Frequently Asked Questions
How many solar panels do I need?
The size of system that you install will depend on a few factors such as energy consumption, available space for installation and solar panel orientation. You will need to take into account the direction your available installation area is facing (South-facing is most optimal), and which equipment you choose. Some panels are more efficient, though more expensive, so the amount of panels a system requires can vary.
What's the difference between central and micro inverters?
Solar panels create electricity in direct current, while homes operate on alternating current. Inverters turn DC electricity into AC. Central inverters connect all the solar panels together into a “string” and can only produce energy to the “lowest common denominator” (the least producing panel in the array). Systems set up with micro inverters have an individual inverter for each panel which allows the panels to produce independently. Typically, systems with micro inverters produce about 5% more than a system with a central inverter.
How long will a solar system last?
Think of your solar system as a 25-year investment. Solar panels will produce electricity for at least 25 years. Panels will continue to generate electricity after 25 years, but at a decreasing rate. While microinverters will likely last for the duration of the PV system, you may need to replace central inverters after 15 years.
What size system do I need?
The capacity of a solar system used to generate electricity is measured in kilowatts. One kilowatt equals 1,000 watts. Before moving forward with a solar energy system installation, you’ll want to review your annual kilowatt-hour consumption. This review will help in determining how much electricity you need to produce, and will help you choose the solar system size that meets your budget and energy needs.
What components are required to construct a solar system?
Solar systems are relatively simple. Photovoltaic cells are wired together to form a module, also known as a solar panel or PV. Panels are linked together in a circuit to form an array, which is mounted on rooftops or in open spaces in a way that provides maximum exposure to the sun. The array is connected to an inverter and the wiring necessary to connect these devices to your home electric system. Batteries are used to store energy for those times when the PVs are not receiving sunlight.
How much maintenance does a solar system require?
In general solar systems require little maintenance, but systems should be monitored and routinely inspected to ensure your system is performing safely and to design standards. Panels may require occasional cleaning to remove accumulated debris.