Solar engineer reveals secret to building your dream solar + storage system!

Residential Solar Done Right

Climate change is accelerating. Are you ready to build a safer, cleaner, and more resilient home environment? The best way to transform your home into a safe haven is to adopt residential solar and battery storage. When the electricity grid fails, you can remain connected, nourished, and comfortable. Don’t waste time trying to compare solar equipment or find the lowest bid. Let the solar experts at Sun Light & Power guide you through an exceptional solar experience.

Unraveling solar panels and solar batteries is not like researching a new phone, computer or car. You need expert advice to avoid costly mistakes for this critical long-term investment. For the real-world story, I turned to former Sun Light & Power Senior Engineer Ben Bachelder. He shared his recent experience designing and building his own solar PV and battery storage system.

Planning ahead for your solar installation can save you thousands of dollars. Before Ben purchased his home, he confirmed that the roof contained plenty of unobstructed space for solar panels on the south and east facing elevations. He also determined that the electrical panel and wiring was heavy enough to handle both battery storage and an electric vehicle. However, the roof was already showing signs of age, so he decided to re-roof his new home just before installing the solar panel system. In about 20 years, he plans to replace both at the same time, which will maximize his investment and drastically reduce the risk of leaks.

What to Consider Before Installing Solar Panels 

Before you buy or remodel a home intended for solar power, consider the factors above, and answer the following questions:

  • Is there an unshaded roof, garage, shade structure, or open space for solar?

  • Are there any large trees that could shade the solar panels at these locations?

  • How old is the household wiring and what is the rating of the main electrical panel?

  • How efficient is the heating and cooling system – can it be replaced or upgraded?

  • Are all walls, ceilings, and windows well insulated?

  • Will you want to protect a large freezer or wine collection with battery backup?

  • How many electric vehicles do you plan to have in five to ten years?

All these factors will influence the size and type of solar and battery storage system required to meet your energy resiliency needs.

Should You Hire a Professional for Solar Installation? 

You need years of practical experience to answer these questions correctly. Ben explained that “the most important decision you can make is to hire an expert design-and-build solar company for your project.” An experienced solar company will be able to guide you around problems and manage your project until it is ready to generate power. This includes selecting the right equipment, meeting all code requirements, acquiring the permit in a timely manner, offering a solid warranty, and providing a production guarantee option.

Ben cautioned that “trying to find the absolute best or newest solar panel is a waste of time.” Instead, rely on the experts to choose a reputable manufacturer and the right PV module for your solar installation project. Likewise, holding out for the most popular solar battery system could delay your installation and put your family at risk. Instead, spend your valuable time identifying your critical electric loads such as HVAC, lights, computer, phones, refrigerator, alarm system, medical devices, and EV chargers. Then, let the solar power experts at Sun Light & Power determine how many solar panels and batteries you really need to achieve energy resilience.

Future-Proof Your Solar Installation 

You can save time and money by designing your solar system for the future. California utility companies will only connect a solar system to their grid if it generates no more than 120% of a customer’s electricity usage. New homeowners without usage history will be assessed based on square footage. Therefore, to accommodate your future needs such as electric vehicle charging, your solar system needs to be properly sized with all loads in mind. This will probably require a few more solar PV modules or highly efficient models, albeit neither will significantly increase the total cost of your system. 

Moreover, most San Francisco Bay Area single-family homes built since 1985 will probably not require extensive electrical work to accommodate a residential PV, battery storage and EV charging solution. As electricity rates continue to rise, wildfires increase, and demand for public EV chargers goes up dramatically, you could be in the enviable position of deciding whether you want to run your heating/cooling system, charge the EV(s), or charge your solar batteries.

Sun Light & Power Is the Solar Company to Trust in California 

We cannot all be solar engineering experts like Ben. However, we can immediately benefit from the 45 years of expertise that the team at Sun Light & Power offers every customer. Ben’s tenure at SLP prepared him for solar home ownership. He summed up his solar and battery storage project like this, “When PG&E shuts down the power because of a wildfire and the air quality outside is bad, I’ll be able to run my whole-home HEPA air filter system while keeping the temperature down. We’ll have plenty of power for the fridge, freezer, and all of our electronic devices. The kids will carry on like nothing happened. I’ll even be able to help my neighbors if it goes on for a long time because our system will keep charging the battery during the day.”

Strengthen energy resiliency in your neighborhood and help build a better world by going solar today. Getting started is easy and the quicker you do the sooner you will enjoy the benefits. As Ben said, “Everything you need to know about solar can be provided by Sun Light & Power — they are the experts.

Ready to start your solar journey? Sun Light & Power is here to help. Call 510.845.2997 or contact us online to schedule a solar consultation. 

Seamas Brennan is Marketing Coordinator at Sun Light & Power

Ben Bachelder was formerly Senior Engineer at Sun Light & Power


Residential Solar + Storage, Castro Valley, CA

Former Sun Light & Power Senior Engineer Ben Bachelder reveals his solar and battery storage solution.


Contact us to learn more about going solar today! 510.845.2997