Frequently Asked Questions
Solar panels absorb the sun’s energy throughout the day and convert it into direct current (DC) electricity. Most homes and businesses run on alternating current (AC) electricity, so the DC electricity is then passed through an inverter to convert it to usable AC electricity. At that point, you either use the electricity in your house or send it back to the electric grid.
For very motivated clients, we can design and install a custom backup system. However, with current technology, we find that battery systems are not quite there yet in terms of cost to benefit. A typical battery installation can add roughly 30-50% more cost. They also require lots of hands-on maintenance and need replacement in 7-10 years.
You may have heard of the Tesla PowerWall which is certainly has great potential. We’re excited for it’s arrival. At current, the units have long lead times, and have a few kinks to work out. That being said, we are an authorized vendor. Worth mentioning is the attractive $3,500 price tag is not representative of the cost associated with engineering, electrical upgrades and installation that are necessary to operate.
Because your system will be tied to the grid, it will automatically shut off in the event of a power outage. This happens in order to protect the utility repairmen that are working to restore power to the region. Backfeeding electricity while they work on the lines could be fatal.
We believe that education is the greatest tool in working with your HOA. As part of our service to our clients, we will work with your HOA by attending any necessary meetings in regard to your solar project. We are able to provide materials such as samples, drawings and photos of solar on residences. We’re happy to establish a dialogue to understand and accommodate the requests of the HOA.
In addition, state law 67-701 was passed in 2015. The law strictly prohibits HOAs from ‘flat-out’ banning solar energy installations unless they are specifically barred in founding articles. We find that many HOAs are not aware of this new ruling, so we always offer to work with them in an educational setting.
A multi-institutional research team of scientists led by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkley Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), in partnership with Sandia National Laboratories, universities, and appraisers found that home buyers consistently have been willing to pay more for homes with host-owned solar photovoltaic (PV) energy systems in their “Selling into the Sun: Price Premium Analysis of a Multi-State Dataset of PV Homes” study.
You can find the Berkley Lab study in our Resources below.
Photovoltaic (PV) panels will generate electricity even when it’s cloudy, just not as much as sunny days. Rain still plays its part in keeping your panels efficient by washing away dust and dirt. Snow on the other hand will cover the panels, which keeps them from generating electricity. All of these factors are included in production estimates and engineering design considerations.
Net metering describes the billing mechanism by which your electricity company credits you for with your solar system’s production. Your system will be connected to the electrical grid. Through net metering, your utility company will credit your bill on a 1:1 ratio for any kWh your system generates. You are only billed for electricity that you consume beyond what your system produces. It’s worth noting that net metering policies vary state to state.
Check out your utility’s net metering information in our Resources below.
In the Washington DC area it’s highly unlikely that we get an amount of snow that won’t quickly melt off of the top of your roof. Any other dirt and dust is typically washed away by rain, making your solar panels extremely easy to keep up with. Plus, with long warranties like 25 years on the panels, your system is covered for a long time.