frequently asked questions
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.
Is solar energy reliable and powerful enough for my home or business?
The only time your solar panels stop generating electricity is when the sun’s not out. That means at night and during eclipses.
The sun is constant. It rises and sets pretty routinely. It’s more predictable and reliable than power plants, which often experience outages several thousand times every year.
Maybe that’s why the U.S. Department of Defense pledged to purchase 3 gigawatts of clean energy for its bases by 2025. As of 2016, they’re on track to meet that goal.
That’s renewable energy contributing power equivalent to nearly six coal plants!
This kind of recommendation seems to give people more trust in clean energy like solar power. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA):
There are currently more than 1.5 million residential solar systems in the U.S.
One consumer makes the switch to residential solar every 90 seconds
Solar energy isn’t a passing fad. It’s the key to a future of lower electricity bills and a cleaner environment.
Will my solar panels generate electricity during cloudy, rainy, or snowy days? What about at night?
Your solar panels don’t need sunshine, per se, to generate electricity as much as they need direct, unobstructed access to the sun’s UV rays.
Similar to how your skin still tans when it’s overcast outside, your solar panels will still generate electricity during cloudy, rainy, or snowy days — they just won’t produce as much energy as they do during clear days.
Solar panels do not generate electricity at night since the sun’s not out. This is when staying connected to the power grid comes in handy as you’ll still have electricity to Netflix and chill.
How much will I really save on my electricity bills every month?
That depends on how much electricity your home or business uses, where you live, the rate your utility company charges for electricity, and several other factors.
Most solar providers aim to offset 70–90% of your monthly electricity bill, so that’s a good place to start your calculations.
If you want specifics on exactly how to do that, check out our super easy crash course to saving money with solar energy.
How will switching to solar energy help me budget better?
Right now you don’t have any control over the electricity rate your utility company charges. And trends show that electricity rates will continue to rise.
When you install solar panels on your property, you’ll be generating more electricity than you use from the utility company at the price of free.
Then you’ll also generate more than enough to sell back to the utility company as credits to further lower your monthly bills. No more surprise electricity bills to tank your budget again.
How soon will I notice a difference in my electricity bills after switching to solar energy?
Your solar panels will start generating usable energy for your property the day they’re installed. Depending on when you receive your electric bill, you could start noticing lower bills the very first month.
Are solar panels difficult to maintain?
Solar panels are easier to maintain than your property’s HVAC, appliances, and maybe even your cell phone. That’s because solar panels have zero moving parts to break.
The most you’ll have to do to maintain your solar panels is make sure they’re free of dust, pollen, leaves, and other debris. Whatever’s obstructing your panels will make for less efficient energy production.
You’ll also need to trim branches that may get in the way of your solar panels and dust off heavy snow. That’s not so hard, right?
Will I ever need to replace my solar panels?
Will installing solar panels damage my roof?
Reputable solar providers now offer solar panels with manufacturer’s warranties that last between 20–30 years.
Since solar panels are so easy to maintain and have zero moving parts, they’ll keep generating energy for you home long enough to see a sizable return on your investment. Newer models have expected lifespans of 50+ years.
If anything, solar panels will protect your roof from damage and may even keep your home cooler. Check out all the different solar mounting options you can choose from. Each method aims to do as little damage to your roof as possible.
Will solar panels raise my home or business’ property value?
Everyone loves saving money.
A U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development study discovered that for every $1,000 you save in electric costs thanks to a solar array every year, you gain an additional $20,000 in property value.