1.How do solar panels actually work?
Solar panels are made of highly excitable, conductive materials. When the sun’s rays hit the solar panels, the reaction creates direct current (DC) electricity.
Since most homes and businesses use alternating current (AC) electricity, your solar-generated DC energy will pass through an inverter to become AC electricity. Then it flows through your property’s wiring and behaves just like the power you’ve been using your whole life.
2. Will my solar panels generate electricity during cloudy, or rainy days? What about at night?
Your solar panels don’t need sunshine, per se, to generate electricity as much as they need direct, unobstructed access to the sun’s UV rays.
Similar to how your skin still tans when it’s overcast outside, your solar panels will still generate electricity during cloudy, rainy, or snowy days — they just won’t produce as much energy as they do during clear days.
Solar panels do not generate electricity at night since the sun’s not out. This is when staying connected to the power grid comes in handy as you’ll still have electricity to Netflix and chill.
3. What is net metering?
You know how you have an electric meter on your property to record how much energy your home or business uses every month?
When you switch to solar energy, you’ll have an electric meter that works both ways:
It will show the utility company how much energy you consume when your solar panels aren’t generating electricity (like at night)
It will show how much energy your solar panels generated during the day
See, your solar panels will produce a lot of energy during the day when the sun’s the strongest. You most likely won’t use all this solar-generated power. Your excess solar energy will feed back to the grid and help supply power for the utility company.
Your utility company will pay for your solar-generated electricity by giving you credits to lower your monthly electricity bill.
So at the end of the month, you’ll only pay for the net amount of electricity.
4. How much will I really save on my electricity bills every month?
That depends on how much electricity your home or business uses, where you live, the rate your utility company charges for electricity, and several other factors.
Most solar providers aim to offset 70–90% of your monthly electricity bill, so that’s a good place to start your calculations.
5. How will switching to solar energy help me budget better?
Right now you don’t have any control over the electricity rate your utility company charges. And trends show that electricity rates will continue to rise.
When you install solar panels on your property, you’ll be generating more electricity than you use from the utility company at the price of free.
Then you’ll also generate more than enough to sell back to the utility company as credits to further lower your monthly bills. No more surprise electricity bills to tank your budget again.
6. How soon will I notice a difference in my electricity bills after switching to solar energy?
Your solar panels will start generating usable energy for your property the day they’re installed. Depending on when you receive your electric bill, you could start noticing lower bills the very first month.
7. Are solar panels difficult to maintain?
Solar panels are easier to maintain than your property’s HVAC, appliances, and maybe even your cell phone. That’s because solar panels have zero moving parts to break.
The most you’ll have to do to maintain your solar panels is make sure they’re free of dust, pollen, leaves, and other debris. Whatever’s obstructing your panels will make for less efficient energy production.
You’ll also need to trim branches that may get in the way of your solar panels and dust off heavy snow. That’s not so hard, right?
8. Will I ever need to replace my solar panels?
Reputable solar providers now offer solar panels with manufacturer’s warranties that last between 20–30 years.
Since solar panels are so easy to maintain and have zero moving parts, they’ll keep generating energy for you home long enough to see a sizable return on your investment. Newer models have expected lifespans of 50+ years.
9. Will installing solar panels damage my roof?
If anything, solar panels will protect your roof from damage and may even keep your home cooler. Check out all the different solar mounting options you can choose from. Each method aims to do as little damage to your roof as possible.
10. Can I install solar panels on my property myself?
While you can certainly take the DIY route and install solar panels on your property all on your own, you’ll want the trusted advice of a knowledgeable electrician and the insider knowledge of a seasoned PV professional. They’ll be able to determine the best placement for your solar panels, apply for the right permits, and do what they do best so you don’t have to worry (or get hurt!).
11. How long do solar panels take to install? Do you have to rewire my house?
Installing your solar array may take two to a few hours, depending on the size of your solar array, your mounting choice, and your property.
Your solar provider will not have to rewire your house as all the wiring stays exactly the same.
Your new solar system will consist of a few additional parts to your existing electricity system: your solar panels, the inverter, and your new two-way utility meter.