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FAQ’s About Solar Power

By Timothy Peters

1. Q. I live in an area where we get a lot of cloudy days. Is solar power for my home really worthwhile exploring?

A. Yes. While you may need more photovoltaic (PV) panels, or a somewhat different configuration, solar energy can be captured nearly everywhere in the world and used to either supply or supplement existing power needs.

2. Q. Is solar power really affordable?

A. Solar power energy systems remain somewhat higher than fossil fuel (coal, gas, oil) at the initial installation. The question may turn itself around to “Wow do you believe how much I’m saving with my solar power installation?” once you add up all the returns, like state and federal tax credits, rebates, net metering, and the money you won’t be paying…increasingly…to the utility company year after year.

3. Q. What is the difference between a solar hot water system and a solar power system?

A. Well, a solar hot water system is one component of a solar power system. It’s generally just a radiant hot water heater that in one of several ways captures sunlight and uses it to create hot water for your home. A solar power system, on the other hand, is a system that may consist of a solar panel array made up of photovoltaic (PV) panels, or a parabolic trough, or some other collection tool that uses the sun’s energy, converts it into electricity which you use to power your home in the same manner you would as if you were getting that electricity from the utility company.

4. Q. What maintenance do solar power systems require?

A. No. Solar systems require little or no maintenance other than keeping your panels or other collection devices free of debris, heavy snow or leaves.

5. Q. Is financing available for a solar power system?

A. Financing is very available. Like any other home improvement project, solar system installation will generally qualify for a home equity loan if your credit is good.

6. Q. Do I need to consult a solar professional before I start?

A. This really depends on your expertise and comfort level. Solar professionals can help you avoid the pitfalls of a beginner, and usually know who the best installers are in the area, both of which could save you big bucks. But if you don’t mind doing the research, and are comfortable with your own knowledge base, you can also do it on your own.

7. Q. Should I get more than one bid?

A. Several bids are almost always the best option. Not only can multiple bidders help you find the best price, they can also provide you with different installation options. Once you’ve made your selection of who to use, set realistic expectations on how long the work will take, and agree on exactly what you’re going to end up with. This can help to get your project completed when you want it done, and at the cost you are willing to pay.

8. Q. Will my photovoltaic (PV) system take up my whole roof?

A. Probably not unless you’re installing a really large solar power system. It takes about 100-200 square feet of area for a 1000 watt system, (which is the size of an average bedroom), so once you’ve determined your wattage requirements, you can see how much roof space you’ll require.

9. Q. What does net metering mean?

A. Net metering is an energy calculation from your local utility. When you have an on-the-grid system, the local utility company will install an additional…or different…meter. That meter will turn backwards when you are producing more energy from your own system than you’re using. The backwards movement means your electricity is flowing into the utility company’s power grid and will be used by others. This or a different meter will also track any electricity you pull for your use from their power grid. You get credit on your power bill for any excess energy you produce and send into their power grid.

10. Q. Am I really going to be making a difference in global warming if I move to a solar power system?

A. Everyone who quits using coal, gas or oil to provide power to their home makes a difference. Since the average American produces 53,000 pounds of carbon dioxide a year, everything each individual does to reduce their carbon footprint makes a difference. Every person who converts to solar energy to fill their power needs sets an example for their neighbors…or any stranger walking by. Yes. One person can make a difference.

Looking to find out all you can about home solar power then visit to find the best advice other solar energy topics.

categories: home solar power,solar power,solar energy,renewable energy,environment

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Peters, Timothy "FAQ’s About Solar Power." FAQ’s About Solar Power. 4 Jul. 2010. 30 Nov 2014 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Peters, T (2010, July 4). FAQ’s About Solar Power. Retrieved November 30, 2014, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Peters, Timothy "FAQ’s About Solar Power"

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