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 Grand Rapids, Michigan
Living an energy efficient lifestyle has benefits in more ways than one. First, solar energy is on the rise in the U.S. with cities and states in support of its usage to cut down on their carbon footprint. Next, using natural resources such as wind and solar power enable property owners to cut down on utility costs while maintaining the planet’s health. Now is a good time to tap into solar power and the incentive programs, rebates, loan programs, and tax credits available to help cut down on the initial cost. While having solar panels isn’t an inexpensive undertaking, it is a sound investment that keeps on giving.
Climate for Grand Rapids, Michigan
Grand Rapids definitely offers a diverse climate and one that can help you benefit from solar power to fuel your home. With 158 sunny days, 144 rainy days, 73 inches of annual snowfall, and temperatures ranging from 16 degrees to 83 degrees, harnessing the available solar energy is easy in Grand Rapids.
Permits for Solar Installation in Grand Rapids
Something you may not realize is that many projects require a permit issued by the city. In the case of Grand Rapids, the person who will be held responsible for the installation, the contractor, must apply for an electrical permit to have solar panels installed. Most permits are assigned in a few minutes at the Development Center located at 1120 Monroe Avenue. Also know an inspection will be necessary to ensure the panels were properly installed according to the city’s building code. The inspector’s name should be listed on your permit. If you have any questions, you can contact the Development Center at (616) 456-4100. Always validate that the contractor has the necessary license and insurance required for solar panel installation, that he has gotten the city permit before starting work, and that an inspection has been requested.
Solar Contractors in Grand Rapids, Michigan
Like any other project where you want it done right from start to finish, solar panel installation is no exception. There are many steps involved with the installation and you need to have an expert in the field take on the project. Contact several solar panel contractors for estimates. Do a little research and check with the Better Business Bureau in your area for any adverse information or complaints against the contractor. Remember, the installation must be inspected and approved by a city inspector so be sure you hire a licensed and insured contractor with experience in solar panel installation.
Types of Solar Panels
There are three types of solar electric systems:
- Grid Tie – With this system, solar panels are connected by micro-inverters. The converters job is to convert the DC electricity into AC electricity. When the system produces more electricity than necessary, the excess electricity is fed back into the city’s electric grid. Any extra electricity is sold to the main or participating utility companies. The excess can be easily monitored with additional equipment that provides detailed figures for the amount of solar electric generated. For more information about the process known as net metering, visit the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) website.
- Stand Alone or Off Grid System – This type of system provides all of the electricity necessary for the home. Equipped with a solar array connected to an inverter, the system works the same converting DC electricity to AC. Excess electricity is stored in a battery backup and available when needed.
- Solar Electric Grid-Tie/Battery Backup System – This system combines the grid-tie and the stand-alone systems. The solar array creates the electricity that in turn charges the batteries resulting in power to a dedicated service panel in your home. Excess electricity is sent to the grid. Should the grid go down, the system disengages from the grid and the solar arrays charge the batteries that supply electricity to the inverter which in turn power the dedicated load service panel. This means only certain areas of the home will receive electricity such as the stove and refrigerator and some lighting.
Considerations Prior to Solar Installation in Grand Rapids
- Do have the installation done by a professional contractor.
- Ensure your home is suitable for a solar system so you’ll get the maximum effect from the panels.
- Your home’s roof must be structurally sound in order to maintain the weight of the panels.
- Ensure any necessary repair work to your roof is completed prior to solar installation.
- Homes that do not have any obstructions to block the sun, such as tall trees, are good candidates for a solar system.
- Have your financing in place.
With a solar panel system installed, you’ll join the thousands of homeowners who are taking advantage of solar energy to cut down on energy consumption resulting in lower utility bills. The solar panels will work for you and with an estimated lifespan of 20 years, will continue to save you money over the long term. Once installed, solar panels require minimal maintenance, which is another monetary benefit plus the environment-friendly upgrade increases the value of your property from day one.