We believe education is the first step to bringing solar power into more homes and businesses throughout the region.
Read our responses to the most frequently asked questions about solar power!
What is solar power?
A photovoltaic power system, or PV system, produces direct current (DC) power which fluctuates with the sunlight’s intensity. To power a home requires conversion to certain desired alternating current (AC) voltages through the use of inverters.
Multiple solar cells are connected inside modules. Modules are wired together to form arrays, then the arrays are tied to an inverter, which produces power at the desired voltage, and for AC, the desired frequency/phase.
Can solar energy lower my electric bill?
If your system is connected to the grid, you save money on your electric bill through a process known as Net Metering. Net metering allows residential and commercial customers who generate their own electricity from solar power to feed electricity they do not use back into the grid. It is a billing mechanism that credits solar energy system owners for the electricity they add to the grid.
For example, if a residential customer has a PV system on the home’s rooftop, it may generate more electricity than the home uses during daylight hours. If the home is net-metered, the electricity meter will run backwards to provide a credit against what electricity is consumed at night or other periods where the home’s electricity use exceeds the system’s output. Customers are only billed for their “net” energy use. On average, only 20-40% of a solar energy system’s output ever goes into the grid. Exported solar electricity serves nearby customers’ loads.
What happens on cloudy or rainy days?
Clouds affect your photovoltaic panels’ ability to harness the optimal amount of energy, but solar cells are designed to capture any available light — even if it’s not direct sunlight.
When the weather turns cloudy, the sky may be grayer and darker, but the solar panels in your photovoltaic array will take whatever light there is and convert it into electricity for your home.
If the system does not generate enough power to meet your needs an a particular day, the grid will supply you with the extra energy you need.
How long do solar panels last?
How much does a residential solar system cost?
The typical price paid per watt ranges from $2.71 to $3.57, and the average U.S household system size is 6 kW (6,000 watts).
While bigger systems may cost more, they also result in more savings.
If you install a 10kW solar energy system to cover all of your electricity use, you might have to pay more out of pocket, but you’ll be cutting a significant monthly expense – your utility bill – and saving more money as a result. $0-down, low-interest solar loans are becoming increasingly common, making it even easier to buy a solar panel system and maximize your solar savings.
How much maintenance does my solar system require?
We monitor your system constantly for any deviation in performance through our on-line portal. We will know of any anomalies in system performance as soon as they occur, perhaps even before you know.
If your system is not easily accessible for cleaning, or you would like regular inspections, we provide annual maintenance services.
Do you provide maintenance services?
Our overall objective is to enable as many folks as possible to enjoy the benefit of renewable energy. Our service technicians are willing and qualified to maintain any system to keep it running at peak efficiency.
Will a solar panel get destroyed during a storm?
Does solar add value to my home?
Solar is one of the best investments you can make to add value to your home. No other home renovation or enhancement increases value this substantially. (Not to mention it produces power and income until you sell the home.) Many of our customers install solar because they want to sell their homes. Installing solar will increase the home value and asking price, while also making it stand out in a competitive housing market.
What incentives are available?
In addition to incentives from power companies, there is also a rebate available through the Federal ITC which will cover 30% of the remaining cost of the system.
You can find the most up-to-date information for your area at www.dsireusa.org.
Is financing available?
Can I sell power to the grid?
How long does it take to install a system on my home?
What are the requirements for my roof?
If your roof has less than 10 years of life left, you should replace it before the solar PV system is installed.
Does a solar panel need to be on my roof?
Do I have to angle solar panels at the sun all day long?
Can solar energy reduce dependence on fossil fuels?
Do you have a question that was not answered here?