Frequently Asked Questions

General Solar Questions

I have already looked into PV systems before, however, they still seem too expensive for me.<br />
  • Buying a PV system means you are paying for electricity in advanced
    • This means if you add up all your electric bills you would incur over the 20+ years your PV system would last, you would save thousands
  • Additionally, to encourage growth, state and federal governments offer subsidies and tax credits for a limited time
What if I plan to increase my electric load in the future? i.e. Minisplits, Electric Vehicles, Electric Hot Water

Even if the idea of investing in something that would increase your electrical load is a distant thought, we would prefer to discuss this in your initial planning phase. Discussing these options upfront would allow us to keep an open mind as we design your current PV system.

For the greatest cost and time efficiency, we encourage designing a PV system for all your expected future power loads.

Without mentioning this in the design phase it can be more costly to upgrade your system. Instead of simply attaching more panels, we might have to take everything down and completely redesign a new system. 

Along with my PV system I plan on investing in an electric vehicle. Would solar rising be able to install the electric car charger, or would I have to hire a different company?

In addition to being solar technicians, our field workers are fully licensed  electrical contractors. Our field workers are able to set up any car chargers. We would be happy to discuss brands and general set up along with any other electrical needs!

Will New England winters decrease my PV systems efficiency?

No they will not, they actually do the opposite. PV systems only utilize sunlight, and heat can degrade and hinder energy production. Solar panels operate better in cooler temperatures much like computers.

While your solar panels will stay cool in the winter, it is important to remember the winter season has less peak sunlight hours. Therefore, your PV system is expected to produce less.

Someone told me when the electric grid goes down you lose access to your solar energy is there any truth to that?

This can be true in many situations but easily preventable. The inverter that would be installed in your house does not have an internal buffer. This means:

  • Installing a PV system does not prevent you from experiencing power outages
  • Any electricity from your PV system needs a destination. In the event of a power outage, your system will no longer be able to access the electric grid and its accompanying circuitry. As soon as the grid is restored, your system will start functioning again will no need to manually reset
  • You can easily give your system a secondary destination by installing a storage battery in your home/office
  • Your system would then be able to work independent from any grid and neighborhood crashes
What kind of service and maintenance would I be in store for?

One of the greatest benefits of PV systems is that they have no moving parts. This means they themselves require very little maintenance. 

What are the risks of fires?

While fires caused by solar panels are not a thing of the past, they are a thing of rarity. Installation knowledge has come a long way, and our employees are professionals with a complete knowledge of circuitry and proper voltage management.

Solar Rising pulls building and electrical permits for all our projects. We are fully licensed and insured. All our work is inspected by your town’s electrical inspector before we power it up.

Solar panels are made of glass, are they not likely

Many panels’ expected lifetime is 20+ years. This means they are tested to last in extreme temperatures, rough hail, and seeping moisture. Additionally, most systems come with lengthy warranties. Solar system are also covered under most home insurance policies, provided you notify the company of their installation.

Solar System Crash Course

Energy Current Info.

Before we start, if you have any confusion on the types of electricity, the electricity you receive from outlets in your home is alternating current. The alternating current flows through your home at various rates. It flows to a peak positive then to a peak negative in quick succession (a sine wave). You are able to plug a cable in no matter the direction. With direct current think of AA batteries. There is a positive and a negative side and the direction you use them does matter. Direct current current moves in a steady constant stream.

Panels (Modules)

We all know them, these are the things sitting on roofs or ground mounted in massive solar farms. There are solar cells, small squares that are the base component of your solar system. Arrange them together into a casing and now you have a solar panel. Solar cells absorb sunlight (not heat) to excite the electrons within them. This movement creates direct current electricity. To order and harness the power provided from the moving electrons, half of the solar cells are dipped into a positively charged coating and the other half into a negatively charged coating. 

String (aka. Central) Inverter

These are large boxes generally installed next to your building’s circuit board. DC wire connects all your panels to the inverter then a quick AC wire to your circuit board.  Any string inverter system we install DC optimizers. These gadegets allow each panel to operate independently from the other panels, and they will enable you to view each panels performance individually.

The downside of string inverters is that there is only one point of failure. If your inverter breaks or has a fixable fault, your entire PV system will not operate. These system also require more shut down systems as DC current can be dangerous to run through your house.

Micro Inverters

Micro inverters are smalls boxes that are installed directly behind each solar panel, converting the energy on the spot. This configuration allows each panel to work independent of the others, even in the event of one inverter breaking. These also tend to be quicker to repair and replace, if the rare event of one breaking happens.

Micro inverters also tend to be safer, since the DC is being converted to AC right behind the solar panels, there would be no DC wire running through your building.

AC Disconnect

The AC disconnect is quite similar to your water main lever, and are required exterior mounted pieces of equipment. When your system is serviced, it would have to be shut off for the safety of the workers. It is also important that every member in your family knows its location. In case you notice something off with your electricity it is imperative to get it switched off before any damage is incurred on your system, although this is rare.

Production Monitoring Device (SMART Incentive)

Production monitoring devices are the tools you need to conceptualize how well your system is performing. This device will tell you if you PV system is under, over, or meeting your building’s energy demand. It also has an additive feature that will show you how much energy your system has produced over time, helping you understand how much money your investment has saved you. In the rare event of something going wrong in your system, the monitoring system will help you pinpoint and troubleshoot the problem at hand.

Utility Meter

Your utility meter is the device that allows electric companies to track how much energy you are putting into the grid (overproducing), and taking from the grid (underproducing). This process is known as “Net Metering”. Throughout the day, your utility meter will spin forward and back as your demand changes. You will continue to receive a utility bill each month with the system, however, the amount due should either be reduced or eliminated. Any credits you receive from the electric company will stay as credits until they are used in your underproduction times (night and winter). 

Why Invest Now?

Why should I even consider investing now?

Now is the best time of all!

  • With government subsidies and Investment Tax Credits (ITC) you can receive a PV system at a much cheaper price
    • It is important to note that the Solar ITC is shrinking yearly and in 2022 it will only be available to commercial projects
    • While congress can extend the ITC, that is a gamble to take. As the demand for solar power continues to grow exponentially the government will feel less inclined to facilitate the industry’s growth
  • There is a chance that having a PV system installed in the future could cost more. Yes materials may be chaper in the coming years; the labor could get more expensive
    • The demand for solar installations grows exponentially every year. As the demand grows, the price increases
    • In most industries, companies match this growth to keep prices constant by expanding their labor capacity.
      • Unfortunately, the trades are gradually losing their labor force and this affects the solar industry
    • As demand grows, the value of limited electricians and solar technicians will also increase, making it more expensive to hire someone
I heard Solar Panels are only 15-25% efficient, why should I invest in something so inefficient when it wil only get better in the future?

While this may be true, you must understand that any array we install will tackle any percent of your energy demand you wish to, assuming adequate site conditions and roof space.

  • We perform site evaluations to determine power needs. This takes into account the amount of shading your location contains; the roof pitch of your building; and most importantly your electric bill

It is important to not the growth of PV technology. This growth is extremely analogous to the evolution of cars. For instance, most people would not buy a car five years newer than their current simply because it gets two more mpg.

Post Installation

What happens if my system under or over produces?

Switching to a PV system does not disconnect your home from the electric grid.

  • When the system overproduces: the extra power will enter the power grid
    • You will in turn receive a credit that can then offset any electric bill you would receive when your system underproduces
  • When the system underproduces: your building will pull the required (smaller) electrical loads from the power grid
Should I make any effort to remove snow from my PV system?

The safest answer is no. Using any tools, plastic or metal, to rake the snow off of your panels risks scratching or breaking the glass covering the solar cells. Due to the solar cells darker colors, your PV system should absorb enough heat from the sun to at least make the snow slide off.

I am going to be investing in a roof replacement, how am I going to get this done with my PV system in the way?

Replacing your roof with a PV system on it is actually quite simple. Before the construction is ready to commence, contact us and we will set up dates to safely dismount your panels and a day to put them back up after the construction is done.

We understand you are just as busy as we are so to ensure these operations run smoothly, we ask you to give us as much notice as possible. We aim to prevent your stress of unnecessarily prolonged construction. 

If you are still vetting roofing companies. We would happy to make recommendations, or even contact our trusted companies as we have a standing history of flawless coordination.

Do I need to notify my home insurance company of my PV system's installation?

 Yes! PV systems are too valuable to not make sure they are covered. Some companies may charge you more. Please make sure to call your company to discuss your potential coverage.

How do I know what is a warranty and what is an insurance claim?

Warranties cover any product defect or “internal” problem. This could be anything from a faulty wire to a panel no longer producing power.

Insurance claims cover any external damage to your PV system such as a tree falling on your roof and breaking your PV system.

You must remember! When you purchase your PV system you MUST notify your home insurance company of their eventual installation. These companies will not cover anything they did not know about. It would be impossible to pass off external damage as a product defect to get a warranty to cover it. 

I have not received any of my SRECS, am I not receiving my money? (Customers whose PV systems were installed before November 2018)

No. These things take time. Keep in mind one SREC equals one MegaWatt hours (MWh). After the quarter closes, even if you are short one watt you will not receive a payment for that quarter. The energy you produced will roll over into the next quarter. It is possible to produce multiple SRECS in one quarter and none in the other. Additionally, in Massachusetts it can take up to six months for your account to process before you receive any payments.

For more information please click Here

I don't think I have received any SMART payment, how does the payment work? (Solar Installations after November 2018)

The SMART program pays monthly. However, if you are a new customer it will take a few months for your new account to process. Not to worry though you do not lose the money you would make during this time, it just means your first payment will be bigger than all of the following ones. Additionally, we set you up with a direct deposit, so if you are looking for the check in the mail you should check your checking statements first.

Monitoring Issues

My system has stopped reporting data, or I have just bought a new router and need to connect it. How can I handle this?

Some key information you must know. What your enphase production monitor looks like, and whether or not your modemn has a WPS button.

Once you have gather this information please visit Here for well constructed instructions

 

What are the monitor wireless access portals?
  • If you have an Enphase device, the app is called MyEnlighten
  • If you have a solar edge device, the website and app are called the “SolarEdge Monitoring Platform”

Environment Impact

If solar arrays lessen the load/demand from power plants, are there any positive effects on my community environment?

Yes! In Massachusetts, buildings account for 60% of the pollution. PV systems taking over for any gas or oil systems create immediate improvement in your community. Additionally, they are huge stepping stones into using electric vehicles (EV). Once you have established a cheaper source of power, getting accustomed to the transition to an EV is now easier and cheaper than before.

What are the effects of renewable energy (RE) on existing infrastructure?

A reliance on RE would distribute production across America. Instead of a few scattered power plants serving a massive area, RE would disperse jobs across all communities providing job opportunities to people who can not pick up and move to the select locations of power plants. 

Are there any external cost benefits?

Depending on how you look at it there are a few, but keep in mind these require a long term mindset. Perhaps for your forever home and office building?

  • Being independent from the electrical grid means you will hardly feel the effects of oil and natural gas trade wars
  • As fossil fuels get used up and depleted in the next 40-60 years (hopefully not), their price will skyrocket and become more of a luxury item. If this future becomes a reality, with a PV system you will not have to deal with the increasing price of a vanishing resource
  • As entire communities move to renewable energy, they will have less of a responsibility in funding new power plants and their centralized infrastructure