Solar Panel Installation
How Do Solar Panel Systems Work?
Most of us understand the simple idea that energy from the sun is turned into electricity with solar panels, but it’s a little more complicated than that. First, solar panels soak up the sun’s energy as direct current, which isn’t usable to our electrical systems. Then the current travels through the system to the inverter, which turns the direct current into alternating current, the same current we use to power our homes. The electricity can then be used to power your lights, appliances and other electrical equipment.
How Many Solar Panels Are Needed to Power a House?
28-34 solar panels. While this can vary depending on the size of your home and its energy consumption, the average U.S. home will use about this many solar panels to run the entire home.
Can I Install a Solar System Myself?
Solar panel systems are complicated and delicate, and there’s too much room for error for installing them to be considered a good DIY project. From mounting them on the roof to making sure the system is wired correctly, solar panel installation is a job for a licensed professional.
In addition, solar panel systems require an inspection before and after installation, first to confirm your home’s structural abilities and second to ensure the system is installed properly. Only when you pass the second inspection can your solar system be turned on and connected to the electrical grid. Using a professional for installation streamlines this process and removes a lot of stress.
How Long Do Solar Panels Last?
Solar panels generally last 25-30 years, according to industry standards. While a solar panel may still be working properly after 25 years, it won’t be as efficient. This is because solar panels lose efficiency over time in a process called degradation. Solar panels lose about 0.5% of their energy output every year, so you should have your solar panels replaced after about 25 years to ensure the system is working at maximum capacity.
Do solar systems connect to the grid?
Yes, residential solar systems are often connected to the city’s electrical grid. This is because your solar system may provide either too little or too much electricity depending on your energy use at any given time.
When you need more electricity than your solar system is providing, being connected to the grid allows you to pull what you need from there. Alternatively, if you aren’t using as much energy as your solar panels are providing, the electricity will enter the electrical grid and be counted by the power meter as an energy credit. That’s right, your local energy company will actually pay you when excess electricity is given to the grid!
Solar Panel Repair
Can a Solar Panel Be Repaired?
Solar panels usually can’t be repaired. Solar panels are encased in tempered glass to protect the delicate cells underneath. If you can visibly see damage on a solar panel, such as cracked glass, the cells beneath it have been compromised and you’ll need to replace the entire panel to restore the system. However, other parts of your home’s solar system, like the inverter, battery bank and even the mounting racks can and should be repaired when needed.
Can You Replace the Glass on a Solar Panel?
Once the glass on a solar panel is cracked or shattered, it can’t be replaced. While some solar companies offer this service, it’s only a partial solution and usually ends up being more expensive than it’s worth. This is because the glass is a barrier that seals water and debris out of the panel, where the solar cells soak up solar energy. Once the seal is broken, the cells are exposed to the elements and become damaged quickly. To ensure your system is working properly and at maximum efficiency, you must replace the damaged panel.
What Can Damage a Solar Panel?
Because solar panels are typically mounted on your roof, they’re vulnerable to the elements and falling debris. Even small debris, including leaves, twigs and dirt, can cause micro-scratches that keep your solar panels from operating effectively. This is because the scratches prevent sunlight from shining directly on the cells. Hail storms are a common source of damage as well. Even water can damage your solar panels if the seals on the panels are broken.
Solar Panel Maintenance
Do Solar Panels Require Maintenance?
Solar panels are made to be extremely durable and low maintenance. Unlike your AC system or car, the only maintenance your solar panels need is a good rinse a couple of times a year. If your solar panels are tilted, the rain will do the job for you most of the year. Washing your solar panels clears them of any dirt, pollen or other debris that has built up on the glass and blocked the sunlight. You can do this yourself or hire a professional to do a more thorough cleaning.
How Do You Maintain Solar Panels?
Solar panel maintenance is quite easy: all they need is to be washed two to four times each year. Depending on how your panels are situated on the roof, a hose fitted with a decent hand sprayer might do the trick.
If your solar panels are difficult to reach with a hose or you simply don’t have time to wash them, contact Solar Fix for solar panel cleaning services. One of our technicians will give your panels a good wash and save you the hassle.
Solar System Inspection
What is a Solar System Inspection?
Before your home solar system can start working for you, it must pass inspections to ensure everything is working properly and installed correctly. There are two kinds of solar system inspections surrounding your new system’s installation.
First, your home’s electrical system must be inspected to make sure it can accommodate a solar system. Since most solar panels are installed on the roof, they must be checked to ensure they can handle the panels structurally. Once this first inspection is passed, your new solar system can be installed.
The second inspection is done after installation by the city to make sure everything is up to code and ready for use. Only when this inspection has been completed can you turn on your system and start reaping the benefits of solar energy. The second inspection is especially important because most utility companies, including CPS, require documentation of the inspection before allowing you to connect the system to the grid.
Who Can Inspect a Solar System?
You must be a certified solar system inspector to conduct system inspections. Luckily, Solar Fix is NABCEP certified to conduct inspections, and we’re a licensed electrical contractor as well. This means we can take care of half of the inspection process for you, saving you the stress of finding another inspector and coordinating the process between multiple parties. While a city official has to give the final inspection, you can rest assured that our team has already taken care of every step before then to leave you with a perfectly installed home solar system.
What Does a Solar Battery Do?
Solar batteries are made to store excess electricity from your solar panel system so that you can still utilize the system when it isn’t producing electricity. This way, you won’t have to pay for electricity from the grid at night or other times when you need more energy than the system can provide. You’ll already have electricity stored from when the system was producing more than you needed.
Solar batteries are especially helpful when the power grid goes out. You can use their stored energy to keep your home running without the grid.
How Many Solar Batteries Are Needed to Power a House?
If you only want enough electricity stored to keep your home powered at night when your panels aren’t producing, one or two solar batteries should be enough. If you want enough energy stored to stay energy-dependent if your power is out, three or more batteries may be needed to power your home for 24 hours.
Do Solar Panels Work at Night?
No. Solar panels produce no electricity at night, but they tend to produce extra during the day. To balance out the electricity production and keep your solar panels working for you at night, you can install solar batteries that store excess energy during the day for use at night.
Can You Use Your Solar System When The Power is Out?
Many people don’t realize that your solar system can’t be used when the power is out if it’s connected to the grid. This is because it supplies energy to your home through the power meter, which doesn’t work without electricity. However, you can solve this problem and become energy-dependent with solar batteries, which store excess electricity from the solar system for times when you need more electricity than the system is producing. When the power goes out, solar batteries act as a backup generator and keep your home’s electrical system running.