Q: What are the advantages of solar energy?
A: Solar energy is a clean, renewable, and reliable source of energy, which may lower the cost of your electricity bill. Not only is solar energy very competitive with other energy forms in terms of cost, but it is also more environmentally friendly as it reduces greenhouse gases. In addition, photovoltaic (PV) modules, which are used to absorb solar energy, contain no moving or wearing parts. As a result, the components require little maintenance and last for decades.
Q: What is a photovoltaic system?
A: A Photovoltaic (PV) system is one of the components of a solar electric system. The system utilizes solar cells to convert solar light energy into electricity. The PV modules are comprised of semi-conducting materials that attract sunlight while freeing electrons from atoms. As the electrons flow through the materials, electricity is produced. Typically, several PV modules are combined to generate electricity for a single structure.
Q: Do panels store energy from the sun?
A: The electricity generated by your system is used directly by your property when it is produced. Any power generated in excess of your home's requirements is sent out to the utility grid, spinning your meter backwards. This establishes an economic credit that is used to buy back the utility's power at night, or any other time that your home's electricity demand is greater than your system's production.
Q: What can a solar system power in my property?
A: The electricity generated by your system will be used to power any and all devices and appliances plugged into your home's electrical service. Solar systems are not designed to provide power for a single device, e.g. a refrigerator, but go to offset the total sum of your electricity usage.
Q: How much roof space is needed to power my home?
A: A good rule of thumb is to allow 100 sq. ft. per every kilowatt (kW) of electricity the system produces. A typical solar electric system for a home will require approximately 300-500 square feet.
Q: Can my roof support the weight of the solar panels?
A: The typical solar panel and mounting equipment weigh less than 3 lbs per square foot, so they add very little weight to your roof. In very rare circumstances, older homes may require structural work prior to installing a system. If necessary, US Solargy will help you conduct a more detailed engineering assessment.
Q: How do you attach the system to my roof?
A: US Solargy uses the highest quality racking system on the market today made entirely from anodized aluminum and stainless steel for long life without rusting. The racking system attaches directly to the roof rafters and there are several ways for us to do this.
Q: How long does it take to install?
A: It takes 2-3 days to install a typical residential system. With rebate paperwork, utility interconnection agreements, permits etc., the turn around time is 4-8 weeks. A commercial solar electric system will depend on the system magnitude, location, and other variables.
Q: If the power goes out, will my solar system continue to produce electricity?
A: You will not have any electricity if there is an outage.
Q: How long will my solar system last?
A: Most solar panels come with a 25 year power output guarantee and are expected to last at least twice that long. The power output guarantee on the solar panels in provided by the manufacturer of the panels and states that at the end of the 25th year, the solar panel will still produce a minimum of 80% of their original power output.
Q: If I move can I take my solar system?
A: It is best if you leave it on the original house because it increases the resale value of a home.
Q: What is the optimum angle for a solar system?
A: Equal to the latitude.
Q: Will the panels create a glare that can disrupt planes flight path?
A: No. The panels have a glare resistant tempered glass cover that minimizes reflected light.
Q: How will solar affect the value of my property?
A: According to a study by ICF Consulting, solar can add $20 of home value for every $1 of yearly energy cost savings.
Q: Do I need to pay property tax on my new solar system if it increases the value of my home?
A: In New Jersey and other solar-friendly states you do not need to pay property tax on your solar system. However, you can claim the value the solar system adds to your home.
Q: What is the payback?
A: A solar system will also add value to your property, reduce your monthly expenses and insulate you from rising energy costs. The payback period depends on government incentive, your utility rate, site location and site condition.
Q: Are there still rebates and tax credits?
A: Yes, there are state rebates in various states but the rebate amounts per watt are always going down. The federal government currently offers a 30% tax credit/cash grant the first year of purchasing a solar system. For more information about your state rebate program, go to http://www.dsireusa.org/.
Q: What will it cost to get rid of my electric bill?
A: The cost for this will depend on your electric usage. The more panels you place on the roof, the more you will be saving in electricity costs.
Q: What's the effect of rain and fog?
A: In fog, marine layer, or June gloom your system will still produce about 25 - 30% of the normal production. A steady rain can cut production slightly but is great for cleaning your panels.
Q: What happens when lightning strikes a panel?
A: The solar electric system is designed to sustain lightning by being sufficiently grounded under National Electric Code.
Q: What happens if there's a utility power outage?
A: With grid-connected solar electric systems, you will experience loss of power when the utility grid is down. This is intentional: when there is an electricity outage, there are people working on the power lines. If your system were allowed to stay active during the outage, the people working would run the risk of being electrocuted by the live wire.