ION Solar Blog

Solar Panels: FAQs

How do solar panels actually work?

Solar panels are made up of small photovoltaic cells connected together and made out of semiconducting materials. The cells are small, but when combined together in solar arrays, they become very efficient. The sunshine on the cells creates electricity.

Click here to read more about photovoltaic cells and how solar panels work.

Will my solar panels generate electricity during cloudy, rainy or snowy days?

Many believe that snow can stop energy production, but this isn’t quite true. There are many ways that solar panels continue to produce energy without the intense sunshine summer offers. The U.S. Department of Energy tested solar panel energy production against light and heavy snowfall in Virginia. They found that solar panels still generate electricity, even in very snowy areas.

Click here to read more about how solar panels work in the winter.

How do I clean my solar panels?

The rain is a helpful friend when it comes to cleaning solar panels. In most instances the rain will wash away the majority of dirt and grime that may be on your panels. However, if it doesn’t do the trick it is easy to clean solar panels on your own. All you need is a bucket of water, a non-abrasive sponge and some soap!

Click here to read more about how to clean your solar panels.

What is net-metering?

Solar energy systems produce electricity at different rates depending on the time of day or year. They hit their peak production in the afternoons when most people tend to be out of the house. So, excess electricity that is produced and not being used will be fed into an electric utility grid, also known as net metering.

Click here to read more about net-metering.

How much does it cost to install solar panels on my home?

The cost of solar is composed of more than just panels — to give you a better idea, we’ve broken down some factors that influence the cost of your solar system as a whole.

  • How You Finance Your System
  • Energy Demand and System Size
  • Materials
  • Current Condition of Your Home
  • Location
  • Net Metering
  • Rebates and Incentives Available

Click here for a breakdown of each of these cost-influencing factors!

Will I ever need to replace my solar panels?

Most solar panels include warranties and many panels outlast that warranty. These solar panels are made to endure environmental impact and are able to withstand harsh weather conditions. After about 25 years solar panels may begin to slowly lose efficiency.

How long do solar panels take to install?

We aim for a 60 to 90 day process that includes receiving all permits and approvals. The actual install of the solar panels will be scheduled with you and if weather conditions permit will be done within the same day. It is a quick and easy process!

How does solar energy benefit the environment?

Solar energy reduces greenhouse gas and Carbon dioxide emissions, air pollution, water pollution and hazardous waste among many other environmental benefits.

Click here to read more about how solar energy helps the environment.

What are photovoltaics?

To put simply, photovoltaics is the technology used to convert light to electricity. The devices generate electricity directly from sunlight. Photovoltaic devices work by an electronic process that occurs naturally in certain materials, called semiconductors. Solar energy frees the electrons in these materials. The structure of the semiconductors forces these electrons to travel through an electrical circuit. This powers electrical devices, or sends electricity to the grid.

Click here to read more about photovoltaics.

What size solar system should I get?

Our team will gather the last twelve months of your electricity bills. This gives us a sense of how much energy your household uses on a daily basis. Energy usage is important because it is the determining factor for how big your system size will be. The goal is to build a system that will offset 100% of your annual usage. Other factors that affect the number of panels that can be placed are roof size, orientation and shading.

Click here for a more in-depth explanation of how our team designs solar panel systems.

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