Frequently Asked Questions

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How does Solar work?

Solar panels are made of photovoltaic (PV cells). When sunlight hits them, it makes energy. Direct current is the type of electricity made by solar panels (DC). Most electrical devices and “electric loads” need alternating (AC), and an inverter is needed to change the solar power from DC to AC.

To work, a solar system needs only one central inverter. Microinverters and DC optimizers are used to collect the electricity produced by each solar panel separately. They work with a central inverter that changes DC to AC. If one panel is in the shade and produces less electricity than the others, the total electricity produced will go down. Both make it easy to add more panels to a solar array in the future because they let each panel work separately from the others. Microinverters and DC optimizers, unlike central inverters, are mounted separately from the others. Microinverters and DC optimizers, as opposed to central inverters, are mounted separately on the back of each solar panel.

Why should I get a solar energy system for my home or business?

Grid-connected solar electricity allows you to secure your rate for 25 years. The production process of these panels is guaranteed for 25 years, while the solar panels are predicted to last up to 50 years with zero maintenance. As the cost of power continues to rise, a PV system connected to the grid can provide long-term protection.

How long does a solar panel system typically function?

Solar panels are a long-term investment that pays off in 25 years. Solar panels will keep giving off electricity for at least 25 years. After 25 years, the panels will still produce electricity, but at a slower rate. In contrast to microinverters, which should last for the life of the PV system, central inverters may need to be replaced after 15 years.

How do I choose the size of my system?

Watts (W) is the standard unit for measuring how much electricity solar panels produce. The average solar panel makes 250-300 W of power. When you add up the wattages of each solar panel, you get the arrays’ total output. Installers can get the same power from a smaller roof by using more solar panels per installation. Installers work closely with customers to plan projects to get the most solar power for their money.

How often should I service my system?

Solar energy is a technology that doesn’t need much upkeep. Solar PV, unlike other energy systems, has no moving parts. Every 3 to 5 years, your installer or another experienced solar professional looks at your array. Your inverter may also need to be replaced after 10 to 12 years. A longer warranty might cover the cost of replacing this equipment.

Can you recycle solar panels?

The Solar Energy Industries Association says that solar panels can be used again or sent to a recycling center. The solar business is still new, and there isn’t much demand for used solar parts. In the coming years, we expect the number of ways to recycle panels to grow, but we also expect some problems. This has worked well in other, more established businesses, such as recycling car batteries.

What kind of roof materials can solar be installed on?

Solar panels can be put on almost any roof structure and made of almost any roof material. A racking system holds the panels of your roof in place. The best racking system for your house will depend on how your roof is built and what materials were used. Your installer will tell you what kind of shelving will work best in your space.

My roof can’t be installed with solar. What should I do?

Ground-mounted solar panels can be an option if you can’t put them on your roof. This may occur due to roof features, including dormers, peaks, chimneys, HVAC vents, or other impediments. One option is to join a community solar array and buy solar electricity from them if one does not have enough space or resources to install one’s solar panels.

How do solar and batteries work?

Most solar panels in the U.S. are still “grid-tied,” or hooked up to the national power grid. When you compare solar to storage, solar arrays that work on their own do better. Batteries are mostly used as backup power sources these days. When you connect your solar array to batteries, you can power your home’s electricity needs if the utility grid goes down. Due to the flow of electricity, some of the battery’s charge is lost. Their economics will change as new tax structures, and business opportunities make batteries more valuable.

Can I use solar panels on my roof?

Several factors determine if your roof is good for solar installation. 

  1. Orientation. If possible, your roof should face south. Solar panels get the most sunlight when they are on roofs that face south. Even if your roof faces east or west, you can still install solar panels. If your roof is flat, the panels can be made to face south no matter which way your roof is facing.
  2. Surface. Solar arrays work best when put up in a large, clear space. Some things that can get in the way of a properly installed array are dormer windows, chimneys, vents, skylights, and air conditioning units.
  3. Shading. Shades on a roof can be caused by several things, including trees, chimneys, dormers, and HVAC vents. Using a “solar pathfinder,” you can determine which roof portions will be exposed to direct sunlight for most of the day.
  4. Durability. Last but not least, if your roof is more than 15 years old, you should replace it before installing solar panels. Most solar suppliers will tell you that the roof material you use should last as long as the system.

How long does it take to set up a system?

Your solar array will need to be designed by an installer, who will also need to get initial permits and interconnection agreements from your city government and electric utility. Depending on your solar permitting office and utility interconnection team, this could take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. Most of the time, the installer will only need one or two days to install your panels, inverter, racking system, and wiring. Depending on where you live, this can take up to three months.