How to Use the Solar Calculator
The best way to learn about local rebates, your home’s energy potential, and your eventual return on investment is to use our ModSun Solar Cost Calculator (see above). Enter your home address in the box, then click Check My Roof. You’ll get an instant picture of your roof’s productivity, your average energy expenses, and installation costs in your area—whether you decide to buy or loan. We’ll also provide system size recommendations and information about rebates and incentives you may be eligible for. Just select More Info under each purchasing strategy to learn more, and then connect with a solar pro.
Solar Buyer’s Guide for Joliet, Illinois
If you’re considering converting to solar power, you most likely already know some of the benefits such as lower utility bills, better energy efficiency, lower impact on the environment, and an increase in property value. This Buyer’s Guide covers some of the basic areas potential solar users need to know.
Solar Considerations Before Installation in Joliet
Prior to installing solar products, it’s recommended that any needed repairs be taken care of such as sealing cracks, holes, and crevices, and replacing weather stripping around doors and windows. If you’re installing an energy efficient system, you’ll want your property capable of retaining interior heating and cooling by eliminating air seeping in or out.
One area that must be inspected prior to installing a solar panel or solar water heater system is the roof. If the roof isn’t able to maintain the weight of the panels or storage tank, you’ll need to use an alternative ground-mounted system.
As a general rule, in order to install solar panels on the roof, there must be enough space for the panels, ample unobstructed access to the sun, and the ability to place the panels facing south to receive optimal sunlight. The angle of the roof is also a factor as it will affect the angle of the panels.
Once your roof is inspected for structural stability, your contractor will discuss the types of solar installation and the best option for your property.
Climate in Joliet
Joliet’s seasonal temperatures run the gamut from moderately hot in the mid 85-degree range, to extremely cold with temperatures as low as 16 degrees. On average, Joliet receives 186 sunny days and 107 rainy days. Snowfall averages 24 inches per year with rain averaging 34 inches per year. Climate does play a part in the type of solar water heater installed for regions that experience severe and frequent freezing conditions.
Solar Permits for the City of Joliet
To acquire a permit from the City of Joliet, visit the office located at 150 W. Jefferson Street or call (815) 724-4070 for assistance. When applying, contractors must have certain information on file at the Inspection Services Division. Roofing contractors must have an Illinois State Roofer’s License and a Certificate of Insurance. Electrical contractor’s must have an electrical license and Certificate of Insurance. Plumbers need a State of Illinois Contractor Registration and Certificate of Insurance.
Contractors for Solar in Joliet
Hiring an experienced, licensed and insured contractor ensures the installation will be done according to building codes. This is one area where you want a contractor or company that has extensive experience in solar installation. To check your contractor’s credentials to ensure his license is current, use the free search option at the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.
Solar Power Products for Joliet
The type of system you choose will determine the cost of equipment and installation.
Solar panel types:
- Grid-Tie. This is the most common system as it provides power from both the main city grid and power generated from the solar array. With the grid-tie system, the array generates power throughout the day but your home is not dependent on the system as you can draw power from the main grid whenever necessary to power your home or business. A benefit of the grid-tie system is any excess power generated by the solar array not needed for your property is fed back into the main grid where it’s purchased by the utility company. This process is known as net-metering. Your monthly utility bill will reflect a credit for the purchased excess power.
- Stand Alone or Off-Grid. This system is totally dependent on the solar array to generate power for your home or business. All excess power is stored in the battery backup for use whenever needed. With this system type, your property is not tied into the main grid.
- Grid-Tie and Battery Backup. The best of both worlds, this system works with the solar panels charging batteries that in turn supply power to a dedicated service panel. Any excess goes back to the grid. If the grid fails for any reason, the solar system disengages from the grid. The batteries send power to the inverter and on to the service panel to provide power to the dedicated circuits such as the stove, fans and refrigerator, but not the entire property.
Solar water heater types:
- Active systems rely on controllers, valves and electric pumps for transference of water from a collector to a tank. A direct system uses collectors for water circulation and to be heated by the sun. Once heated, water is stored in a storage tank then moves on to a tankless water heater. An indirect system uses a non-freezing fluid instead of water. The fluid is heated by solar energy in the collector. Once heated, the fluid moves through a heat exchanger on the tank that then heats the water. The fluid returns to the collector for its next use. The indirect system is recommended for areas with frequent freezing conditions.
- Passive systems do not rely on any controls, pumps or valves. As the sun heats the water, it moves to the tank from the collector.