For modules purchased before 2015, please contact [email protected] or call at (503)365-1086
Q: How do I find a solar provider?
A: Most solar providers are found in your local phone book under Solar; or visit our Installer Locator.
Q: What should I look for in a solar provider?
A: Look for experience, proper licenses, insurance, references, close proximity, and a provider you feel comfortable with. To ensure a reasonable price, solicit bids from several providers and compare their offers:
Do they provide a timeline and checklist?
Do they offer on-site inspection and bill analysis?
Do they provide a multi-year financial and energy prediction?
Will they handle all paperwork, permits, utility agreements, etc.?
Is there a full system warranty for five years (or more)?
Have they accounted for shade, poles, wires or future buildings?
Do they include annual maintenance checks or cleaning?
Is there a monitoring package included, so you can view the results of your solar system over the Internet?
Q: Is there any preparatory work needed within my house?
A: Yes, before you install a solar system, it is best to increase the energy efficiency of your house. Install new compact fluorescent lights and insulation, and upgrade to energy efficient appliances and windows, where possible. When your house is more energy efficient, the solar system you purchase can be smaller (and cost less!) to meet your energy needs.
Q: What maintenance is required?
A. Wash dust and dirt off your solar panels twice per year with water and a soft brush. An easy solution is to ask your solar provider about a maintenance package, including cleaning, checking the electrical connections of the wiring and general condition of your system.
Q: How can I maximize the power my solar system produces?
A: Solar systems should be oriented south or west to maximize performance. Shade severely affects solar system performance. Keep trees and bushes trimmed and wash panels as needed to keep off dust, dirt, and bird droppings. Allow space between your roof and panels to let air flow underneath and keep panels cool.
Q: Why did my solar system produce more (or less) energy than expected?
A: Weather conditions vary from year to year, and can affect the output of your system by plus or minus 12% per year, so your system may produce more or less than originally estimated. (Source: DOE)
Q: How long will installation take?
A: The ease of installation makes solar systems an easy choice for most people. Installation for a house usually takes 1-7 days depending on the size and complexity of your system.
Q: Do I have to be at the house when it is installed?
A: Talk with your solar provider about time requirements. Often, solar systems can be installed without the need to regularly enter your house.
Q: Do I need to add anything else, like lightning rods, roof structures, etc.?
A: Your solar provider will know the details of connecting your system to the electric grid and complying with local codes. They will advise you about any additional components that may be necessary.
Q: What happens if my solar system stops working?
A: There are no moving parts to break (meaning no mechanical wear and tear) so systems will last many years without failure, but if it does stop, contact your solar provider and request a visit. To be safe, do not attempt to repair the solar system yourself
Q: Do solar panels emit noise?
A: No. Solar panels are silent. However, the inverter may hum slightly.
Q: Will a solar system produce electricity when it is cloudy?
A: Yes, because solar panels absorb various spectrums of visible and invisible light, but the energy produced by your solar system will be less than when the sky is clear and sunny.
Q: Does a solar system work in cold weather?
A: Yes. Solar systems work in many weather conditions, and often work better in cold temperatures during winter months because cold temperatures cause an increase in the conductivity of metals and wires.
Q: Will snow affect my solar system?
A: It depends on the amount of snow and ambient temperature. However, if the solar panel is covered entirely by snow, it decreses energy generation.
Q: Does shade affect my solar system?
A: Yes, your solar system should be placed where there are minimal amounts of shade from trees, buildings, chimneys, satellite dishes or other objects.
Q: How much space do I need for a solar system?
A: The amount of space your solar system needs depends on the amount of electricity you want to generate. Most homes require between 120ft.2 and 320ft.2, which is equivalent to a solar system size of 2kW-5kW using Panasonic HIT®.
Q: Should I repair my existing roof before installing a solar system?
A: Yes, if your roof is old or requires repair, fix or replace it at the same time you install a solar system to avoid future costs of removal and reinstallation of your solar system in order to access your roof
Q: Will hail, wind, or fire affect my solar system?
A: Solar panels are tested to meet certain safety requirements such as impacts of 1" hail, wind loads up to 50PSF, and certain fire standards. Your solar provider will attach and install your system and ensure it meets local requirements.
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