Common Solar Power Questions
Below are answers to many common questions about solar power:
How do solar energy systems work?
A: Active (energy producing) solar systems are known as photovoltaic or PV systems. Photovoltaics is the direct conversion of light into electricity at the atomic level.
1. Through the absorption of the sun’s visible light, photovoltaic cell technology converts the light energy into electricity (DC) because of the photovoltaic effect. This effect occurs when electrons are knocked loose from the atoms in the silicon semiconductor material and emitted from the cell. The silicon-composed cells are strung together within solar modules (or panels) and the arrangements of panels is the solar array.
2. The array is connected to an inverter, which converts the Direct Current (DC) of the PV modules to Alternating Current (AC) – the electricity used by the utility grid and your electrical appliances.
3. Your performance meter is connected to the inverter, which measures all of the energy your system generates. You can monitor this meter through an online account!
4. The performance meter is connected to the utility meter through the service panel. The utility meter spins backwards as your system generates energy and spins forwards as you use electricity in your building.
5. If you use less electricity than your solar array generates, the surplus can be sold back to the utility grid for personal credits.
Is solar a safe investment?
A: The minute you turn on your system, your solar array becomes a revenue-generating asset. Locally produced, directly distributed energy systems like solar helps you achieve independence from imported fossil fuels and will protect you from energy rate hikes.
Will the system work on gray, cloudy or overcast days?
A: Yes, because photovoltaic energy (PV or solar power) uses the full spectrum of light, the ultraviolet rays are still charging the system, even when the sunlight isn’t visible.
How does my solar array work with the utility grid?
A: The solar panels generate electricity when exposed to sunlight. This electricity is conditioned by the power inverter to match the electricity coming from the utility grid.
Does the system work when the regular power (the utility grid) is down?
A: Yes, if you choose a system that has a battery pack, it will provide power to those circuits you select as critical loads. You might choose the refrigerator, computers, some lighting circuits, heater fan, TV or whatever you feel should have back-up power.
Does a warranty program cover the system? How long will my solar PV system last?
A: We provide a 10-year complete system warranty, including labor and equipment. Solar system components carry 25 year warranties. With proper maintenance your system should last for a minimum of 25 years.
What happens when we generate more power than we’re using?
A: Net Metering is one of the many benefits of renewable energy, which allows your electricity meter to spin forwards when electricity flows into your house and backwards if your system produces more energy than is immediately used. You are billed for the difference between the electricity you generate and the energy you use. To find out more about solar energy and incentives, go to the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) website. Martifer Solar USA is a prominent and active SEPA member.