Have Questions About Solar Energy? Find Answers to 1 Source Solar’s Most Frequently Asked Questions

Solar energy is a remarkable form of energy harnessed directly from the sun’s rays. Photons from sunlight strike solar panels, which consist of photovoltaic cells. These cells undergo a process called the photovoltaic effect, converting sunlight into usable electricity.

Solar panels, often installed on rooftops or ground arrays, contain photovoltaic cells made of semiconductor materials. When sunlight hits these cells, electrons are released, creating an electric current. This direct current (DC) electricity is then converted to alternating current (AC) through an inverter, making it compatible with all of your electrical needs and the electrical grid.

Solar energy offers a plethora of advantages. First, it is a renewable and sustainable source, as the sun’s energy is virtually limitless. Adopting solar energy significantly reduces carbon footprints, combating climate change. Furthermore, solar power can lead to substantial savings on your electricity bills, as it allows homeowners, farmers, and businesses to generate their own electricity. Installing solar panels can also increase the value of your property, making it an excellent long-term investment.

Net metering is a crucial policy that allows solar energy system owners to receive credits for excess electricity they generate and feed back into the electrical grid. During times when your solar system produces more electricity than your property consumes, the surplus energy is exported to the grid, earning you one-for-one kilowatt-hour (kWh) credits to be used when your system generates less electricity than needed, such as at night or on cloudy days.

The number of solar panels required depends on various factors, including your energy consumption and the capacity of the panels you choose. 1 Source Solar will perform a detailed site evaluation and analyze your energy usage to custom design and determine the optimal number of panels needed to meet your electricity needs.

Excess energy generated by your solar system is directed back into the electrical grid. If net metering is in place, you receive credits for the surplus energy, which you can use to offset your electricity consumption during times when your solar system is not producing enough power, such as at night.

Solar panels are built to withstand various environmental conditions and typically have a lifespan of 30 to 35 years. With proper maintenance and care, solar panels can continue to operate efficiently throughout their lifespan, providing a reliable source of clean energy.

Solar panels generally require minimal maintenance. There are no moving parts to maintain and rain and snow are natural cleaning agents. However, regular cleaning to remove dirt and debris and periodic inspections by a qualified technician can help ensure optimal performance and longevity of the system.

When a solar panel is covered with snow, it cannot produce electricity. However, solar arrays tend to shed snow pretty well. The panels themselves absorb the sun’s heat as well as its light, they are mounted to face the sun, and they are often on a slope. We do not recommend clearing the snow from a roof-mounted solar array for safety concerns. Ground-mounted arrays could be cleared by a soft bristled broom; however, our design takes the snow cover loss into account when determining the size of an array needed.

It is recommended to evaluate the condition of your roof before installing solar panels. If your roof is older than 10 to 15 years or in need of significant repairs, it is advisable to replace the roof before installing solar panels. This ensures a stable foundation for your solar system and avoids potential issues or costs associated with removing and reinstalling panels for roof repairs in the future.

The amount of money you can save with solar energy depends on various factors, including your energy usage, the size of your solar system, the cost of energy in your area, and the utility net metering policies. Many homeowners and businesses can save 100% of their electrical costs. On average, individuals can save tens of thousands of dollars over the lifespan of their solar system. The savings come not only from lower electricity bills but also potentially from tax incentives offered by the government.

The time it takes to recoup the cost of a solar system, often referred to as the “payback period” or “return on investment” (ROI), depends on several factors including the initial investment, energy savings, and local electricity rates. Typically, the payback period ranges from 5 to 10 years, after which you can enjoy nearly free electricity for the remainder of the solar panels’ lifespan.

Yes, installing solar panels can make you eligible for a federal investment tax credit (ITC). The ITC allows you one-for-one dollar tax credit, which will significantly offset the initial investment.

Yes, many governments offer incentives to encourage the adoption of solar energy. These incentives include tax credits, grants, or other financial and taxable incentives to reduce the upfront cost of solar panel installation and accelerate the transition to renewable energy sources.

Yes, it is possible to use solar panels to power your entire home, farm, or business. The feasibility depends on your energy consumption, utility, and the size of the solar system you install. A well-designed and adequately sized solar system can provide enough electricity to meet the energy needs of most households or businesses, potentially making you energy independent.

Selecting the right solar installer is crucial for a successful solar installation. Look for installers who are local to your installation and have significant experience, longevity in the business, proper certifications, and positive reviews from previous customers. Reputable installers will guide you through the entire process, custom design your systems, and ensure your system meets all safety and quality standards.

To ensure the safety of utility workers who may be repairing power lines during a blackout, solar panels automatically shut down. This is to prevent the panels from sending electricity back into the grid, which could pose risks to those working on the power lines. Battery storage and an automatic transfer switch are required to have your solar system isolated from the grid and operate during a power or grid outage.

Solar panels can still generate electricity during cloudy weather, albeit at reduced efficiency. While they produce less energy on cloudy days compared with sunny days, they can continue to contribute to your energy needs.

Solar panels can generate great electricity even in cold weather. Electrons flow better in cool conditions. Of course, they perform best in sunny conditions (hot or cold), when the sunlight is more intense.

To maximize sunlight exposure, it is generally best to install solar panels facing south. In fact, 30 degrees south in our area is optimum. Any southern orientation optimizes solar panel efficiency and energy production throughout the day, ensuring your system generates the most electricity possible. However, solar production also works from east to west. It does not work facing north.

Solar power can be stored in batteries. This is done in systems that are grid-tied with battery backups and in off-grid solar systems. With this approach, the panels convert the sun’s energy into DC power, which then travels into the batteries and is stored until the home uses the energy. This makes it possible to operate independently of the utility grid or offset power needs at night or during grid outages. Battery storage can be used for partial home backup or whole home backup in outage situations. With this approach, energy is used by the house, farm, or business in real time, and any excess is used to charge the batteries. After the batteries are charged, the excess flows to the utility grid. The utility then keeps track of how much energy is going back onto the grid. When the solar customer isn’t producing power, they can pull from the batteries or from the grid.

No, batteries are not required for a solar installation. The home, farm, or business will consume the energy needed directly from the solar array. Any excess power will be exported to the grid. Battery storage can be installed and used for nighttime needs (in a non-net metered utility) or for grid outage backup, but is not required for a solar system or solar production.

One of the most common questions about solar power is “What happens at night?” If the sun isn’t out, your solar panels do not produce electricity. So do you just not have power at night if you go solar? Of course not! When you have solar power, you’re still connected to the grid. The solar system works in conjunction with the grid. During the day, your solar system makes more than what your house needs to function at that time. The excess goes back onto the grid and your meter keeps track of the extra going onto the grid. At night, when your solar isn’t producing any power, any energy you need comes from the utility grid. The meter then measures how much power is coming into your home. If your solar system is sized correctly, the power going out to the grid will cancel out the power coming into your house from the grid. In essence, you’re using the utility as your solar system’s battery.

Have an electric car and wish you could charge it with solar? Well, you’re in luck because you can. Electric cars allow you to simply plug them into an outlet at your house to charge. If you take this approach and want to power your car with solar, you’d simply install a grid-tied solar system. With this strategy, your entire house can be powered by solar and you’re tied into the grid. You’re not necessarily going to be generating power straight from the sun and pumping it into your car. Instead, you’re just offsetting a certain percentage of your usage with solar. If you charge your car at night, that power is going to be coming straight off the utility grid. However, if you have a large enough system, it should put power onto the grid for you during the day to use at night.

Yes, you can expand your solar system by adding more solar panels later on. As your energy needs change or if you have space for additional panels, it is relatively straightforward to incorporate new panels into your existing solar array to increase your system’s capacity.

Yes, you can take your solar panels with you if you move to a new location. However, it is essential to consider the cost and logistical challenges associated with uninstalling, transporting, and reinstalling the panels. Depending on the circumstances, it may be more cost-effective to leave the solar panels with the property and negotiate their value with the new property owner.

While it is technically possible to install solar panels yourself, it is highly recommended to hire a professional solar installer. Solar panel installation requires expertise in electrical work and an understanding of local building codes and permits. More importantly, it requires an in-depth understanding of the utility interconnection process. A professional installer ensures the system is safely and optimally set up, maximizing its efficiency and longevity.

A solar lease allows you to lease solar panels from a solar company for a fixed monthly payment. In contrast, owning your solar allows you to finance the purchase of solar panels and pay off the loan or pay yourself back over time. By purchasing the system, you own the solar system and can enjoy the benefits of reduced energy bills for over 30 years and take full advantage of the tax incentives.

Solar energy is derived directly from the sun, while other renewable sources like wind and hydroelectric power are harnessed from different natural elements. Wind energy utilizes the kinetic energy of the wind to turn turbines and generate electricity, whereas hydroelectric power relies on the force of flowing or falling water to produce electricity. Each renewable source has its advantages and limitations, making them complementary components of a sustainable energy mix.

Please Contact a Solar Specialists at 1 Source Solar to Learn More