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  • How do solar panels actually work?
    Solar panels are made of highly excitable, conductive materials. When the sun’s rays hit the solar panels, the reaction creates direct current (DC) electricity. Since most homes and businesses use alternating current (AC) electricity, your solar-generated DC energy will pass through an inverter to become AC electricity. Then it flows through your property’s wiring and behaves just like the power you’ve been using your whole life.
  • Solar power vs. other energy sources
    Solar power is an optimal resource when compared with fossil fuels. Solar energy is a clean, emissions-free, and renewable energy source. Unlike fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas, solar doesn't release harmful pollutants or greenhouse gas emissions—like carbon dioxide—into the air and water supply. There's enough solar energy hitting the Earth every hour to meet all of humanity's power needs for an entire year. Every ounce of oil, every lump of coal, and every cubic foot of natural gas could be left in the ground if only we could capture one hour's worth of solar energy each year. That's the scale of the opportunity. To put it into a different perspective, if we covered the Mojave Desert with solar arrays, it would generate more than twice as much electricity as the U.S. uses annually
  • Is Solar energy less expensive than other energy sources?
    YES! According to Lazard's Levelized Cost Of Energy Analysis--Version 11.0, solar energy costs as little as 4.3 cents per kWh on an unsubsidized basis, cheaper than nearly every option for new fossil-fuel power plants. The cheapest fossil fuel option is natural gas, which costs between 4.2 and 7.8 cents per kWh.
  • How do solar photovoltaic cells work?
    The solar cells we use are made with silicon, which comes from sand. It is a semiconductor like a microchip in your computer. Phosphorus and boron are added to the silicon which encourages electrons to move when the silicon is struck by rays of UV light. Positive and negative electrons move across the cell to electrical circuits that eventually lead to positive and negative cables coming out of the back of the panel.
  • What is the difference between solar panels and building integrated photovoltaic products?
    Solar panels are flat panels of glass and silicon with a metal frame that are mounted on a roof or a pole. Building integrated photovoltaic materials into the building material itself, primarily windows, roof tiles, or walls. Solar panels are generally 1/3 to half the cost of building integrated materials.
  • How much will I really save on my utility bills from a home electric solar power system?
    This is a relative question. It depends, in part, on how much electricity you use and how efficient the appliances are that you operate. However, most systems excess electricity in the summer (when days are long) which can potentially offset the energy you use from the grid in the winter. Our solar energy experts can help calculate how much you could potentially save with solar panels.
  • What's the difference between solar photovoltaic and solar hot water systems?
    While both types of solar systems capture energy from the sun, solar photovoltaic systems use photovoltaic panels to produce electricity. Solar hot water, or thermal, systems capture sunlight to heat water for domestic use, to heat a swimming pool, or for a radiant heating system.
  • How much maintenance do solar energy panels require?
    Solar electric panels require little maintenance – no need to wash or dust. It is, however, important to place panels where they will remain clear of shade and debris. Otherwise you will have to wipe them off if too much snow or leaves fall on them.
  • Can I get financing for Solar Panels?
    Yes, we have many financing options available. Please contact us to learn whether you qualify.
  • Do I need special insurance for Solar Panels?
    Standard homeowner's insurance policies usually suffice to meet electric utility requirements, which means no separate solar panel insurance is needed. Electric utilities usually require that homeowners who take advantage of net metering sign an interconnection agreement.
  • Will I need a building permit to install a solar energy system in my home?
    Yes. You'll need to obtain building permits to install a solar electric system. That said, residential solar power systems do not use "radical" building techniques and most jurisdictions have building codes that fully embrace solar energy technology. We include the price for permits into our cost estimate.
  • How can I calculate the cost and payback time from a solar power installation?
    We can help you figure out the initial cost of the solar panel installation and how long it will take to recoup the solar panel cost. Our energy experts can calculate your exact cost and overall savings once we access your home or business.
  • How long will it take to install solar panels in my home?
    Planning, configuring, and doing any custom ordering for your solar energy system can take up to a few weeks. However, the installation process itself can typically be completed in only a few days time, in many cases even less.
  • What components are needed to install a grid-tied solar electric system?
    You will need a photovoltaic array to capture the sun's energy, an inverter to convert the direct current (DC) produced from the photovoltaic cells into alternating current (AC) used by your home, and a house utility meter – called a net meter – that can record both the electricity produced from your home's power system as well as any power you may use off the grid. These three system components are then connected through a series of wiring. The photovoltaic panels are secured to your roof with panel mounts or are installed on poles that can be adjusted for sun angle.
  • How does net metering for Solar Panels work?
    Net metering is a billing mechanism that credits solar energy system owners for the electricity they add to the grid. Net meters look very much like other outdoor energy meters with one notable exception––they spin both forwards and backwards, recording both power produced and power used.
  • Do I need battery backup for my solar panels?
    Probably not – a backup battery bank can add as much as 25% in cost to a residential solar PV system. It's not necessarily more efficient either – a same sized solar array will yield about 7–10% less energy if it's battery-tied than its grid-tied counterpart. Though you will remain tethered to your local utilities' grid, you will not have to worry about not generating enough power. You also gain the advantage of offsetting rising utility costs. Most solar photovoltaic experts do not recommend adding a backup battery system unless there is concern about a long utility outage or the residence is in a remote location.
  • How much space do I need for a solar photovoltaic system?
    Our systems use 18 square feet per solar panel. For example, a 10 panel, 2,300 watt system uses 180 sq ft.
  • How many solar panels do I need for an electric solar power system?
    This is determined by three factors: your budget, your available roof space, and your electrical usage. An average residential system is 20 panels, or 4,600 watts. Contact Solar Connection's solar energy experts to learn more.
  • Does shade affect the performance of solar panels?
    While shading is best to be avoided, it can be accounted for, and included in your electrical production and investment analysis. Shading can be calculated and accounted for in small amounts. Our system uses a special inverter that means if one panel is shaded, all the other panels are not affected.
  • How do I know if solar panels will work on my home?
    Take a look at the position of your home on its lot – particularly your roof. Ask yourself the following questions: Is there good southern exposure? Orienting solar panels to the south maximizes the effectiveness of energy collection. Is the exposure free of trees or buildings that could shade the panels or drop debris on them? Shading photovoltaic panels dramatically reduces their effectiveness. What is the pitch of your roof? Most roofs, from flat to 60-degrees can accommodate photovoltaic panels.
  • Do I need to have south facing exposure to have a solar energy system?
    Although southern exposure increases the effectiveness of a residential solar power system, your home may still work for solar power without having south facing exposure. Our solar energy experts can help with determining whether or not your home or business location is well-suited for solar panel use.
  • What other factors are important to consider when installing a home solar energy system?
    The location of your home and the local climate will play into where you place and how you install your solar electric or solar hot water system. Wind speeds, heavy snow loads, and salt water can all affect a solar array. Understanding how those inputs affect performance will determine the types of mounts or how the arrays are angled. A Solar Connection pro will be knowledgeable about your local conditions and can help you design a system that works well for you.
  • What is a grid-tied solar system?
    A grid-tied solar system is connected to the electrical power grid. The system is reliant on this grid to produce usable solar energy and funnel excess energy for net metering, clean energy credits, or later usage. Staying connected to the grid means you’ll have energy at all times, day or night, even if there is no sun out.
  • What are the advantages of solar energy?
    Some Solar Energy benefits include: 26% Federal Tax Credit can be applied to your total install cost. More Info. Financial returns and lower monthly utility bills Increased home values Reduced air pollution, water usage, & dependence on nonrenewable energy sources Solar panels can generate power year round whether rainy, cloudy, or snowy
  • How much energy does one solar panel produce?
    One residential solar panel can generate between 170-350 watts per hour, with 250 watts per hour being the average. This range is dependent on the area and climate in which you live. Either way, solar panels can significantly reduce your electricity bill.
  • How many kwh does a solar panel produce in a day?
    One solar panel can produce roughly 1.5 kilowatt hours per day. That's about 500-550 kilowatt hours of energy per year from each panel on your roof.
  • How long does a solar panel last?
    The industry standard lifespan for solar panels is about 25 to 30 years. With results almost immediately, solar panels can lower cost of living, increase home value, & more.
  • How do I clean a solar panel?
    Dirt on solar panels usually has very little effect on their performance, however cleaning solar panels is recommended if you live in a climate with inclement weather. Using chemicals or detergents to clean your solar panels is not recommended, as these leave behind a sticky microfilm that attracts more dust and grime, decreasing their efficiency. Fortunately, Solar Connect offers maintenance and cleaning services so that you don’t have to worry about any upkeep, as minimal as it may be, with your solar panel systems!
  • What is the best roof angle for solar panels?
    A roof-mounted solar energy system should be at an angle that is equal to the latitude of the location where it is installed. However, pitch angles between 30 and 45 work the best in most situations, with an angle of up to 60-degrees being able to accommodate solar panels.


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