Q: How do I know how big a system I need?
A: In order to size your solar electric system appropriately, we need to understand your energy use. Electricity is sold in kilowatt-hours, more commonly referred to as kWh. On your HECO bill, you’ll find a column of data which tells you what your average kWh usage was per day during any given month. You’ll need a system that will generate that much electricity every day.
Q: Which panel should I choose?
A: Every situation is different. Some of the choices you’ll be making include: a brand, a location of manufacture, materials, technology, and price. Your consultant will assist you in picking out the best panel for your needs.
Q: How long does it take to install a solar electric system?
A: Every situation is different. Generally, plan one day for every ten PV panels installed.
Q: Will my system work during a power outage?
A: No. When the grid goes down, your inverters detect the lack of electricity and shut off. This is to protect utility workers who may be making repairs. There are other options to provide electricity during power outages.
Q: How do solar cells generate electricity?
A: Photovoltaic panels are a direct current generator powered by the sun. When light photons of sufficient energy strike a solar cell, they knock electrons free in the silicon crystal structure forcing them through an external circuit (in our case an inverter) and then returning them to the other side of the solar cell to start the process all over again.
Q: Will my system work on cloudy days?
A: Yes, although the less sun, the less electricity generated. Under a light overcast sky, panels might produce about half as much as under full sun.
Q: Will my system work at night?
A: No. Sunlight must be present for your solar modules to produce power. At night, you draw power from your utility.
Q: Where should I mount the solar panels?
A: We’ll help you pick the right spot. Generally, a roof that faces true south is best.
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