Solar – Photo-Voltaic Applications – Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use my system when utility power is not available?

Only systems with a backup battery bank will supply power when utility power shuts down. For lineman safety, grid-tie systems must shut down when utility power is interrupted.

How do I know what size system I need?

How much power does a system produce? A SunWize Solar Connect dealer will help you determine what size system will best work for your needs. The size of your system depends on your how much power you use on a daily basis and your budget. Solar systems are modular allowing you to “add-on” in the future. The system output will vary depending on array size and the location of the system.

What is a “life-cycle cost”?

Life-cycle cost is the calculated cost of the system output over time based on initial capital investment and operation and maintenance costs.

What does an inverter do? What is a battery bank?

An inverter converts direct current (DC) power from the solar modules to alternating current (AC), which is what most home appliances run on. A battery bank is a group of batteries connected together to provide storage for energy produced by the solar modules.

Do the solar modules have to be mounted on the roof? My house is shaded by trees, how can a solar electric system work for me?

Solar modules do not need to be mounted on the roof of your house. If your roof is shaded, which is not suitable for solar energy, then ground and pole mounts are available which can be located in a sunny area near your house.

Will my meter really spin backwards if my system produces excess electricity?

If your system produces excess electricity, your meter can go backwards. Some meters will not spin backwards but will record the amount of energy going back into the utility grid. This amount will be reflected on your bill.

What are the benefits of owning a solar electric system?

By owning a solar electric system, you will be producing reliable, clean power, which reduces the burning of fossil fuel and contributes to a healthier environment. Producing your own power also reduces your utility bill. Solar electric systems are quiet and require very little maintenance since there are no moving parts and require no fuel except sunshine! Most solar modules carry warranties of up to 25 years.

How does the cost of solar energy compare with other sources of power?

Energy from the Sun is free. The equipment used to convert solar energy into power for your home is more affordable than ever with the Solar Connect New York Program. The amortized kWh cost of solar electricity is approximately 30% to 50% higher than power from coal, oil and nuclear power plants. However, when considering the environmental ramifications, clean up costs and government subsidies, solar energy makes economical sense now and for the future.

How do I qualify for a rebate?

The first requirement is that you must currently purchase your power from one of five utilities, Central Hudson, ConEd, NYSEG, NIMO or Orange & Rockland. After you purchase a solar energy system from a Solar Connect Dealer and the system is installed, the local utility must approve it for interconnection. Upon approval, the utility will require you to sign an interconnection agreement. The Solar Connect Dealer will provide you with a rebate form. Send the interconnection agreement signature page along with the Solar Connect rebate form to SunWize Technologies and SunWize will send you a check for up to $7500!

Will the utility charge me for the interconnection?

The utilities may have additional charges related to the interconnection of your system to the utility grid. The amount and terms varies with each utility. Contact your utility directly or your Solar Connect dealer for more information.