Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What's the difference between On-Grid and Off-Grid?
A: On-Grid refers to a net metering agreement with the power company. Your solar panels make your electric meter run slower or even backwards and reduces your power bill significantly. Off-Grid means your house has no connection to the power company. Your power source is completely independent. Power is stored in a battery bank and your home pulls power from the battery during dark hours when your solar panels are inactive.
Q: What is a Watt?
A: A watt is a standard unit of measurement for electricity. Watts are easily calculated by multiplying the volts by amps. Example: If you look on the label in your refrigerator, it will declare the unit uses 120V to operate. Next you can look for the amps or A amount that the unit uses, maybe 4A. So 120V times 4A equals 480 watts of electricity per hour. The label on appliances lists these numbers in relation to each hour an unit operates, so this example would be 480 watts per hour. One kilowatt means 1000 watts.
Q: How much energy does my refrigerator use for a whole day?
A: An Energy Star refrigerator may cycle 6-8 times per day and other less efficient models may cycle 12-14 times. In our experience, most modern Energy Star refrigerators use between 1.5 - 3.0 kilowatts per day. So multiply the kilowatts by the unit price of power and will show you the actually cost per day. The worst power hungry refrigerator we have seen used 16 kilowatts per day and at current electric rates cost $7.00 per day to operate.
Q: Do solar power batteries need maintenance?
A: Our Off-Grid Solar Systems have "sealed" batteries which are completely maintenance free. You will never have to worry about "topping off" the fluids and checking fluid levels in these batteries. Other companies may have different batteries and we recommend following their instructions for maintenance.
Q: If we go on vacation, will we need to have someone "babysit" or manage our solar power system?
A: Not at all. Our systems take care of themselves with safeguards and safety mechanism to protect your house and the unit itself from overcharging or turning off. Some of our systems even have the capability of internet monitoring meaning you can see the statistics of your system through your smartphone or tablet.
Q: What are tax credits and how do they work?
A: Tax credits are still in effect and help you save on the cost of electricity. The Federal Tax Credit is 30% and the State Tax Credit is 35% with a $5000 cap. The amount of the credit is calculated based on the cost of your total solar system installation. For example if your system cost $20,000, you will get a $6,000 Federal Tax Credit and a State Tax Credit of $5,000 (capped at $5000) for a total credit value of $11,000 thus your total solar installation cost would be $9,000. Tax credits can be "rolled over" to other tax years if you do not use the entire amount. These tax credits also do not expire. Our specialty is solar not taxes so please consult your professional tax adviser for your specific tax qualifications.