Solar 102: Questions Answered


Hello Again. Welcome to Rayah University presents Solar Basics 102.

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Who should take this course?

Have you read our Solar 101 blog and want to know more? Or had several quotes but still have questions? Keep reading to see some of the most common burning questions for solar answered.

Q: What Should I Know About the Actual Solar Installation?
A:​ Solar panels are generally mounted on the roof or a ground mount structure. An average residential rooftop system has between 20-40 panels and requires around 400 square feet of available roof space. Solar panels are usually about three feet by five feet (give or take) and weigh 2.8 lbs per quare foot on the roof (or about the weight of a small cat). Panels are attached to the roof using aluminum racking somewhat similar in design to a metal bed frame. The racking is bolted directly to the rafters of the roof and sealed with waterproof metal flashing (similar to a roof vent).

Sometimes solar panels are mounted on the ground or on carport canopies. Carport installations are usually best suited for commercial properties with limited roof space.


Q: What are the Requirements for a ​Ground​ Mounted Installation?
A:​ Ground mounted installations provide greater solar flexibility for your site. Because the ground mount is located closer to the ground, you usually need more set back from trees than a roof mounted installation.  Also, we need to keep in mind conservation or wetland restrictions. 

Q:​ What are the Requirements for a ​Roof​ Mounted Installation?
A: The roof should be in good condition and be structurally able to accommodate the additional load of the solar panels. If your roof is older than 15 years, shows noticeable deterioration, or needs additional structural support, these conditions will need to be addressed before installing solar panels. But don’t worry about that. We are the experts and will give you a comprehensive analysis of these factors. While it is possible to replace a roof after solar panels are installed, having the solar system removed will be an additional cost to the roof replacement cost. Most solar electric systems last around 30 years, so take that into account.

Solar panels are typically not installed on a slate roof, but you could replace the section of the south facing slate roof where you want to install solar panels – ask us for details.


Q:​ How Will A Panel Skirt Affect My Solar Installation?
A:​ Panel skirts are primarily installed for aesthetic reasons. While some studies show that the majority of homeowners do not like the way they look, some people may still choose to install them.

At Rayah Solar, we typically do not use panel skirts because of the potential negative effects. Panel skirts restrict airflow, thereby increasing the heat of the panels. Panels perform less efficiently in higher temperatures. Also, panel skirts are known for attracting critters. A family of squirrels can chew through the wire on your solar system; if this happens, it can cost you thousands in equipment and labor costs.

Q: What if I Have a Backup Generator?
A: Generally, solar panels and generators serve different purposes. The solar panels are a primary​ source of power, while generators are a backup source of power. Solar electricity is wired separately into your main electric panel than your generator. Typically, backup generators operate off a disconnect or transfer switch, so while in operation, they will have no contact with your main breakers or solar panels.

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Q:​ Is a Solar Installation Complicated?
A:​ No. Our installations are completely Turnkey and Worry-Free: With turnkey installation, service, maintenance and monitoring included at no additional cost. It is a completely worry-free process. Most of the installation is done outside of the house and completed within two to four days.

Q:​ Is it Better to Go Solar Now or Later?
A:​ Now. You may expect this answer from a solar provider, but it is the truth. Solar incentives are going down (with scheduled decreases Federally and from the State) and equipment prices are starting to rise. It is definitely better to go solar now rather than later. When you sign up for solar it is like a snapshot in time, so you get to take advantage of the current incentives.

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