Home Solar Panels Cells Advantages And FAQ
Making the decision to purchase a Solar PV System can be a difficult one, and that’s what we are here for. View FAQ page for answers to common questions regarding solar panel installation and ownership. Solar is a new technology and many aspects of it can be very confusing. We will provide you with the resources necessary to make an informed decision on what is right for you. In most cases, if you are serious about installing a system, we will make arrangements with you for a no-cost home visit, in person, one-on-one. We want to answer all your questions so that you feel comfortable in making your decision. Here are some items to consider. Contact us for a free estimate on 631-328-5025
Please consider some of the following important matters:
[accordion state=”closed” color=”green” tag=”h2″ title=”How Will I Save On My Electric Bills?” ]The process is called “Net Metering,” a fancy word for your meter spinning backwards. Assuming your system is sized correctly, there should be times during the day when your system produces more electric than you use. This normally happens during the days when most are not at home (school, work, etc.) or using minimal amounts of electric. If your system is overproducing at the time, it sends the electric back to the grid for others to use. Your meter will spin backwards and you are credited for that amount at the same rate LIPA sells electric to you. When it gets dark and your system shuts down, you then purchase electric from LIPA as you normally do now; however, the amount of credit you accumulated during the day is now offsetting what you use at night. This is similar to a battery.
On a month to monthly basis, most Solar PV Systems produce their best during the Spring months from March to June. This is the time when the days are getting longer and are generally sunnier. You have minimal electric usage, such as the Air Conditioning not running and the pool not being open yet. During these months, your should overproduce on a regular basis. Each month when your meter is read, if the amount is lower than what it was last month, the difference in placed into an “Energy Credit Bank” on your bill. As each month passes, you will continue to add up credit kilowatt hours of energy as long as you continue overproducing.
When late June comes along, and you open the pool up and start using the Air Conditioning, you will find in most cases that you will be using more electric than you produce from your Solar PV system. If your meter reading is now positive at the end of the month, you will begin to take back some of the energy from the energy credit bank. Each month, you will continue to do this until the banks balance is zero; at which, you will begin to pay for any electric used at the regular rate.
Just a reminder, you will always pay an amount each month to LIPA. They still will charge you 17 cents a day service charge for the meter and overhead lines. If for each month you have a negative reading on your meter, you should not be paying more than $5.00 to $7.00 for that charge.
If you are somewhat energy conscious, the amount you have accumulated in your energy credit bank should carry you through to the fall, when you begin to shut down the pool and Air Conditioning. At this point, your system should begin to accumulate credits again and you would have enjoyed the entire Summer with free electricity.
At the end of the year, any excess credits that are still left in the bank will bought back from LIPA at a wholesale rate of usually 9 cents a kilowatt. Your bank will then be zeroed and the whole process starts over again next year. This process is called reconciliation.
Each homeowners reconciliation period differs from others. Your reconciliation period usually begins the month after LIPA “sets” the new net meter and lasts for 12 months. If you are unhappy with your reconciliation date, LIPA gives you a “one time” opportunity to change it. Be aware give yourself at least one year of readings before you make that decision. You only get one chance to change it forever.
[accordion state=”closed” color=”green” tag=”h2″ title=”What size solar PV system will I require?” ]
You will need to assess your energy usage on a month to month basis. You can call LIPA Customer Service and ask for an 18 month energy Usage printout. They can mail it to you or fax it if necessary. Determine what your average monthly electric usage is in KW and dollars. Remember LIPA will not rebate a system larger than 110% of your average monthly usage. However, if you are considering expansion of your home or adding appliances like Central Air Conditioning in the future, you can take that into account also.[/accordion][accordion state=”closed” color=”green” tag=”h2″ title=”How much solar can I fit on my roof?” ]
The best way is to measure your roof area that you are thinking of putting solar on. We can help you with that when we do our home visit; but as general rule, you need 220 sq feet of roof space for each 1kw of solar. You need to also take into consideration any skylights, pipes, and vents. We usually can’t place the Solar Panels over these. [/accordion][accordion state=”closed” color=”green” tag=”h2″ title=”What is the best direction for my solar system to face?” ]
Simply put South is the best and North is the worst, but that does not rule out East and West or even Southwest or Southeast. They all work just not as well as due South. You can determine your direction with simple compass if you do not know.[/accordion][accordion state=”closed” color=”green” tag=”h2″ title=”Will shading from trees, chimneys, etc. affect the solar system?” ]
Shading is bad for Solar. Any shading from trees, chimneys, parts of your house or neighbors house or trees just simply won’t work. Lets face it, you are spending a lot of money for your system; why would you want to put it in an area where it will not work? We certainly don’t want to sell you a system that doesn’t work. We get a lot of questions concerning the tree shading when they lose their leaves. Well this is fine and dandy, but what about the branches, they still cast shadows don’t they? So stay away from shading. We can determine that if you think your roof has sun most of the day but just not after 3:00pm. Using a device called the SunEye we can find out exactly how much sun will fall on the roof for the entire year.[/accordion][accordion state=”closed” color=”green” tag=”h2″ title=”Will my Electric Service handle connection to my Solar PV System? ” ]
If your electric service is less than 150 amps, probably no. We have to determine if your electric service is capable of handling the back fed electric from the Solar PV. If your electric panel has limited spaces for additional breakers, you will most likely need to do an upgrade. Discounted prices for service upgrades available. We will assess that for you at our home visit.[/accordion]
[accordion state=”closed” color=”green” tag=”h2″ title=”Will my roof be able to handle a Solar PV System? ” ]Simple, How old are your roof shingles? How old is your roof? If your shingles are more than 10 years old, you will have to consider re-shingle (remove old and install new). You don’t want to put solar on your roof just to have to take it down a couple of years later, because you have a leak. Also, if you have more than one course of shingles, you will more than likely have to re-shingle because the weight will be to much for the beams to handle. As a rule of thumb, if your rafters are 2×6 or larger, spaced no more than 16-24 inches, you’re good to go. An engineer can help with this.[/accordion]
[accordion state=”closed” color=”green” tag=”h2″ title=”Will my solar system withstand a power failure?” ]
No it will not. The reason why is because, in agreement with LIPA to back feed (Net Meter or sell) power to the grid, you have to go with their rules. If your system works during a power failure, it can back feed 240 volts to the pole, which can be stepped up by a transformer to 15,000 volts. So the lineman working on the wires down the street runs the risk of getting electrocuted. If you are in an area that consistently has power failures or no power at all, consider a battery backup system which costs a lot more. 90% of the Solar PV homes on LI are grid connected non battery back up systems.[/accordion][accordion state=”closed” color=”green” tag=”h2″ title=”Will solar systems increase my property taxes?” ]
No, New York State has a law that prevents local towns and counties from taxing solar for 15 years. This is called the Real Property Tax exemption. Recently, it just expired and was renewed again. If they do, we’ll let every media source in the state know that they are anti-environment. That will end that. So not to worry.