Building a new house?
Click below to learn more about the
Greenfield, our solar-ready,
5-Star Energy Rated home
Solar Quiz
More Information
First Name:
Last Name:
FAQ - General Information

Solar energy is effective – but who can afford it?
Actually, solar energy is becoming quite affordable, and in some circumstances, quite profitable. In an energy environment where utilities are increasing electric rates faster than the rate of inflation year after year, solar is an affordable option. There is a 30% federal tax credit, a 5 year accelerated depreciation scenario, and the savings you get from selling SRECs. Financing methods can reduce or eliminate up-front costs, i.e. out of pocket expenses. In essence, you simply install solar panels and pay less for the electricity you use.

Does our area really have enough sun to make solar energy system cost effective?
The answer is a resounding yes! It is true that Arizona and Florida have much more solar resources than the rest of the country, but consider the fact that Germany, the largest and most successful solar market in the world, is at the same latitude as Maine! Our country has abundant sunshine for cost effective solar energy systems. Many families and businesses offset most, and sometimes all, of their electric utility bill with the solar energy they produce.

How do you know if my home is suitable for a solar electric system?
Solar electric systems are a viable power solution for most homes. Our systems are engineered for roof or ground installations in almost any location in the United States where direct sunlight is available. The site must be free from shading because of the wiring design of a module; if any portion of the solar panel is shaded, the entire module power output is lowered. A South or Southwest facing roof is ideal.

What size solar system do I need to produce enough electricity to run my house?
The solar system size depends on your average electrical usage, climate, roof angle and many other factors. As a rough guide, multiply your average daily electrical demand in kilowatt-hours by 0.25. The result is the approximate size of solar array, in kilowatts, needed to meet your electrical demand.

Do the panels need to face south?
South is best to maximize sun exposure. The closer a solar photovoltaic system is oriented to solar south, the more solar electricity it will generate, thereby increasing the financial return on the project. This is because the additional kWh hours of solar electricity produced have a corresponding monetary value.

Will a solar electric system produce enough energy to cover all my electrical needs?
The amount of power produced by a solar system varies depending on the size of the system, your geographic location and climate, and whether the solar system has battery backup. You certainly can buy a solar electric system large enough to cover all of your electrical needs, however a solar electrical system does not need to provide all of the electricity you require to be of value. A system displacing an average of one quarter to one-half of your average demand reduces your electric bill. With battery backup, a solar system can deliver uninterrupted power to critical loads during utility outages for days or weeks. Reducing your electricity by 40 to 50 percent is typically the most cost-efficient approach for home solar power.

Can my solar electric system generate heat for my home?
Solar power systems are only designed to provide electricity to run your lights, appliances and other electric devices in your home and will not convert the sun's light into heat.

Will my system work at night and on cloudy days?
Your system will not work at night because solar modules need sunlight to produce power. Solar modules will still produce power on a cloudy day although they will probably only produce about half as much as under full sun.

What happened if the panels get covered by snow?
Our solar panels are installed at a pitch, or angle, so that the snow slides down and melts naturally within a short time under normal circumstances. In fact the snow on the solar panels usually melts faster than the surrounding snow on the roof or ground because of the solar panels generated. In the event of an extreme snowfall, such as 2 feet or more, many commercial building owners remove some snow from the roof as a precaution anyway. Our calculations estimating solar electric output account for snowfall.

What happens if the panels are shaded?
PV panels should be installed in areas where they get significant shade-free sun every day. Even small amounts of shade can significantly reduce the output. Our designs and installations also seek to minimize the impact of any shade issues through proper site selection, appropriate equipment and good engineering.

Can I install the system myself?
In order to qualify for government incentives, solar systems must be installed by a qualified solar installer.

What kind of maintenance is needed?
Most solar photovoltaic systems are stationary in a fixed position such that there are no mechanical parts that could break down. The solar panels simply sit and collect the sun’s radiant energy. Normally the only problem a solar energy system might have is that the fan in the inverter will wear out. Some solar photovoltaic systems employ mechanical trackers that move in line with the sun during the day. The trackers have motors that could require repair. Simplex Solar offers a maintenance plan that includes periodic inspection of system components and cleaning do that you do not have to worry about the solar energy system at all.

Do I need to clean the panels periodically?
In most areas of the country, there is sufficient rain to clean the solar panels. However, if you are in a dusty area – such as near an incinerator or construction site - you may see a performance gain from cleaning the panels regularly. Normal rainwater is generally sufficient to keep the solar panels clean, but a low pressure hose and squeegee sponge can be used periodically. Detergents and high pressure hoses should never be used for cleaning.

Are the solar panels fragile?
While the panels are made of glass, they are durable. They are designed to withstand a one inch hail stone, and are used regularly at solar scientific research stations under extreme conditions.

How long will the system last?
The solar panels have a 25-year power warranty from the manufacturer, and some solar panels installed in the 1970’s are still producing power. Solar inverters generally have 10 year warranties, and extended inverter warranties are available. Most states require a two to five-year warranty on workmanship and labor.

Do I need to install a new roof before the solar panels are installed?
Solar panels will remain reliable, generating electricity, for more than 25 years. Because of this we want the roof to be in good shape and under warranty. It is not cost effective to remove and reinstall the panels after only a few years. However, after the panels are in place, they will help preserve the roof’s longevity by blocking ultraviolet rays, keeping most snow and ice off the roof, and otherwise shelter the solar energy system.

I’m planning on building a new house, when is the best time to install a solar system on my roof?
Before laying the roof, you can install flashable mounting brackets that provide the highest level of protection from leakage.

What happens if the power goes out?
In the event that the utility grid goes out in a power outage, such as one caused by a storm, the solar electricity shuts down automatically. A few minutes after the utility grid is stored, the solar system, via sensors in the inverter, should turn back on automatically. During a power outage, utility workers are working on the lines to repair them. For safety, power to these lines must be deactivated, and that includes solar power from distributed generation sites like yours.

Do I need batteries with a PV system?
Batteries are only required if you need backup power when the utility is out of service- typically batter backup systems are appropriate for emergency first responders like police and fire departments. Battery backup systems tend to be expensive and require significant maintenance and are therefore not recommended.

What is net metering?
Net metering is the regulatory ability to get credit for solar electricity you generate and send, or “export”, to the utility grid. Utilities generally adjust their bills monthly to reflect the value of electricity they received from their customers who have a solar energy system.

How do I know that my solar system is performing to its full potential?
We install an Internet-based monitoring system that gives you live performance data on solar electric output in real-time. If the data indicates performance is below design, a system check would be used to determine what is causing the low solar power output to occur.

Do I need approval from my homeowners’ association?
If you belong to a homeowners’ association, consult your covenants for details. Many states prohibit homeowners’ associations from restricting solar devices.

Do I need a building permit?
In most areas, a permit is required. Simplex Solar will arrange for all necessary state or local permits.

Where can I find more information about solar power?
To find out how Simplex Solar can help you save money by going green, contact us at 570.983.0340

The Solar Energy Industries Association (www.seia.org) has been an excellent source of information on solar energy's history, and industry data. The types of solar energy systems available for residential use are outlined in the Consumer Guide to Energy and Efficiency and Renewable Energy produced by the US Department of Energy. ( http://apps1.eere.energy.gov/consumer ).

Print Ready Page
Copyright 2010 Simplex Solar
Simplex Solar   PO Box 218   Chinchilla, PA 18410    phone: 570.983.0340   Fax: 570.983.0342
Home | Why Solar? | Save Money | Getting Started | FAQ | Gallery | About Us | Contact Us
Simplex Industries, Inc.
Certification #031310-25