Installing Solar

Installing Solar

Installing Solar. I’m Greg Martin as Line On Agriculture presents the Harvest Clean Energy Report.

Thinking of making the move to solar? A lot of homes and businesses in the northwest are adding solar panels or including them as part of new construction. Bruce Gage, co-owner and installation supervisor for Eco-Depot says there are a lot of different ways to go with solar and it really depends on the customer.

GAGE: Well it’s pretty much whatever the customer wants to accomplish, what percentage of their electricity they want to offset. So if someone wants to try to do 100% then we have to take their power bills and try to determine how much power they are using and then calculate out how many solar panels it will take provide all their electricity. 50% or 25% or however much they can afford, however they want to do it.

Gage says that the process of determining your solar needs depends a lot on your area.

GAGE: We have a calculation number for Spokane, Northern Idaho and Eastern Washington area that we use. We know the number of sun dates, sun hours we get in a day and then we can calculate how many kilowatt hours of power a year that that system would provide for the customer for the home or the business or whatever it’s being put on.

As for actually installing the solar panels on a roof Gage says that they have to look at the individual structures and in some cases may have to do a custom installation.

GAGE: Normally there’s racking systems, pre-fabricated racking systems that fit on the roof. The roof is you support structure and all the roofs are strong enough especially up in this neck of the woods where we have snow loads and stuff and the racking systems goes on the roof and then the solar panels mount to that.

They also work with local electricians to hooks the panels directly into an inverter that will then start feeding power into your home and back into the grid. There are a number of programs available in each state to help offset the cost of installing a solar system and Gage says they work with the customer from start to finish.

GAGE: Yes, how much it’s going to cost, where they want to put it. Some homes are just not conducive to putting solar panels on, they’ve just got too much shading, too many trees. People might want to put something on but they don’t want to cut down that many trees. You’re going to have a lot less power production if that’s the case and it’s not going to cost any less, it’s going to take longer for you to produce as much power as you’d like.

For additional information on clean energy, visit That’s today’s Line On Agriculture. I’m Greg Martin on the Northwest Ag Information Network.

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