Solar Energy FAQ’s
PV stands for Photovoltaic, which in short is the technical term of converting the suns natural energy into electricity using solar panels which are made up of solar or photovoltaic cells. A solar electric system is also called a PV system.
Panels are often mounted on the roof, but can also be mounted on the ground. Ground mounts are great if the house is shaded, or if dormers or other obstructions limit available space on the roof.
South is best, but panels installed facing east or west still generate a very high percentage of possible power. It is usually more effective (and more attractive) to install the panels in the same plane as the roof direction, rather than build an awkward mount to angle them.
Our Systems are installed in such a way that we can easily remove them and later reinstall them at a fraction of the original cost of the system.
No. While the panels are made of tempered glass, they are quite strong. Installed PV panels are designed to withstand hurricane force winds, and pass severe weather tests such as hail. Solar equipment is installed regularly in areas with these types of conditions.
Each home is different, and the amount of electricity you use is very dependent upon your lifestyle, how your home was built, and your appliances. As part of our services, we work with you to reduce your electrical consumption in easy ways.
Systems come in all sizes, and produce as much or as little power as required. Many systems produce a portion of the home’s required power, leaving room for additional conservation or generation in the future.
The solar panels have a 25 year power warranty from the manufacturer. This is longer than almost anything else you can buy. Inverters can have warranties up to 20 years.
Most systems we sell are “clean power” systems, without batteries. These systems do not generate power when the utility is out, even if it is sunny. If backup power is desired, a battery system can be added. This increases the complexity and cost. Most people find that what they want is Clean Power, and find that the very occasional outage does not bother them, so they do not purchase the battery option.
Batteries are only required if you want backup power when the utility is out of service. Without batteries, the system has no way to store power, and for safety reasons cannot produce power without the utility in operation.
Net Metering is the regulatory ability to get credit for electricity you generate with solar energy and send backwards through your utility meter. Exact provisions vary with each state, but the effect is to allow you to generate excess power during the day, and use it at night, without needing batteries.
In a Clean Power, non-battery system, power is not stored. It is either used immediately in the house, or sent backwards through the meter, creating a credit. If storage is needed, large batteries and other equipment are added to the system.
Solar panels will last many years (over 25). Because of this, we want the roof to be in decent condition, as it does not make sense to remove and reinstall the panels after only a few years. However, after the panels are in place, they will greatly reduce the wear on the roof by blocking ultraviolet rays, keeping most snow and ice off the roof, and keeping anything from hitting the roof. Most installations do not require a new roof prior to PV installation.
PV panels should be installed in areas where they get significant shade-free sun every day. Even small amounts of shade can very significantly reduce the output. Our designs and installations also seek to minimize the impact of any shade issues through selection of the proper equipment and good engineering.
Most of our customers do not clean their panels. In Missouri there is sufficient rain to clean the panels. However, if you are in a dusty area (very near a busy dirt road, very urban area, etc.) you may see a performance gain from cleaning the panels monthly. If necessary, a hose stream is usually sufficient for cleaning. Do not walk on or over the panels to clean them. Do not use metal, hard, or abrasive methods for cleaning. Do not spray water on the panels when they are very hot.
Energy conservation and renewable generation adds value to a home. Surveys have shown that for every $1,000.00 saved per year, $20,000.00 is added to a home’s value. Solar energy can be one of the best home improvement investments you make.
Typical residential systems take from 2 to 5 days to install. Systems mounted on the ground and systems with batteries are more complex, and may take longer. Most of this time is spent outside your house, so there is little disturbance to you. Commercial systems take several weeks to over a month to install, depending upon size and type of installation.
We have installed solar on office buildings, retail buildings, hotels, and government facilities. Anywhere electricity is used can use solar electricity.