Solar Energy Equipment
NWES selects highest quality components with expert workmanship. We have carefully chosen these brands of solar panels, inverters and related solar energy equipment. We will design your solar system to best match your unique project and site. Read on to learn about the solar energy equipment.
We offer solar panels (also known as solar modules) that we know from experience will generate the power expected, last a very long time, and have a reliable warranty. Each module is tested at the manufacturing plant for wattage.
Solaria‘s Pure Black modules provide a top of the line aesthetic appeal and pack maximum power into minimum space. Enhanced shade performance ensures quality power output all day long.
LG: made in South Korea, a name you know and trust, LG offers an industry leading warranty and an overall top-notch product. It’s what we have installed on our shop!
Hanwha Q Cells offer a lower cost solution that doesn’t sacrifice on quality! Q Cell solar modules pair high quality, an industry leading warranty, and sleek aesthetics to tie your whole system together.
We are certified to install Tesla Solar Panels but they must be purchased directly through Tesla. You may request that Tesla arranges for installation by Northwest Electric and Solar. (Tesla’s roof tiles are not yet available in Washington, but when they become available we will get trained to install them.)
We select the best inverter for your project and site. The inverter converts DC electricity from the modules to grid-compatible AC power. As they are less expensive and more efficient, a string inverter is generally the default option for simple arrays where all panels face the same direction at the same tilt. A string inverter is usually mounted on the exterior or interior of the garage, close to the utility’s service meter, or on the ground mount in the case of a ground-mounted system. Otherwise, our standard offering is the SolarEdge Inverter with a SolarEdge optimizer for each solar panel.
When the roof arrangement is more complicated due to multiple small sections of roof or shading, we design the system with optimizers or micro-inverters. Either micro-inverters or optimizers are mounted under the modules on the roof, creating flexibility for the design to utilize your roof space to generate the most power.
In general, micro-inverters make it easier to add more panels to expand the solar system size in the future so be sure to let us know if that’s your plan.
It is the inverter, micro-inverter or optimizer-paired-with-inverter that sends a signal to the Cloud for online monitoring of your solar energy system.
A string inverter combined with DC optimizers offer many of the features that make micro-inverters so versatile but are less expensive and more efficient. DC optimizer manufacturers claim up to 8% more production than a traditional string inverter system. Optimizers also make possible online monitoring of each module.
Solar Edge: string inverters in single phase or three phase, with added optimizers for online monitoring
Online monitoring is included with all solar systems that are designed to use SolarEdge or Enphase inverters, which are most residential or small commercial systems. We provide you with a gateway unit which you connect via ethernet cable to your existing wireless router and plug into electricity. It sends a signal to the cloud where the solar production data is arranged into visual charts and graphs that you can view via internet or mobile app.
Today the fee is $500 to add online monitoring to an exitsting residential system with a SMA inverter. Ask for a quote if you have an older solar system and now want to add online monitoring.
Balance of System
Depending on your roof and the brand of solar panel, we match the best footing to attach your solar array to your roof. The most common roof types are composite shingle or metal. For a shingle roof, we drill into the roof surface and attach the footing, sealing around the footing to prevent leaks. For a standing seam metal roof, we attach clamps onto the standing seams. No matter which style, you can rest assured your system will stand up to the elements (including strong wind) and your roof will remain waterproof and structurally sound.
Using your roof details and location, IronRidge provides custom engineering for your mounting and railing system. The result is structurally sound and able to withstand up to 100 mile per hour wind and the snow loads for your location. They are part of one of the largest solar mounting solution providers in the world, Esdec, which makes their warranty very bankable.
For composite roof, attachments are made roof every four feet. Each attachment features IronRidge’s Three-Tier Water Seal with multiple layers of protection against water intrusion as described in this tech brief. Rails are made of marine-grade aluminum alloy then protected with anodized finish. Rail shape functions to resist twisting in wind. The result is Designed and Certified for Compliance with the International Building Code & ASCE/SEI-7. To learn more, see IronRidge’s Pitched Roof Design Guide or explore their website for ground mount or other situations.
We mount Tesla solar modules using proprietary Tesla roof attachments.
Required External Equipment
Net Meter: This meter is used by your utility to determine your bill. If you have a solar system, it measures both the electricity the utility delivers to you and the excess you send to the utility when your solar system produces more than you are using. A bidirectional net meter is required for net metering incentive programs.
Emergency Disconnect: Every solar system has a clearly labeled external on/off switch for safety purposes. Depending on various factors and codes, the disconnect is either a stand-alone unit or it is integrated into the inverter box.
Conduit: Conduit covers and protects the wires carrying power from solar into the building.
Pictured here are the Utility Net Meter (top left), Production Meter which measures all the solar electricity produced, and a Solar Edge Inverter. All equipment is usually surface mounted on the exterior of the building near where the existing utility meter is located.
Maintenance by NWES
We will come out twice per year to perform routine maintenance on your solar PV array. Maintenance includes
- Cleaning of all modules
- Inspection of all electrical wiring and connections
- Inspection of any damage or corrosion to all array components
- Documentation of system output
- Inspection of any new vegetation or obstacles that could affect system performance
Annual Maintenance Subscription
For $180 annually (or 12 monthly payments), NWES crew will come out twice a year and clean your solar panels and inspect the solar system.
Price does not include sales tax which must be added based on your location.
Ian and his crew at NW Electric and Solar were fantastic. They designed a solar system for my new house. They worked with my builder to make sure there were no visible wires after the house was done. The install took a couple of days and went really smoothly.
-Sean, Mercer Island