How do solar systems work?

Solar panels, also called Photovoltaic (PV) panels, change sunlight into DC electricity. An inverter can change that electricity into AC power that can be used in homes or other buildings that are tied to an Solar electric grid. Energy can also be stored in batteries for use in off-grid systems, or in place of a generator for a grid-tied system.

How do I decide how big my system should be?

Ask a professional installer or solar energy system designer to make an assessment of your home. They can look at your power bill and will determine what size system will best suit your needs.

How do batteries work with solar?

Batteries can be used to store the energy generated from solar panels. They can be used at night, or during power outages when the electric grid goes down. Some people choose to be "off the grid" by using panels and batteries alone, and are not connected to an electric utility.

Can I install solar panels now and add battery storage later?

Yes, there are systems that can be installed now that will allow you to add batteries at a later time.

Should I repair or replace my roof before going solar?

If the roof is the best choice for your solar panels, it is recommended that the roof be in good condition because the panels usually last over 30 years. Other options are ground mounts, pole mounts, or possibly community solar.

What should I look for in an installer?

An important consideration is whether they are knowledgeable. Can they help you understand the system they propose? Are they planning to install a custom energy system based on your needs? You may want to ask how many years they have been installing solar, and whether they have experience in battery technology? Look at their online presence and see if they have satisfied customers.

Do systems come with warranties?

Most manufacturers give you a 25 year warranty on solar panels, and 10 to 12 years on inverters. Extended warranties are available for purchase.

Will I need a permit to install a battery? What about my utility?

Energy Utilities, state, and local municipalities require permits and completed forms. All components should be UL approved and installed in accordance with the National Electric Code (NEC).