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 Buying Guide for Charleston, WV
A dramatic growth is occurring globally in the manufacture, sale and installation of solar “photovoltaic” panel systems. Charleston residents are increasingly seeking out the benefits of solar power for their home or business. Installation of a solar panel system on your home or business property requires important first steps to get the project started and completed successfully. This solar buying guide will highlight the initial first steps of a solar installation project and much more.
Solar Power Options in Charleston
Solar power options for you property in Charleston include both photovoltaic and thermal. Photovoltaic panel systems generate electricity by absorbing particles of light that separate electrons from atoms to produce electricity. The solar panels or arrays are mounted to rooftops in areas that receive the most sunlight. Areas obstructed by trees, adjacent buildings or other structures that block sunlight are not suitable locations. The panels can also be ground based when ample space is available. Since the electricity produced by the solar panels is direct current or DC, it must pass through an inverter, which converts it to AC “alternating current” to power your home. Excess electricity that you do not use travels to a net meter, a device that measures the amount of power your panels contribute to the main grid where it is sold to the utility company on your behalf. To learn more about net metering in West Virginia contact the West Virginia Public Service Commission: James Ellars at (304) 340-0331 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hiring a Solar Contractor in Charleston
The technology involved in solar power equipment and installation is highly technical. You would be wise to forgo the solar installation process yourself and leave it to a professional solar contractor or company. A solar contractor has the knowledge, experience, license and insurance coverage required by the state of West Virginia to install solar or photovoltaic panel system. You can search the database to verify the status of contractor licenses at the West Virginia Division of Labor or by clicking here. You can also check with the BBB “Better Business Bureau” and the Office of the WV Attorney General for any complaints or pending lawsuits against applicable company.
Building Permit Applications in Charleston
The solar or plumbing contractor you hire is responsible for obtaining the necessary building permits for your solar panel or solar water heater project. Additional information is available at the City of Charleston Building Commission, 915 Quarrier Street, Suite 5, Charleston WV 25301-2607. Hours of operation are Monday thru Friday 8 A.M. to 5 P.M. You can also reach them by phone at (304) 348-6833 extension 343.
Approximate Installation Costs of a Photovoltaic system in Charleston
According to the West Virginia Commerce website, a PV or solar panel system for an efficient home in Charleston using an average of 5 to 15 KWH/day can range between $10,000 to $30,000. Several parameters can contribute to the cost of a PV system including structural concerns of existing roofs, size and type of the solar panels, number of solar arrays and jobsite accessibility.
Typical Solar Panel Configurations in Charleston, West Virginia
- Grid-tie systems are those systems connected to the main power grid. Energy you do not use flows into the main power grid.
- Grit-tie systems with battery backup divert excess electricity produce by the panels into a bank of storage batteries for later use. Once the batteries are fully charged, the excess electricity flows into the main power grid.
- Off-Grid systems do not connect to the main grid. Their primary use is in remote locations where grid power is unavailable or not feasible due to terrain limitations. These systems also include a battery bank for electricity storage.
Solar Water Heaters Used in Charleston, West Virginia
Another common use for solar power is used to produce domestic hot water. Solar collectors absorb the heat energy from the sun’s rays to heat water. In warmer climates, water is heated directly and stored for later use. Colder climates often utilize a transfer fluid — non-freezing — that absorbs the heat and transfers it to water via a heat exchanger. Your contractor will recommend either a direct or an indirect system depending on your climate.
Solar Rebate and Incentive Programs Available in Charleston
The state of West Virginia enacted a $2,000 tax credit for residential solar water heating, solar space heating and photovoltaics. For more information, visit the DSIRE “Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency” website for West Virginia. In addition, the federal government also offers a tax credit, available at 30-percent of the cost of panels and related equipment, with no upper limit through the end of 2016 for geothermal heat pumps, solar panels, solar water heaters, small wind energy systems and fuel cells. For more information, visit energystar.gov or energytaxincentives.org.