Welcome to Solar Panel Talk, the number 1 solar forum in the world. Solar Panel Talk is a great community where people can talk about solar. New Users please take the time to read these FAQ’s as you can imagine there are not too many original questions, most questions have been answered many times by many different people, with often many different answers. What’s that you say, different answers?? Well like most things there is generally more than one way to skin a cat so to speak, the other thing to remember is that due to the size of this forum not all answers are vetted, so you need to do your own research rather than rely on someone who may know about the same or less than you do.

That being said we do have many, many knowledgeable people who are professionals in the solar or electrical fields and or engineering, so check out the people giving advice, if they have been a member for many years and have hundreds or thousands of posts chances are these guys really know what they are talking about, beware of advice that is offered by newbies.

Please be aware that there are those who misrepresent themselves in order to sell you (indirectly) a solar system, these people are either installers who are claiming to be a customer of themselves or are a legitimate customer of an installer, who are looking to get referral fees. So you need to read up and do your own homework. www.SolarReviews.com owns this website and as far as the site owners are concerned the only installers that we as a forum recommend are the Pre-Screened Solar Pro’s found here

So onto some very common questions,[LIST=1][*][B]How much solar do I need?[/B] Well that all depends, if your motivation is purely to reduce your electric bill then you need to know a few things. The cheapest way to reduce an electric bill is by reducing how much electricity you use, or reduce your kilowatt hour (kWh) consumption. Some of the best ways to do this is by insulation, replacing old inefficient appliances with new top efficiency appliances, shift usage to times of the day when power is cheaper. You need to understand how you are billed for electricity as it will affect the returns you get via your solar system if you end up going down that path. So once you have done everything to reduce your consumption and you still want to get solar how big should the system be?? Well again that all depends on your specific circumstances and what your motivation and potential future requirements are, I find the best way to work it out is to look at your current electric bill and it will generally tell you how many kilowatt hours you have used per day or month, then depending on where you are (as that will determine how you are billed) and if your future usage is likely to go up or down then you can work on what percentage of your average monthly bill you want to offset with solar. You can also use the services of www.solar-estimate.org another site sponsor that runs a solar calculator, just go there and click on the estimate my system button, this will give you a rough estimate and an installer will call or email to verify the estimate, any software calculator has to make many assumptions and that may or may not be applicable to your situation. Hope that helps[*][B]Where do I find a good solar installer?[/B] Well it just so happens you have come to the right place, site owners www.solarreviews.com run a solar installer screening program called “Pre-Screened Solar Pro’s”. This means SolarReviews.com has investigated the company to ensure it has the correct licences and insurances, in order to claim this status installers must also have a minimum number of reviews and be running above 4.5 out of 5 stars, they also must be a subscriber of SolarReviews.com, so go to www.solarreviews.com enter your zip code into the search field and you will find installers that service your area.[*][B]What’s the best solar panel to use? [/B]This question gets asked everyday on the forum and in my opinion it’s the least worthwhile question we get, but hey I’ve been in the Solar Biz for many years now and most people coming here are not so here goes. Once you understand how solar panels are rated you won’t ask this question anymore. When a solar panel is made it is “Flash Tested” it’s a standard factory test to determine the output of the solar panel, all panels get the same test, and its results will determine if the panel will be sold as say a 250watt panel or a 260watt panel. It’s been my experience (in Australia) that all tier 1 panels perform about the same, so perhaps the best thing to take away from this rant is make sure the brand and model of panel you are looking to buy are rated as tier 1 (there are three tiers) there are some brands that have a better warranty than others and to some people that may be worth a slight premium. Here are a few links that might help, http://www.solarpaneltalk.com/showth...0-Solar-Panels Another site I found useful was this Australian Government Solar Research centre http://dkasolarcentre.com.au/ the way it displays info has changed somewhat over the last couple of years it used to have a link where all the different panels were graphed over on the same graph and it was all almost identical, meaning all tier 1 panels perform about the same.[/LIST]Cheers All
Solar Pete