Solar Electricity FAQ’s

  1. What’s the difference between solar photovoltaic and solar hot water systems?
  2. How much maintenance do solar energy modules require?
  3. How can I calculate the cost and payback time for a solar electricity installation?
  4. How do I know if solar panels will work on my home?
  5. What other factors are important to consider when installing a home solar energy system?
  6. How long will it take to install a solar power system in my home?
  7. What are the effects of shade on solar electric modules?
  8. What is a net meter?
  9. Do I need battery backup for my solar panels?
  10. Do I need special insurance requirements?
  11. Does a solar electric system qualify for a federal tax credit?

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1. What’s the difference between solar photovoltaic and solar hot water systems?

  1. While both types of solar systems capture energy from the sun, solar photovoltaic systems use photovoltaic panels that produce electricity creating DC power (direct current) to flow back to an inverter transforming it into AC power (alternate current) for standard household use.
  2. Solar water heating is a high temperature (thermal), application that transfers the suns radiant heat from your cold water supply which flows into a solar panel on the roof and back to a highly efficient insulated hot water storage tank. There are many different designs in systems, some more efficient than others. This is where our 30+ years of experience will answer important questions.

2. How much maintenance do solar energy modules require?

Solar photovoltaic panels require little maintenance, no need to wash or dust. It is, however, important to place panels where they will remain clear of shade and debris to harvest the most kwh’s of electricity.

3. How can I calculate the cost and payback time for a solar electricity installation?

Once we can discover and calculate how much energy is required, the return on investment can easily be determined. The solar electric systems we design are carefully planned to ensure the highest energy yield with regard to how the individuals or business intends on utilizing the power for their given investment.

We will calculate the yield from the investment, factoring in todays current electric rates.

High quality always starts with a good design and the results are,   our customers are saving even more money than we initially engineered.   Everything Solar has many references to verify this outcome.

4. How do I know if solar panels will work on my home?

Take a look at the position of your home on its lot and particularly your roof. Ask the following questions:

  1. Is there any southern exposure? Orienting solar modules in a southerly direction, maximizes the effectiveness of how much energy you will harvest over time. East and West exposures are ok, but will produce slightly less.
  2. Is the exposure free of trees or buildings or other obstructions that could shade the panels or drop debris on them? Shading on any area of photovoltaic modules will reduce efficiency. There are also micro inverters and other optimizers to eliminate this situation.
  3. What is the pitch, area and material of your roof ?
  1. Most roofs, from flat to 60-degrees can accommodate photovoltaic panels. Ground mounted systems work well enough with unobstructed area.

5. What other factors are important to consider when installing a home solar energy system?

The location of your home and the irradiance (direct sunlight) will play into where we place and how we engineer your solar electric or solar hot water system.  Understanding how those inputs effect performance will determine the types of attachments, components, or how the arrays are angled. With our depth of experience and collective know how, we will engineer and design your solar electric system to work with maximum efficiency to produce more kwhs throughout its lifetime.

6. How long will it take to install a solar power system in my home?

Planning, configuring, site surveys and doing any custom ordering for your solar energy system can take up to a couple of weeks. However, the installation process itself is typically completed in only a few days time.

7. What are the effects of shade on solar electric modules?

Shading has a disproportionate affect on a systems performance. This is because the cell with the lowest illumination determines the operating current of the series string in which it is connected.  There are different types of optimizers and micro inverters, to control this from happening.

8. What is a net meter?

Net meters look very much like other outdoor meters with one notable exception, they’re bi-directional, turning both forwards and backwards recording both the power produced and power consumed.

9. Do I need battery backup for my solar panels?

Generally not, a backup battery bank can add as much as 25% in cost to a residential solar PV system. It’s not necessarily more efficient either, the same sized solar array will yield about 7–10% less energy if it’s battery-tied than its grid-tied counterpart. The benefit of is having a power source when the grid goes down, however there are other economical hybrid alternatives as well.

10. Do I need special insurance requirements?

Standard homeowner’s insurance policies usually suffice to meet electric utility requirements. Electric utilities usually require that homeowners who take advantage of net metering sign an interconnection agreement. This usually does not cost anything.

2. Does a solar electric system qualify for a federal tax credit?

YES! Both the Purchase Price AND Installation Cost of a solar electric system qualify for a 30% federal tax credit. The credit applies to equipment placed in service between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2016. IRS Form # 5695 (Download pdf here) is needed to apply for this credit. Enter the installed cost on line 1 of the form.