Common Questions About Solar

How does solar power for a home work?

The key components of a grid-tied residential solar system are the solar panels that collect the sunlight, an inverter then converts the power from DC to AC power, and net power meter. The power produced by the solar array is used to power the home, and any excess power goes into the power grid. Any additional power you need beyond what your system can provide, still comes from the power grid. Through the net meter, which essential turns both forward and backward, you only pay for the net power used. Credits can be carried over month to month throughout the course of one billing year. For more information about other types of solar systems for your home, see the “Types of Solar Systems” button below.

 

Will I have to change my lifestyle for wind or solar to work for me?

You don’t have to change a single thing if you don’t want to. However you may want to! IWS can perform an energy audit and make suggestions to help you use energy more efficiently.

 

Where is the solar power stored when the sun is not shining?

If you are connected to a local utility, any excess power you produce is fed back into their system for your use at a later time via energy credits. In addition, for those not using a local utility, IWS systems provide for storage of solar produced electricity in batteries. Similarly, a storage tank is used for your hot water. Just like your hot water heater, it stores hot water that solar energy has created during the day to be used later. Emergency power for those wanting to utilize the grid and have a back-up is also stored in batteries.

 

What happens if I move?

In a study conducting by the Berkeley National Laboratory, homes with solar systems not only sold for more money than comparable homes without solar, but they also sold considerably faster. The difference in sales price was on average more than the full retail cost of the solar system. The National Association of Realtors is adding a Green Features section in the MLS system where solar can be added as a home feature and the Appraisal Institute issues an addendum to the residential appraisal packet that address solar and other energy efficiency improvements. These changes, along with the growing popularity of solar make it more than reasonable to expect to earn back your net investment and possibly even make a profit when you sell your home.

 

Will I have to buy new appliances and fixtures when I have IWS install a solar system?

No! All solar power systems invert to true-sign 60 Hz, 120 or 240 power. Your appliances will never know the difference.

 

Will solar be noticeable in my yard or on the roof of my house?

Newer technology makes modern wind and solar installations neighborhood friendly. Most wind turbines are smaller and blend into the background. Collectors are low profile and can be mounted inconspicuously on south and west facing slopes. IWS will work with you to find locations and configurations to minimize the visual impact.

 

How much does it cost? What’s my payback?

Wind and Solar energy begins paying you the day you “turn it on.” As the cost of energy continues to increase, your system will continue to produce energy at a increasing value to you. You can think of your system as a hedge against future energy costs. If you already subscribe to service from a local utility, you understand that there is NO return on your monthly “investment” to the power company. As an alternative, your solar system will actually return any excess energy it produces back into the company’s power “grid,” and literally turn your power meter backwards accumulating a power credits honored by your power company. Every time utility rates increase, your return gets better.

 

All I have to do is have IWS install a couple of solar panels on my roof, and my power and gas bills will disappear?

Considerable energy is consumed by families on a daily basis. With today’s new technology in higher output solar panels, it isn’t out of the question. However, realistically installing the right system for the right circumstances will impact the outcome. At IWS, we want to focus on your location, the layout of your property, and design a system that is right for those conditions. After careful analysis, we can determine with accuracy the actual amount of power you can expect to produce, compare that to your current usage, and have an accurate look at how much of your bill the system will displace.

 

What are the ideal conditions for solar to work on a home?

We can help you determine whether your home will be a good candidate for solar and how much you would benefit from the system. Location, roof lines, unobstructed areas, trees, and shade all play into our recommendation.

 

Is a south-facing roof the only place I can install solar panels?

Solar collectors can be mounted on a separate framework in the yard, on poles, or on solar trackers that allow the panels to follow the sun across the sky. Both east or west facing roofs can be used for solar production. Don’t disqualify your home from being a good solar candidate without contacting the experts at IWS.

 

What can I do to prepare for installation?

Contact the city or county planning/development departments to ensure the zoning and building codes permit the install you desire. If your location requires a conditional use permit, IWS can assist in providing product specifications and system design for presentation. Also check to see if any home owner association (HOA) or neighborhood covenant (CCNR) restrictions exist that may prohibit these types of installations. If there are restrictions, you can generally work to get them changed. More and more of these codes are changing to allow renewable energy. One or both of these steps may require specific information about the system you plan to install. IWS keeps a library of technical data sheets, manuals, and engineering sheets to help assist in the effort to gain approval of the system. If the local municipality or HOA require something more than what we have at our disposal, we will research alternative solutions for your presentation.

 

How long can I expect my system to last?

Like most things, the longevity of the system is generally related to the care and maintenance it receives. A well maintained system can last anywhere from 25 to 35 years. IWS can perform system inspections and service on your system to help keep it running at its full capacity.

 

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