Q & A
What is Solarize Monadnock?:
The Solarize model has been used in communities throughout the US over the past 10-12 years. The common goal has been to increase the number of households with solar installations in the community. Most campaigns have been organized by groups of community volunteers; some have been run by municipalities (eg Nashua’s 2018 campaign). The Solarize Monadnock 2019 campaign was organized by volunteers in Peterborough, Hancock, Sharon, Rindge, and Fitzwilliam. This year’s campaign is focussed on Keene and Marlborough, but all events are open to anyone interested in learning about home solar energy.
Solarize campaigns share a common principle: simplicity. The Solarize volunteer team strives to make the process of “going solar” as simple as possible for residents and small businesses. We research and connect with installers working locally, summarizing what range of services each offers. We provide information on federal, state, and local tax incentives for solar energy installations, and research what lending institutions in the area may be offering favorable rates for solar and energy efficiency improvements. We check in with local building and fire code departments to clarify their current standards, communicating this to both consumers and installers. By providing information, education, and follow-up, we want to make it easy for more of our neighbors to realize the benefits of harvesting their own electricity.
Our initial event will be a Solar Fair on Saturday, March 14, 2020. There you will have a chance to meet reps from our six participating solar installers, learn about the process of achieving a solar installation, and learn about the economics of home solar and financing options. Installers and volunteers will offer a series of short information sessions and will be on hand to answer your questions.
IS MY HOME SUITABLE FOR A SOLAR INSTALLATION?
The ideal roof for a PV system is south-facing with little to no shading from nearby trees, chimneys or other obstructions. Advances in panel and inverter technologies can allow homes with some shading or with east or west-facing roofs to benefit from solar PV.
The type and condition of your roof are factors to consider. Solar on our region’s beautiful historic slate roofs, sadly, is not available; cedar-shingle roofs may also be excluded from consideration. Asphalt shingle roofs should be in good repair, with shingles ideally less than 10 years old. (Most PV installations will produce electricity for 25 or more years: you don’t want to have to take the panels off to repair or replace your shingles!). Metal roofs are good candidates. Multiple dormers, chimneys, roof angles, etc may make a PV system more challenging and less productive. Is your roof ridge-line obviously bowed? This may raise questions about the support needed for installation (see below).
If your roof is not suitable for solar panels but you have a garage or other outbuilding with asphalt shingle roof in good condition and with good sun exposure, solar may still be an option. You may also consider a ground-mounted PV system. These options may require running additional wiring, which could add to the cost of installation.