Your Solar Power Questions Answered
We have compiled some of the more frequently asked questions and given brief answers in an effort make your investigation into solar energy systems go faster. It is nearly impossible to list every question we have heard. We encourage you to contact us with your specific request using the form on this page or by simply clicking here.
The most common and basic question: How does a solar PV system work?
As one of the best parts of installing a solar energy system, the homeowner trades fuel sources and takes advantage of the unlimited and free sunshine. In a perfect environment, this would be enough and the property would be completely self-sufficient. But as we know, the sun isn’t always shinning. With the proper appropriate energy storage hardware any home can become independent. Most solar energy installations today rely on the existing utility and grid services for the backup instead of the local energy storage. In the near future, that additional hardware may be more affordable.
So how does it work?
There are some basic, key components common to most home solar power installations, whether rooftop mounted or ground mounted:
Also known as Photovoltaic (PV) panels, they take sunlight (photons) and because of the material selection (commonly silicon) create electricity (voltage) that can be directly used or stored.
This is the hardware needed to ensure the generated electricity matches what is needed for home usage and looks no different than what is supplied through the grid. It is important not only for the home, but to make it easier to transmit additional electricity back up the grid. Modern inverters for grid-connected homes (without local energy storage) also prevent power from flowing within the solar energy system whenever the local grid goes down. While not ideal, this is regulated in order to protect workers repairing the supply network.
To best use the existing grid as if it were your energy storage device, you must be able to measure what you consume from the utility when your solar power system isn’t covering your usage and what you export back as excess. This “net-metering” allowance requires a special, digital meter that tracks both flows and provides you with the purchases and credits information you will see on each statement.
State code requires additional protection from a physical disconnect, or shut-off. It is installed between your AC Breaker Panel and the grid.
This is your old supplier, or utility, that is now your effective energy storage, supplying electricity whenever your solar installation is not meeting your immediate demand.
More Questions About Solar Energy Answered
Residential, commercial, and municipal buildings can all benefit from solar power systems. View the Ross Solar project gallery
to see how a diverse group of organizations and homeowners have lowered their energy costs with solar power. Schedule a FREE site analysis today to determine your property’s suitability for solar power.
- Produces clean, safe, and reliable energy every day
- Provides a hedge against future energy rate hikes
- Increases the value of your home
- State rebates will pay up to 60% of the cost to install your system
- It’s good for the environment and good for your wallet
After you receive all the solar rebates and incentives
, the total cost of the system will range between $5,000 and $20,000. The electricity produced will provide you the equivalent of an annual tax free rate of return of around 8-12% depending on the cost of electricity.
The design and orientation of your home, the size and selected hardware of your solar energy system options, your energy demand, and your utility rate plan are just some of the factors that can influence your opportunities to save by going solar. We invite you to read more in depth
about how to estimate your savings.
Your solar energy system gives you many benefits that can quickly offset your initial costs, making it a very safe investment. Aside from avoiding some or all of your utility payments, you get greater prediction and therefore control of your future energy costs. And just as important, repeated studies show a statistically proven increase in your home’s value.
Keep an eye on our posts about investing as well as our posts about value and calculating your opportunities. We will work to keep you current as policies and technology change to impact the market.
There aren’t any indisputable set of reasons that you should buy a solar system right away. However, many things have been steadily working in the homeowner’s favor. And some incentives, such as the federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC), are not certain to be available at some point in the near future. You shouldn’t be pressured to sign up today. But you should visit our posts about real considerations
and how to view your opportunity
to learn more and stay current.
Electricity from your solar installation is a physical entity that can be assigned value in a legal sense. Essentially, “property rights” are assigned to the electricity, and rules are in place to allow those rights to be traded or sold. A quantity of production is translated to RECs (almost always 1 REC per megawatt-hour or MWh), and that REC is traded on the market. This gives people and especially companies and utilities the flexibility to support renewable energy development and protect the environment without having to install systems locally for any reason. Each state enacts their own rules and we ask you to visit our incentives pages
to learn more about each state’s policies.
All state cash incentives are guaranteed or your deposit will be refunded.
Yes and Yes. Ross Solar offers a 15-20 year loan through two financial companies. Dividend Solar & Sungage Financial. The loans through these two solar financial companies are non-secured 15/20 year loan with a fixed 5-6% interest rate. To qualify for a solar loan in Connecticut or New York please contact our office at 203 512 4500 x2 or send us an email Info@RossSolarGroup.com. We will design your system and provide you with a link to get qualified.
We also offer an interest free short term (12 month) loan through Enerbank. This product is designed to enable homeowners that purchase a system the flexibility in carrying the 30% solar tax credit value until they are able to monetize the tax credit when filing their tax returns.
Solar modules that are used by the Ross Solar, have performance warranties of 25+ years. They are expected to last at least 30 years or more.
Because the electricity you generate is useful to you and also to your neighbors and community, bi-directional meters are installed under a Net Metering program in Connecticut and New York. Any momentary excess energy your solar energy system produces flows back to your energy provider and actually spins your meter backwards. When you are using more than you produce, your meter spins normally and you are charged according to your rate plan. Each state adjusts credits and charges differently. We encourage you to read more here about net metering
and your savings in general.
In this case, your solar system will automatically turn off, and when the power comes back on, your system will turn itself back on automatically. Homeowners who want to ride through storms or blackouts will need to invest in a battery back up system. Ross Solar has installed over a dozen battery back up system and can customize a battery back solution for your home.
More recently, SMA (a solar inverter manufacturer), has developed a Secure Power Supply option which Ross Solar offers (as an add on) for all of our PV systems. To learn more about the SPS please visit this link.
Two environmental factors are most influential in determining how much power your solar energy system may generate: your position on the earth (latitude) and the history of weather conditions in your specific area are used to predict your output. On average, Connecticut and southern New York have just as many sunny days as does the state of Florida. The average length of each day and exposure to the sun is different, especially in winter. But solar panels still produce some power under cloudy skies, and the seasonal variation of the sun is very predictable. Most sites in this region are well suited for solar installations that take these conditions into account. Even snow doesn’t necessarily present too much of an obstacle to the value of a solar system here.
Solar panels are self cleaning entities. Materials are design to resist accumulation of contaminants including snow. And it only takes a little bit of power generation for panels to start to warm up. Sun can penetrate thinner layers of snow, and even a tiny exposed corner can set off the generation that eventually cascades across the entire panel. We caution all our customers that cleaning snow off panels can be dangerous especially in slippery conditions.
Just watch how panels clear faster than other surfaces in these time-lapsed videos: