Q: What is solar energy?

A: Solar energy takes advantage of the sun’s rays to generate heat or electricity. It is an infinitely renewable resource and unique for its ability to generate energy in a quiet, clean, and consistent manner. Can’t beat the sun for being oh-so-cool!

Q: How do solar photovoltaic cells work?

A: In layperson terms, photovoltaic cells are comprised of a semiconductor material such as silicon. Added to the silicon are the elements phosphorous and boron which create conductivity within the cell and activate the movement of electrons. The electrons move across the cell when activated by the sunlight’s energy into the electrical circuit hooked up to the solar panel.

Q: How much does a solar electric power system cost?

A: A 1kW solar electric system will cost approximately Rs. 1,00,000. That total includes the cost for all components – solar panels, panel mounts, and solar inverter, an hour of battery backup – and labor associated with installation. It does not however, reflect all the avoided costs, such as the tax and the credits received through net metering.

Q: How much will I really save on my utility bills from a home electric solar power system?

A: Of course this is a relative question. It depends, in part, on how much electricity you use, what is the cost of electricity per unit and how efficient the appliances are that you operate. However generally it has been observed that after the installation of solar system, the electricity bill reduces to its half.

Q: How much maintenance do solar energy panels require?

A: Solar photovoltaic panels require little maintenance – you just need to wash off the dust. It is, however, important to place panels where they will remain clear of shade and debris.

Q: What financing options are available?

A: Yes. Consider using a home equity loan for the purchase and installation costs of a solar photovoltaic or solar hot water system to take full advantage of federal tax deductions. Solar energy systems are viewed as a major home energy savings upgrade and there are financial tools out there that reward you for your efforts. Remember, installing a solar energy system is comparable to any other upgrade you might do to your home, such as installing a new deck or remodeling a kitchen.

Q: What should I ask a solar professional installer?

A: Solar professional installers can take the guess work out of installing a solar power system. Whether you are considering solar photovoltaic, solar hot water, or solar heat for your pool, a solar pro can help you determine the type and size of system that will work best and guide you through the process.

Q: What components do I need to install a grid-tied net metering enabled solar system?

A: You will need a photovoltaic array to capture the sun’s energy, an inverter to convert the direct current (DC) produced from the photovoltaic cells into alternating current (AC) used by your home, and a house utility meter – called a net meter – that can record both the electricity produced from your household’s power system as well as any power you may use off the grid. These three system components are then connected through a series of wiring. The photovoltaic panels are secured to your roof with panel mounts or are installed on poles that can be adjusted for sun angle.

Q: What is a net meter?

A: Net meters look very much like other outdoor meters with one notable exception – they spin both forwards and backwards recording both the power produced and power used.

Q: Do I need battery backup for my solar panels?

A: Battery backup is generally recommended for the users of solar systems as solar light is not constant during the day and keeps on fluctuating. A battery will prove to be useful in a case of cloudy weather so that it can keep the system going even in a worse condition. However one can anytime increase the capacity of battery bank.

Q: How much space do I need for a solar photovoltaic system?

A: In bright sunlight, a square foot of a conventional photovoltaic panel will yield 10 watts of power. That’s a helpful rule of thumb for calculating a rough estimate of how much area you might need. For example, our 1000 watt system requires just 120 square feet of area.

Q: How many solar panels do I need for an electric solar power system?

A: The size of the photovoltaic system is correlated to your home’s energy-use needs, available space for the system, and overall costs for the system components and installation. We at Aton Solar International provide the best available solution and cater to the every need of your home.

Q: How much shading is too much for solar photovoltaic panels?

A: Unfortunately shading a photovoltaic system dramatically decreases its output. Just shading the bottom row of wafers alone amounts to an 80% reduction in efficiency. So above all, don’t shade your array!

Q: How do I know if solar panels will work on my home?

A: Take a look at the position of your home on its lot – and particularly your roof. Ask the following questions:

  • Is there good southern exposure? Orienting solar panels to the south maximizes the effectiveness of energy collection.
  • Is the exposure free of trees or buildings that could shade the panels or drop debris on them? Shading photovoltaic panels dramatically reduces their effectiveness.
  • What is the pitch of your roof? Most roofs, from flat to 60-degrees can accommodate photovoltaic panels.

Q: What other factors are important to consider when installing a home solar energy system?

A: The location of your home and the local climate will play into where you place and how you install your solar electric or solar hot water system. Wind speeds, heavy snow loads, and salt water can all affect a solar array. Understanding how those inputs effect performance will determine the types of mounts or how the arrays are angled. A solar pro in your area is likely quite knowledgeable about your local conditions and can help you design that works well for you.