FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How does Solar Sandy’s Kilowatt Worksheet work?
By filling out 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.
How will my solar panels generate power during monsoon season?
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!
Where do I begin with Solar Panels?
By filling out a kilowatt worksheet.
Is switching to solar energy affordable?
If you’re keeping up with high monthly energy bill payments, then you can afford a switch to solar power. By filling out the kilowatt worksheet, Solar Sandy breaks down the potential costs and savings.
How much can I save by choosing solar?
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.
How do photovoltaics work?
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.
How is this different and why is this more reliable?
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solar hot water panels, in many cases date back to President Carter-era tax credits, which President Reagan promptly repealed early in his first term.
How long will PV modules last?
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.
Are there any major advances in technology on the horizon that I should hold out for? (e.g., plastics, nano, thin film, etc.)
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 products’ efficiency levels were achieved in the laboratory anywhere from 15-20 years ago, indicating the long lag between research gains and commercial product introduction. Net, 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
How do I (we/you) determine how large a system I’ll need?
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.
Roof-mounted or ground-mounted?
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.
What happens on dark/cloudy days?
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.
Do I need batteries?
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 business’s disaster preparedness, a battery storage solution for your PV system will switchover in the event of a power outage.
I have plans for expansion. Can I plan for this now?
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.
What will this do to my roof?
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
I hear XXXXXXX’s modules are the most efficient. Wouldn’t those be the best choice?
There are some considerable performance differences between manufacturer’s products. As you might expect, greater efficiency carries a higher price. Solar Sandy makes the highest efficiency solar modules on the market and has been our dealer since 2008. In every case, we seek out the most cost-effective solution, maximizing your long-term return on investment while minimizing the initial investment.
I hear XXXXXXX’s modules are the cheapest. Wouldn’t those be the best choice?
Given the 25-year performance warranties solar module manufacturers’ offer, we screens module manufacturers for product quality and performance along with for long-term financial viability.
I’ve never heard of the companies that make inverters (e.g., SMA, ABB, Schneider, etc.). How can I trust them?
Solar Sandy sources inverters from only the largest and the best-capitalized manufacturers for quality, longevity, and long-term financial viability.
SUBSIDIES & ECONOMICS
How much do these systems cost and how much money will I save each year? How long will it take to pay back my investment?
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 is roughly ranging from 15% to 25%. No RIO on paying power, Solar Sandy will review your solar savings in your home consultation.
What subsidies are available?
Commercial solar buyers benefit from a federal tax credit (though 2019) and accelerated federal depreciation. Combined, these tax benefits typically defray as much as 70% of the out-of-pocket cost of solar.
Is financing available?
Yes, we have financing available for solar along with home economic credit and HELCO.
What’s the impact on my property taxes?
Photovoltaic systems are exempt from property taxes.
Since the return on investment hinges on selling power to my utility, how can I be confident this will be accurately accounted for?
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.
What are the critical assumptions for modeling ROI?
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.
Will a roof-mounted system void my roofer’s warranty? 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.
My building’s roof needs replacing soon. Does it make sense to integrate the installations? 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 going on.
What if my roof needs repair after the PV system is installed? Spot repairs are easily accommodated as any since module is secured with only four bolts. Non-penetrating ballasted systems can also easily be moved to accommodate repairs.
What kind of county/city permits will I need? We always need an electrical permit from the city or county and some require a building permit as well. SolarSandy and our licensed installers will handle all of this, from applications to inspections.
How long will my installation take? For residential installs, it will be as simple as 1-3 days.
OWNING THE PANELS
What are the maintenance procedures and costs? Solar PV systems are solid-state technology, have no moving parts and require no maintenance.
What parts will break first? The inverter(s), which typically have a useful life of 15-20 years, will be the first thing to fail.
What about Warranty? Solar Sandy provides a 25 year extended warranty for all Solar Systems.
SOLAR PANELS/GOING GREEN
Why are solar panels green? The Sun deliveries more total energy to the Earth every single second then we can use in a year. Solar energy creates less pollution then when it is produced by a energy company. Solar power decreases fossil fuels and carbon emissions worldwide.
I hear manufacturing PV panels creates toxic by-products and waste. True? 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.