Solar Roof System Design

Save on Power Bills

A solar photovoltaic system can generate electricity all year long, reducing your building’s power bills and operating costs.

Cut Your Emissions

Solar panels produce zero emissions when generating power, reducing the environmental footprint of your building.

Qualify for Financial Incentives

Solar power systems get a federal tax credit in the US, and there may be additional incentives depending on your location.

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What Are The Main Benefits Of Going Solar?

 

Solar power now offers a lower cost than fossil fuel generation in many parts of the world, while being one of the cleanest forms of energy. However, a solar photovoltaic system needs a professional design to operate safely, like all other electrical systems in your building.

  • According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), solar power became the fastest growing electricity source in the US during 2021. 
  • The total capacity of all solar PV systems in the country surpassed 100 gigawatts early that year, which is enough to provide electricity for 18.9 million homes.
  • The growth of solar power is not slowing down anytime soon, and America could have between 250 and 300 gigawatts of capacity by the end of 2026.

Regardless of where you live, solar panels can reduce your electricity bills for decades, and the best brands normally have a rated service life of 25 years. However, solar power offers additional benefits if you own a building in New York City, where they can help you meet the local climate legislation. The benefits of going solar include a higher energy grade under Local Law 33 of 2018, and avoiding penalties under Local Law 97 of 2019.

Solar power systems are eligible for a federal tax credit in the US, which is 26% of their cost if installed in 2022, and 22% of their cost if installed in 2023. However, additional incentives may be available from your state or city government, or in some cases from your power company.

  • In New York state, residential solar systems are eligible for a tax credit of 25% of their value, up to a maximum amount of $5,000. This benefit is available for solar PV systems up to 25 kW in homes, and systems up to 50 kW in condominiums and cooperatives.
  • Depending on your type of building and your location in the state, you may also qualify for a cash rebate from the NY-Sun program (managed by NYSERDA).

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Advantages of a Professional Solar PV System Design

 

Solar panels may seem like simple devices at a glance: they generate electric power when exposed to sunlight, which can then be used to power multiple devices in your building. Since this reduces the amount of electricity consumed from the grid, your power bills decrease. However, you first need to identify the areas of your roof that get the most sunshine, while avoiding areas that are constantly shaded by neighboring buildings or other obstacles.

Calculating the optimal number of solar panels and their ideal layout is one step in the design process, but there are other important design decisions.

  • You need a reliable racking system that will hold your solar panels in place, which must also be compatible with your roof type.
  • You need one or more solar inverters of the right capacity, which convert the DC power output of solar panels into the AC power needed by your appliances and equipment.

Solar panels must also be divided into groups with similar power generation profiles, before they are wired together and connected to an inverter. For example, solar panels will be more productive in the morning if they face east, and more productive in the afternoon if they face west. If you connect solar panels that have different generation profiles, they interfere with each other and the total electricity output is decreased.

Keep in mind that solar panels need suitable wiring and protection devices, like all other electrical systems. This includes DC circuit breakers for components behind the inverter, and AC circuit breakers after their power output has been converted to this form. Solar PV systems are subject to the NYC Electrical Code, and they must be approved by the NYC Department of Buildings before you can proceed with the installation.

By working with a qualified firm like NY Engineers, you can get a solar PV system design that meets the needs of your building, while ensuring an approval and permit. We can specify a solar panel array that will integrate seamlessly with your existing electrical installation.

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Adding Energy Storage To Your Solar Power System

 

A solar photovoltaic system can reduce your power bills consistently when used on its own. However, you can gain additional functions by combining your solar panels with an energy storage system.

Normally, solar PV systems can only provide electricity during the day, and your building must depend on the grid or other sources during the night. However, with an energy storage system, you can decide when to use the electricity produced by solar panels.

  • This is especially helpful if your electricity tariff is higher during the evening, since you can use the battery to save electricity when kilowatt-hours are worth more.
  • If you’re under a commercial tariff with demand charges, you can also use a solar battery to reduce the peak consumption measured by the power meter.

Getting a permit for an energy storage system can be challenging in NYC, since there are stringent fire protection requirements that also cover lithium batteries. However, NY Engineers can help you by designing a compliant system that will get approved.

Energy storage systems can qualify for the federal tax credit when combined with solar power, but there is an important requirement to meet. 100% of their charge must come from solar panels in the case of residential buildings, and at least 75% in the case of commercial buildings. If this minimum requirement is not met, the federal tax credit only applies for the solar PV  system and not for energy storage devices.

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