Answers To Your Louisiana Solar Conversion Questions
Frequently Asked Questions
- Is my roof protected by solar panels?
A roof is protected by the solar 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 solar array.
- What are the benefits of going solar?
Converting to solar energy and installing solar panels offers numerous benefits, including reduced electricity bills, decreased reliance on fossil fuels, lower carbon footprint, increased energy independence, and potential financial incentives or tax credits.
- How much will my homeowners insurance go up after adding solar panels?
Home owners insurance generally goes up an average of $70 per year per $25,000 of solar panels and equipment installed.
- What are my solar panel conversion payments due?
50% of the payment is due upon signing the contract, and the other 50% is due once the system has passed code inspections.
- 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.
- How many solar panels do I need to zero my electric bill?
The amount of solar panels 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. This means, in essence, you’ll have no electric bill for the year.
- What is the payback period for a solar panel system?
The payback period for a solar panel system is typically between 5 to 10 years, depending on factors such as system cost, energy savings, and available incentives or credits.
- Will the power company pay me if I over-produce?
Should the solar system produce 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. This way, you will have no excess credits at the end of the year, and will always have a dollar for dollar exchange rate on credits.
- Are solar panels affected by shading?
Shading will affect the output of solar panels. All shading issues are addressed and resolved prior to solar panel installation. The Enphase inverters used by Acadiana Solar minimize all shading effects should they develop after installation.
- Can solar panels generate enough electricity to power my whole home or business?
Yes, solar panels can generate enough electricity to power your entire home or business, depending on factors like system size, energy consumption, and sunlight availability in your area.
- 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. Therefore your utility bill may be higher in the summer than the winter.
- What is the DC to AC Derate Factor?
When power is converted from Direct Current (DC) to Alternating Current (AC), there is always some power loss. The amount of the conversion loss is referred to as the Derate Factor.
- What is the efficiency of solar panels?
Solar panel efficiency varies by panel type and manufacturer. Acadiana Solar always gives the client the best value for the money invested when selecting a particular solar panel type and brand.
- What is the payback period for a solar panel system?
Utility rates determine the payout of a solar panel system. The higher your utility rate, the quicker the payback period for the solar panel system. Rates in Louisiana vary from 6 cents to 13 cents per kwh. The pay out for the solar system typically ranges from 5.5 years to 8.5 years.
- Will I notice when it switches between solar power and utility power?
The switching between solar and utility power is seamless. There is no light blinking or motor surges.
- Can solar panels be put on mobile homes?
Acadiana Solar will install solar panels only on mobile homes that have roof structures made of 2″ X 6″ rafters.
- How many solar panels can I install?
There is no minimum amount of solar panels 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 you to produce the desired results.
- How many solar panels can I put on my roof?
Several factors determine the amount of solar panels 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.
- Is my roof suitable for solar panels?
Several factors determine the suitability of a roof for solar panel installation. A few of them are:
- The age of the roof.
- The overall condition of the roof.
- The pitch o f the roof.
- The direction or “azimuth” of the roof.
- The amount of roof that is affected by shading, etc.
- What happens when I have to change my roof?
Because the part of the roof that is under the solar panels ages at a much slower rate than the part not protected, the roof is often changed around the solar array and the roof under the array is not changed. Should the entire roof need to be changed, Acadiana Solar will remove and reinstall the solar panels for the going solar installation rate at the time.
- Do I have power during a hurricane?
If grid power is lost during a hurricane, your inverters will shut down and therefore you will be without power. If you need emergency power, Acadiana Solar recommends that you install a backup generator. They are now affordable, much less expensive, and require less maintenance than a battery backup system.
- Do some solar panels look better than others?
Solar panels are manufactured in various colors and some people prefer some panels over others. Acadiana Solar always shows their clients what options are available so the client can choose.
- How do solar panels work?
Solar panels convert sunlight into electricity using photovoltaic cells. When sunlight hits the cells, it excites electrons, creating a flow of electricity. This direct current (DC) is then converted into alternating current (AC) by an inverter, making it usable for powering homes and businesses.
- How much do solar panels weigh?
The weight of a solar panel is approximately 40 pounds.
- 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 client’s goal and best fits the roof area.
- Is Acadiana Solar a member of the Better Business Bureau?
Yes. We are currently a member of the Lafayette Better Business Bureau. However, we are also listed on Dun & Bradstreet which is a higher rating than the Better Business Bureau. To be listed on Dun & Bradstreet, all company financials must be disclosed and they monitor all aspects of the business not just the complaints.
- What about hurricanes if solar panels are destroyed?
Should solar panels be destroyed or damaged due to any circumstances, they will be covered by your home owners insurance policy as they are insured as part of the permanent structure.
- What happens if there is a problem 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 issue.
- What about permits and interface with utility and codes?
Acadiana Solar secures all permits and interfaces with Parish Codes and the Utility Companies.
- Will I have a direct interface with the utility company?
Acadiana Solar secures all necessary permits and schedules inspections and the bi-directional meter change. The only interface the client has with the utility company is to sign the Net Metering Agreement.
grid tie solar
- Do I need batteries?
Conventional grid tie solar systems do not use batteries. Hybrid solar systems can be designed with batteries but become very expensive and require frequent maintenance. Should a back-up system be necessary it becomes more cost effective to install a back up generator.
- How do you tie my system to the utility company?
Normally a grid tie system is tied into the utility company 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.
- 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.
- How long does it take to install solar panels?
A 4,000 watt solar system generally takes 3 days and an 8,000 watt system takes about 5 days.
- How will solar panels be attached to the roof?
Depending on the type of roof, there are various methods to attach the solar panels. Acadiana Solar warrants our panels to be attached to the roof as long as the roof is on the house.
- Is the inverter whether proof?
Yes. The inverter is weather proof and designed to operate outside.
- What about roof leaks?
Acadiana Solar takes every precaution to prevent leaks and uses the best sealer for each type of roof. We have had no leaks in the 5 years we’ve been in business.
- What is the wind rating of the system?
All of our systems are installed according to the Wind Code Ratings for your area. Acadiana Solar will also comply with client requests should they desire a higher rating.
- When can I start operating my solar system after installation?
Your solar system will be commissioned after the utility installs your bi-directional meter.
- When can you start my solar panel installation?
Your solar system installation will be determined by Acadiana Solar work load and parts availability. The normal start time from signing the contract is about 6 weeks. You will be given a more specific time at contract signing.
- 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. By law they have up to 45 days to change it out.
- Where will my inverter(s) be installed?
Acadiana Solar now uses Enphase Micro Inverters whenever possible. They are the most efficient inverters. They mount beneath the panels, 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 that is as aesthetically pleasing as possible.
- Who inspects my solar system before enabling it?
Installed solar systems are inspected by our Acadiana Solar electricians, your Parish Codes Division and your utility company.
solar panel maintenance
- Do I have to clean the panels?
Rain normally does a satisfactory job of cleaning your solar panels. During extended periods of no rain, heavy pollen and dust, rinsing the solar panels with a hose removes most of the particulates. Never use detergent on solar panels.
- What maintenance is required on a solar panel system?
There is virtually no maintenance required on solar panel systems other than occasional rinsing.