1. What is ‘solar power’?
Solar power is the raw energy created by the sun’s rays. With an adequate PV system, that energy can be harnessed and used to heat water or provide electricity to run a home or business.
2. What are the different types of solar systems?
There are two main types of solar applications, and a host of smaller ones. Photovoltaic systems harness the sun’s rays through solar modules, using an inverter to convert the resulting DC currents to safe AC currents. Often, the amount of power produced during a sunny day exceeds the energy needed, and can be fed back into the grid for a certificate of renewable energy, known as an SREC. SRECs can then be sold to the electric company at a profit.
Solar thermal systems use the sun’s energy to heat water that is then used for household use, radiant heat, or to keep pool water warm. Water storage tanks can keep water hot in a holding tank through the sun’s energy and a circulation system. Pool systems typically use the pool's existing pump to circulate water through the collectors, and heat the pool. A solar pool heating system has a dual advantage; it extends your swimming season and simultaneously allows you to significantly cut your energy costs to heat the pool.
3. What size solar system do I need?
Every situation is unique. The size of the system will depend on three basic factors: your monthly energy usage, whether any other sources of energy are present, and how many full sun hours you receive daily. A full sun hour is a period during which the solar panels are fully exposed to the sun at the right angle. This will depend on the direction of the roof of your house.
You can determine your average daily usage of energy in kilowatt hours by checking your electric bill. Looking at your average over the year will give you the best estimate. Arosa Solar will then take all three factors into account, using a sophisticated mathematical formula to determine the size of the PV system required to fit your needs. The larger the system, the more significant your savings.
4. Do I have an acceptable location for solar?
In virtually all cases, yes. Solar panels simply need a relatively south-facing area that gets sun from approximately 9am to 3pm. They will even work when facing west or east, but this does decrease output by around 15 - 20%. The systems can also be tilt-mounted to face south, or ground mounted. Arosa Energy will perform an evaluation of your location prior to an installation to ensure optimal production from your solar system.
5. How durable are the systems and how long might they last?
Solar energy systems can be expected to last more than 25 years. They are designed for minimal, if any, maintenance and a long functioning life. Many systems installed in the 1970's and 1980's are still in operation. For added security, the solar electric panels have a 25 year warranty, and they are rigorously tested for all weather conditions, including one inch hail at 50 mph.
6. Will I really see a return on my investment?
For every dollar a solar system saves in utility costs, the value of your home is expected to rise $20. The savings in electricity and heating costs benefit you immediately.
7. What are Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SREC’s)?
SREC’s, or ‘green tags’ are certificates issued to owners of renewable energy systems. In New Jersey, power generated by solar energy collectors can be tracked and registered on a state website. Whenever the amount of power generated reaches one MW (megawatt), a certificate, or tag, is issued and registered in the name of the system owner.
Utility companies are required to show that a certain percentage of their power comes from renewable sources. Building renewable energy generating systems statewide takes time, so the state allows these companies to satisfy a portion of their renewable energy requirement by purchasing SREC’s from system owners.
Currently an average residential system can generate between ten and twelve MW (megawatts) a year, and the resulting SREC’s can easily be sold to a utility company or private investor. This helps pay off existing solar power systems even faster.
8. Is solar energy reliable?
Solar energy is actually more reliable than conventional energy. The panels come with a 25 year production warranty from the manufacturer, and system maintenance is virtually non-existent aside from the occasional wash-down, should the panels get soiled.
9. Will the panels cause leaks in my roof?
Although it is necessary to penetrate the roof as part of installation, our skilled roofers will repair any preexisting damage free of charge, and will ensure that the roof is in perfect condition before installing the solar panels. Our state-of-the-art compression technology is safeguarded by powerful sealants that will keep your roof as waterproof as it was before. Commercial roofs almost never have penetrations; instead the system is kept in place by ballast blocks, ensuring your roof remains intact.