Solar Power Frequently Asked Questions
The benefits of solar power systems are no longer a matter of opinion. Solar power is clean, efficient, reduces carbon emissions, and cuts costs for anyone who utilizes it. Read the most popular questions we get from our customers about Solar Panels and then contact us for more information.
CTEC is the authority in Solar Power Systems.
HOW CAN WE GET ENERGY FROM THE SUN?
Sunlight is made up of photons. When sunlight hits a solar panel and is absorbed by the semiconductor material, it’s transferred to an electron in the atom of a PV (Photovoltaic) cell on the solar panel. The electron gets excited and turns into DC (Direct Current) energy. The DC is fed through the Inverter, typically located on the outside of your home. The inverter turns DC into useful AC (Alternating Current) electricity which is used to power everything in our homes from toasters to hair dryers, electric car chargers and refrigerators.
IS MY HOME A GOOD CANDIDATE FOR a SOLAR POWER SYSTEM?
There are multiple factors that determine if your home is a good candidate for solar power. To begin, you have to own the home you wish to solarize. In addition, roof pitch, placement, and shading will affect your ability to go solar. Luckily, we have knowledgeable, professional CTEC Solar consultants who are happy to answer all your questions during a FREE site survey and consultation.
CAN I SOLARIZE IF I RENT MY HOME?
No. Unfortunately, the state incentive is only eligible to those who own their home.
WHAT WILL THE NEIGHBORS THINK?
Alternative energy is becoming more and more popular in towns across CT. Over the coming years, we believe your neighbors will be joining you to “Go Green” because of the affordability, convenience and consistency of generating your own energy.
A properly designed, installed, and operated system from a reputable company like CTEC Solar should last a minimum of 20 -30 years. Because there are no moving parts, solar panels should last a minimum of 30 years.
Every Solar PV system we install is unique, and demands an original design. Therefore, installation timelines vary. Typically, CTEC Solar will have your system installed 90-120 days from the date of contract.
WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES LEASING A SOLAR PHOTOVOLTAIC SYSTEM?
Our solar lease program allows you the opportunity to lower your electricity bill by adding a state-of-the-art solar power system to your home without the costs of ownership. The solar lease will provide for a low-cost lease payment at a discounted rate at or below your current electric bill fixed for the first 20 years.
DO I GET A CHECK FROM MY POWER COMPANY FOR THE ENERGY I PRODUCE?
Yes and no. Every March the account will be paid at a wholesale rate of .05 to .06 per kWh if their account is in excess.
SHOULD I ADD MY SYSTEM TO MY HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE POLICY?
Yes, you should add your Solar PV system to your Home Insurance Policy. This will protect your home from any damage caused by Mother Nature. We will provide proof of your Homeowner’s Insurance Policy with the Interconnection Agreement for your utility company.
WHAT IS AN AVERAGE SYSTEM SIZE AND COST?
Every home is different and designs can vary based on shading, orientation, and pitch of the roof. In CT, the average system size according to CEFIA is 9,000kwh and the average cost per watt is about $4.25 per watt.
ARE THERE FINANCE PROGRAMS AVAILABLE WITH NO MONEY DOWN?
Yes, there are many options that will allow you to put down no money and make no payments until your system is producing if you qualify. Please see our finances and incentives page or contact a representative at 1.888.52.SOLAR who will be happy to discuss financing options with you.
WHAT ARE MY OPTIONS AT THE END OF THE 20-YEAR LEASE TERM?
At the end of the initial solar lease term, customers have the option of:
- Extending the solar lease for an additional five (5) years at a significantly reduced monthly payment.
- Purchase the solar energy system at the then fair-market value.
- Remove the solar power system at own expense and return it to CTEC Solar.
- Upgrade solar energy system to the latest technology.
IF I DECIDE TO SELL MY HOUSE, WHAT WILL HAPPEN WITH MY SOLAR LEASE PAYMENTS?
The new homeowner, subject to their credit qualification, may simply assume the solar lease. There are no income restrictions on who may purchase your home or assume the solar lease.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I NEED TO REPLACE MY ROOF?
First, you should contact CTEC Solar. Within warranty, we will remove your system, leaving lag bolts in place so the roofing company can work around them while installing the new shingles. Once the roofing company is finished with their services, we will re-install and connect your system. An asset of your system is that the panels will protect the shingle beneath and prolong the shingle’s life.
WHAT IF I HAVE AN ISSUE REGARDING THE COMPONENTS OF MY SYSTEM?
All panels and inverters are installed with manufacturer’s warranties. All warranty terms can be extended directly through the manufacturer. CTEC Solar offers an industry-first, 13-year labor warranty. This includes work done on your roof and connecting your electrical system.
WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR REPAIRS AND MAINTENANCE OF THE SOLAR POWER SYSTEM?
CTEC Solar will warranty labor and workmanship for the solar power system for a full thirteen (13) years. Manufacturer warranties for modules are 25 years (minimum) and inverters are 10-25 years minimum, so if anything were to need repair during these warranty periods there would be no cost to the homeowner. The beauty of these systems is that there is little to no maintenance necessary. However, if any did occur it would be the homeowners responsibility but only after the labor warranty expires.
IF I DECIDE TO REMOVE THE SOLAR SYSTEM FROM MY HOUSE, CAN I DO IT MYSELF?
No. If you choose to discontinue using solar power to lower your electric bills and provide you with clean energy, you will need to contact an eligible solar energy installer to remove the solar system for you. The solar system should be returned to CTEC Solar undamaged.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN IT SNOWS? WHAT SHOULD I DO?
In most cases, you don’t need to do anything. In the case of an epic snowfall, you may need to use a proper foam snow rake to remove the snow from the panels, but in most cases, the panels will be the first part of the roof that melts. Foam snow rakes can usually be purchased at your local hardware store.
TECHNOLOGY IS ALWAYS CHANGING. WHY NOT WAIT FOR CHEAPER PRODUCTS IN THE COMING YEARS?
A watt is a watt. If you keep waiting for better technology to come to the market which is higher power density, the incentives may be gone and you could have already paid off all if not part of your system. You can start saving money today, while energy prices are on the rise, or you can wait for new technology and remain a dependent of the electrical company.
HOW DO I KNOW IF MY SYSTEM IS PRODUCING WHAT IT SHOULD?
Each Solar PV system comes with monitoring software that you can access from any personal computer, smartphone, iPad, etc. You can log-in and review the efficiency and productivity of your system from virtually anywhere.
WHAT IF THE SOLAR POWER SYSTEM DOES NOT PRODUCE WHAT IS EXPECTED?
The Clean Energy and Finance Investment Authority (CEFIA) checks the system performance for the first 30 days. If it does not perform as proposed, CEFIA will not pay the incentive to the contractor until we fix or correct the system.
WHAT ARE THE COMPONENTS OF A PHOTOVOLTAIC (PV) SYSTEM?
PV systems are made up of different parts. These components include PV modules (clusters of PV cells), typically called PV panels, an inverter to convert the direct current (DC) power that the panels create to (AC) or alternating current which is required; wiring; and mounting hardware or a framework.
WILL MY SOLAR PV SYSTEM WORK IN A BLACKOUT?
Unfortunately, when there’s a power outage your solar PV system will not be able to power your home. PV panels do not shut off, and will produce electricity whenever light is absorbed. It is your inverter that relies on being back-fed from your main electric panel. So, when there’s no way to convert the DC energy created by the PV panels into AC energy for your home’s consumption, your system will not work . If losing power is a serious concern, there is battery storage technology available which can hold the DC energy. During a power outage, you can access your DC energy directly from the battery storage bank and power your home. We will retrofit your system design if battery storage is something you’d like to consider in the future.
DOES MY SOLAR POWER SYSTEM WORK AT NIGHT?
No. Your solar panels converts sunlight into usable energy throughout the day to be used in your home. The extra electricity you produce goes back into the power grid, offsetting the energy you use at night while your system is not generating its own energy. This allows for more control over your energy costs, lowering your utility bills.
HOW BIG ARE THE SOLAR PANELS?
Most panels are 65 x 40 inches and weigh about 40 lbs each.
WHAT IS PHOTOVOLTAICS (SOLAR ELECTRICITY) OR “PV”?
The term is comprised of two parts: photo, originally derived from the Greek “phos”, meaning light, and “volt”, a unit of measurement named after Alessandro Volta. Thus, photovoltaics translates directly as light-electricity. So it is easy to see what photovoltaics do; converting light energy to electricity.
WHAT IS NET METERING?
Net metering measures the difference between the electricity produced by your C-TEC Solar system and the electricity you use from your utility company. Your net meter allows the extra energy produced to be redirected to the utility grid, actually spinning your meter backwards. Your meter will only spin forwards when your system isn’t producing enough energy for your use.