Frequently Asked Solar Questions
Listed below are some of the most common questions we are asked as solar installers and renewable energy experts. Please click on the toggle to see the answer to the questions below.
How much space does the system need?
Our smallest system only requires 183 square feet to install. Larger systems will require more space and this will be determined during your free home energy evaluation.
Panels are often mounted on the roof, but can also be mounted on the ground. Ground mounts are great if your house is shaded, or if roof obstructions limit available space on your roof.
South is best, but panels installed facing east or west can still provide a great deal of power for you. The best way to determine what makes sense for you is to have one of our solar professionals come out to your home. Contact us today to schedule a Solar Evaluation.
How large of a system do I need?
Each home or application is different, and the amount of electricity you use is very dependent upon your lifestyle, how your home was built, and your appliances. When you contact us for a Solar Evaluation we will help you identify how much electricity you use and tailor a system that makes sense for your particular needs.
Systems come in many sizes, and we will work with you to determine the correct size system for your specific needs. Many of the systems we install produce a portion of the home’s required power leaving room for additional solar expansion in the future.
The solar panels have a 25-year power warranty from the manufacturer but they can last up to 50 or more years. What else have you ever purchased for your home with that kind of warranty? The other major components (inverters, mounting system) generally have a 10 year manufacturer’s warranty.
If you have opted for a solar only system with no battery backup your power will go off when the utilities experience a power outage. If you have decided to install a solar system with battery backup power you will have continuous power even when the utility company power is off.
If you want a truly independent power supply installing solar power with battery backup will give your family a continuous and unstoppable power supply allowing your home to be energy self sufficient.
Net Metering allows you to send any power that you are not currently using back into the grid, physically turning your meter backwards so you get credit for every kilowatt hour generated by your system. Exact provisions vary with each state, but the effect is to allow you to generate excess power during the day, and use it at night.
If you have opted for a solar installation without battery backup no power gets stored; it is either immediately used or net metered, creating an energy credit with your utility company. If you have decided on a solar system with battery backup power you excess power will be stored in your batteries.
Generally, if you think you will get another 5 years out of your roof go ahead and install the solar system. If you think you will need to replace your roof within the next 5 years you may want to install a new roof before your install your new solar system. Solar panels will last many years and after the panels are in place, they will greatly reduce the wear on your roof by blocking ultraviolet rays. Most installations do not require a new roof prior to solar installation.
Solar panels should be installed in areas where they get significant direct sunlight every day. Even small amounts of shade can significantly reduce the output of your system. Our designs and installations also seek to minimize the impact of any shade issues through selection of the proper equipment and good engineering. Part of our service during a site visit is to provide a full shading analysis for your location which will help us determine the best placement free of shade.
Most of our customers do not clean their panels. In most areas of the country, there is sufficient rain to clean your panels. However, if you are in a dusty or dry urban area you may see a performance gain from cleaning the panels as needed. If necessary, a hose stream is usually sufficient for cleaning. Do not spray water on the panels when they are very hot.
There are many incentives for purchasing solar. These vary from state-to-state. Some common incentives include:
- Providing clean and renewable solar generated electricity for your home
- Stablize your cost of electricity
- There are many financial and tax incentives for going solar
- Lower your carbon foot print because of climate change
- For your children’s future
- Create secure electric source for your family
- Political statement for a renewable energy future
- You strongly dislike buying electricity from the utility
- You feel of empowed providing your own energy source
- Sending electricity back to your utility helps stabilize the electrical grid
- Higher resale value for my property
- Solar energy just makes sense
- Installing solar; feels good to do your part
Energy conservation and renewable generation adds value to a home. Surveys have shown that for every $1,000.00 saved per year, $20,000.00 is added to a home’s value. Solar energy can be one of the best home improvement investments you make.
Typical residential systems take from 2 to 5 days to install while commercial systems may take several weeks to over a month to install. Systems mounted on the ground are more complex, and may take longer. Most of the installation work is done outside of your home, so there is little disturbance to you.