Acadiana Solar Grid-Tie Solar Questions and Answers
1. Is my roof suitable for solar? Several factors determine the suitability of a roof for the instillation of Solar. A few of them are:
1. The age of the roof.
2. The overall condition of the roof.
3. The Pitch of the roof.
4. The direction or "azimuth" of the roof.
5. The amount of roof that is affected by shading.
2. How much do I need to zero my Bill?
The amount of Solar needed to zero your meter is calculated by totaling the past 12 months of kilowatt hours used from utility bills then dividing the total by 12 in order to obtain a monthly average. This monthly average is used to determine the project size, necessary for an end of the year net meter reading of zero, in essence no electric bill for the year.
3. How much can I put on my roof?
Several factors determine the amount of Solar that can be installed on a roof. The Primary factors are the Physical size of the roof, the amount of roof that is affected by shading, vents that cannot be moved or modified, and the support structure of the roof.
4. Can Panels be put on Mobile Homes?
Acadiana Solar will install Panels only on mobile homes that have roof structure is made of 2" X 6" rafters.
5. Can I install only as much as my budget allows?
There is no minimum amount of Solar that can be installed on a roof. Acadiana solar designs projects according to the clients constraints and the physical limitations of the roof. The client may choose to reduce their bill by percentage, or have budget restrictions. Acadiana Solar will work with the client to produce the desired results.
6. How much does one Panel weigh?
The weight of a Solar Panel is approximately 40 pounds.
7. How much space does one Solar panel occupy?
The size of a Solar Panel is approximately 3.5 feet by 5.5 feet. The size of the panel is determined by the wattage of the Panel. The panel chosen for a project is the panel that best fits the clients goal and best fits the roof area.
8. Do I need Batteries?
Conventional Grid tie systems use no batteries. Hybrid systems can be designed with batteries but become very expensive and require frequent maintenance. Should a back-up system be necessary it becomes more feasible to install a back up generator.
9. Will I notice when It switches from Solar Power to Utility Power?
The switching of Solar and Utility Power is seamless. There are no light blinking or motor surges.
10. Will the power company pay me if I over produce?
Should the Solar System have produced positive credits at the end of the year, the credits will carry over to the next year. If excess credits are produced and the client decides to collect the credits, the account must be closed. At that time the credits will be paid but only at a 50% rate.
Acadiana Solar designs its Net 0 systems so that the credits generated in months that the System over produces will be used up in months that the System under produces thus having no excess credits at the end of the year, and thus always having a dollar for dollar exchange rate on credits.
11. What about permits and interface with Utility and Codes?
Acadiana Solar secures all permits and interfaces with Parish Codes and the Utility Companies
12. Will I have a direct interface with the Utility company?
Acadiana Solar secures Permits and schedules Inspections and the bi-directional meter change. The only interface the client has with the Utility is to sign the Net Metering Agreement.
13. How do you tie in my system to the utility company?
Normally a grid-tie Sys. is tied into the Utility Co. through the electrical service panel. Breakers are installed in the service panel that back-feed the panel with power from the Solar System. Any excess solar power produced is credited to your account by the utility company.
14. Why do I need a disconnect next to my meter?
In times when the grid is down and work is required on the grid, the Utility company may elect to disconnect your system from the grid while the work is being preformed. This is a double safety precaution as the inverters shut down when the grid is not active.
15. Do I produce more electricity in the Summer or Winter?
Energy production is higher in the Summer than in the Winter due to the added number of sun hours, However energy consumption may be higher in the summer due to the use of air conditioners. So your Utility bill may be higher in the Summer than the winter.
16. How does the utility company give me my credits?
The Utility company removes your existing meter and installs a bi-directional meter. The new meter records the power (kwh) that you take from the Utility and also records the amount of power (kwh) that you give to the Utility. The difference in the two readings is the net. If you give more to the Utility than you take from the Utility you have a positive net, and you receive credits for every kwh that you produce over the amount that you received from the Utility. When the sun is not shining you use your credits before you start paying for power from the Utility.
17. Can I transfer my credits from one bill to another?
Some credits can be transferred. Arrangements must be made before you install your system as Utility policy varies from one Utility company to the other.
18. When will the utility install my bi-directional meter?
Once the instillation is complete and your system has passed Parish Codes inspection, the utility will conduct its own inspection and install the bi-directional meter.
19. Where will my inverter/inverters be installed?
Acadiana Solar now uses Enphase Micro Inverters whenever possible. They are the most efficient inverters, mounted beneath the panels, (they are not visible) and now have a 25 year warranty equaling that of the panels. Conventional and Commercial inverters are usually installed in a location convenient for system operation and as aesthetically pleasing as possible.
20. Is the inverter weather proof?
The Inverter is weather proof and designed to operate outside.
21. Is my roof protected by the panels?
A roof is protected by the panels from direct sunlight (uv rays), direct rain, wind and hail. The roof area beneath the panels will age at a much slower rate than the part that is not under the array.
22. How will the Solar be attached to the roof?
Depending on the type of roof there are various methods used to attach the panels. Acadiana Solar warrants our panels to be on the roof as long as the roof is on the house.
23. What about leaks in my roof?
Acadiana Solar takes every precaution to prevent leaks and the best sealer is used for the various types of roofs. We have had no leaks in the in the 4 years that we have been in business.
24. What happens when I have to change my roof?
Because the part of the roof that is under the panel ages at a much slower rate than the part not protected, the roof is often changed around the array and the roof under the array not changed. Should the entire roof need to be changed Acadiana Solar will remove and reinstall the panels for the going solar instillation rate.
25. What is the wind rating of the system?
All of our systems are installed according to the Codes wind ratings for the area. Acadiana Solar will also comply with client request should they desire a higher rating.
26. What about hurricanes if panels are destroyed?
Should panels be destroyed or damaged due to any circumstances they will be covered by your home owners insurance as they are insured as part of the permanent structure
27. Do I have power during a hurricane?
If grid power is lost during a hurricane your inverters will shut down therefore you will be without power. If you need emergency power, Acadiana Solar recommends that you install a back up generator. They are now very affordable, much less expensive and more maintenance free than a battery system.
28. What happens if there is problems with my system?
Enphase and Acadiana Solar monitor your system over the internet and alert you should a problem arise. Acadiana Solar then schedules a convenient time with you to address the problem.
29. Do I have to clean the panels?
Rain normally does a satisfactory job of cleaning the panel. During extended periods of no rain heavy pollen and dust, rinsing the panels with a hose removes most of the particulates. Never use detergent on the panels.
30. What maintenance is required on system?
There is virtually no maintenance on the system other than an occasional rinsing.
31. Are some panels better looking than others?
Panels are manufactured in various colors and some people prefer some panels over others. Acadiana Solar always shows their clients what is available so the client can choose.
32. How am I affected by shading?
Shading will affect the output of the panels. All shading issues are addressed and resolved prior to instillation. The Enphase Inverters used by Acadiana Solar minimize all shading effects should they develop after instillation.
33. What is the efficiency of the panels?
Panel efficiency varies by panel type and manufacturer. Acadiana Solar always gives the client the best value for the money invested.
34. What is the warranty of the panels?
The Panels have a 25 year power warranty. 90% for the first 10 years and 80% for the remainder of the 25 years and a 6 year warranty on materials and workmanship.
35. What is the warranty of the inverter?
The Enphase inverters have a 25 year replacement warranty.
36. What is the DC to AC Derate Factor?
When Power is converted from Direct Current (DC) to Alternating Current (AC) there is some power loss. The amount of the conversion loss is referred to as the Derate Factor.
37. What are the government incentives?
The State of La incentive is a 50% refundable tax credit. The Federal incentive is a 30% tax credit. Bottom line, your out of pocket expense is 20% of the cost of the system.
38. How do I file for my government incentives?
You file for your incentives when you file your income taxes. Acadiana will provide all documentation necessary and a list of instructions for proper filing.
39. When do I get my incentive money back form the government?
Incentive money is received in the normal income tax refund period.
40. How long will the incentives be in effect?
Federal incentives are scheduled to be in effect until the year 2016, however laws can be changed. In the past State incentives have been renewed every 2 years and at present good through 2012.
41. Do you have financing?
At the Present time we do not offer financing. Acadiana Solar recommends that anyone financing their Solar Project secure a home equity line of credit as it works best with the incentives.
42. What is the payout time on the system?
Utility rates determine the payout of the system. The higher your Utility rate the quicker the payout. Rates in Louisiana vary from 6cents to 13cents per kwh. The pay out for the system can range from 5.5 years to 8.5 years.
43. What is the return on investment?
Utility rates determine the return on investment. The higher your Utility rate the better the return on your investment. The range of your return on investment can vary from 10% to 16%.
44. Will I have to pay taxes on the power I generate?
No taxes are paid on the power that your system generates.
45. How much will I save per month and per year?
The amount that you save will be determined by the size of the system that you install. Acadiana Solar will present to you all of your options and you will determine the size of your system.
46. How much will my homeowners insurance go up?
Home owners insurance generally goes up an average of $70 per year per $25,000 of Solar installed.
47. What is the cost of my system?
The cost of Solar varies throughout the year. At present the average cost of Solar is approximately $6.25 per DC watt of Solar installed, that's 4,000 watts for $25,000.
48. When are payments due?
50% of the payment is due upon the signing of the contract, and the other 50% is due once the system has passed codes inspection.
50. When can you start?
Your system instillation will be determined by the Acadiana Solar work load and parts availability. The normal start time from signing of the contract is about 6 weeks. You will be given a more specific time at contract signing.
51. How long will it take to install?
A 4,000 watt system generally takes 3 days and an 8,000 watt system 5 days.
52. Who inspects My System before Commissioning?
Installed Solar Systems are inspected by our Acadiana Solars Electrician, your Parish Codes Division and your Utility Company.
53. When can I start operating my system?
Your system will be commissioned after the utility installs your bi-directional meter.
54. Are you a member of the Better Business Bureau?
No we are not. However we are listed on Dun and Bradstreet which is a higher rating than the Better Business Bureau. To be listed on Dun and Bradstreet all company financials must be disclosed and they monitor all aspects of the business not just the complaints.