Getting Started with Solar Energy
Though renewable energy—and solar energy specifically—is on the rise across the country, it is still a relatively new technology and you understandably may have a lot of questions, such as how does it work?
Is it sunny enough where I live? How much does it cost? How can I pay for it? How much can I save on my energy bills?
You can also contact one of our expert solar consultants now to get all of your questions answered and get started immediately.
What Is Solar Energy?
Solar energy is collected passively through your solar energy array. This means that it is always collecting energy during the day as long as you don’t turn the system off. Almost all (~99%) of solar users remain connected to their main power grid. That means you will continue to get power from the grid as usual during the night or when your energy use exceeds that provided by your solar panels during the day. When your system produces excess energy, it can either be stored (for example, in batteries) or contributed to the power grid (your meter will run backwards).
A solar panel, or photovoltaic panel as it is sometimes called, is the main component of the solar array. This is usually what people think of when they hear solar power, and is the part of the system that actually collects the solar energy. All of the manufacturers we work with offer Tier 1, high quality panels with 25-year warranties, available both in standard (16% efficiency) and premium models (up to 21% efficiency). It is not uncommon for the panels to continue working long after the warranties have expired. Compare all of the available panels to find which works best for you.
The electricity produced by solar panels is direct current, or DC. However, your home uses alternating current, or AC, electricity. Therefore, it is necessary to use an inverter to convert this energy into a useable form for your home. There are two types of inverters:
- String inverters are the most common type of inverter and consist of one unit placed near your main circuit box.
- Micro inverters attach to the back of each panel and are best with systems that experience shade. They are slightly more efficient, but also slightly more expensive.
The Balance of System
This includes the racks that mount the arrays to your roof or the ground, all of the necessary wiring, the series of disconnects both inside and outside of the house, and any monitoring devices.
Both of the inverters we use come from industry-leading producers: Enphase micro inverters and SMA string inverters.
Roof- or Ground-Mounted?
Most clients choose roof-mounted arrays for their space-saving features, but ground arrays can be installed just as easily, provided there is sufficient space. The individual needs of your home or commercial will differ according to your location, roof-type, and available land, among other things, and we can tailor a unique solution for to meet your needs. Learn more about roofing requirements and the process of a roof installation to learn more about what’s in store. You can also look at our gallery of several different types of solar arrays on both homes and businesses.
How Much Does It Cost?
The cost of your solar array will depend on your individual needs and energy use, as well as the type and size of solar array you choose. Our easy-to-use Solar Energy Savings Calculator tool can help you estimate the cost based on your particular energy needs and home.
How Can I Pay for Solar?
Due to federal, state, and county renewable energy initiatives, solar energy has never been more affordable! Solar energy has the largest Investment Tax Credit of any of the renewable energies at 26%, making now the perfect time to act! Read more about all of the financing offers available, but keep in mind that the regulations are constantly changing. The best way to find out about all of the offers available to you in your area is to contact one of our consultants.
Ready to Get Started?
Checked out our site and you’re ready to speak to one of our consultants? Call us at (216) 333-1364 or request a quote. One of our solar experts will contact you and get you started on the road to greater energy independence, cost savings, and environmental responsibility.
What do the terms "on-grid," "grid-connected," "grid-tied," and "off-grid" mean?
On-grid, grid-connected or grid-tied means connected to the utility electrical grid. Our solar electric systems are designed as on-grid systems, meaning that they interconnect with your existing utility service. Off-grid refers to systems that are not connected to the utility electrical grid.
How long will my solar power system last?
With no moving parts and made of very inert materials, our solar modules are tough. Most of the related system components should also last for 30-40 years without problems. The batteries in our residential system may need replacement in 5-10 years while string inverter boxes may need replacement every 10-15 years.
What maintenance does the system require?
You should go years without problems. The batteries in our residential system may need replacement every five to 10 years. We also monitor the systems production to make sure everything is performing as it should.
Will a system produce enough energy to cover all of my electricity needs?
It is important to understand that a solar electric system does not need to provide all of the electricity you need to be of great value. A small system that displaces an average of one-quarter to one-half of your average demand reduces your electric bill. With battery backup, it can deliver uninterrupted power to critical loads during utility outages for days or weeks. We are happy to provide you with a system that supplies 100 percent of your energy needs, but making your home more energy efficient is typically the most cost-effective approach to home solar power.
How long is the solar installation warranty under YellowLite?
Our photovoltaic installations are guaranteed for five to ten years after your solar electric system becomes operational. The installed solar equipment carries its own product warranties and will be backed by the manufacturing company.