Below are some Frequently Asked Questions about How Does Solar Energy Work?… and the Frequently Given Answers we provide about your utility company, performance and more.
How does my relationship with my utility company change when I go solar with Skytech?
In some ways, nothing changes. You’ll still be connected to your utility grid and maintain your relationship with your current local utility company. On days when your residential or business solar system produces more electricity than you’re using, your utility will automatically credit your account. At night, and on days when your home uses more electricity than your system is producing, through Net Metering, you’ll use up those credits and draw electricity from the grid. This occurs automatically in the background while you continue to use all of your electrical appliances as you always have. You’ll also still have a bill from your utility company, but you’ll smile when you see it’s much smaller.
If the power goes out, will my home’s or business’s solar panel system keep producing electricity?
No. For safety reasons, your home’s or company’s solar power system will automatically shut off if the power goes out. This protects utility workers who might be working on power lines during an outage from being exposed to live electricity.
Will my home be connected to the grid?
All Skytech Solar homes and businesses are tied into the grid, so you’ll stay connected to it. The only way to “get off the grid” is to install a battery back-up system. Typically, a battery back-up costs a lot of money and it also involves a great deal of maintenance. The benefit to staying connected to the grid is to take advantage of Net Metering to the grid earn positive credits when you generate more solar power than you use.
Will the utility company pay me for the kilowatt-hours I lend to the grid?
Most utilities will offer you credit for the kilowatt-hours you generate through your solar panel systems, allowing you to retrieve them when you need them. Many utilities will settle your bill on an annual basis, but will never write you a check. Therefore, it’s not advisable to size your system to generate an annual surplus of electricity.
How much weight does the solar panel system add to my roof?
A typical Skytech Solar system weighs about 3 pounds per square foot. A 1-kilowatt system requires
approximately 100 square feet of surface area. The weight density of the solar panels is similar to the weight of common asphalt shingle roofing material and can be used on almost any roofing surface.
Will my system work on cloudy, foggy or rainy days?
The amount of solar power your system generates is a direct result of sunlight. So it will typically produce slightly less energy when the weather is cloudy, foggy or rainy. Think of it this way: if you can still get sunburn on a cloudy day (and that’s happened to just about all of us), you can still produce solar.
Do I need to clean my solar roof panels periodically?
Yes, occasional cleaning may be needed. In most areas of the country, there is typically sufficient rain to clean the panels so they can optimize the sunlight hitting them and convert it to electricity. However, if you are in a dusty area, you may see a slight performance gain from cleaning the panels once a month. If necessary, a quick rinse from a hose is usually sufficient for cleaning.
What happens if the panels are shaded?
Photovoltaic (PV) panels should be installed in areas where they get significant shade-free sun every single day. Because of the wiring design of a PV module, all of the individual PV cells must receive full sunlight for the module to work properly. If any portion of the module is shaded, the entire power output — even those sections still exposed to sunlight – can be lowered. Skytech Solar’s designs and installations seek to minimize the impact of any shade issues through selection of the proper solar panel equipment and proper engineering.
Can the solar panel modules withstand high winds and hail?
The solar cell panels are supported by roofer-designed mounting systems that have been tested to withstand 100 mph winds and can work on almost every type of roofing material. Most modules can withstand one inch (2.5 cm) hailstones at 50 mph. That’s why they’re regularly installed in Arctic and Antarctic conditions. The face of the panels is made of tempered glass, which are quite strong like your car’s windshield. Skytech Solar’s solar panel system designers are experts in properly designing systems to withstand high winds.
Finally, how long will my solar system last?
PV modules are proven to last for decades. The oldest terrestrial modules are now nearly 45 years old and still going strong, so they can last for much longer than you’d typically own your home. Most full-size modules carry 25-year warranties, reflecting their manufacturers’ faith in their durability. Skytech Solar can confidently expect solar panel systems to last in excess of 30 years. In addition, inverters typically have a life cycle of 10 to 15 years. You can pay extra to increase the warranty on your inverters – up to 25 years.
If you happen to have any additional questions, please call Skytech Solar today at 415-826-2503.