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In addition to the other advice already provided, know that a Solar Assessment will be necessary. The system has a method of showing what shadowning of the panels happens during ALL times of the year, during ALL hours of daylight. That is how your Solar company will be able to tell you how much they will produce, the payback ROI, etc. They will probably be able to tell you visually which location to consider, and then do the assessment for what ever location is most favorable on your property. They should also be able to tell you that if you cut down certain trees, how it will improve your solar capabilities. Hope that helps!
This unique array below had to also take into account how the multiple rooflines shadowed the panels at certain times of day and certain times of year.
Yes in those cases a ground mounted solar array may be your best option. You can site the solar in a more ideal location for sun access. There is typically some added cost involved in a ground mount vs. a roof mount.
Solar shingles are expensive and unproven. I recommend Sun Power photo voltaic solar. An average home is $20,000 to $30,000 and the return on investment is 4 to 6 years on a 25 plus year system.
Let's hear it for Elon Musk and his efforts to move the solar industry forward! Solar shingles have lots of potential. Hopefully, Tesla and Solar City will get it right. We used solar shingles about 15 years ago when installing a new roof and encountered some issues: 1) They were expensive! I would recommend getting a quote for both traditional PV panels versus the shingles and see what pencils out. The cost of PV has come down significantly in the last couple of years. Once you get the quote, be sure and compare the cost/efficiency/performance ratios of the two systems. 2) Maintenance can be an issue. There are more electrical connections with a roof shingle system vs a traditional PV system. More things to create potential problems. The shingles are typically installed in "strings" - where mulitple shingles work together in units. If one shingle has a problem, the entire string "goes down". Check to see how Solar City addressses this issue: can you easily identify where the bad shingle is and be able to replace it easily? Otherwise the efficiency of your system is compromised significantly. Another maintenance issue is keeping all the shingles clean. There is more work to wash down an entire roof periodically to remove dirt buildup than there is for a traditional PV system. 3) Availability: Is Tesla/Solar City providing the units in Atlanta? It may take them some time to gear up their distribution and train people to install them properly. Both important things to consider.
All that being said, it certainly makes sense to have your roof generate power for you! Regardless of whether you go the traditional PV system or shingles route. Best of luck!
There are options available to go solar and be completely independent of you local utility provider. However, this type of set-up (solar+storage) is much more costly than the traditional "grid-tied" system mentioned by Mr. Cook. There are significant developments in the works for the energy storage industry and speculation suggests that batteries will become more reasonably priced in the next 3-5 years or so.
Until then, many folks are opting to install a grid-tied solar panel system, which can often offset 100% of your utility bill (minus a nominal monthly interconnection fee of $5 or so). In some cases, fully offsetting your electric bill isn't possible because of shading or roof complexity. When battery storage becomes more affordable, you can add storage and truly become energy independent!
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