Getting Started with PV When you partner with Solar Cool Hawai‘i on your investment into solar photovoltaics, you can rest assured we’ll guide you successfully every step of the way!
Your first encounter with us is likely to be with one of our Consultants. Our team is comprised of well-educated solar professionals, who will happily share their knowledge with you.
Introduction to Solar PV
Please visits these links for an overall introduction to Solar PV:
Energy Usage Analysis
We’ll start by reviewing your HECO bill. In order to size your solar electric system appropriately, we need to understand your energy use. Electricity is sold in kilowatt-hours, more commonly referred to as kWh. On your HECO bill, you’ll find a column of data which tells you what your average kWh usage was per day during any given month. We’ll look at an entire year’s data to find your average kWh usage. Let’s use 25 kWh’s per day as an example.
System Sizing In order to make the correct system sizing calculation, we need to know how much sun your home sees on average over the course of the year. There’s a sun zone map which helps us determine this. The highest sun zone on Oahu is the 500 zone. Houses in this zone average 5.81 hours of direct sunlight.
If we need 25 kWh of energy per day, and we get 5hours of sunlight, we can divide (25 kWh) by 5to see how big our system needs to be. (This does not factor in derating for the system. )That figure is approximately 4303 Watts. So we need a PV system that will generate 4303 Watts at full power.
Choosing a PV Panel
Our next decision will be what PV panel to use. Our company philosophy is simple: we will assist our customers to select the best panel for their needs. We sell many types of PV panels which your Consultant will go over with you according to your needs.
Next, we’ll inspect your roof to see if we have enough room for the 19 panels, and where on the roof they should go. Generally the most south facing roof is best, but your energy consultant will help you decide.
We’ll also take a look at your current electrical system to make sure you have enough capacity to handle the PV installation. Even if you don’t, no need to worry. We are a fully licensed C-60 and C-61 Solar contractor.
After gathering all of this information, your Consultant will prepare a quote for you. We have financing options available also which your Consultant will go over with you in detail. We’ll help you find a way to take advantage of state and federal tax credits that will pay for up to 65% of your new PV system!
Our Project Coordinator will contact you shortly after you sign your agreement with us. He will schedule a convenient time for you to meet with the licensed electrician and lead installer for your job. They will go over the entire process with you, and answer any additional questions you might have about the installation process. This meeting ensures we know exactly how you want things done. You’ll be communicating directly with the installation professionals, so there won’t be any misunderstandings.
The Project Coordinator will then work with you to choose an installation date. If the materials you’ve chosen are available locally, you can expect installation to begin within 1 – 2 weeks.
On installation day, the crew will arrive between 8:00am – 8:30am. There will also be a delivery of materials: solar panels, inverters, mounting racks, etc.
The first step is laying out the system design on the roof. Then our crew will begin installing the hardware that supports the racking which holds the solar panels.
Your roof type determines the way we mount your panels, but generally with shingle and tile roofs we use hangar bolts that are secured to your home’s structural beams. Metal roofs use special clips that provide strength without penetration of the roofing material. Either way, we stand behind our work and guarantee a leak-free installation.
After the hardware is installed, our workmen will begin assembling the racking that holds the panels. After that, we’ll install the micro-inverters on the racking and begin assembly of the grounding system.
The next step is mounting the solar panels on the racking and making all the connections to the electrical service. At that point, we will turn on your system for testing.
Once the system is operational, you will begin reaping the benefits of your solar electric system right away. If you have an analog meter, you can actually watch the wheel turn backwards! Note: if you have a digital meter, we will coordinate with HECO staff to replace it prior to your system’s commissioning as it will not log energy output from the solar electric system properly.
At this point, we will call for an electrical inspection from DPP (Department of Planning & Permitting). Our electrician will meet the inspector and answer any questions he might have. A building inspector will them come by and check things out as well. You do not need to be home for either of these inspections.
Once the permit has closed, we will notify HECO. They will come out to your house and change your electric meter to a special digital version that tracks your solar power generation. This is part of a net metering agreement you enter into with the utility. Information about the HECO Net Metering Agreement is available online at Hawaiian Electric's website.