Solar Panel FAQs

Solar Sandy Knows Solar

As your experts in solar energy configuration, Solar Sandy has a wealth of knowledge to help you OWN YOUR POWER. Below are the most common solar panel FAQs we receive, but there are many others you may have. Please email us or call us and we'd be happy to walk you through our proprietary configuration process, installation details and any other specifics you'd like to discuss.

The Basics

By completing the kilowatt worksheet, you submit a year’s worth of monthly energy bill expenditures. Once we receive your usage history and other data, Solar Sandy will reach out to you to plan a consultation in person.

During monsoon season, storm clouds roll in and block the sun’s rays. However, that doesn’t stop solar panels from generating power, even from indirect sunlight. Plus, rain is extremely beneficial for your solar panels, keeping it clean!

Fill out our kilowatt worksheet and we'll use the Solar Sandy proprietary configuration to provide you a proposal. We'll show you how the right type of solar panels, our propriety panel configuration, and the latest technology in power storage will help you OWN YOUR POWER. 

If you’re tired of high monthly energy bills, it's time to switch to solar power. By completing the kilowatt worksheet, Solar Sandy breaks down the potential costs and savings. We will share with you how Solar Sandy became the expert in solar energy and how she saved her daughter's family hundreds of dollars every month at the very time she was unable to afford her energy bills.

When it comes to power grid utility costs, people spend as much as $100,000 over a lifetime. By Producing Your Own Power with Solar Sandy, your lifetime savings can amount to as much as $50,000 or more.

To answer that, ask yourself three questions. If you answer YES to all of them, then your home is ready for solar!

1) Do you have a roof that faces from southeast through southwest? (Although we can put solar panel systems on an east or west facing roof, it will not generate as much energy.)

2) Is this roof mostly clear of trees? (If it isn't, make sure that you can regularly trim trees or even remove certain growth.)

3) Is the roof new or in very good shape? (Any system we supply you with will last for 25 years or more if maintained properly, so it’s important that we install the system on a roof that won’t need to be replaced or repaired after having a solar panel placed on it.)

Start saving now by completing the Solar Sandy Kilowatt Worksheet.

At night and during cloudy weather, the solar system’s output is reduced or stopped, and your home will get electricity directly from the utility grid. You’re always connected to the grid, so you can have as much power as you need, regardless of whether the solar system is able to put out any power.

When the sun is shining, the power produced goes to reducing your usage at the time, and if it exceeds, the meter goes backwards, counting down your electric use and bill. You will enter into a “net-metering” agreement with your utility that allows this to happen seamlessly. Some months you may find your system generates more power than you use. This is fine; this will give you a credit you during a month you produce more than you use.

Solar Tech - Photovoltaic Technology

Here’s a short answer: Sunlight on photovoltaic modules produces direct current (DC) electricity which is converted to alternating current (AC) by a device called an inverter, which is then wired into your main service panel where it feeds your internal power grid.

Good question! The broken solar panels you’re referring to are likely solar hot water panels, in many cases date back to President Carter-era tax credits, which President Reagan promptly repealed early in his first term.

Based on manufacturers’ in-field experience and reliability testing, PV modules will probably last longer, and are more reliable, than just about any other capital investment for your business and home.

Unlike the other major use of silicon – computer chips – photovoltaic technology is not subject to Moore’s Law. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratories, the rate of improvement of achievements in efficiency for crystalline solar cells is less than 1% per year since 1970. Additionally, today’s commercially-available PV product efficiency levels were achieved in the laboratory anywhere from 15-20 years ago, indicating the long lag between research gains and commercial product introduction. In other words, waiting for a magic solar bullet will probably mean waiting a long time, and paying a lot for electricity in the interim.

System Design Questions

The size of the system is usually directly proportional to the amount of power you use. As part of the proposal process Solar Sandy will perform a site assessment, analyze at least twelve months’ worth of utility statements. With that information, Solar Sandy will present recommendations for your goal of making sure you feel the ultimate path chosen is ideal.

It depends. Roof-mounted tends to be less expensive as they require no support structures and are most often not visible to passersby. On the other hand, ground- mounted systems can usually be oriented and tilted to optimize production.

A PV system seamlessly switches to draw from the utility grid when needed. As such, Solar Sandy uses an annual production target, averaging out sunnier days with cloudy days.

The answer is no. If you don’t have a back-up solution today, an ordinary grid-connected PV system will leave you in the same position. However, if you require back-up power or are looking to upgrade your disaster preparedness, a battery storage solution for your PV system will switch over in the event of a power outage.

We frequently take into account future growth plans when designing your system. We’ll discuss this with you and explore a variety of options to meet your needs now and in the future.

PV systems typically weigh no more than 3-4 lbs/sq ft, and most flat roofs have a 20# per sq ft ‘dead load’ capacity so array weight on the roof is rarely an issue. We can also design a solution to be completely non-penetrating.

Questions on Our Products

There are some considerable performance differences between manufacturers' products. As you might expect, greater efficiency carries a higher price. Solar Sandy specifies the highest efficiency solar modules on the market and has been using the same dealer since 2008. In every case, we seek out the most value-based, cost-effective solution, maximizing your long-term return on investment while minimizing the initial investment.

Given the 25-year performance warranties solar module manufacturers offer, we screen module manufacturers for product quality and performance along with long-term financial viability.

Solar Sandy sources inverters from only the largest and the best-capitalized manufacturers for quality, longevity and long-term financial viability.

Subsidies & Economics

The size of the system is the largest determinant of the price, and the savings rise accordingly. In most cases, the payback period for a photovoltaic system ranges roughly from 15% to 25%. No ROI on paying power, Solar Sandy will review your solar savings during your initial consultation.

Yes, we have financing available for solar along with the home economic credit and HELCO.

Photovoltaic systems (aka solar panels) are exempt from property taxes.

The power you generate is metered by your inverter and the utility meter tracks power in both directions. Plus, you can track your production and the power you export via our online monitoring software. Finally, you’ll receive a monthly statement from your utility company.

The key drivers are avoided cost of power no longer purchased, the site-specific system design and cost, and the value of the state and federal subsidies.

Installation Questions

We frequently coordinate our work with roofers to ensure warranties remain in force and the PV system installation also comes with a 10-year warranty that includes roof integrity.

Yes. If you’re planning to replace your roof in the next few years, it may make sense to move that up and install the PV system at the same time as the new roof is being installed.

Spot repairs are easily accommodated as each module is secured with only four bolts. Non-penetrating ballasted systems can also easily be moved to accommodate repairs. There is also a roof warranty to cover any penetration that occurs during solar installation.

We always need an electrical permit from the city or county and some require a building permit as well. Solar Sandy and our licensed installers will handle all of this, from applications to inspections. Some homeowner associations (HOAs) require permits and approvals.

Overall, solar panel installation can take 4-8 weeks depending on several factors. For example, each city jurisdiction is different so there are times where Solar Sandy may have to submit a few rounds of plans, making adjustments based on each jurisdiction's permits. ACTUAL residential installation – once permits are approved – only takes 3 days. Then, for the system to be operational, your utility company will inspect the installation before providing permission to operate. Taking into account varying factors, the overall time before your new solar panels are operational can take 4-8 weeks in total.

Owning the Panels

Solar PV systems are solid-state technology, have no moving parts and require no maintenance.

The inverter(s), which typically have a useful life of 15-20 years, will typically be the first thing to fail.

Solar Sandy provides a 25-year extended warranty for all solar panel systems.

Going Green

The sun delivers more total energy to the earth every single second than we can use in a year. Solar energy creates less pollution than when it is produced by an energy company. Solar power decreases fossil fuels and carbon emissions worldwide.

The Environmental Working Group’s Green Energy Guide reports the manufacturing and operation of photovoltaics creates far less emissions than any other source of electricity analyzed.