Solar Panel Installation Fairfax VA

Local resource for solar panel installation in Fairfax. Includes detailed information on local businesses that provide access to solar paneling, green initiatives, renewable resources, electricians, alternative energy and home upgrades, as well as advice and content on solar power.

3170 Draper Dr.
Fairfax, VA

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Prentice J F Construction
(703) 255-9064
2981 Wilson Avenue
Oakton, VA

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Nova Roofing Co. Inc
(703) 319-7790
28 B South Frederick Ave
Gaithersburg, VA

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1905B Villaridge Drive
Reston, VA

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Stanley Martin Custom Homes
11111 Sunset Hills Road, Ste 200
Reston, VA
Custom Builder, Designer / Architect

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Maple Ave
Vienna, VA

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Commonwealth Home Remodelers
208-A Dominion Rd NE
Vienna, VA
Custom Builder, Designer / Architect, Remodeler
Membership Organizations
American Institute of Architects, Chrysalis Award, EnergyStar, National Association of Home Builders, National Association of the Remodeling Industry, National Kitchen and Bath Association, U.S. Green Building Council

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Paragon Remodeling, Inc.
(703) 426-5555
8000 Towers Cresent Drive
Vienna, VA

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Comstock Homebuilding Companies
11465 Sunset Hills Rd
Reston, VA
Commercial Contractor, Custom Builder, Multifamily Developer, Remodeler

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Stanley Martin Homes
11111 Sunset Hills Road, Suite 200
Reston, VA
Custom Builder, Volume Builder

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Solar Cells

Solar panels (also called solar modules) are made up of cells. A solar cell is vaguely circular, two to three inches in diameter and organized in rows and columns on a solar panel. For example, a 150-watt solar panel is often four rows by nine columns of solar cells.

Types of Cells

There are several types of solar cells and these are each divided into subcategories. The basic types of solar cells sold on the market are as follows:

  • Single crystal silicon solar cells have been the most widely used. They are also the most expensive form of solar cell and are largely responsible for solar energy's reputation as costly.
  • Polycrystalline solar cells are cheaper than single crystal silicon solar cells but not as effective in energy conversion.
  • Thin film technology has the distinct advantage of being easier to mass produce than crystal cell technology. It costs less, though its durability is questionable. Thin film is also less efficient than crystal silicon, according to most sources.
Single crystal and polycrystalline cells can each last several generations while thin film is newer technology - less costly but also less durable.

Other New Technologies

Some terms in solar energy may not mean much to you. However, you can ask your installer or supplier about the latest in cell technology improvements. Some newer technologies that show promise in the coming years are as follows:

  • Multi-junction cells may soon replace widely used single jun...

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Solar Panel Mounts | Alternative Energy

Before you mount your photovoltaic system, you will need to balance two factors:

  • where the best sunlight is
  • where the solar panel array will fit best, in terms of looks and installation.

The best sunlight, of course, is facing south, if you are in the northern hemisphere and facing north if you are in the southern hemisphere.

A thornier problem is the mounting of the solar panel or panel array. For a large system, there are basically two places you can mount your solar panel or panel array:

  • on your roof (using roof mounts), or
  • on the ground (using pole mounts)

Roof Mounting Tip

One of the problems with earlier generations of solar panel mounting was that there was no consideration for the expansion and contraction of the solar panels. These "big black things" stand in the heat of the sun all day then cool off every night. Consequently, the mounting would shift daily and eventually dig into the roof shingles. Ask your solar installer if he or she is aware of this problem. This is the typical mounting arrangement, and professional installers do account for it, but don't assume that all of them do.

Urban homes and businesses would use roof mounting to support the larger array of solar modules. Roof mounted systems are safe and modest when installed by professionals.

Pole Mounts

Realistically, most urban areas do not have the space for pole mounted systems. Pole mounts are most useful for small rural systems.

Pole mounts are typicall...

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Solar Panels

When you are choosing solar panels for your system, there are a number of factors that will go into your decision. These factors are similar to those of other buying decisions you make, and they also are inter-related:

  • cost
  • durability
  • size
  • type


The cost will be determined in part by size and durability of solar panels you purchase.


The size of the panel generally determines the wattage it will put out at maximum. The wattage is also determined by the kind of solar cells used, whether they are single crystal, polycrystalline or thin film. If you'd like, you can learn more about types of solar cells . A 50 watt panel will be about two square feet, while a 190 watt panel will be about eight.


Again, this has a lot to do with the materials. As you would read on our solar cells page, different types of solar panels have different durability. Frames also make a difference in durability of your solar panels. Today, most PV panels are framed in aluminum, which is sturdy and light.


The type of solar module you choose is based on what you will be using it for. For homes and other stationary uses, the type of module will be different than the type that is best suited for portable uses such as boating or camping.

You might also want to look at solar shingles, profiled on our page on building integrated photovoltaics ....

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