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free clean energy from the Sun coming up next on the Go Green channel at build the PTO calm it used to be that installing solar panels was an expensive labor-intensive project not anymore hi I'm Jeff Wilson and having solar installed on my house was easy it was also much less expensive than I thought due to all of the incentives out there now my biggest electric bill is around 20 bucks and during the summer months I get credits instead of a bill pretty cool this time on the Go Green Channel I'm going to show you how to go solar at your house from incentives all the way to installation well the big question is is your house right for solar most people think that their house has to face due south to take advantage of solar my house faces east and west so I thought for years that solar wouldn't work but when I had an installer out for a free estimate he showed me how I could orient the panels on the low slope West roof and still generate 90% of the power of a perfectly oriented system he also said that most residential systems fall into that 85 to 95 percent range so my house would work fine while roof installations are the most common you might also want to look at solar shingles solar roof tiles or flexible solar sheets that adhere to metal roofs or you can mount standard panels on a rack on the ground those options will cost a bit more but they might help make solar work for you one issue is shading that's one big reason panels are usually mounted up high that keeps them above the level where they could be shaded by trees or other houses even partial shading can dramatically cut the output of a solar array so you want to make sure to trim or remove trees that might shade your system during peak hours in the middle of the day next have a look at incentives D si re USA org is a one-stop-shop for incentives the full name is database of state incentives for renewables and efficiency but the site lists federal state and local tax credits grants and rebates along with utility company offers as well just click on your state and the information which is updated weekly will be right at your fingertips it's not only a great place to find out how much you can save right off the bat but you'll also find out if low-interest loans are available for your project I was able to save nearly 75 percent on the cost of my system with a combination of the federal Renewable tax credit state grant and selling the solar renewable energy credits or s recs every state is different but all Americans can use the 30 percent federal renewable energy tax credit once your installer has done a site check they'll give you an estimate and a design plan for your system they'll also help you take advantage of the financial incentives typical installations only take a day or two first metal posts called standoffs are bolted to the roof right into the rafters below then they're properly flashed and sealed the flashing is different for each type of roof here I used rubber flashing called witches hats along with the proper sealants to make my standoffs weather-tight you'll also notice that my system is installed on a white rubber roof generally speaking the lighter color of your roof surface is the cooler will stay during hot summer months since solar panels are slightly less efficient at high temperatures this will help keep the energy output high on hot days next the rails that will hold the panels are installed and then the panels go into place the panels are clamped to the rails and each one is connected to the next most panels these days have plug-and-play connections that are weather tight then the panels are connected to the inverter which is usually in the garage or another sheltered area since the panels put out DC or direct current power and our homes use AC or alternating current electricity the inverter will change the power from DC to AC the wires that connect the panels to the inverter will run through conduit mine goes down through the roof and an inside wall but the conduit can be run down the exterior of a home as well the inverter has lots of delicate electronics in it so it needs to be installed in a dry place usually the inverter is sized to fit the output of your panels in this case we installed a four kilowatt system and a four kilowatt inverter respect we wanted the ability to add more panels in a few years so we asked to have a seven kilowatt inverter installed then we'll be able to add new panels when we're ready the wires from the panels on the roof connect to the inverter the AC power is fed back into the house through the main breaker panel in our basement most systems these days are grid-tied this means that they're connected to the main electrical grid by the lines that come to your house by tying the panels to the grid you don't have to have batteries you essentially use the grid as a battery at night or when it's cloudy you draw power from the grid during the day you automatically use your solar power but when you make more power than you use you sell the excess back to the grid most states make power companies use what's called net metering which means that you get paid the same amount for the excess power you generate as you have to pay for the power that you use this meter shows two numbers one is the power that I bought this year and the other is the power that I've sold when your system is installed the electric company will probably come out and replace your meter with something like this the solar installer will also need to install a grid disconnect like this one they do this to make sure that no power flows from your house onto the grid while there's an outage this keeps workers safe when they're working on the lines now once your system is installed you want to wait to monitor how much power you're making most inverters will display that information but the company I chose offers this Wireless monitor with their systems the data is also fed to the Internet where it's displayed on a nice personalized page you just log in and you can see how much you've generated today or over the history of your system typical systems last 25 to 30 years and they usually need very little maintenance like any home improvement be sure to add your system to your homeowners insurance to protect it if buying a system isn't in the cards for you right now call an installer anyway and ask if they lease solar panel systems with no upfront costs at all your new electric bill combined with your monthly lease payment will still save you 20 to 25 percent now whether you lease or buy once your system is installed you can just kick back and wait for those cheap electric bills to come i'm jeff wilson thanks for stopping by and come back often for more green tips on the Go Green Channel it build a PD accom you

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