Frequently Asked Questions (About Going Solar)
What is a solar panel?
A solar panel, otherwise known as a PV panel/module, is a renewable energy technology device that essentially collects sunlight and converts into electricity using specialized cells using silicon and other materials to create such conversions.
How does a solar panel work?
Solar panels is a renewable energy technology that uses sunlight to produce power. When sunlight hits the photovoltaic cells, otherwise known as PV cells, in the panel, the energy conversion process begins. The photons from the sunlight begin to generate a flow of electricity within the cell due to it’s reaction to the silicon material which is then transmitted to power a home.
To go more into detail, a solar panel is essentially a sandwich of numerous materials that go as the general following: the aluminum frame at the top, tempered glass, an encapsulant, solar cells, another encapsulant, a back sheet, and a junction box.
Knowing that, let’s take a closer look at the solar cells. Each cell is made up of two slices of semiconducting material, usually silicon. For the cells to generate electricity, they need to establish an electric field within them. To do so, the electric only occurs when there are two opposite poles, much like a magnetic field. To create this, the individual slices are mixed with other materials that allow it to create either a negative or positive charge. More into detail, the top layer of silicon is seeded with phosphorus, which adds extra electrons to the mix, thus a negative charge to the top layer. The bottom layer receives a dose of boron, which in turn gives lesser electrons, thus a positive charge.
This creates an electric field at the junction between the two layers, which is reactive to sunlight and in short creates an electric charge.
How much energy does a solar panel produce?
Solar panels on average are able to produce 350-850 kWh of AC energy per month at a size of 400 square feet of space. To put into perspective, a common household uses about 893 kWh per month according to the EIA.
How much does a solar panel cost?
Cost varies between models, but on a gathered average, there is a range from $3,500 to $35,000 depending on type and model.
How big is a solar panel?
The average for a common residential solar panel goes by the dimensions of 65 inches by 39 inches with variation on the manufacturer.
How many solar panels do I need?
The formula required to find out how many solar panels a homeowner needs goes as follows: you multiply your household’s hourly energy requirement by the peak hour sunlight hours at your area, then dividing the result by the panel’s wattage.
Why should I switch to solar?
The primary reason homeowners should go solar is due to the fact that traditional power still relies on outdated harmful systems such as fossil fuels and other harmful chemicals to produce the power we use today.
Traditional power is one of the primary benefactors to the influx of pollutants in our atmosphere, such as the excess carbon dioxide creating dangerous extreme climate situations around our world. Solar power and other renewable energy technologies don’t have the drawbacks of that. Solar power creates no by-products and is completely free, clean, and renewable which insures that our planet stays healthy.
Is my home good for solar?
There are multitude of factors that play into the suitability of solar to your home, but there is an extremely easy way to find out if you’re prime to go solar.
Google has released a project known as Project Sunroof where you are able to type in your address and see if you’re in a spot to receive optimal sunlight hours. Note that this project might not have your area ready to check.
The traditional way of checking if your home is eligible and prime for solar is checking if you have this list checked off.
You must make sure that your home doesn’t have any buildings or trees blocking your roof from the sunlight needed for the panels to work properly. Any obstruction from the sun will result in weaker energy output than usual.
Discover how many days of sun your area receives per year. This essentially means that you want to make sure that your area isn’t usually cloudy and has clear skies letting sunlight hit your roof. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory provides solar maps, so make sure your location is listed within their resources to make sure your area receives a good amount of sunlight. Your roof should not have any obstructions such as chimneys, vents, or antennas and should preferably be facing true south. The direction your roof is facing is not essential, but it does benefit greatly in energy output if it’s facing prime directions. Roofs facing true south have great solar potential, and so do east and west facing (though not as strong as true south). However, if your roof is solely north facing, it is not a great candidate for solar panels. After your roof passes these requirements, you have to confirm that you have enough space for them on your roof. To do this, you must take your electricity bill and note down how many kilowatts on average your home uses each month. Afterwards, measure your available roof space for some quick simple math.
Why do you need my historical electricity usage?
By having access to previous electricity usage history, our team can create a system designed and sized accordingly to meet your assumed future needs. This information is also required so you as the homeowner don’t buy more than what’s needed or a system too small for your home. Using your monthly to yearly consumption of electricity will let us calculate how much energy you’ll need produced by the panels with consideration to what your future consumption will be as well.
Will I notice anything different after I go solar?
The primary thing to take note of after going solar is that your energy bills will be drastically reduced or not even being charged at all. Depending on how much power you’ve used, your bill will be a miniscule payment due to your panels not producing enough electricity and having to retrieve some power from the grid or the bill will say no payment due or credits given due to how much power your solar panels have produced.
Does my state offer incentives to go solar?
The following states offer great tax incentives to go solar: New York, Rhode Island, Iowa, Connecticut, Maryland, New Mexico, Colorado, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey. If your state doesn’t offer any incentives, you will want to contact your utility company or your city to see if they offer any.
Will solar panels increase the value of my home?
Solar panels will increase the value of your home. On an average, your home value will increase by 4.1% compared to other similar homes without solar panels.
Who will help me when I have questions?
Your project manager and our well versed expert team will answer any of your questions at any step of your solar installation.
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