Frequently Asked Questions
What is a solar electric system?
Solar power refers to the utilization of the sun’s energy for electricity. The system typically includes solar panels, inverter(s), mounting, and monitoring.
The process begins when the sun shines onto the solar panels; where the photovoltaic (PV) cells convert the sunlight into direct current (DC) electricity. The PV cells are made from silicon and are wired together to form a solar panel. The panels are mounted on a frame to form a solar panel array.
An inverter is used to convert the DC electricity to alternating current (AC), the electricity used by your home or building. The AC electricity produced will be used to power your appliances directly, while any excess power generated will be sent to the utility power grid.
What makes a solar system a good investment?
By installing a solar power system, you will basically become your own energy provider. Your home will produce its own energy whenever the sun is shining; this is free electricity! Any excess energy will be fed to the utility company, where you will earn credits at retail rates. Solar energy will protect you from the increases and instability of oil and gas prices!
According to a new study by the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, homes with a Solar PV installation can demand a higher re-sale value than those without. The increased value is expressed in terms of dollar per watt installed, ranging on average from $3.90 - $6.40 per watt. Example: an average size, a 3.1 kW, solar array on a home could call for a $17,000 increase in re-sale price!
In addition to the financial benefits that come from a solar system, its impact on the environment is overwhelming! It leads to pollution prevention, helps in our fight against global warming, and even good for your health! Installing a solar panel system is a solid investment for you, your family, and our planet.
As an investment, the dollars you save are AFTER TAX dollars. After tax dollars saved are worth 25-45% more than your typical financial investment where you have to pay taxes on whatever your return on investment winds up being.
How much space is required for a solar system?
The space needed will vary depending on how much electricity you want to produce. Limitations are normally based on the size and orientation of your roof and whether you have any objects which could cast shadows on the solar panels - shade is bad! A Solar Greenergy professional will help design the perfect size system for your individual needs.
How long do the panels last?
Solar panels have no moving parts. They are made of tempered glass and survive through extreme weather conditions. They are often installed in Arctic and Antarctic conditions. Solar panels have an amazing 25-year manufacturers warranty. Most panels installed over 30 years ago are still producing power today!
Do the panels need to be mounted on a roof?
In most cases solar panels will be mounted on the roof of your home. However, if shading, or other circumstances prevent this, panels can be mounted on the ground, forming what we call a "ground mount."
There are advantages to ground-mounts that cannot be found on a roof-mounted system. For one, the panels, in most cases, would be able to be positioned to face true south, which will produce the most energy. There are also ground mount structures that can be adjusted. This allows you to produce the optimum amount of energy during the different times of the year.
Both roof mounted and ground mounted systems are great investments. A Solar Greenergy representative can work with you to decide which type of system is best for your home.
What maintenance do solar panels require?
Solar panels are basically maintenance-free! The rain will usually wash away any dust or dirt that has attached to the panels. If the panels ever seem dirty they can simply be sprayed with a hose from the ground at night. Central inverters may need to be replaced around year 12.
What is net metering?
Net metering refers to the credit you receive for the excess energy your solar system produces. Any time the sun is shining, your solar panels are producing energy. When your system produces more energy than you are using, the energy is fed back to the utility grid. You receive credit for any excess energy you produce. At the end of each billing period you will pay for the amount of energy you use, minus the energy you produced.
Do the panels need to face south?
Southern-facing panels produce the optimal amount of energy. Panels facing east or west will also generate substantial power. Northern-facing panels would not generate enough power for a viable Solar PV system, so we would not mount panels on that side of the home.