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How does solar technology work?

While solar is comprised of a diverse suite of technologies, there are three main types: photovoltaic (PV), solar heating & cooling (SHC), and concentrating solar power (CSP). Homeowners and businesses interested in going solar are primarily interested in the first two technologies, while utilities and large-scale energy project developers primarily utilize the latter.
  • Photovoltaic panels or solar panels, directly produce electricity from sunlight, when sunlight hits a panel it is converted into electricity.
  • This electricity is a DIrect Current (DC) and needs to be transformed into an Alternating Current (AC). This is done by a device called an inverter.
  • When the inverter transforms the electricity into AC it is then feed into your home through your existing service panel, all excess power is then sent into your electricity grid.

What happens to solar panels when it's cloudy or raining?

Photovoltaic panels can use direct or indirect sunlight to generate power, though they are most effective in direct sunlight. Solar panels will still work even when the light is reflected or partially blocked by clouds. Rain actually helps to keep your panels operating efficiently by washing away any dust or dirt. If you live in an area with a strong net metering policy, energy generated by your panels during sunny hours will offset energy that you use at night and other times when your system isn’t operating at full capacity.

How much does solar cost?

Every rooftop is different, and solar representatives in your area can provide the best information on what it will cost to go solar for your home or business. Once potential solar customers begin exploring their options, they often find that the total up-front cost of solar is less relevant than the financing terms, return-on-investment, and cash flow calculation. Some solar customers save more on their electricity payments than they’re paying for their panels, meaning that their investment is cash-flow positive from day one.

Several factors influence the cost of solar for your home or business, including:

  • Your available, unshaded roof space. In the U.S., roofs facing south receive the most sunlight.
  • The current energy usage in your home or business. Your current energy costs will affect how quickly you recoup your solar investment. Also, the more energy you use, the larger system you’ll need to fully offset your energy use. Many solar installers can also help you install energy efficiency improvements.
  • The utility net metering policy in your area. Net energy metering affects the value of the energy your PV system feeds back into the electricity grid.
  • The federal investment tax credit for solar and any other tax credits, rebates or other state & local incentives for solar energy.
  • Considered broadly, everything from investments in solar research & development to streamlining local permitting can reduce the cost of solar energy to the end-user.

What rebates and incentives are available for solar energy?

There is a 30-percent federal investment tax credit (ITC) for solar energy systems in place until December 31st, 2016. Both residential and commercial customers can take advantage of this tax credit, and it applies to all three major types of solar technology; photovoltaic, solar heating & cooling, and concentrating solar technology.

In addition to the federal ITC, many states, counties, municipalities and utilities offer rebates or other incentives for solar energy technologies. Your installer will be able to provide the most up-to-date information on solar incentives. The Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE) has a comprehensive list of solar incentives by state, as well as more information and maps showing solar policies across the U.S.

How will I know how many panels I need

When our consultant meets with you he will take a look at your previous utility bills. He will give you a preliminary assessment based you electric usage. Once you sign up with us we will send a site surveyor to take measurements and pictures of your roof. Once we have all this information our Engineering Department will design a system fit your needs.