FAQs About the Advantages of Solar Power for your Metro Kansas City Home or Business
Considering a solar energy system but still have some questions about the advantages of solar power? No worries, we have answers:
How do photovoltaic solar panels work?
Photovoltaic solar panels work by converting solar energy into electricity. Each panel is made up of a bunch of small cells, called photovoltaic cells. These cells are designed to capture sunlight, which is made up of tiny particles called photons. Once absorbed, the photons are converted into direct current (DC) electricity. However, commercial and residential buildings are powered by a different type of electricity, called alternating current (AC). So, the DC electricity is fed into an inverter, which turns it into AC electricity. The AC electricity is then used to power the building. When your solar energy system creates more electricity than you use, the excess is sent back to the grid. Then, when you require more energy than you can make, the grid returns it to you.
Do solar panels work at night and on cloudy days?
Solar panels need sunlight to create electricity, so they cannot operate in the dark. On a cloudy day, they will still create electricity, but less so than during peak sunlight hours. However, this doesn’t mean you have to go without power when the sun isn’t feeding your panels. Homes and businesses that use solar energy either maintain a connection to the grid or utilize backup batteries so that they can have power no matter the weather or time of day.
Can solar panels be used during a power outage?
If your solar energy system is tied to the grid, you will not have power during an outage, as most on-grid systems are designed to turn off automatically during a blackout. This is a safety feature, created to protect workers as they repair damaged power lines. The connection between your solar energy system and the grid needs to be disabled to prevent it from creating a hazard to the workers. So, your panels will still be absorbing sunlight, but you will not be able to use it. However, if you utilize a backup battery instead of a grid connection, you can maintain power during an outage.
What’s the difference between on-grid and off-grid solar panels?
On-grid solar panels are connected to the grid (the utility company), while off-grid solar panels are not. A grid connection is typically recommended, as the grid will store the excess energy you create as well as power your home at night and on cloudy days. You can also build credit with the utility company and may be able to receive payment for the power you send to the grid. Off-grid systems use backup batteries when they are not creating electricity, so they do not need a connection to the grid. This is often referred to as ‘islanding,’ as you are 100 percent self-sustainable. However, backup battery systems are pricey and not usually worth the expense or added maintenance.
Do solar panels need to be cleaned regularly?
One of the advantages of solar power is that solar panels almost never need to be cleaned. The rain will wash away most of what settles on them, such as pollen. But, if you notice excessive bird droppings, dirt, or other build up, you may need to wash your panels, though this isn’t often necessary. To clean your panels, you can either hire a professional or use soapy water and a non-abrasive cloth or sponge.
How will solar panels affect my roof?
As long as they are properly installed, solar panels will do no damage to your roof. The panels themselves are very light, as is the mounting system that holds them in place. In fact, solar panels are more likely to help protect your roof by shielding it from the elements and adding insulation.
What are the financial benefits of solar power?
Some of the most considerable advantages of solar power are the financial benefits, the most obvious of which is offsetting your energy costs by up to 100 percent. But, there are other financial benefits as well. Not only will you offset your costs, but you’ll also be safe from the high inflation rates associated with utility companies. And, you’ll be eligible to receive a federal tax credit for commercial and residential solar energy systems. There may be other local incentives as well, depending on where you live.
If you still have questions about the advantages of solar power for your Metro Kansas City home or business, contact Smart Home Innovations. We’d be happy to tell you more and provide a free consultation.