Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Answers to questions I get the most

How do you know how much money you'll save?
Collecting Solar Energy is just like collecting Rainwater. 
Collecting Rainwater
If you multiply the size of the bucket by how frequently it rains you can determine how many gallons you can expect to capture a year.
Bucket Size (5 Gallon) X Annual Rainfall (25 Gallons) = 125 Gallons
Then multiply this by the amount you pay for a gallon of water to determine your savings.
125 Gallons X Cost of a Gallon ($ 1.50) = You Saved $ 187.50
Collecting Solar Energy
If you multiply the size of the Array by how frequently the sun shines you can determine how much energy you can expect to capture a year.
Array Size (4.2 kW) X Annual Solar (1,464 kWh = 6,149 kWh
Then multiply this by the amount you pay for a kWh of electricity to determine your savings.
6,149 kWh X Cost you pay per kWh ($ .1135) = You Saved $ 698
Link to find your: Annual Solar Energy
For accurate collecting capacity calculations, always reduce the Nameplate Array Size (In this example 4.2kW) by 22%. Panels on a roof get hot and so are less efficient (-9%), converting Direct Current to Alternating Current and a few other factors (-13%) are what accounts for this 22% reduction.  
Do solar panels only power part of the house?
The Panel Supply Power to the Whole House.
The solar panels tie directly into the home circuit panel and provide power to the whole house. The power provide by the panels is used first and then any additional power needs are automatically picked up by the regular utility power.
Is there a switch you have to throw during the day to use the electricity from the panels?
There's no need to throw a switch.
The Solar Panels connect directly to my home's circuit panel through a pair of circuit breakers just like the utility provided power. These circuit breakers are always on. When the sun shines the panels add additional power to my home's circuit panel and at night the utility power is used.
Is there a bank of batteries to store the energy?
There are no batteries. The city electric meter just runs backwards.
When my installer submitted the solar permit to the city, they switched my electric services from Flat Rate to Net Metering. Net Metering allows me to run my city electric meter backwards if may panels are producing more power that the house is using.