Q: What happens to my system during a power outage?
A: If you participate in net-metering with your local utility, your system will sense the grid’s power failure and shut down to ensure that no electricity is sent through power lines while wiremen are repairing them. Once grid power is restored, the system will detect it and automatically turn back on.
Q: How do I keep my electricity when the grid is down?
A: Batteries. Since your utility functions as the main battery backup for your system, a secondary battery installed in your home would be needed during a blackout to continue feeding electricity to your critical loads (i.e. refrigerator, a few lights, well pump, etc). The storage level of an in-home battery bank depends on the number of batteries installed, but most banks will provide 1-2 days of electric autonomy. Sunlight Solar can also equip you with a StorEdge inverter for short-term emergencies.
Q: What about hail?
A: The panels we install are rated to withstand 1” hailstones at a speed of roughly 50 miles per hour. If one or more of your panels are damaged during a storm, we recommend filing a claim with your insurance company, as most homeowner’s insurance will cover the cost to replace them. For this reason, it is important to notify your insurance agent when you first install solar.
Q: How will my system perform in the winter and with snow?
A: Since panels absorb light, the greatest threat to solar is the obstruction of sunlight. Heavy clouds and snow will impede a solar unit and greatly reduce the system’s productivity, but solar panels are very resourceful and have a way of combating this. It only takes one corner of sun exposure to heat a snow-covered module and speed up the melting process for the whole array. We install our systems on the sunniest points of the roof, so snow naturally melts off these areas first. Only in rare cases when heavy snowstorms occur will a system not produce energy for multiple days, which is why we often size our systems based on the shortest day of the year, the Winter Solstice, to make sure your home has enough net-metering credits to cover its electricity consumption even in these times.
Many people will want to push the snow off their array manually after a heavy snowstorm. We recommend using a pushbroom rather than an abrasive tool like a rake, since sharp objects can scratch and damage your panels. We also do not suggest trying to remove snow from roof-mounted systems, as doing so can pose safety risks.
Q: Does the age of my roof matter?
A: Yes. It’s best to install solar on a roof with at least 15 years of life remaining. If your roof is nearing the end of its use, we recommend replacing it before putting up panels. Your solar array will run strong for 25+ years, likely outliving the roof, itself. In need of a replacement? We provide financing options for our systems that also cover roof services
Q: What kind of maintenance is required for solar?
A: Thankfully, solar is durable, long-lived, and requires very little maintenance. Our professionals will receive a digital notification if your online production monitoring reports any significant losses, but we recommend checking your inverter and monitoring on a regular basis to ensure your system is operating properly. If possible, visually inspecting the array for debris (leaves, sticks, branches) and checking under the roof where the racks have been sealed is also a good practice. If you notice complications, please call us before attempting to solve the issue by yourself. Remember that necessary adjustments to your system are covered under our 10-Year Workmanship Warranty.
Q: Will going solar raise my property tax?
Q: How long do the panels last?
A: 60 years later, the world’s first modern solar panel is still producing electricity. The question isn’t so much about how long a panel will last but how it will perform as the years go by. To find the answer, we have to consider degradation rates. On average, solar panel output falls by 0.8% each year. After a period of 25 years, panels can be expected to produce 81-82% of their original output. Our manufacturers warrant degradation from exceeding 20% at this point in the life of the panels.
Not all panels degrade at the same rate, however. Monocrystalline cells (single-crystalline silicon) last longer and perform better than any other cell on the market, boasting a degradation rate of about .4%. A more common cell type, polycrystalline, contains a lower silicon purity and will degrade at a higher annual rate. We currently advertise monocrystalline-based modules as the standard for our installations, but we’re also able to accommodate requests for specific brands and cell types.
Q: How big are the panels?
A: 5.5 ‘ x 3.33 ’ for a standard module (320 watts, 60 cells) or 6.5 ’ x 3.5 ’ (350 watts, 72 cells)
Q: Where do you get your equipment?
A: We source our materials from many different locations. Here are our most common suppliers:
– United States (Suniva)
– Canada (Canadian Solar, Silfab)
– Singapore (REC)
– South Korea (Hanwha, LG)
– India (Moser Baer)
Q: Do you install or service thermal panels?
A: No. We only work with photovoltaic (solar electric) systems.
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