Frequently Asked Questions
Solar energy systems have numerous benefits and incentives. We partner with Commerce Rhode Island Renewable Energy Fund (REF) to help you take advantage of them. Some incentives and benefits include:
- Net metering, which means the utility company will pay you when you generate more power than you use
- An increase in the resale value of your property
- Federal tax credits up to 30% of gross project cost
- REF grant programs
- Income from the sale of Renewable Energy Credits (REC)
- Favorable depreciation schedules
Solar energy systems may also be installed on the ground if you have available land on your property. Roof installations are most popular because they don’t require additional space. For additional design intelligence and efficiency we partner with All Earth Renewables Inc. Their Solar Tracker technology allows solar panels to move, following the angle of the sun. This can produce up to 45% more energy than fixed solar panels.
Oftentimes while your system is producing electricity during the day, it will actually produce more than you need. At night, with no sunlight, your system doesn’t produce electricity. However, a process called net metering makes it work. That excess electricity your system produced flows back into the power grid, and your meter runs backwards. The credit you generated during the day carries over allowing you to take electricity back from the grid at night.
Another option that is becoming increasingly popular is storing your solar energy with batteries to further reduce your reliance on fossil fuel powered electrical grids.
A solar cell, also called a photovoltaic (PV) cell, is the smallest element that converts light into electrical energy. They are made of silicon that is treated in such a way that it generates electricity when light shines on it. A solar module is simply a series of solar cells wired together.
The solar energy system generates energy free of pollutants, so yes. Solar panels also consist of recyclable materials.
Since they do not have moving parts solar panels are not prone to failure. Despite the fact that most of the current designs have not been in service long enough to confirm this, it is commonly believed that panels should last 40+ years. Most panels have a 20 to 25 year power warranty from the manufacturer. Inverters typically have a 20 year warranty.
Ideally, you want your roof to be in good condition because the solar panels are expected to last at least 25 years. While most installations do not require a new roof prior to PV installation, working around the solar energy system would add difficulty to a future roof replacement. However, if your roof is in good condition, solar panels will help keep it that way. Once the panels are in place they greatly reduce wear and tear on the roof by blocking ultraviolet rays and keeping most of the snow and ice off of it.
The installation of a solar energy system to your property can increase its value substantially and reduce the time it takes to sell the property. The increased value will continue to grow as utility costs rise over the years.
Net metering is a term that refers to utility meters that are able to “turn backward.” This allows you to receive credit for excess electricity produced that flows into the power grid.
The estimation for most solar power systems is that they will last between 25 and 40 years.
There is a kilowatt-hour meter on all photovoltaic systems that shows the amount the system is producing at that moment and the total amount of kilowatts in memory storage. This allows the owner to know how much electricity they are producing daily, monthly, or annually, and to monitor their system’s performance.
Modern solar cells with practical efficiency were invented in the early 1950s, and have been used to power satellites since 1959. The technology is not new. However, in the mid-1970s is when they became popular, being utilized for global applications such as remote telecommunications, navigational aids, and other rugged, remote industrial uses. Since the 1980s they have provided power in for urban applications like roadside emergency telephones and traffic signboards. As demand increased, the prices decreased to the point they are at today where solar panel systems are now affordable for homes and businesses.
Yes they are. Solar systems consist mostly of silicon, the primary component of sand. There is no exhaust and no toxic materials that can be emitted from the system. However, the electricity is coming through the inverter. This is the same process as electricity coming from household wall sockets, so you should be as careful as you would be with utility power. All components are approved for utility interconnection and are installed in accordance with standard construction practices.
Micro-inverters produce 10% more electricity than other inverters. They come with a 25 year manufacturer’s warranty, so they last 2 times longer than standard inverters – reducing maintenance and replacement costs. Plus, monitoring at panel level allows for maximum performance and output.
If the solar energy system connects to the utility electrical power grid, that means it is on-grid. If the system is not connected to that utility electrical power grid, then it is referred to as off-grid. A key difference is that an off-grid system needs to be designed to function with no support from the utility grid, so it provides 100% of the needed electrical power.
The mounting systems we install have been tested to withstand inclement winter weather and works on almost every type of roofing material. The panels are made of tempered glass, similar to modern car windshields, and undergo impact testing to withstand snow, ice, wind, and hail storms. The warranty for the panels is usually 20 to 25 years, and they have even been installed in extreme Arctic locations.
Yes. Rhode Island Solar Solutions will obtain the necessary permits from your local government.
Yes, for any generator to be connected to the grid safely and legally the local utility has rules and procedures that need to be followed. Our systems comply with the standards set in the National Electrical Code which is what the rules are generally based on. Rhode Island Solar Solutions will assist you with the connection.