean my solar panels?

A good quality soft brush and a squeegee coupled with an extension pole makes the perfect tool for cleaning your solar system.  For more difficult stains try Isopropyl alcohol or a mild detergent.  Hoses, in most cases, are safe to use on your solar system.

What materials should I avoid when cleaning my solar panels?

You want to avoid is scratching the glass on a solar cell.  A scratch on the glass will cast shadows, affecting the overall performance of your panel. This means to avoid using any type of metal material, harsh abrasives, detergents that can leave streaks on the glass, or high pressure tools.

A sponge and a non-abrasive liquid will do just fine in most circumstances.

Who We Are: AES Las Vegas

American Energy and Solar (AES) is a Las Vegas based consumer-focused aggregator of renewable energy and finance.

Through AES’s proprietary Energy Freedom Program, we have created a comprehensive residential energy package that flips traditional solar financing to truly benefit the consumer.

Basically we take advantage of todays historically low interest rates, and couple your home’s existing loan with the total of your solar system installment. The result is a lower monthly mortgage payment and a non-existent energy bill. More over, you get to keep your 26% cash rebate for your solar system installation. While most companies would take your rebate for their profit, AES wants to keep your money in your pocket!  No hidden costs or fees!

AES uses NABCEP certified solar professionals with decades of experience to facilitate your installation. We use A tier equipment that is backed by industry-leading warranties and certifications. AES believes that having licensed and experienced professionals that understand the comprehensive nature of rewiring an entire home is a must. AES believes that having licensed and certified master electricians, that understand the comprehensive nature of rewiring an entire home, is a must. Our team is dedicated to the finest solar installation from start to finish to ensure that the customer is given a product that is both aesthetically and functionally perfect.

Let’s go solar and save you money. Feel free to contact our experts for more information or check out AES’s Contact Page to learn more!