Solar Panel FAQs
How many solar panels can fit on a typical roof?
The number of panels that can be installed on a roof varies depending on the available square footage after allowing for a number of factors including the slope of the roof; the number of chimneys; if there are skylights or dormers and how many; the direction in which the roof faces; if there are areas of the roof covered by trees; and more. All of these factors affect the total number of available square feet and the total number of panels that can be installed.
The only accurate way of determining the size of the solar array your roof can accommodate is by scheduling a site evaluation and taking measurements. For most straightforward roof designs, we can get accurate measurements easily from the ground. For more complex roof designs 603 Solar uses a state-of-the-art drone that can measure the roof and produce 99% accurate dimensions.
If you are in the market for Solar and would like a free estimate, call us today at (603) 570-2607 and we will make arrangements to come out and measure your roof.
How many solar panels are needed to power my house?
The number of panels you need to power your house is determined by your annual power usage, which we obtain fromyour electric bill, and varies from home to home. If your available square footage is larger than needed then we can install up to the total number of panels required. Not over building the system helps keep your initial investment down.
The available square footage on your roof determines how many panels can be installed, which will determine how much power you can generate. If the space available is smaller than what you need to cover your annual usage, we can then determine what the offset would be, so that you would have an estimate of how much lower your power needs will be, along with the estimated amount of power you will still have to buy from the power company.
If I generate more power than what is needed, can I sell that energy back to the utility company?
Yes, that is called net-metering. With net-metering, you are essentially a micro power plant. Each month you are going to be buying and selling power to your power company. The amount of power you will sell to the power company is determined by a number of different factors including the number of cloudy days vs sunny days, and the amount of power your house is consuming.
On a bright sunny day when you are creating more energy than you are consuming, that energy needs to flow somewhere. So, it ends up getting pushed back onto the grid. When this happens, you will notice your meter spinning backward, which results in you receiving a dollar credit on your bill. Likewise at night, when the solar is not producing and you have the lights on, you are going to be drawing power from the grid.
At the end of the month, the power company is going to look at what your sales are (the amount of power you put back on the grid) versus what your purchases are (the amount of power you took off the grid) and determine the net difference. If your sales are higher than your purchases you will see a credit on your electric bill.
Will I have the ability to monitor how much power I am generating or using throughout the month?
Yes. There are actually a couple of different ways you can monitor your usage. There are some basic indication lights on the hardware itself that lets you know your solar array is connected and producing electricity. You can also monitor the net-meter installed by the power company which has a few different screens. These screens indicate how much power has been sent and received by the power company.
But perhaps the best way to monitor your overall performance is with the MyEnlighten Mobile App, the monitoring platform created by Enphase Energy. With this app you will be able to see clear indicators when your system is operating normally and if there are any issues with any of your panels. You can also monitor how much energy you have produced and consumed that day. The app keeps a detailed log of your system’s power production throughout the day in 15-minute periods, both currently and through the time of installation. At the end of the year, you will also be able to see how much power you produced, along with your most productive months.
If the power goes out in my neighborhood due to a storm or because of other causes, will I still have electricity?
That depends on the type of system you have installed. The majority of the systems we install are grid-tied systems with no battery backup. During a grid outage with a grid-tied system, your array is going to shut down, which is a built-in safety feature. This protects utility workers that may be working on down powerlines so that they are not harmed by your solar system back-feeding power.
What happens when snow covers my roof?
You would be surprised how much a system can produce, even if it is covered by snow! However once you get past a certain point the system will not be able to produce. If you have a roof with a steep pitch, the snow should slide off after a few sunny days. The lower the pitch of the roof the longer it will take to shed itself. Because the panels are made of glass, they provide a much slicker surface than a traditional asphalt shingle roof. If you have a metal roof, it is very similar! For lower pitch roofs we suggest purchasing a solar snow rake. These modified roof rakes have a telescoping shaft that can reach up to the bottom of the array (in most cases). Just removing the first foot or two of snow will accelerate the rest of it to fall.
What happens if I install solar panels and then decide to sell my house?
Because we only deal with purchase models of solar (and not any Solar Leases, or Power Purchase Agreements in which a third party owns the array) transferring ownership of the system is very straightforward. If the system was financed and there is still a balance left on the loan, then the remainder of the loan cost would be rolled into the sale of the home. The new homeowners would walk into their home with either a heavily reduced, or eliminated electric bill! If the system has already been paid for or was purchased outright originally it is even easier. All major warranties are fully transferable (for a small transfer fee), as well as all monitoring capabilities.
Have More Questions? Let’s Talk.
We are here to assist you. Contact us by phone at (603) 570-2607, or send us your question(s) by clicking on the “Contact Us” button.