How does a residential solar electric system work?
Solar cells in the modules mounted on your roof convert sunlight directly into DC power. A component called an inverter converts this DC power into AC power that can be used in your home. The system is interconnected with your utility. During the day, if your solar system produces more electricity than your home is using, your utility may allow net metering or the crediting of your utility account for the excess power generated being returned to the grid. Your utility would provide power as usual at night and during the day when your electricity demand exceeds that produced by your solar system. Systems are also available with a battery backup. Part of the power produced by your solar system during the day is used to charge the batteries, which provide power for your critical loads in the event of a power outage.
Will my system work at night?
No. Sunlight must be present for your solar modules to produce power. At night, you draw power from your utility.
Will my system work on cloudy days?
Yes, though they produce less electricity. Under a light overcast sky, panels might produce about half as much as under full sun.
What happens during a power outage?
We offer two types of solar residential systems. One type of system powers your home during daylight hours but does not provide power in an outage, even on a sunny day. Another type of system powers your home during daylight hours but also has a battery backup designed to provide power to your home's critical loads during an outage, day or night.
Solar Energy / FAQ's
If you have further questions, please feel free to call your nearest location.
What do the terms on-grid, grid-connected, grid-tied and off-grid mean?
On-grid, grid-connected or grid-tied means connected to the utility electrical grid. Our solar electric systems are designed as on-grid systems, meaning that they interconnect with your existing utility service. Off-grid refers to systems that are not connected to the utility electrical grid. Our solar electric packaged systems are not designed for off-grid applications. An off-grid system must be custom designed by a solar power expert.
Why is shade a problem?
Because of the wiring design of a solar module, all of the individual solar cells on a module must receive full sunlight for the module to work properly. If any portion of the module is shaded, the entire module power output-even those sections still exposed to sunlight-is lowered
What if I need a new roof or am building a new house?
This is the ideal situation for installing solar. Before laying the roof, you can install flashable mounting brackets that provide the highest level of protection from leakage.
Can I add reflectors or mirrors around the solar panels to increase the power they generate?
No. Our solar panels designed for use in direct sunlight only.
How many solar panels do I need to produce enough electricity to run my house?
The array size you need depends on your average electrical usage, climate, roof angle, shading problems and many other factors. To approximate the array size you need, multiply your average daily electrical demand in kilowatt-hours by 0.25. The result is the approximate size of solar array, in kilowatts, needed to meet your electrical demand.
Will a system produce enough energy to cover all my electricity needs?
It is important to understand that a solar electric system does not need to provide all of the electricity you need to be of great value. A small system that displaces an average of one-quarter to one-half of your average demand reduces your electric bill. With battery backup, it can deliver uninterrupted power to critical loads during utility outages for days or weeks. We are happy to provide you with a system that supplies 100 percent of your energy needs, but cutting your electricity by 40 to 50 percent is typically the most cost-efficient approach for home solar power.
What other options do I have if the system cannot be mounted on my roof?
If a roof-mounted system proves impractical, a ground-mount, trellis or pergola application may be an option.
If I rent a home or apartment, can I still get a system?
No. Solar electric systems are available only to property owners. The installation of a solar electric system involves the property owner entering a contractual agreement that includes a potential property lien (called a mechanic's lien).
What is net metering?
Net metering measures the difference between the electricity you buy from your utility and the electricity you produce with your solar energy system. Under net metering, any excess electricity produced by your solar energy system is delivered back into the utility grid, effectively spinning your meter backwards. Your meter spins forward when your solar energy system is not producing all of the electricity you are currently using. Your electric meter keeps track of this net difference as you generate electricity and take electricity from the utility grid.
How much power will a residential system produce?
The amount of power produced by a system varies depending on the size of the system, your geographic location and climate and whether the system has a battery backup.
Can the modules withstand high winds and hail?
The panels are supported by our roofer-designed mounting system that has been tested to withstand 125 mph (200 kph) winds and can work on almost every type of roofing material. Our modules can withstand one-inch (2.5 cm) hailstones at 50 mph (80.5 kph).