Solar Powered Winchester
Vinson Owen Rooftop Solar Panel dashboard
Solar Topics & About Solar Electricity
Access the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center's resource for detailed information on the topic of solar electricity.
Building Inspector Thoughts for a Successful Solar Project
Winchester's Building Inspector, Al Wile, has a few suggestions for homeowners starting on a Solar Photovoltaic (PV) project:
- Make sure your contractor is a licensed solar energy installer that possesses the following:
- Construction Supervisor License
- Home Improvement License
- Consider using a local solar installer, helping to support our local economy.
- Winchester requires stamped engineering drawings for each project. We want to make sure that the roof can support the load of the panels plus snow, wind, etc. Check that the drawings being filed are for your specific building. Did the installer measure your roof supports? Who did the drawings? Who signed the drawings?
- Find local structural engineers to get involved if necessary.
- Check that a licensed electrician will be doing the installation.
- Ask your installer who is going to maintain the system?
- Is the installer filing the interconnection paperwork with the utility at roughly the same time they are filing for building permits? There can be a significant lag between installation and commissioning. It's a good idea to keep both of these streams moving at the same time. You don't need to wait for the installation to be complete before beginning the interconnection process.
- Ask about the history of your installer, how long have they been in business? How long have they been installing solar arrays? How many arrays have they installed?
- Does your roof need to be replaced or repaired? An array will produce power for 20 to 30 years; you don't want to have to replace your roof after the array has been installed.
- Location is important; you know your house. Is the vendor focused on the sunniest (typically south-facing) area?
- For additional information about installers, including questions to ask potential installers, visit these additional resources:
- Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, finding a solar installer
- energysage.com (Tools to help consumers make decisions about installing renewable energy systems)
- Solar Energy Business Association of New England (SEBANE)
- Northeast Sustainable Energy Association of New England (NESEA)
Susan Grimes McPhee, Winchester Energy Conservation Coordinator, would like to gratefully acknowledge the contributions of these people and organizations to helping us build these pages:
- Department of Energy Resources (DOER)
- The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center
- California Solar Permitting
- Solar America Board for Codes and Standards
- Matt Piantedosi
Master Electrician #A21036
The Cadmus Group, Inc.
100 5th Ave.
Waltham, MA 02451
- Mary Ellen Lannon, Town Clerk
- Al Wile, Building Commissioner
- Denis Slater, Wiring Inspector
- Janine Viarella, Building Department
This material is based upon work supported by the U.S. Department of Energy under Award Number DE-EE0005692.
This report was prepared as an account of work sponsored by an agency of the United States Government. Neither the United States Government nor any agency thereof, nor any of their employees, makes any warranty, express or implied, or assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, apparatus, product, or process disclosed, or represents that its use would not infringe privately owned rights. Reference herein to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the United States Government or any agency thereof. The views and opinions of authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the United States Government or any agency thereof.