Redefining Qualified

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As an Inside Sales member, most of my day is spent talking to customers interested in solar, checking out their home’s solar potential, and setting them up to speak to an expert about the benefits and perks of solar for their unique situation.

When looking at a home to find out if solar is a good fit there are three main things our designers assess: the amount of shading (from trees or other obstructions) around the house that will affect the roofs that we want to put solar on, how much space is available on the roof for the panels, and what direction the house faces.

Now, I know solar isn’t for everyone, and historically only one in five homes are qualified to go solar. Either there’s too much shading for the system to get adequate sun, the available roof space is limited, or the house is simply facing the wrong way. However, each time I have to tell a customer that their house doesn’t qualify my heart breaks a little. If I had my way solar would cover the earth, every rooftop, every open field. And SunPower has brought the solar industry a few steps closer to that dream becoming a reality.

So what did SunPower do to open up the doors of solar to those who’d previously been locked out? Check it out…


Shading is quite possibly one of the largest factors that disqualify a home for solar. Simply, if the sun can’t get to the roof (and therefore the panels) the one thing that is absolutely necessary for the solar panels to do their job is taken away. SunPower answered this challenge by inventing a more efficient solar cell. Though this may sound simple, SunPower has been the only company to figure out how to do it (they have the patents to prove it). The SunPower Maxeon cell captures low and dim light in addition to bright sunshine, converting it all into power, making shading less of an issue.

Also, the SunPower Equinox system includes the SunPower solar panel with an inverter built into the back of each module. Each micro-inverter turns each panel into its own solar system functioning almost independent of the panel next to it. This means that if one panel is shaded only that panel is affected, leaving the rest of the system to function at its best. This is quite different from other inverter systems who function much like old Christmas lights; one light breaks and the whole string goes down.

Visit our website to learn more about SunPower:

Roof Space

In New England, the next biggest concern when considering solar is available roof space to fit the panels. You need enough space on your roof to install a system to fit your needs.

As one of the oldest areas in America, our architecture many times reflects our history, with old Victorian towers and turrets, asymmetrical roof design, and mansard structures. Plus the need for extra space typically translates to shed and gabled dormers. All these different features, while many times beautiful, mean less space for panels.

SunPower’s answer to this was once again their more efficient panel technology. A more efficient panel means you need fewer panels to get the production you are looking for.


Azimuth is the direction your roof faces in relationship to North on a compass. Because we live in the Northern Hemisphere the best roof surfaces for solar face south. Traditionally, the further you move from true south the less production you could expect to receive from your panels.

As SunPower has continually worked to improve their efficiency of their solar systems they have worked to make use of every ray of sun that the panels come in contact with. Because of this, the panels recognize sunlight and turn on to begin producing power earlier in the morning and continue to produce later into the evening. For a roof facing more east-west than south, this is very good news. Now sunlight that would have been lost as the panels waited for the required threshold of light to turn on, is captured and used by the panels.

As you can see SunPower has completely redefined “qualified” when it comes to a home’s potential for solar. If you’ve ever considered solar but thought it wouldn’t work for you or if you looked into it but had a company (even us) tell you it was impossible, NOW IS THE TIME TO TAKE ANOTHER LOOK! Don’t count yourself out. Give us a call today and let our experts find a way to make solar work for you! (617) 564-3159


Article Written By Selah S. – Inside Sales, Rayah Solar

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