Solar Electric

How is a PV System Installed?

The installation of a PV System should only be attempted by trained and licensed professionals.  Solar panels are mounted and secured to your roof using stainless steel mounting hardware and racks.  All roof penetrations are sealed with a long lasting polyurethane sealant.  Because of the strict engineering requirements, these roof mounting systems can actually strengthen your existing roof because of the additional cross bracing provided by the racks.

Electrical conduit and wires are installed from the PV array to the inverter.  The inverter is typically installed next to your existing circuit breaker panel.  The inverter is then connected to your main circuit breaker panel with the proper size wire and circuit breaker to provide power to your electrical system.  For a basic Grid-Tied non-battery backup system, that’s pretty much the process.  Battery-backup systems have a few more pieces of electrical gear to mount and connect, the general process is the same. 


Battery Systems

Northwest Florida residents are no strangers to bad weather. Hurricanes and heavy thunderstorms are an annual occurrence, and can leave homeowners without power for extended periods of time. Some homes and businesses get by with gasoline or natural gas-powered generators for emergencies, but these machines are often unreliable, have many moving parts that require heavy maintenance, and make a ton of noise when they are operating. Additionally, they need to be refueled routinely, which can be a real pain if the electricity goes out and you discover the tank on your generator is empty. This is why the best option for any Florida panhandle homeowner hoping hedge against outages and emergencies is a solar battery backup.

There are two types of battery systems: Grid-tied with battery back-up and off-grid. Each one has advantages to consider when determining what kind of design you want for your property.


Grid-Tied Solar Battery Backup

This type of system is connected to the electrical grid and will provide emergency power for your home in the event of an outage. The batteries are charged when the grid is online, and when the system detects a loss of power, it kicks on and begins providing solar energy to your home. With a grid-tied system, you’ll be able to maintain your lighting, refrigeration and other specified electrical needs during storms and natural disasters that cause outages. You’ll also always be prepared, as the system stays charged and ready for use and the solar continues to supply power and to charge the batteries with any surplus energy. You won’t have to worry about refueling. Battery systems that are grid-tied are generally best for customers in metro areas. Solar battery backup systems do require a bit of maintenance to keep the batteries in condition

Even if you already have a solar PV system, you may want to consider a solar battery backup. Even if you are in Pensacola, Milton, Destin, Panama City, Fort Walton Beach or anywhere in Northwest Florida where you are supplied with electricity by Gulf Power, CHELCO, EREC or other utility company a grid-tied battery back-up system is a wonderful way to assure an uninterrupted supply of power for as long as the grid is down. Typical commercial and residential solar energy systems have a power inverter connected to the grid that converts the DC current of the panels to an AC current required to power your home. When the grid goes offline because of a storm or some other emergency, your lights and all higher priority electrical circuits will continue to operate.


Off-Grid Solar Battery

An off-grid battery system can store electricity generated by your solar PV installation and provide power to your home if your inverter trips. This system is best used for properties that are located off the grid, such as hunting cabins and used as a backup power supply in the event that you need emergency power. During periods of the day when you aren’t using very much power, the batteries will charge with the excess electricity generated, then dispense that energy to your home later.


How Long Does It Take to Get a Home Solar Electric System Installed?

From the signing of the contract to the final inspection by your county or municipality it typically takes 4-8 weeks depending on the requirements of your local governing authority. 


How Much of My Energy Needs Can Be Produced From Solar?

The simple truth is that how much energy you can produce from a solar electric system installed by Compass Solar Energy is dependent only upon the space you have available and the amount you are willing to invest. 


Can You Install Solar Electric on a Mobile Home?

In Florida, generally, the answer is no. The system has to be installed to meet the required wind loading of the local governing authority (your county or municipality). Generally, mobile homes cannot supply a secure enough attachment to meet the requirements of the local governing authority. However, we have done ground mount and pergola installations for mobile home owners.


How Do I Know If I Have Enough Sunlight for Solar Electric?

A solar electric system needs unobstructed access to the sun’s rays for most or all of the day. Shading on the system can significantly reduce energy output.  If you have some shading issues, we recommend using microinverters instead of the standard string inverter.