It is understandable that the process of acquiring a solar energy system can be confusing especially with numerous companies giving a lot of different information. It is however important that you are furnished with enough knowledge to help you make informed choices. It is necessary that you understand the dynamics of solar if you are to select the best options for you.

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions that will give you useful preliminary information about solar energy systems.

Does solar add any value to my home?

Solar energy systems make for awesome investments and enable you to cut on the amount you spend on energy. This goes a long way to increase the value of your home. More to receiving numerous benefits from lower energy costs and government rebates, you will realize that it will be much easier to sell your property as compared to homes without solar energy systems; your property will attract more potential clients when placed under auction. If your interested in learning more, about whether or not solar will add value to your home there is a great article on that here

How much will solar cost me?

Solar energy systems are an investment, and therefore, you should expect a return.With that said, the cost of acquiring and installing a PV system can vary widely depending on a number of factors. These include your energy requirements, choice of equipment, orientation of your roof, the roof space etc. That being said you can get a system for as little as $10k, but the average you can expect is probalby closer to the 25-30k

Can I get financing for solar?

Different customers have unique financing needs. Various companies provide a wide range of financing options. It is good to ensure that the company you choose to work with is willing to work with you to choose the best possible financing option in the context of your needs and financial muscle. Good financing packages will ensure that you are able to maximize on saving even when acquiring and installing solar panels. Financing options usually include cash purchase, home equity financing, lease options and even unsecured financing.

To buy or to lease?

The question as to whether to buy or to rent a solar panel is an issue that has no single universal answer. Typically, a financed purchase or a cash purchase will usually give better savings. Leasing a PV system will still save you some money compared to your utility bill but it may not be the best option.

What is the difference between microinverters and central inverters?

Generally, inverters convert direct current produced by the solar panels into alternating current that is usable in your home or business premises. Central inverters are constructed to connect all the panels together in a string formation; hence they are able to produce energy to the lowest common denominator i.e. the least producing panel in the array.

Microinverters, on the other hand, are configured to individual panels and thus allowing panels to generate electricity independently. Systems with micro converters are known to produce about 6 % more power than systems configured with central inverters. For more infomation there is a very informative article here

What do I do to maintain solar panel systems?

Solar panels are usually designed to require minimum maintenance. This is because the original intent for solar energy systems was that they be used in space. You have to consider that solar panels do not have moving parts and therefore they have minimum amount of wear and tear.

However, to achieve optimum performance and longevity, you need to undertake the following procedures on the systems.
- Check the electrical circuits to ensure that there are no short circuits, no loose or naked wires.
- Give the panels an occasional wash down with a hose to get the dirt from the surface to allow the cells to harness light.
- Tighten the panel mounting to ensure that panels are firmly in place all the time.

How long will my solar energy system last?

PV systems are quite reliable and durable; they are built to suit the constant improving technology. In order to determine how long your panel will last, you will have to look at several pointers;

- Look at the product warranty. The longer the warranty period, the longer you can expect the system to last. Manufacturers who have more confidence in their products give longer warranty times. The average warranty period for solar panels is 25 ( twenty five ) years.
- Check out the other components on the system. They should be quality equipment from ell-established manufacturers.

What is net metering?

Net metering is a billing method that you subscribe to with your utility provider when you chose to go solar. The utility company in the context of this program allows you to use the utility company as your "battery"This is because, during your peak time, the excess power you produce gets uploaded to the grid. When your system cannot produce enough power to meet your needs; for instance in the night, the grid gets to supply you with the deficit.

How long does installation take?

A solar panel system installation typically takes about 6 - 12 weeks depending on who you are working with, the size of the project and the time of the year. Once you sign the contract with a solar panel system installation company, the legal process starts. Once the permits are approved then the installation can begin. The systems is then inspected before the system can be up and running.

Does solar work in foggy areas?

Solar panels can produce even in cloudy or foggy areas. You may however find that the system can only produce only up to 30 % the normal production.

Can I take my home off the grid?

You can always take your home off the main electrical grid provided that you install a battery backup system. The battery system will store the excess energy you produce for use when the systems cannot furnish you with electricity. It is however not always recommended to do that for several reasons e.g.
• Batteries add a significant amount to the total cost of the P V system

- You may miss out on some incentives if your system is not connected to the utility grid.

- Staying connected means that you will always have power since you have two sources.

Take Away,

It is imperative to understand how solar energy works,the cost of installation, maintenance and possible benefits before you engage the services of a contractor.

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