Welcome to our Solar Panels FAQ page, where we’ve compiled answers to some of the most common questions we receive about solar panels and the installation process. If you’re new to solar energy or considering installing solar panels for your home, you may have a lot of questions about how they work, what they cost, and how they benefit the environment. Below is a list of frequently asked questions about solar for your home or business, organized by category to help you find the information you need. Don’t see your question here? Contact us and we’ll be happy to help.
Solar Panel Basics
What is solar energy?
A solar energy system creates usable power from sunshine. There are two basic kinds of systems: Photovoltaic or PV uses sunlight to generate electricity. It’s the same technology found on pocket calculators, just on a larger scale. PV systems can be designed to generate the majority of the electricity used in your home, or just a portion of it.
Do solar panels only work on warm and sunny days?
Only shade can stop the solar panels from working. Solar panels work even when it’s raining or cloudy. For instance, Germany isn’t known for being a warm and sunny place but its solar power plants produce between 20-30% of all its energy daily. New Jersey and Massachusetts aren’t nearly as sunny as California or Arizona yet New Jersey now ranks 3rd in the country for solar capacity and Massachusetts ranks 4th. In fact, solar panels can work even in cold and snowy weather. Check out our blog post on ‘How Snow Makes Solar Panels Work Better‘ for more information.
Clouds don’t stop the solar UV rays from getting through and power production from Photovoltaic solar panels actually works most efficiently in colder temperatures. Optimum temperature for power production is around 43 degrees Fahrenheit.
Do solar panels work at night?
Solar panels, which rely on sunlight to generate electricity, do not work at night. When the sun sets, solar panels go into a dormant state because they cannot produce electricity from darkness. They need the photons provided by sunlight to stimulate the flow of electrons in their semiconductor materials, thereby producing a current. However, this doesn’t mean solar energy can’t be used at night.
Energy produced during the day can be stored in a battery for use when the sun is not shining, including at nighttime. Moreover, depending on the grid system, surplus energy produced during the day can be fed back into the grid and then drawn back during the night, effectively using the grid as a storage system.
How long will my solar energy system last?
If properly installed, it should last 30-40 years. Systems that were installed in the 1970’s are still fully operational today. Technology has evolved so the systems from the 1970’s may not be as efficient as today’s technology.
What regular maintenance do solar panels require?
With systems that we recommend, very little. PV systems are inherently very low-maintenance, requiring the system owner only to wash the solar panels down with water when they get dirty so light can get through. Rain usually takes care of cleaning your panels for you.
For more tips on maintaining and cleaning your solar panels, check out our blog post on ‘How Often Should You Get Your Solar Panels Cleaned?‘.
What is a kilowatt hour?
This is what you pay for when you buy energy from the local utility company. A kilowatt-hour (kWh) is a unit for measuring energy. It is, as its name suggests, one kilowatt of power used over a period of one hour.
Costs and Financing
How much does a solar energy system cost?
Other than our $0-down options (explained below), providing an exact price on our website is not possible because every homeowner’s situation is different. We need to take a look at your roof, which direction your home is facing, current electricity usage, the type of PV products you are interested in (different pricing for different brands), the type of financial options you are interested in (purchase, PPA or lease), and other factors. After we have all this information, we present you with a detailed cost-benefit analysis during your free solar evaluation so you can see all your options and determine if going solar is right for you. If you’re interested in learning more about how solar energy can benefit your home, contact us today.
There are two ways you can go solar for $0 Down right now:
- Power Purchase Agreement or Solar Lease: We offer the RateGuardian(TM) PPA or Solar Lease that allows you to pay $0 for solar system and installation to lock in a lower electricity rate than your utility. Homeowners typically pay 20-30% less for electricity costs once their system is installed. Some call our PPA the “no-brainer” option because homeowners literally pay nothing to start saving on their utility bills.
- Ownership: We offer a financing option where you can purchase a solar system for $0 down. Plus the cost for equipment has gone down dramatically in recent years, and there are also many tax breaks, electricity buy-back programs, and incentives available to those who wish to own their solar system that could end up reducing purchase price by 30%. With all of our purchase options your monthly loan payment COMBINED with your new post-solar utility bill can be lower than what you paid to your utility alone prior to going solar. When you own your solar system you can also earn revenue from the electricity your system produces through net metering and SRECs which is why ROI from purchase is so high.
Is a PPA (Power Purchase Agreement) or Lease transferable?
If you sell your house, you may transfer the PPA or Lease to the new homeowner or purchase the system. You may prepay the remainder of the payments due under the PPA or Lease to make the transfer even more attractive to the new homeowner.Whichever option you choose, Solar Energy World will guide you through the process.
Installation and Maintenance
What is the solar panel installation process?
At Solar Energy World, we pride ourselves on offering a seamless and straightforward solar installation process, beginning with our initial conversation and extending beyond the installation’s completion. Our proven approach is based on our “6 Steps for Success” method, which covers every aspect of your solar panel installation and is executed by our team of professionals. We believe in transparent communication, which is why we keep you informed at every step of the way, so you know what to expect. Visit our installation information page to learn more about our “6 Steps for Success” and other critical details.
How long does it typically take to install solar panels?
The length of time it takes to install solar panels depends on several factors, such as the size of the system, the complexity of the installation, and the weather conditions. A typical residential solar panel installation takes around one to three days to complete. The installation process includes site assessment, design, permitting, installation, and final inspection. If you want to find out more about the installation plan, contact us today.
How does a solar energy system benefit me personally?
A solar energy system has several personal benefits:
- It reduces your energy bill and the utility will buy back any extra electricity you generate if you own your system.
- Federal, local, and utility financial incentives are also available.
- It adds to the value of your home.
- You gain energy independence.
- It’s a good investment in a sustainable future for yourself and your loved ones.
Can my homeowners association stop me from installing solar panels?
The ability of homeowners associations (HOAs) to restrict the installation of solar panels largely depends on the state laws. While many states, such as Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin, have laws according to DSIRE (Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency) that override any HOA contracts seeking to deny the right to install solar PV systems, there are still some states that don’t have such protections in place. In those areas, the HOA might have more power to restrict solar installations. Therefore, homeowners should check both their HOA agreement and local and state laws before proceeding with solar panel installation.
Environmental Impact and Benefits
How do solar panels benefit the environment?
Fossil fuels are a leading cause of global warming and air pollution. Solar energy reduces the amount of fossil fuel that is burned, thus reducing the pollutants and CO² that get into the atmosphere. Solar panel systems that are recommended by Solar Energy World have the added benefits of very high efficiency, durability, and service life – they’re engineered for sustainability. This means fewer replacements and repairs, saving even more energy and precious resources.
If there is a power outage, will I still have electricity if I have solar panels?
You will still have power if you have a solar battery backup system installed along with your solar panels. Solar Energy World offers both solar panels and solar energy storage.When you schedule a free solar evaluation with us, it includes a detailed cost benefit analysis so you can decide if adding storage to your installation would make economic sense for you.
National Security and Economic Benefits
How can solar energy help the economy?
Solar energy is generated locally. The energy dollars stay at home, creating economic growth and benefiting your community. In addition, solar jobs are growing at more than 20 times the national average. Every 90 seconds*, another American home or business goes solar and every solar panel is installed by a worker whose job can’t be outsourced.
How can solar energy improve national security?
Currently, the US depends on fossil fuels, especially oil, from potentially unstable or unfriendly countries. These supplies are vulnerable to political upheaval, trade disputes, embargoes, and other disruptions. In 1973 we imported only about 34% of our oil, and yet the 1973 oil embargo was a serious blow to the economy. Today we import over 53%, and are more vulnerable every year. Solar energy can help reduce this dependency, making our economy, our nation, and your family more secure.
Our Recent Blogs
Stay up-to-date with the latest news and insights on solar energy by checking out our Solar Energy World blog. Our team of experts shares valuable information on industry trends, energy-saving tips, and more.