Technology for the Planet

Professional Installers

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Redline installers are all professional certified electricians with dedicated careers in the solar industry.

Innovative Designs

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Thinking outside the box is our specialty. No one solution fits all. We'll work with you to ensure the most cost effective and efficient solutions is at your finger tips.

Roof Top Design

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Our team will conduct an onsite survey and use the latest in technology, integrating the system to your facility and investment goals.

On Grid Systems

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Experienced in on-grid and off- grid solar systems

Engineering

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Our professional engineers come with decades of experience and knowledge on NEC codes such as the  Rapid Shutdown shown above.

Happy Customers

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Our success depends on happy customers and we settle for nothing less.

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RedLine Solar, LLC.

Technology for the Planet


  

Surprisingly, residential and commercial Solar Power are both viable and cost effective in the Seattle area, particularly so throughout the Northwest region. Although the higher latitudes of the Northwest receive fewer annual hours of sunlight than southern regions, solar panels operate with greater efficiency in cooler climates, making Seattle and the Northwest an excellent place for solar electric power. 


  

Our region has long summer days, including many months with high levels of solar radiation. Even though winters in the Northwest are often overcast, solar radiation penetrates the clouds and power can be generated on most cloudy days. 

  

  

Solar power is arguably the cleanest, most reliable form of renewable energy available, and it can be used in several forms to help power your home or business. Solar-powered photovoltaic (PV) panels convert the sun's rays into electricity by exciting electrons in silicon cells using the photons of light from the sun. This electricity can then be used to supply renewable energy to your home or business. 

To understand this process further, let’s look at the solar energy components that make up a complete solar power system. 

The roof system

In most solar systems, solar panels are placed on the roof. An ideal site will have no shade on the panels, especially during the prime sunlight hours of 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.; a south-facing installation will usually provide the optimum potential for your system, but other orientations may provide sufficient production. Trees or other factors that cause shading during the day will cause significant decreases to power production. The importance of shading and efficiency cannot be overstated. In a solar panel, if even just one of its 36 cells is shaded, power production will be reduced by more than half. Experienced installation contractors such as NW Wind & Solar use a device called a Solar Pathfinder to carefully identify potential areas of shading prior to installation. 

Not every roof has the correct orientation or angle of inclination to take advantage of the sun's energy. Some systems are designed with pivoting panels that track the sun in its journey across the sky. Non-tracking PV systems should be inclined at an angle equal to the site’s latitude to absorb the maximum amount of energy year-round. Alternate orientations and/or inclinations may be used to optimize energy production for particular times of day or for specific seasons of the year. 

Solar panels

Solar panels, also known as modules, contain photovoltaic cells made from silicon that transform incoming sunlight into electricity rather than heat. (”Photovoltaic” means electricity from light — photo = light, voltaic = electricity.) 

Solar photovoltaic cells consist of a positive and a negative film of silicon placed under a thin slice of glass. As the photons of the sunlight beat down upon these cells, they knock the electrons off the silicon. The negatively-charged free electrons are preferentially attracted to one side of the silicon cell, which creates an electric voltage that can be collected and channeled. This current is gathered by wiring the individual solar panels together in series to form a solar photovoltaic array. Depending on the size of the installation, multiple strings of solar photovoltaic array cables terminate in one electrical box, called a fused array combiner. Contained within the combiner box are fuses designed to protect the individual module cables, as well as the connections that deliver power to the inverter. The electricity produced at this stage is DC (direct current) and must be converted to AC (alternating current) suitable for use in your home or business. 

Inverter

The inverter is typically located in an accessible location, as close as practical to the modules. In a residential application, the inverter is often mounted to the exterior sidewall of the home near the electrical main or sub panels. Since inverters make a slight noise, this should be taken into consideration when selecting the location. 

The inverter turns the DC electricity generated by the solar panels into 120-volt AC that can be put to immediate use by connecting the inverter directly to a dedicated circuit breaker in the electrical panel. 

The inverter, electricity production meter, and electricity net meter are connected so that power produced by your solar electric system will first be consumed by the electrical loads currently in operation. The balance of power produced by your solar electric system passes through your electrical panel and out onto the electric grid. Whenever you are producing more electricity from your solar electric system than you are immediately consuming, your electric utility meter will turn backwards! 

Net meter

In a solar electric system that is also tied to the utility grid, the DC power from the solar array is converted into 120/240 volt AC power and fed directly into the utility power distribution system of the building. The power is “net metered,” which means it reduces demand for power from the utility when the solar array is generating electricity – thus lowering the utility bill. These grid-tied systems automatically shut off if utility power goes offline, protecting workers from power being back fed into the grid during an outage. These types of solar-powered electric systems are known as “on grid” or “battery-less” and make up approximately 98% of the solar power systems being installed today. 

Other benefits of solar

By lowering a building’s utility bills, these systems not only pay for themselves over time, they help reduce air pollution caused by utility companies. For example, solar power systems help increase something called “peak load generating capacity,” thereby saving the utility from turning on expensive and polluting supplemental systems during periods of peak demand. The more local-generating solar electric power systems that are installed in a given utility's service area, the less capacity the utility needs to build, thus saving everyone from funding costly additional power generating sources. Contributing clean, green power from your own solar electric system helps create jobs and is a great way to mitigate the pollution and other problems produced by electricity derived from fossil fuel. Solar-powered electrical generating systems help you reduce your impact on the environment and save money at the same time! 

Commercial Solar Power FAQ's

How can solar enhance the image of my company?

Simply stated, it shows everyone in Seattle, Washington state, and the whole Northwest, that you own a forward thinking and responsible company.  It demonstrates that you not only care about the environment and the ill effects of non renewable resources on the environment now, but that you have a vested interest in the future, and wish to do your part to help protect the environment for future generations.  In short, it shows that you are a company that cares. 

How will adding solar affect my property value?

Adding a solar system will definitely increase the value of your property. How much depends on which sources you go to, but we have seen in print through real estate appraisers that it can be as much as twenty dollars for every one dollar invested in solar.  Although that is probably not the case for everyone, it will increase the value of your building and that makes purchasing a solar power system an even greater investment for the long term. 

When you add the fact that in the Seattle area, Washington State, and the whole Pacific Northwest, tendencies to incorporate green building strategies, utilize renewable energy sources, and saving the environment continue to be on the rise, it makes going solar a lucrative investment indeed. 

Isn’t Seattle and the Pacific Northwest too rainy and cloudy for solar?

Not at all, in fact, the Pacific Northwest, which encompasses the greater Seattle area, Bellevue, Everett, Tacoma, and other large area cities, is comparable to Germany, a worldwide leader in solar production that is on target for being 100% green in its energy use in the very near future.  And although the generation of power is less on overcast days, it still produces enough solar energy all through the winter months to make an impact, and when you add this with the fact that solar panels produce better in cooler climates, that makes the Northwest an ideal location for a solar power system.  If you would like to read further about the viability of solar energy in the Northwest, p lease visit this website:Renewable Northwest Project 

Does a solar panel system take up much space?

How much space your solar panels take up on your roof depends on the size of your system.  A single panel can have a foot print of about 4’ long and 30” wide, so an array of 8 panels can be approx. 24’ long, depending on how they are oriented.  In almost all cases, rest assured your roof will accommodate the right size system for you, and our knowledgeable staff will walk you thru this process during the consultation phase. A good rule of thumb is that you need 100 square feet of roof space for every 1 kW of conventional solar panels. 

How do I know what size system our business will need?

That all depends on what type of energy impact you would like to make for your business.  The answers to this question range from making a significant social impact, simply offsetting energy costs, or generating enough power to be independent from your electrical utility.  The size of your facility will also be carefully considered when sizing your system.  NW Wind & Solar will thoroughly evaluate your business location, whether your business is in Seattle, Kent, Bellevue, Federal Way, or anywhere in the state of Washington, and provide a comprehensive evaluation based on not only your needs, but your wants as well. 

What type of roof do I need?

That’s a great question, and in truth, it really doesn’t matter all that much.  Ideally, a new roof would be best, so if you are thinking of replacing your roof, factoring in the addition of a solar panel system would be the most cost effective.  The same would apply if you are thinking of building a new structure, in that we could help with the design and engineering to accommodate a new solar panel installation.  If your roof is flat, old, presently leaks, or you are just not sure your roof will hold up to a solar installation, our team of experts will come up with a solution that fits your scenario. 

Does it matter which direction my roof faces?

Not as much as many sources would have you believe.  Although due South is the most ideal, in the Seattle area, energy production can be reduced by as little as 4% or less for the SE to SW arc.  The percentage loss increases up to 12% to 18% when the orientation is due East or West, but in the big scheme of things even this can be made to work simply by enlarging your solar system by a module or two. 

And when referring to roof pitch, 45 degrees is ideal, however, you will experience only a 4% or less drop if your pitch is as little as 10 to 15 degrees.  We do not recommend anything lower than 10 degrees, however, because debris can accumulate on your solar panels, degrading your system.  But even this scenario can be worked out to give you maximum efficiency with the use of tilted racking systems for your solar modules. 

How will my system be affected by trees and other shading?

Ideally, you need an area unobstructed by shade, especially between the hours of 9 am and 3 pm; however, we will research your proposed site during this initial evaluation period.  If it is discovered that there is too much shading for your roof, there are potential alternatives that can be explored, such as ground mount systems.  In any event, this is one of the first things we look at and consider as we evaluate the potential of a system for you, so this particular question will be answered right away. 

What is the typical lifespan of a solar system?

Currently there are solar panel systems with modules that are still functioning well after 25 years and more.  With both controlled testing in a lab setting and observation in the field, 25+ years is a consistent mark.  So much so, in fact, that most reputable solar module manufacturers warranty their modules for 25 years. NW Wind and Solar only installs products made by reputable manufacturers and we offer a full 10-year workmanship warranty. 

Will the power company buy electricity from me?

Yes they will.  In Seattle, and Washington State, you only purchase from your utility the difference between what your solar electric system produces and the electrical demand in your facility.  This process is known as “net metering”. If the amount of electricity you are generating exceeds the amount you are using, your electric meter will actually spin backwards!  This results in additional savings, which is another factor in your decision to invest in a solar power system. Additionally, your utility will pay you for every kilowatt-hour of electricity you produce – from $0.15 - $0.54 per kilowatt-hour, up to $5,000 per year. 

What is the typical payback period?

Each system will have a different payback period. Typically smaller systems have a payback period of approximately 15 years and larger systems approximately 10 years. Commercial systems usually have a payback period of closer to or less than 10 years due to the additional tax credits available. Besides the economic payback, the system will also have an environmental payback. Along with each proposal, we will send you an environmental impact summary that shows you how your system is helping to save the environment. 

Will I need a permit?

Yes, in Seattle, and throughout Washington State, permits are required, but you don’t have to worry about a thing.  NW Wind & Solar is ready to handle the permit and design process, along with all inspections, for you from the beginning of the project all the way through to completion.  All you will have to do is enjoy the feeling of comfort you get from having a qualified team on the job for you. 

I’ve heard there are rebates, what’s that all about?

In Washington, you are eligible for a production incentive. This means that, in addition to the net metering idea described above, your utility will pay you for every kWh of electricity you produce – from $0.15 - $0.54, depending on where the main components of your solar electric system are manufactured. Your NW Wind & Solar design consultant will work with you to design a solar electric system that maximizes your total economic return. 

You are eligible for an income tax credit or a cash grant in lieu of a credit for up to 30% of the installation cost of your solar electric system. Additionally, businesses can benefit from accelerated depreciation of the solar asset. There is no state sales tax on the installation costs of your solar electric system. 

How do I maintain my system?

That’s a great question.  Your system for the most part is maintenance free.  A gentle wash down each spring with the garden hose is about all it takes. And we can set up a yearly inspection to give you that added peace of mind for protecting your investment. 

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RedLine Consulting

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