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How much does a solar electric system cost and can I afford it?
Solar systems are more affordable than ever. They can now pay themselves off in just a few short years. Many people finance their solar with either secured or unsecured loans, and Power Purchase Agreements (PPA). A system pays for itself many times over during its expected life. Ask us for a FREE detailed cost analysis for your home or business.
Are government incentives available for solar?
Yes. A 30% federal income tax credit is available for solar and in New Jersey you can sell SRECs (solar renewable energy certificates) for 15 years. These incentives plus the electricity savings can cover half the cost of your system after the first year. Most systems pay for themselves within 5 years. Now is a great time to go solar.
What are SRECs?
SRECs or solar renewable energy certificates, are available to solar system owner for 15 years. SRECs are earned by the solar system owner each time their system generates one megawatt hour. A typical residential system will earn 10 or more of these a year. Currently, they are worth about $165 each.
What is photovoltaics (solar electricity), or "PV"?
Photovoltaic (PV) or solar electricity works by capturing sunlight energy and converting it to electricity. It is a renewable resource.
What are the components of a PV system?
PV modules (groups of PV cells), which are commonly called PV panels; inverters for a utility-grid-connected system; wiring and mounting hardware or a framework. For an off-grid or stand-alone system a charge regulator or controller and one or more batteries are required.
How many solar panels are required to produce enough electricity to run my building?
That depends on your electrical usage and how many watts each solar panel is. They come in different wattages, typically from 100 watts or less, to 300 watts or more. Each one kilowatt of solar in New Jersey will produce about 1300 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per year. We can tell you by looking at your electric bill and your available roof space. An average home may require anywhere from 10 to 50 solar panels.
What is net metering?
Excess electricity produced by your solar system is delivered back into the utility grid, effectively spinning your meter backwards. You get credit for this. Your meter spins forward when your solar system is not producing all of the electricity you are currently using. Your electric meter keeps track of this net difference as you generate and take electricity to and from the utility grid.
What if I need a new roof?
If you have solar and need to replace the roof several years later, the panels can be easily removed and replaced on the new roof.
How does a solar electric system work?
Solar cells in the modules convert sunlight directly into DC power. An inverter converts this DC power into AC power that can be used in your home or business. The system is interconnected with your utility. During the day, if your solar system produces more electricity than you are using, you will be credited for the excess power generated. Your utility provides power as usual if your electricity demand exceeds what is produced by your solar system.
Will my system work on cloudy days?
Yes, though they produce less electricity. Under a light overcast sky, panels might produce about half as much as under full sun.
How can I tell how my system is performing?
The inverters tell you how much electricity you generate. And your electric bill will show you how much you put back on the grid.
How do I know if a solar electric system would work on my building?
Solar electric power works for most buildings in most locations where direct sunlight is available. A sunny place on your roof is required. A south-facing roof area is optimal, but solar panels can be mounted on west- or east- facing roofs and still produce better than 90 percent of the power of a true south roof mounting.
What other options do I have if the system cannot be mounted on my roof?
A ground-mount, solar awning or carport may be an option.
How big are the panels?
Solar panels vary in size. Most modules are about 3 feet by 4 feet or 5 ft long by 3 ft wide, with other variations.
What maintenance does the system require?
Solar systems typically require little or no maintenance. The rain in New Jersey is considered adequate to keep the panels clean. You can get a service contract that will include washing the panels and checking the system on an annual basis.
What happens during a power outage?
Most grid-tied pv systems power your building during daylight hours, but will not provide power in an outage, due to a required disconnect shut-off for safety to linemen repairing the grid. Now there is a new inverter available which we have been installing that will provide daytime power during a grid outage. A battery backup system would provide power during night time during a grid-outage. Part of the solar power produced during the day is used to charge batteries, which can provide power at night.
What about shade?
Shading from trees reduces the output of a solar system. Trees may require pruning which we have lots of experience with.
How long will my solar power system last?
Solar modules are tough, with no moving parts and have warranties of 20 to 25 years. They are expected to last much longer than the warranty. Most of the related system components should also last for many years without problems.
Can the modules withstand high winds and hail?
The panels are supported by our mounting system that has been tested to withstand 125 mph winds. Most modules can withstand hailstones at 50 mph.
Can I be totally independent from the utility?
Yes, if you have an optional battery back-up solar system installed. There is an additional charge for that type of system, which requires extra components & batteries.
Will I still be connected to the grid with solar?
Yes, most systems are designed to interconnect with utility power.
Can I generate heat & hot water for my home with a residential solar electric system?
PV solar electric systems are designed to provide electricity to run your lights, appliances and other electric devices. Other solar technologies turn the sun’s light into heat or hot water instead of electricity.
Do I need approval to install solar from a homeowners’ association?
If you belong to a homeowners’ association, consult your covenants for details. New Jersey now prohibits homeowners’ associations from restricting solar. Permits are required.
Will a system produce enough energy to cover all my electricity needs?
Many will eliminate their electric bill with solar. Even a smaller solar system that provides less than the total electricity use is a great value as a financial investment, saving and making money while reducing pollution.
It’s best to start with an energy audit. You’ll reduce your electricity loads and require a smaller solar system. You could use the excess solar energy to charge your future electric vehicle!
Go solar and save!
Call us for a FREE quote today at 732-681-5296