Solar energy is a fast-growing technology that many are interested in, but know little about. At YellowLite, we’ve done hundreds of successful installations over the past few years, and evaluate houses for solar every day. As a result, we hear some common questions over and over again.We decided to compile a list and answer these questions for you. Let’s get started:
1. What happens when the grid goes down? Will my power still stay up?
It depends. If you have a grid-tied system - which is most solar systems - you’re connected to your utility. This means that if the grid goes down, you go down too. There is a benefit to this: when you produce excess energy, you can sell it back to the utility.
2. What about battery backups? Can they help me in the event that my grid goes down?
If your grid is unreliable or if you live in a remote area, you can use solar batteries attached to your array to store energy for when the grid is down. In the past, batteries were rarely considered as an option because they weren’t as reliable as they are today. At YellowLite, we use state of the art lithium-ion batteries that can solve your energy storage problems.
3. Do solar panels work when it’s cloudy outside?
If we had a nickel for every time someone asked us that question, we’d be pretty damn rich right now. Let’s answer this with the example of one of the cloudiest countries in East Europe: Germany. Did you know that Germany produces almost 25 Gigawatts of energy through solar? Cloudy areas are actually perfectly fine for solar. This is because cloudy days don’t matter as much as the total amount of sunlight received per year does.
4. Will solar panels damage my roof?
No. If your solar panels are installed by experts, they will become a part of your roof’s infrastructure and will not cause any damages to it. Furthermore, solar panels act as protection for your roof, they protect your roofing from harsh weather conditions, and you will also notice that the house is cooler during summers. This is because the solar panels absorb the direct sunlight.
5. Will you be rewiring my house?
No.The solar system has two parts:
- The solar panels
- The inverter
The panels convert sunlight into electricity. The conduit is run from the panels to the inverter which then turns Direct current (DC) from the panels to Alternating current (AC). This inverter is connected to your main breaker and the utility meter so you can draw power from the utility if your system isn’t meeting your energy needs. This also lets you sell energy back to the utility if you’re producing more power than you’re using. In short, all the wiring in your house remains the same after solar panel installation.
6. Should I wait for the price of solar to go down?
It’s true that solar prices are always going down - when we started in 2008, we were selling solar for $8/watt, and now we sell for $3/watt. This phenomenon is even codified in “Swanson’s Law,” which states that as demand for solar doubles, the price goes down by 20%.
However, 2018-2019 will be the best time to buy solar panels for years to come, because of the 30% federal tax credit. That’s right - you will get a tax credit for 30% of the system, decreasing your system costs approximately by a third. We anticipate a heavy installation schedule until the end of 2019 when the tax credit expires.
7. Are thin film and Nanosolar an option for me?
There are plenty of new advancements in the world of solar. A lot of these, however, are cost-effective only on a larger scale and aren’t useful when it comes to residential solar. Photovoltaics, solar on a roof is the most trusted form of cells out there for residential solar systems.
We hope this blog post helps ease some of your worries and answer the questions you had about solar panels and going solar! As always, contact us if you have any more questions.