New York Tri-State Solar Energy FAQ's
1. How much space does the system need?
Space required depends upon your location, direction of the roof (South facing is best), tilt of the roof, shadows from trees, adjoining buildings etc. A typical system requires about 7 to 9 square feet for each dollar of your monthly electric bill.
2. Do the solar panels need to be mounted only on my roof?
Solar panels in New York can be mounted on ground if un-shaded land is available. However, solar panels on roof are preferred to utilize the roof space & keeping them out of the way & avoiding dirt, accidental damage etc.
3. Do the panels need to face south?
South is best, but panels installed facing east or west still generate about 75% of power. North facing panels generate only about 44% of the power of south facing and are never installed.Roof panels are normally installed flush with roof, no matter which direction the roof is facing, as long as there is no "North" in their direction.
4. Are the panels fragile?
No. While the panels are made of tempered glass, it is quite strong. They pass hail tests, and are regularly installed in Arctic and Antarctic conditions.
5. How much solar electric power do I need to power my home?
The energy used depends upon your lifestyle & number of family members. The power installed is such that energy produced is less than energy used in a year.
6. How much power does the system produce?
Systems come in all sizes, and produce as much or as little power as required. Many systems produce a portion of the home's required power, leaving room for additional conservation or generation in the future.
7. How long will the system last?
Solar panels, the heart of the system, has a life span of over 20 years & is guaranteed for 20 years. Other small components also have a long life & are guaranteed for at least 5 years.
The solar panels have a 25-year power warranty from the manufacturer. This is longer than almost anything else you can buy. The rest of the system has a 5-year warranty in most areas. Inverters can have warranties up to 10 years.
8. What happens when the utility has a power outage?
We normally sell Grid-connected systems without batteries. These systems do not generate power when the utility is out, even if it is sunny for safety consideration. If backup power is desired, a battery system can be added. This increases the complexity and cost.
9. Do I need batteries with the system?
Batteries are only required if you want backup power when the utility is out of service. Without batteries, the system has no way to store power, and for safety reasons cannot produce power without the utility in operation.
10. What is Net Metering?
On a sunny day, you may produce more energy than what you need. In that case, you give surplus energy back to the electric company & the meter runs backwards. Thus, net metering subtracts the energy you give back from the energy you have taken from electric company. Net Metering is the regulatory ability to get credit for electricity you generate with solar energy and send backwards through your utility meter. Exact provisions vary with each state, but the effect is to allow you to generate excess power during the day, and use it at night, without needing batteries.
11. How does the solar power get stored?
In a non-battery system, power is not stored. It is either used immediately in the house, or is sold back to electric company through the meter. If storage is needed, large batteries and other equipment are added to the system.
12. What happens if the panels get covered by snow?
Solar electric panels need sunshine to generate power. While some sun does make it through several inches of snow, little electricity is generated when the panels are covered with anything . Most power is made during clear sunny days. Our estimates take that into account.
13. Do I need to install a new roof before the solar panels are installed?
Solar panels will last many years (over 20). Because of this, we want the roof to be in decent condition, as it does not make sense to remove and reinstall the panels after only a few years. However, after the panels are in place, they will greatly reduce the wear on the roof by blocking ultraviolet rays, keeping most snow and ice off the roof, and keeping anything from hitting the roof. Most installations do not require a new roof prior to PV installation.
14. What happens if the panels are shaded?
PV panels should be installed in areas where they get significant shade-free sun every day. Even small amounts of shade can significantly reduce the output. However, if some is unavoidable on your roof, we will design a system that will minimize the loss of power.
15. Do I need to clean the panels periodically?
Most of our customers do not clean their panels. In most areas of the country, there is sufficient rain to clean the panels. However, if you are in a dusty area (very near a busy dirt road, very urban area, etc.) you may see a performance gain from cleaning the panels monthly. If necessary, a hose stream is usually sufficient for cleaning. Do not walk on or over the panels to clean them. Do not use metal, hard, or abrasive methods for cleaning. Do not spray water on the panels when they are very hot.
16. Does solar power work for commercial buildings?
Yes. Commercial buildings with large roof areas offer a great opportunity to companies to reduce their costs. Anywhere electricity is used and un-shaded area is available, solar electricity can be used.
17. Are there financial incentives for buying solar electricity?
There are incentives available from many sources for purchasing solar. These vary from state to state. Please contact us for more details.
18. If I sell my property, what effect does PV have on the sale price?
Energy conservation and renewable generation adds value to a home. Surveys have shown that for every $1,000 saved per year, $20,000 is added to a home's value. Solar energy can be one of the best home improvement investments you make.
19. How long does it take to install a PV system?
Typical residential systems take from 2 to 5 days to install. Systems mounted on the ground and systems with batteries are more complex, and may take longer. Most of this time is spent outside your house, so there is little disturbance to you. Commercial systems take several weeks to over a month to install, depending upon size and type of installation.