Skyward Solar Power

FAQ

SOLAR ELECTRIC SYSTEMS (SOLAR PHOTOVOLTAIC SYSTEMS)

What kind of maintenance does a solar power system require?
Not much. About once a year, you'll need to clean the panels with a mild, non-abrasive cleaning solution.

Do solar panels work during cloudy days?
It depends on how thick the cloud cover is. Under a mild overcast, the system might produce about half as much as under full sun, and on a dark, overcast day, as little as five to 10 percent.

In grid-connected applications, the system works with the utility power grid. This means that if your electrical needs exceed the solar power output, your utility compensates. You're never without power; the transition between your solar electric system and the utility company's power is automatic.

And of course with a net metering agreement, the excess electricity your system produces during peak hours on sunny days will offset some or all of the electricity needed during cloudy days.

Does the system produce electricity at night?
No. A solar electric system relies on sunlight to generate electricity, and unless you have battery backup, at night you'll draw electricity from the power company.

Fortunately, you need not produce all your own electricity to benefit from solar power. According to General Electric, producing 40 to 50 percent of your own electricity is often the most cost-effective approach.

Will a roof mounted PV system damage my roof and cause leaks?
It is critical that all work done on a roof is done with great care of the roof. If roof penetrations are necessary a specialized roof mounting system must be used to guarantee no leaks, and wind strength to the pv system. Skyward's roof mounting system is guaranteed against leaks.

Will I still need to be tied to the grid?
The need to remain with the grid is determined by the size PV system chosen versus electric power consumption. The larger the system the smaller the need for grid power. For most remaining with the grid is recommended.

Do I need batteries?
No. You can remain on the grid for low production times. Adding batteries to a PV system provides electrical storage for the electricity generated by the PV system. This stored electricity can then be drawn from the batteries at night. Including batteries in a PV system can allow total independence from the grid. Batteries can also be included in a grid tied system as a backup power supply if the grid was to go down.

Is a PV system reliable?
PV systems are very reliable, durable, and will generate electricity for decades.

PV systems cost a lot of money and it takes a long time to get your money back.
A PV system is an investment in your property. There are few large capital expenditures available that provide immediate cash generation the way PV does. Dollar for dollar none of the typical property improvements such as upgrading kitchens, replacing windows, adding rooms, or upgrading bathrooms provide the rate of return that pv provides. Add to this energy independence and immunity from rising electric rates. For every $1,000 reduction in energy costs increases a property's value by $20,000.

If I don't have a south facing roof does that eliminate a solar pv system?
No. Many systems are divided into an east side and a west side. This works very well as the system receives the morning sun and then switches to the afternoon. If this is not an option then a pole mounted system is often a solution. Under no circumstances should there be a north facing system.

SOLAR WATER HEATING SYSTEMS (SOLAR HOT WATER)

Will I still have hot water during the evening and night hours?
Yes. A solar hot water heater works in conjunction with a backup (conventional) heater. When your solar water system isn't producing heat, or when you've used hot water faster than the solar water system can replenish it, you'll draw from the backup system.

How can having two hot water heaters—one solar and one gas or electric—be less expensive than just one conventional heater?
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, electric water heaters are responsible for about 25 percent of a typical home's energy expenses. Solar hot water systems are designed to reduce the energy needed to produce hot water for a home by up to 80 percent, a significant cost savings.

With the available incentives, a solar water heater often pays for itself in less than 5 years. Meanwhile, a solar water heater lasts over 20 years.

Does Skyward install solar radiant floor heating?
No.

SOLAR POWER GENERAL

Are the tax credits for solar really that good?
Yes - they are excellent. In essence the federal government and also North Carolina are saying to individuals and businesses use your tax money instead of losing it. This is an opportunity to directly make the taxes you pay come back to you. Use it or lose it.

Are systems inspected?
Yes. All of Skyward's systems are inspected by the local electrical inspector and the utility.

Is this a crusade against "big utility"?
Not at all. Utility companies do an excellent job providing top quality service to the communities they serve. Skyward recognizes and appreciates their value.

How do I choose a solar company?
A solar company must have a well trained base comprised of an individual trained in solar design and installation, an electrical contractor with an unlimited qualification also trained in solar design and installation, and an experienced roofer with knowledge of many roof types and solar system mountings. A general contractor can at times be important if structural additions are being made.