Frequently Asked Questions
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What are the differences in inverters?
- String Inverter
- A string inverter is a centrally located inverter that relies on a complete electrical circuit comprised of your solar panels to turn the system on in the morning and produce power through the day.
- Micro Inverter
- Micro inverters are generally mounted on the back of the solar panel and do all the electrical conversion on your roof sending power direct to your home or the grid. A general micro inverter setup would comprise of a micro inverter paired with every solar panel.
- Solar Optimizers function much like a hybrid between string inverters and micro inverters where an electrical unit is placed on the back of the solar module where it sends the electricity to a centrally located inverter.
- String Inverter
What are the differences in panel materials?
- Monocrystalline A more efficient crystalline silicon used to make more efficient panels.
- Polycrystalline A less efficient crystalline silicon material used to make panels.
- Our take is that there are people who in fact want the latest and greatest when it comes to technology and efficiency, as there will be people who want the most bang for their buck and are more concerned with the installation quality and the volume of electricity produced.
Are there any size differences in panels?
The typical solar panel sizes are 40 inches by 65 inches with the higher end more efficient panels are typically 40 inches by 60 inches. As technologies change, panel size will as well.
Do panels put a lot of weight on my roof?
The average panel weighs in anywhere between 40lbs and up to 50lbs for the heavier models, and when combined with the additional hardware needed to install, a solar system will put around 4lbs per square foot of weight on the roof. Bear in mind that to install the solar system on your roof, there will be a design and plan set turned in for permits from the local jurisdiction, where codes related to weight are taken into consideration.
How does net metering work?
Net metering in the agreement you hold with your utility service that allows solar customers who generate their own electricity to feed electricity they do not use back into the grid. It works like a banking system, the excess power you generate during the day gets sent to your utility where they account and credit your excess power to your account. During the night time, when your solar system is not producing power, you can tap back into these built up energy credit that you have banked with your utility.
Do I need batteries?
- Batteries can be used for a few different reasons and may not apply to every home and home owners needs. Why are some reasons I may need a battery?
- Backup power – if you live in an area where power outages are a factor, home storage battery backups can be a great addition to your home if you want to piece of mind of always having back up power
- Energy arbitrage – If you live in an area with time of use billing structure or a large differential in your tiered price structure, home storage batteries can be used to store cheap or self-generated power during off-peak times (period of the day where energy cost the least) and then used later in the day from your battery at peak period (period of the day where energy cost the most) saving your from having to buy expensive power from the utility
What happens during cloudy days?
During cloudy days as you would expect, your solar system doesn’t do AS well as a normal sunny day. During cloudy days you can still have solar production depending on the coverage. If your solar system is not producing enough power to curb your home’s usage, you will then pull power from the grid at the retail price on whichever billing structure you are in agreeance with your utility.
What are the components’ lifespans?
All solar components are designed to last a long time to provide you with constant clean energy. With that being said, all manufactures give custom warranties on all their products. This should be found in your proposal or reach out via the messaging system to find your exact product warranty.
How to compare solar quotes.
On your project page, you will see the quotes installers have custom bid for you. To compare proposals scan your projects tab to see all your quotes.
How do I know how much power I need?
This all depends on the amount of power you are currently using and also what you think you will be using in the future. When you submit a bill, we can find your total usage daily and build you an energy profile. If you feel your usage will not change in the future, it would be smart to get a 100% solar system offset from your utility consumption. To plan for the future, you should consider if you are going to run your A/C more, get an electrical vehicle, add a pool or a spa, or even grow your family. These are all this you should consider when looking at solar system sizes.
Can I add to an existing solar system?
Yes! As long as you have space, you can always add more solar. Depending on the system that is already existing you may or may not be able to tie into the original equipment. If you cannot add directly to the existing system, you can add separate system that would work effortlessly with your home.
What happens at night?
As you know, solar systems need the sun to produce power. At night your solar system automatically turns off. During this time you would get all your power consumption needs either from your utility or your home storage battery system.
What happens during the winter months?
During winter the sun is at the lowest point in the solstice, this the farthest south the sun is from the northern hemisphere. Because of this, the sun is not as high in the sky as normal and the days are shorter. You will see a dip in production during these months.
What happens if the power goes out?
In a standard grid-tied system, when the power goes out, your system will auto-shut off and will restart when the power from the grid comes back on. Battery tied systems may automatically be initiated and able to meet certain power requirements.
What does it mean to “offset” usage?
Offsetting usage refers to the historical usage volume balanced against the amount of estimated electricity production by the system on an annual basis. A home that uses 8,500kWh would install a system that produced 8,500 kWh to offset 100% of their usage.
How much power should I offset?
After helping countless homeowners go solar, the one thing I have learned is that homeowners like the idea of creating a comfortable buffer for additional future usage potential. The additional cost of adding 3 or 4 panels in comparison to the additional cost of electricity from the utility makes for a strong argument to offset more than 100%.