The soaring price of NJ electricity has driven up the demand for cost-effective, cleaner sources of energy. However, many consumers still have concerns about the reliability of the technology, the cost of installation, and the maintenance required for solar systems. Here are some answers to a few of the questions commonly asked about this power technology.
How do solar panels and photovoltaic cells work?
Solar panels—or photovoltaic modules—are comprised of numerous interconnected photovoltaic cells (PV cells). An increase in the number of solar cells in a panel equates to more electrical output. Each PV cell is typically made up of silicon, a semi-conducting material generating an electrical current when sunlight strikes it. This DC power (direct current) is sent to an inverter, which converts it to AC (alternating current) electricity and allows it to power household appliances and HVAC systems.
How do I know if a solar power system will work for my home or business?
Because there are numerous installation options, solar power systems can work for almost any home or business. The ideal setting for maximum electrical output is a south-facing pitched roof with full exposure to the sun. Solar panels can be mounted on other areas of the roof, but shading from trees, chimney, vents or other obstructions will lower the effectiveness of the system. Maglio’s trained solar consultants evaluate and determine if your home or business is a good candidate for a solar panel system.
I live in an area where it is commonly overcast. Will solar power work when it is cloudy outside?
Optimal solar production requires full sunshine, but overcast skies will still offer enough diffused light for the solar panels to produce electricity. Grid-tied systems operate in tandem with your utility power grid. That means that if electrical usage exceeds solar power output, the local utility will kick in to make up for the shortfall.
Will snow cover prevent my solar panels from working properly?
Snow cover will stop modules from producing power temporarily. However, because the panels are positioned at an angle, the snow will slide off easily, and sun’s rays striking the panels will eventually melt the snow. In the event of heavy snowfall, sweeping away the snow helps panels resume operations.
What happens to solar power if there is a regional power outage?
Most inverters disconnect when utility power goes out. This prevents back-feeding and reduces utility worker risk.
How will my home or business value be impacted by the installation of solar panels?
In states like New Jersey where there’s a heavy emphasis on solar energy because of high electrical costs, installation of PV systems can boost the resale value of a home or business. A study conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency found that a home’s value increases by $20 for every $1 reduction in annual electricity bills. The Department of Energy also states that homes with solar power will sell twice as fast as homes without it—because rising electrical prices drive up the demand for green energy.
How much money will I save by installing a solar energy system?
How much you save in electric bills depends on the size of your solar energy system and how much energy you consume. Some owners have reported a savings of nearly $1,500 in the first year. Most warranties last for 25 to 30 years, but experts suggest the rate of return on your system is much shorter than the warranty’s lifespan.
How much maintenance will my solar panels require?
The virtually maintenance-free quality of solar panels makes them an attractive alternative energy option for owners. Solar panels have no moving parts that will wear out. However, the panels can get dirty from the accumulation of pollen, bird droppings and dust—which can be easily removed with a garden hose or rainstorm.
Do I need to obtain special building permits to install a solar system?
Home and business owners must secure written approval from the New Jersey Clean Energy Program before installing a solar system.
When you choose NJ solar specialist Maglio Electric, you can rest assured that we will be there during every step of the process—from initial design to the final setup. Prior to installation, a Technical Field Supervisor will survey your home or business and determine the best placement of solar modules, wiring, and connections to the circuit breaker—at no cost to you. Once a plan is agreed upon, we will obtain all building and electrical permits and inspections.
Can I use solar to heat my home as well as provide electrical power?
Solar power is versatile in its application. There are a variety of solar systems that perform different functions: generating electricity, heating water, and providing heat throughout your home. The PV system that provides electricity to run appliances, turn on lights, and heat water cannot convert sunlight into heat for your home. However, separate solar thermal heating systems or passive solar systems are able to collect, store, and distribute heat throughout your home.
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