FAQFind answers to the most common questions.
Did you receive one of our dinner invitations? Have questions about it?
What is the purpose of the dinner?
Does it cost any money?
What will happen at the dinner?
How long will the dinner last?
Who can attend the dinner?
What kind of food is served?
What do people say about the dinners?
“The fact that the presenter did not waste anyone’s time. He seemed very concerned about moving the presentation along at a fast pace and as a very busy person, I appreciated the fact that he respected the use of my time.” Matthew M.
“Entertaining, informative, relatively short presentation, no pressure to buy or commit to anything at the dinner.” Dennis L.
“John was a very entertaining host and made a point to impress us all with knowing our names.” Martin & Laurel S.
Do you have questions about Solar Energy Systems?
Are you thinking about buying a PV solar system for your home?
The option of net metering, or interconnecting to your PV Solar System to the utility grid, makes solar electric systems more economically viable. When you make more power than you need during a billing period, utilities generally give you energy credit for later use.
There are federal tax credits and most states have renewable energy production incentives that give additional financial benefits for owning and operating a solar electric system.
What is solar electricity?
Why should I buy a PV solar system?
What equipment is needed for a PV solar system?
Here are some descriptions of commonly used components:
The basic building block of solar electric generation is the solar “cell”. Cells are wired together to produce a “module”, which is often called a panel. Solar electric modules or panels range in power output from about 10 watts to 400 watts. A group of modules wired together form a solar “array”. Various mounting rails and hardware are used to attach modules to a building or other support structure and are often called “racking”.
A solar electric system tied to the utility grid requires an “inverter”; a power electronics device that converts direct current (DC) produced by the modules into conventional alternating current (AC). Modern inverters provide important safety features to meet the latest National Electric Code standards. Additionally, inverters allow for monitoring and diagnostic capabilities. AC and DC power disconnect switches allow components to be safely shut down and isolated from the utility grid.
Batteries are optional in a net metered system and are only used if a customer wants to provide backup power during utility power outages.
A separate utility-grade kilowatt-hour meter, or “production meter” may be required to receive renewable energy production incentives.
How much does a PV solar system cost?
Is a PV solar system a good investment?
Remember, if reducing energy costs is your prime concern, adding additional insulation or reflective insulation like Sol-Blanket Insulation ™ may be a better investment.
How much money will my PV solar system save?
Installed wattage = kWh generated per year
Small deviations from “ideal” system orientation (due south) and tilt (30 – 45 degrees) will not affect annual performance more than about 5%. However, annual electricity production may vary by up to 20% due to annual variations in local weather.
How much is that electricity worth? There is no simple answer to this question since it depends on how much electricity you use, your current rate schedule (residential, general service, etc.) as well as how much and when you generate solar electricity.
Are incentives available for PV solar systems?
The Federal Tax Incentive – The federal Energy Policy Act of 2005, as amended by the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, includes provisions for individuals and businesses to claim a 30% federal income tax credit for the cost of solar technology installations. Credit applies to the balance remaining after any utility or state incentives have been taken. Reference IRS Form 5695 for residential energy credits and IRS Form 3468 for business investment credits. Contact the U.S. Internal Revenue Service for further information.
Do I have a good site for PV solar?
When looking at your site ask yourself a few questions like: Is your site free from shade by trees, roof lines, nearby buildings, or other obstructions in the surrounding landscape? Remember that an area that is unshaded during one part of the day, may be shaded during another. Even small objects, e.g. a utility or flagpole, can result in significant shade losses. As little as 10 percent shade on a module can reduce output by as much as 80 percent.
Other factors aside, the best orientation (direction) for a solar electric system is south, where the sun spends most of its time, and therefore south-facing roof installations are most common. Roofs that face east or west may be acceptable but generate about 20% less electricity.
On flat roofs, solar modules can be mounted flat, facing up to the sky, or mounted on frames tilted south at various angles. There is less than a 5% variation from peak annual performance when modules are tilted south between 20 and 60 degrees.
If a rooftop can’t be used, solar modules can also be mounted on a separate structure, pole or the ground, either on a fixed or “tracking” mount that follows the sun to orient the modules for maximum performance.
Other options (used most often in multifamily or commercial applications) include mounting modules on structures that offer weather protection (e.g covered walkways or canopies) or provide shade as window awnings.
Do I have enough space on my roof or property for a PV solar system?
A 1 kW watt system might require as little as 80 square feet of roof area for 5 typical modules. A 10 kW system may require as much as 1,000 square feet. Smart Energy Today, Inc.® makes getting started in the solar revolution easy and affordable.
Does the type of roof matter?
What pv solar system is right for me?
Consider the “economies of scale” that can decrease the cost per watt as you increase the size of the system. For example, many inverters are sized for systems up to 2.5 or 3 kilowatts, and if your array is smaller, say 1 kilowatt, you may still end up buying the same inverter. Labor costs for a small system may be nearly as much as those for a larger system. For example, your solar electric provider is likely to offer you a better price to install a 2 kilowatt system all at once, than to install a 1 kilowatt system this year and another similar system next year, since multiple orders and site visits add cost.
Is financing available for a pv solar system from Smart Energy Today, Inc.®?
What permits are required for PV solar?
Code requirements for solar systems vary somewhat from one jurisdiction to the next, but most are based on the National Electrical Code (NEC). NEC Article 690 carefully spells out requirements for designing and installing safe, reliable, code-compliant solar systems. Because most local code requirements are based on the NEC, your building inspector is likely to rely on Article 690 for guidance in determining whether your PV Solar System has been properly designed and installed.
If you are among the first people in your community to install a grid-tied solar system, your local building department may not have approved one of these systems. If this is the case, you and Smart Energy Today, Inc.® can speed the process by working closely and cooperatively with your local building officials to help educate them about the technology and its characteristics.