A Net Meter is a type of utility meter that measures the net flow of energy into your home. When a solar system is generating less power than is being consumed in the home, the net meter runs forwards. When a solar system is generating more power than is being used in the home, the net meter runs backwards. Net energy is measured over a year period, whereas typical utility plans are based on a monthly billing cycle. NEM essentially utilizes the utility as a storage center for accumulated credits from solar energy production that is not used in the home.
Solar Frequently Asked Questions
A solar panel system can be a worthwhile investment as it can save money on energy bills, increase property value, and provide a return on investment over time. The payback period varies depending on the size and cost of the system, as well as energy usage and savings.
To determine the best solar panel system for your needs, you should assess your energy usage and determine the size and type of system that would meet your energy needs. You should also consider factors such as your budget, the orientation and shading of your property, and local regulations. Solergy can help you determine the best system for your needs.
There are several benefits to switching to solar energy, including: reducing your carbon footprint, reducing your energy bills, increasing your energy independence, and potentially increasing the value of your property.
Most homes can benefit from a solar panel system, but the specifics of your home’s suitability depend on several factors, such as roof orientation, roof space, and shading. Solergy can assess your home and determine its suitability for solar energy.
Your historical electricity usage is necessary to determine the size of the solar panel system that you need. The information allows us to estimate your energy usage and determine the number of panels required to meet your energy needs.
Your solar system is customized based on several factors, including your energy usage, the size and orientation of your roof, and any local regulations. We will take these factors into consideration when designing and installing your system.
The number of solar panels your home needs depends on your energy usage and the size of your roof. Solergy can assess your energy usage and determine the number of panels needed to meet your energy needs.
Many states offer incentives for homeowners and businesses who switch to solar energy. The most common solar incentives in Texas are the Federal 30% Tax Credit, Net metering and local utility solar rebates. Utility companies like AEP and Oncor offer solar rebates for customers who go solar.
Yes, solar panels can increase the value of your home. According to studies, homes with solar panel systems have sold for higher prices than homes without solar. This is due to the long-term cost savings and environmental benefits of solar energy.
Solar panels do not generate electricity at night as they rely on sunlight to produce energy. In a grid-tied solar system, the home is connected to the power grid, so when the panels are not producing electricity, the home will draw power from the grid. However, if the system is a solar hybrid system with battery storage, the excess energy generated during the day can be stored in batteries and used at night, providing a source of electricity even when the panels are not generating.
During a blackout, a grid-tied solar system will not function as it is designed to work in conjunction with the power grid. For safety measures a grid-tied solar system will automatically shut off during a power outage to ensure the safety of utility workers and the public during power outages. By shutting off, the solar system prevents the flow of electricity from the panels back into the power grid, which could pose a danger to utility workers who are repairing power lines.
A solar hybrid system with battery storage, the stored energy in the batteries can provide power to essential loads, such as lights and appliances, keeping the home safe and functional during a blackout.
You can monitor the performance of your solar system using the monitoring system, which will display the amount of electricity being generated by your panels. You can also check your electricity bill to see if you are receiving credit for any excess electricity generated by your system.
Most solar systems come with a warranty that covers the panels, inverter, and other components for a specified period of time. The length of the warranty will vary depending on the manufacturer, but typical warranties range from 10-25 years.
The length of a solar installation varies depending on the size of the system being installed, but it usually takes several days to a week for a residential installation. The permit and interconnection process can be time-consuming as it requires a comprehensive review of the applications and plans submitted by the installer. Once the applications and plans have been approved, the installer can proceed with the installation of the solar system.
If you’re part of an HOA, you may need to get approval from the HOA before installing solar panels. You may also need to follow specific design guidelines set by the HOA.
Homeowners and business owners who install a solar panel system on their property can qualify for the tax credit. The credit is equal to 30% of the cost of the solar panel system.
Solar panels can still generate electricity during the winter, but the amount of electricity generated may be less due to shorter daylight hours and potentially more cloudy days.
A solergy representative will be able to assess the need of a new roof when doing a site survey. It is recommended to re-roof prior to installing solar panels on your roof.
Solar batteries store the excess energy generated by your solar panels so that it can be used later, when the sun is not shining. When your solar panels produce more electricity than your home is using, the excess energy is stored in the solar battery. When your home needs more electricity than the solar panels are producing, such as at night or during a power outage, the energy stored in the battery is used to power your home.
Solar storage refers to the use of batteries to store excess energy generated from solar panels for later use. This allows homeowners or businesses to use their own stored energy instead of relying on the traditional grid, and can also provide backup power during outages. In simple terms, it’s a way to store the energy from the sun so it can be used even when the sun isn’t shining.
The type of electrical power that is used in homes and in the electric grid. Current alternates direction 60 times per second (60 Hz).
An arrangement of solar PV panels. Typically, arrays are rectangular groups made up of one or more rows of panels on the roof.
Computer-Aided Design or “CAD design” in the solar world refers to the software and process of documenting solar designs. It is also commonly used as a general term encompassing the entire process of solar design, energy simulation, and documentation. Solar CAD designers take into account shade, weather, sun hours, roof dimensions, roof pitch and orientation, roof obstructions, etc.
A type of electrical power that the photovoltaic (PV) cells in solar panels produce. Battery cells also operate (both charge and discharge) with DC electricity. Current flows in one direction all the time. Inverters installed with the PV system (and batteries, if present) convert the DC into AC for use in the home and for interconnecting with the utility.
Inverters convert the DC power produced by a PV module to the AC power consumed in the home and provided by the utility. Different types of inverters include string inverters, microinverters, and optimized string inverters.
The Federal Investment Tax Credit is valued at 30 percent of the cost of a solar project. When a Power Purchase Agreement is used, this tax credit is available to the solar provider (e.g. Solergy). When a lease or a cash purchase is used, this tax credit is available to the homeowner.
A unit of power or capacity of a generator[ii]. One kW represents 1,000 Watts of power. The size of a PV system is often specified in kilowatts. For example, a 6.5 kW PV system produces around 6,500 Watts of power under full sunlight (e.g. at noon in July).
A unit of energy. One kWh represents 1,000 Watts of power consumed or produced over a period of one hour. Electric utility rates are most commonly expressed in cents per kWh[i].
A specific geographical area for a designated utility determined by zip code.
Microinverters are a type of inverter that converts the DC power to AC power for a single panel. In contrast, a string inverter converts the DC to AC for a string of multiple panels.
The final step in the solar process. After completion of the solar installation and after all of the city and local utility inspections have been passed, the city or local utility gives the customer permission to operate their solar energy system. This is the point when the solar customer is able to turn their solar energy system on, start producing solar energy, and start saving money.
A technology that converts sunlight into electrical energy using semiconductor materials (such as silicon). When the sun shines, DC electrical current flows. A PV module (or panel) is typically made up of 60 or 72 cells grouped together under a single piece of glass with an aluminum frame.
A financial agreement where a solar provider (such as Solergy) arranges for the design, permitting, financing, and installation of a solar energy system on a customer’s property. The solar provider sells the power generated to the host customer at a fixed rate that is typically lower than the average rate paid by the customer to the local utility. The customer, overall, pays less for electricity, while the solar provider receives the income from the PPA as well as any tax credits or other incentives generated by the solar energy system.
A RGM is a secondary meter, supplied by the solar provider, that accurately and independently records power production of the PV system. An RGM is typically required in regions that utilize Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs).
After a solar customer has an initial consultation with a solar energy consultant, they are scheduled for a site survey. A site survey is a solar qualification process for the home. During the appointment, a surveyor will collect roof measurements, solar access (shade) readings, electrical meter and panel information, structural data from the attic, electricity usage info, etc. This information will then be used to design the PV system.
A renewable energy credit created for each kWh of solar energy production. For lease/PPA systems Solergy receives the credits. For cash sales, the customer receives the credits. SRECs are either rolled over to be credited to the next month’s bill.. The type of credit depends on the utility company as it typically buys and sells credits to meet state level renewable energy laws.
The most common residential utility rate where the cost per kWh goes up at different levels of usage. (e.g., for the first 400 kWh used per month the rate is x, for the next 400 kWh used per month, the rate is y, for kWhs used above these levels the rate is z.)
A utility rate that bases the price the customer pays for electricity on the time-of-day and the day-of-year they use power.
A bill that reconciles all electric usage charges and credits for the previous 12-month billing cycle[iii]. This is typically part of a net meter based bill in which the net energy usage is trued up once per year.
Steps to Go Solar
We make going solar easy and simple
1. Site Survey & Design
A Solergy technician will conduct a site survey to assess the suitability of your property for a solar installation. This includes factors such as the orientation, shading, and slope of your roof, as well as the electrical system of your home. Based on the results of the site survey, a design for your solar installation will be created.
Before installation can begin, we will obtain the necessary permits and approvals from your local government. This process may include submitting plans and documentation for review, and paying any required fees.
This is the actual process of installing the solar panels, inverters, and other components on your property. This can take several days to complete, depending on the size and complexity of the system.
After installation, a local inspector will review the installation to ensure that it meets all relevant building codes and standards. This includes checking the electrical connections and ensuring that the panels are securely attached to your roof or other structure.
5. Utility Interconnection
Once the installation has been approved by the inspector, the solar panels will be connected to the electrical grid through a process called interconnection. This allows you to sell excess power back to the utility company and receive credit on your bill for any energy you generate but do not use.
6. Power On
After the interconnection process is complete, the system will be energized and you will begin generating your own electricity.