10 Frequently Asked Questions About Solar Energy
1. How do solar panels actually work?
Solar panels are made of highly excitable materials that are conductive. The reaction creates direct current (DC) electricity when the sun’s rays hit the solar panels.
Because most homes and businesses are using alternating current (AC) electricity, your solar-generated DC energy must pass through an inverter to convert to AC power. Then it flows through the wiring of your property and acts just like the power that you have been using all of your life.
2. Is solar energy reliable and powerful enough for my home or business?
The only time your solar panels stop power generation is when the sun isn’t out. That means at night and during eclipses.
The sky is eternal. It regularly rises and sets up pretty. It’s more predictable and reliable than power plants, which often experience outages several thousand times every year.
Maybe that’s why the U.S. Department of Defense pledged to purchase 3 gigawatts of clean energy for its bases by 2025. As of 2016, they ‘re on track to meet that goal.
That’s renewable energy contributing power equivalent to nearly six coal plants!
This kind of recommendation seems to give people more trust in clean energy like solar power. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA):
- There are currently more than 1.5 million residential solar systems in the U.S.
- One consumer makes the switch to residential solar every 90 seconds
Solar power is not a passing fad. It’s the secret to a lower electricity bills future, and a cleaner environment.
3. Will my solar panels generate electricity during cloudy, rainy, or snowy days? What about at night?
The solar panels need no sunlight per se to generate electricity just as much as they need direct, unimpeded exposure to the UV rays of the sun.
Similar to how your skin is still tanning when it’s overcast outside, the solar panels will still generate electricity on gloomy, rainy, or snowy days — they just don’t produce as much energy as they do on clear days.
4. Do I have to go off the grid when I switch to solar energy?
You probably don’t want to go off grid, in fact. The method is known as “islanding,” or when you connect your solar array to batteries so that you can run your home or business entirely on solar energy instead of using the grid for electricity.
The thing is, most people are finding this procedure incredibly expensive and inefficient.
Not only are batteries costly but they are not as technologically advanced as solar panels (read: they clunk the operation). We also need to be upheld and regularly replaced.
Many solar adopters choose to live out of convenience and to save money on the grid.
5. 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 display how much energy your solar panels produced during the day.
Because, during the day when the sun is the highest, your solar panels will produce a great deal of energy. You’re most likely not going to use all of that solar power. Your excess solar energy will feed back into the grid and help the utility company provide electricity.
6. 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 of electricity charges your utility company charges, and several other factors.
Most solar providers aim to offset your monthly electricity bill by 70–90 percent, so that’s a good place to start your calculations.
7. How will switching to solar energy help me budget better?
If you install solar panels on your house, at the free price you can produce more energy than you are using from the utility company.
Then you will produce more than enough to sell back as credits to the utility company to lower your monthly bills even further. No more surprise to tank your budget electricity bills again.
8. How soon will I notice a difference in my electricity bills after switching to solar energy?
The day your solar panels are installed they will start producing usable energy for your house. You could start noticing lower bills the very first month, depending on when you receive your electric bill.
9. Will I qualify for tax credits, rebates, or incentives to help lower the cost of switching to solar?
Although the price of solar panels and the cost of installing a solar array have never been lower, you may still qualify for additional rebates or incentives to make the total investment to your home or business as low as possible.
Remember that nearly every state now offers tax credits as an incentive for citizens to switch to solar power. Depending on where you live, you might be able to use tax credits to subsidize a large part of your solar installation.
10. What is the best option for installing solar panels with my budget?
If you happen to have a fund to improve your home or business, then owning your own solar array is the way to go. The installation price is low, you will be eligible for tax benefits and rebates, you will be enjoying lower electricity bills and your property value will be rising.
While you can certainly pay upfront for your solar installation, most homeowners and business owners do not have that sort of cash sitting around.
Go on with a solar loan and you’ll be able to finance and own your own solar system by monthly payments over time. You will reap all of the solar energy benefits while you are paying off your loan.
Choose a solar contract, or a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), and with little or no money down, you will be able to make the transition to solar.
Considering Going Solar? Solar Harmonics is Here to Help
Most of our clients are looking for a company they can trust to help them go solar. Based on our decade in business, online reviews, and Diamond Certification, Solar Harmonics is the best choice to trust to complete your solar project on time, on budget, and with the expected results. It is our mission to design the best value solar panel system that produces reliably over the next 30 – 40 years, and saves the most money for our clients. If the financial goals of our clients intersects with the global and environmental goals of our founder, it is a win for everyone except the utility companies. Contact us today for your free quote!