Frequently Asked Questions:

Why Solar Electricity? How is the system installed?
What incentives are available? How long does the installation take?
What is a Grid-Tied Solar Electric System? How do I get started?
What is the payback? What are solar hot water options?
What is a Stand Alone Solar Electric System? What solar space heating options are available?
How much power can I produce?  

 

 

Why Solar Electricity?

Production of clean, renewable electricity reduces your dependence on coal and natural gas power plants. Rates to produce electricity continue to increase. Solar electric (photovoltaic) panels have a 25 year warranty and a useful life of 40-50 years.
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What incentives are available?

A 30% Federal Tax Credit through 2021.
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What is a Grid-Tied Solar Electric System?

A grid-tied system is connected to the electric utility company. Whenever you are producing more electricity than you need, the surplus flows to the utility, and you receive a credit from the utility company. When you are not producing all the electricity you need, you receive power from the electric utility company. In essence, the electric utility company becomes your backup battery.
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What is a Stand Alone Solar Electric System?

A stand alone PV system is not connected to the utility grid. It relies on batteries and electronics, that support battery operating to provide power when the sun cannot. Successful stand alone systems require an accurate inventory of electrical loads and length of time the loads are used. Most stand alone systems utilize a backup generator to charge the batteries when there is not enough sunlight (or PV panels). Design of a stand alone system takes all those items into consideration as well as the cost. Payback of a stand alone system is calculated to the cost of connecting to the grid and paying for power thereafter.
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What is the payback?

With the current incentives, a grid tied solar electric system pays for itself in approximately 10 years. This payback period continues to move as the price of PV panels decreases and utility rates increase.
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How is system installed?

Solar photovoltaic (solar electric) modules are typically installed on the roof with exposure to the sun. The modules are connected to an inverter or inverters which are in turn connected to the electric utility system. The system is installed to meet the National Electrical Code and is compliant with utility company regulations.
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How long does the installation take?

Installation and checkout of the system takes 2 to 3 days.
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How do I get started?

You can go to the contact section or send an email for a site evaluation and review of options for your solar power system.
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What are solar hot water options?

There are two solar hot water options: a solar hot water collector system or a hot water heat pump system powered by solar electric panels (PV system). Heat pump systems are more cost effective than solar hot water systems when appropriate.
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What solar space heating options are available?

The up and coming space heating technology is heat pumps. The most popular, currently being installed, are mini-split heat pumps. They a very efficient and the oil savings pay for the systems (in a well insulated house) in under 5 years . In addition, the electricity to run the heat pump system can be provided by a solar electric system (with a typical photovoltaic (PV) system payback). Solar hot water systems have been used to supplement space heating, but have the issue of needing to dump significant excess heat in the summer months.
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How much power can I produce?

Every kilowatt of installed solar modules produces approximately 1200 kilowatt hours per year of electricity. Each kilowatt of solar modules requires about 100 to 120 square feet of space. A 5 kilowatt system would provide approximately 6500 kilowatt hours for a year.
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