General questions

  • What direction should a roof face for solar panels to work effectively?

Ideally, the roof should face south for solar panels to generate maximum power, as the panels are likely to receive the most sunlight. A roof that faces east or west will also be suitable. It is also required that the roof is not shaded so that the panels can be exposed to the sun.

  • What factors can influence solar panel installation cost?

The costs of installation can be affected by several factors, including the direction your roof is facing and the amount of sunlight it receives. Your electricity consumption and the dimensions of the area where the panels are being installed can also impact the cost.

The average cost of labor as well the tax rebates offered by the state you live in can also affect the overall installation cost.

  • How long do solar batteries last?

An average solar battery can last between 5 to 15 years, depending on the type of battery installed and its maintenance.

  • Does switching to solar power benefit the environment?

Switching to solar power benefits the environment in many ways. Since electricity is generated solely by sunlight, it reduces dependency on fossil fuels and also helps save water. Solar power also leads to a decrease in greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution.

  • How does solar power work?

Electricity is generated when sunlight strikes solar panels, which produce direct current (DC) that is then fed into a solar inverter and converted into alternating current (AC).

  • What are solar panels made of?

Solar panels comprise photovoltaic (PV) cells that are usually made of silicon. The cells are cut into thin wafers and then assembled to form a panel where they are interconnected.

Since pure silicon is shiny and can reflect sunlight, the cells are coated with an anti-reflective material to minimize losses.

  • How much electricity can a solar panel generate?

The amount of electricity produced by a solar panel depends on the amount of sunlight it receives and the number of cells it consists of. A typical panel for residential purposes comprising 60 cells can generate 250-300 watts per hour, whereas a 72-cell panel can produce 360W – 400W.

  • What should I look for while buying solar panels?

When purchasing solar panels you not only need to check the affordability and efficiency of the product, but also your requirement. The primary considerations while buying panels are the size of the panel, both physical and in watts, cost, and its life. Buying a highly efficient solar panel, which is usually more expensive, may prove more costly in the long run if it exceeds your energy requirements.

  • What should I look for in an installer?

While choosing an installer, it is important to check if they hold the necessary licenses and insurance policies, as well as their reputation in the market. Customer reviews can give you an idea of the quality of an installer’s services.

  • How reliable is solar energy?

Solar power is a reliable source of energy as its generation depends on sunlight, a widely available natural resource. Technological advancements in the manufacturing of solar energy equipment has made it more reliable by reducing losses.

  • Can I switch to solar energy if I live in a cold area?

Contrary to popular belief, solar PV panels can generate power even in cold climates as they absorb sunlight, not the sun’s heat. So, even if you live in a cold area, you can switch to solar energy as long as your panels receive ample sunlight.

The panels will be unable to function if there is an accumulation of heavy snow.

  • What does net metering mean?

Net metering or net energy metering (NEM) is an incentive offered by utility companies that allows you to export solar-generated power, which exceeds your requirements, back to the national grid. The utility company will pay you for adding energy to the national grid either in a monetary form or kWh credit.

  • What does solar PV mean?

Photovoltaic, or PV, cells convert sunlight into electricity. The photovoltaic effect is the conversion of light, or photons, into voltage. A single PV cell can generate around 1 to 2 watts of power.

  • Can I install solar panels myself?

Yes, you can. You may require a permit from your local authority and in some cases your utility company as well. The equipment required for a solar system, however, can be dangerous and it is recommended that you seek professional assistance.

  • Can I go off the grid?

We do have options for storing power, but we do not install off-the-grid systems because the technology is not there yet. Getting off the grid currently requires expensive and inefficient battery systems, and off-the-grid systems are often ineligible for many credits and incentives.

  • What happens if the panels stop producing electricity?

Very little maintenance is required as there are no moving parts and since the panels are usually tilted, they shed water and snow. The panels are made of sleek glass and aluminum, and snow will melt off of them with any exposure to light.

  • Do the panels add extra weight to my roof?

Yes, but the added weight is equivalent to another layer of shingles on your roof. Our solar systems are designed and installed within compliance of all structural and safety codes by experienced engineers and licensed contractors.

  • What are the financial benefits of solar energy?

By switching to solar energy, you save money spent on utility bills since you are producing a considerable share of electricity independently. Depending on the state you live in, switching to solar power might make you eligible for tax benefits and may even become a source of income.

Since solar panels require little to no maintenance, you would be safe from those expenses as well.

  • Do my solar panels produce power when the sun isn’t shining?

The amount of power your solar energy system can generate is dependent on sunlight. As a result, your solar panels will produce slightly less energy when the weather is cloudy, and no energy at night.

  • What happens if there is snow on solar panels?

Solar panels convert sunshine into power, so if your panels are covered in snow they can’t produce electricity. Snow generally isn’t heavy enough to cause structural issues with your panels, and since most panels are tilted at an angle the snow will slide off. If snow does accumulate, your panels are easy to clean.

  • Do I need to install solar batteries with my solar power system?

Solar power systems that include solar batteries, known as solar-plus-storage, are increasingly popular, but can be pricey. Luckily, batteries are not necessary for most solar homeowners. As long as you are connected to the grid, your system does not need a battery: excess power goes back into the grid, and you can draw from the grid if you need more electricity than your panels can generate.

Maintenance

  • How do I clean solar panels?

Solar panels can be cleaned with mild dish soap and a non-abrasive sponge or piece of cloth. It is important to protect solar panels from dust and grime but it is equally important to protect them from scratches so avoid using strong cleaners. You can also hire a professional cleaning service.

  • How often do solar panels need maintenance?

Not too often. Solar panels are designed to withstand extreme conditions and usually would only require occasional cleaning.

  • Do solar panels need to be replaced?

The average life of solar panels is 25-30 years after which you can consider a replacement.

Commercial

  • Is a permit required to switch to solar?

Yes. The rules and regulations to secure a permit vary from state to state.

  • What kind of solar panels should I install at my office?

The type of solar panels required varies as installers have to take the size of the property and the amount of required power into accordance. A wide variety of solar panels is available with Beyond Solar.

Residential

  • How will switching to solar affect my property value?

Several studies have shown that installing solar power systems increases property value by around 3-4%. The increase may be because solar power reduces electricity bills and, depending on the state you live in, it also leads to tax benefits.

  • Will my electricity bill decrease if I switch to solar energy? 

Yes, your electricity bill will decrease if you switch to solar power. However, you will continue to receive a bill as long as you are connected to the grid and will be charged for the units of power you pull from the utility company.

  • Can I switch my entire house to solar power?

Ideally, yes. However, the process is more costly and it is not realistic to expect solar panels to generate the same amount of electricity every day of the week.

  • Can I get insurance for solar panels/batteries/equipment?

Yes, it is possible to ensure solar panels if you own the system. Since solar panels are usually installed on rooftops, they may be included in your home insurance policy.

Beyond Solar

Beyond Solar