Your Questions About Solar Panel Installation

Sandra asks…

How old/young the roof should be for the solar panel installation?

We don't know the age of our roof. We bought a foreclosed home so we don't know much about the history of the house such as the roof; when it was installed.

When the solar contractor came to give us an estimate, he wanted to know the age of the roof. We don't know and couldn't figure out. Any suggestion? And how young the roof should be for the solar panel installation. THANKS for your answer.

ssadmin answers:

Any solar company worth its salt should be able to estimate the age of the roof if you don't have an exact figure. They should have walked the roof, and seen whether there are any spots where the roofing felt is showing. If it is a wood roof (shake or shingle), then they should be able to tell from the weathering. Asphalt shingle, by if there are any areas dry, cracked, or starting to be bald. Tile or metal roof, should basically last forever, but should be checked for cracks or missing tiles. I would trust the solar company or a friend that knows roofs more than a roofing company. If you ask a roofing company to look at your roof, they have an incentive to tell you that you should replace it right away.

If it looks like the roof has 5 years or less left on it, I'd suggest changing the roof at the same time as installing the panels, if you can afford it. If the roof needs changing and you can't afford panels, then ask the roofer to put in standoffs for panel racks. These are easy to put on when the roof is being redone, and will make it quick and easy if you decide to add panels in the future.

Thomas asks…

What is the current status of solar panel installation for homes?

I keep hearing about new great progress in the field – then practical installation is still quite expensive and life span of the solar panels is estimated at 10 years – not enough time to really make a difference financially

I'm in Southern California too – prime area

Please cite any sources you have re: new and improved systems that are ready to instal.

thanks – Solar seems like the answer – and I keep hearing we're getting close – just hard to be patient.

ssadmin answers:

I assume you're talking about photovoltaic arrays?

You can go on Ebay and check out the going prices for photovoltaic array panels. You will find out very quickly what their current status is.

You can buy the inverters you'd need there also. Then there's cabling, deep cycle batteries. Some of that you might have to get locally, but it's all off the shelf stuff.

And then you can hire an electrician to install all that stuff for you, if you don't know how to do it yourself.

Mainly its the cost of the photovoltaic cells themselves that keep such systems from being really viable. It would simply take too long to recoup the cost from reduced electrical bills, to make the project worthwhile. Except to your occasional rich hobbyist.

I do believe production of these cells is increasing quite a bit in recent years however, and perhaps in time the magic of mass production and refined manufacturing techniques will change the costs involved.

Anyway, just check out what the stuff is going for on ebay, and figure out for yourself what it would cost you for the kind of system you'd like to have.

Now if you mean passive solar heating or solar water heaters, well, those are relatively cheap.

OK, just went up on ebay and did a search on ‘soar panels.' Found this.


It's a 100w solar panel for $485. That's a typical price. Ten of these will get you a kilowatt of power on a bright sunny day. Think you can run your house on that? You might want three or four kilowatts. Maybe more.

I wouldn't be surprised if a three or four kilowatt system would end up costing you well over twenty thousand dollars.

So, how long do you suppose it would take you to recoup that?

Of course, if you're lucky, you might be able to sell your excess electricity back to the grid…. At the wholesale rate…..

Still, if you put it all together yourself, and you don't mind spending some cash, it would be interesting.

I'm sure one day it will be more affordable.

Lizzie asks…

Does anyone know of a school to take solar panel installation classes in Georgia?

Wanting to obtain certification in the field of solar energy / panel installation.

ssadmin answers:

NABCEP is a national organization that certifies solar installers. They require taking classes that are ISPQ accredited by IREC (Interstate Renewable Energy Council) . To see a list of accredited class providers, check out

Solairgen has Accredited Training Program for PV Systems Design and Implementation in GA,

Paul asks…

How do I start my own solar panel installation business??

Should I go to school to become familiar with electricity to start with?

ssadmin answers:

Yes. Doing an electrical engineering agree is essential is you want to understand, design and build the SP systems.

If your goal is just to start the business, handling only the business aspects of it, and getting engineers to design the systems and electricians to install it then it is OK to be without the technical knowledge (although it will always help you).

Installing the systems would probably require a wire-mans license (not sure if that is also the term used in the US) which means that it will need to be done by a professional electrician, as the solar panels are only one aspect of a system. The power generated by the solar panel has to be stored, conditioned (DC to AC conversion) and interfaced with the current power source of the home or business you are installing the system in.

I recommend that you do lots of research into this before diving head first into it.

Good luck.

James asks…

What does human resource management do in a solar panel installation company?

ssadmin answers:

Yes my dear friend

here i can Give with full detail of your question .

I made up with my own solar and wind energy with the support of this site.

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