Frequently Asked Questions
I’m intrigued by solar Photovoltaics (PV). What is it, how does it work?
To learn about what solar PV is and how it works, we recommend reading the article, please click here.
Generally speaking, unless you plan to live in a remote location where there is no grid available, yes you will maintain your relationship with your local power utility.
The type of solar PV system you are likely to receive is known as a grid-tied solar system. This means that your solar system will operate in tandem with your local power utility. The utility grid acts to solve the timing discrepancy between the amount of energy you are consuming vs. the amount your solar system is producing at a given moment.
For example: if during the day you produce more power than you consume at a given moment, the excess power is pumped onto the grid and your utility meter spins backwards. Likewise, during the night you will consume more than you produce (solar panels do not produce energy in the absence of sun light), and that power will come from power grid.
At the end of the utility billing cycle, you will be liable for energy you have used from the grid minus energy you returned to the grid. If you have produced more energy than you have used on a given month, you will receive a credit on your next month’s billing cycle.
Once the solar PV system has been installed and inspected by the local building department, you will enter an “interconnection agreement” with your local utility.
See the following link for FPL utility will replace your power meter with a bi-directional net meter, capable of measuring power traveling off the grid to your home or onto the grid from your home. You are then ready to turn on your solar system and enjoy the Florida Power & Light Company savings. It’s as simple as
Typically, there are three factors that will determine the size and cost of a solar system:
- The amount of energy you currently use – it is not recommended to install a solar PV system capable of producing more annual energy than you currently use. If you produce more energy on a given month, you will receive “roll-over credit” for the excess kilowatt-hours on your next month’s balance. However, at the end of the year, you will be paid by the utility for the annual excess kilowatt-hours at a lower rate than at which you are billed. Therefore, we recommend installing a solar system capable of producing as much energy as possible, but not to exceed annual consumption.
- The amount of available roof space – Our engineering is detailed and meticulous in determining the number of solar panels that your roof can safely fit. During our free on-site consultation, we will determine how many panels can fit on your solar-eligible roof space. Eligible roof space is not northern facing, is clear of shading and obstructions, such as vents or air conditioners.
- Your budget for the project – We will work with you to teach you the solar cost structure and how the return on investment with solar works. We have teamed up with Admirals Bank and are proud to offer financing for solar projects up to $40,000 to all eligible customers. To customers interested in taking out a solar loan to finance their solar project, we recommend structuring the loan in such a way that the only amount due monthly for the solar loan is roughly equal to the amount of money saved on your monthly power bill after installing a solar PV system. Structuring the loan in this way will make the transition to solar seamless from a monthly budgeting standpoint. The difference is that the source of your energy is now clean and renewable. Additionally monthly payments towards a solar loan are essentially building equity towards your eventual full ownership of your energy production. Whereas purchasing power from the utility in effect, has no return.
All grid tied PV systems will have the following basic components:
- Photovoltaic solar panels: capable of capturing the sun’s energy and converting it into direct current (DC) energy.
- Inverter: Electrical device that operates to change the form of the energy produced by the solar panels (direct current) to the form of energy that our buildings consume (alternating current). Inverters are also considered the “brains of the system” since they are capable of tracking and reporting various useful information on the system such as current power production, daily energy, value of energy produced, etc’. Goldin Solar includes in its installations an inverter add-on that connects the inverter to the internet to allow our customers to track the performance of their PV systems in real time from anywhere.
- Racking system: The metal structural system that anchors the solar PV panels to the roof. It includes the anchor points, which will structurally tie into the building (concrete slab or wooden rafters), as well as the rails that are assembled onto the anchoring points, onto which the PV panels are secured.
- Various electrical components: All the electrical components required to complete the functioning solar PV system including: conductors, grounding wire, grounding lugs, junction boxes, combiner boxes, breakers, fuses, and conduit.
Every inverter installed in the US must be equipped with a mechanism known as “anti-islanding”.
This means that the inverter senses input from the grid, and if no power comes in from the grid to the inverter, the inverter automatically shuts off.
The reason inverters are engineered this way is in order to prevent the scenario where a power line worker is shocked while working on a damaged line as a result of a solar PV system feeding current into the grid. Thus, when the grid is down the inverter shuts off, and our home cannot utilize energy from the solar array.
There does exist a way to design a solar PV system to be able to provide energy during a power outage. This type of system known as a solar grid-tied battery backed up system.
In this type of system, an ordinary grid-tied solar system is supplemented by a backup battery bank. This battery bank remains fully charged and under normal operating conditions is not actually utilized.
If the power from the grid goes down, the backup battery bank will kick-in to continue to power the home.
Be aware that adding a battery bank does add significant cost to the system. We recommend utilizing a backup battery bank only when it is truly warranted, for the applications such as security or life support in a commercial building or hospital respectively.
Check out the “Our Process” tab on this website to learn about our project delivery process. If you are interested in a no cost, risk free consultation to see how solar can work for you, send us an email or give us a call. We look forward to serving you.