FAQ 

Artboard 11 copy-8.png
 

A consultation will answer most questions. Give us a call and we can set a time to look at your home. Before getting Solar consider the following information:


How you get electricity from solar

How ToGetElectricityFromSolar.png
 

How you get electricity from the grid

HowYouGetElectricityFromGrid.png
 
 

Should I replace my roof before getting solar? Types of roofs  

Short answer, yes. Panels require that the roof be structurally sound to handle wind and snow loads. Try holding a panel on the ground during a windy day, you will find that it acts like a kite.  A roofer will tell you that a common shingle roof will last about 20-25 years. Panels will last about the same amount of time. Roof life expectancy is dependent on the roof type. Metal roofs can last up to 50 years. It’s great to plan to renew them both at the same time. Before getting panels, consider an inspection and the lifetime left on your roof. 

What else can I do if i can’t or do not want to get solar? 

There are a lot of things you can do if you for your home and your wallet.

  • Consider getting new Energy Star Certified appliances

  • Insulate your vents and water pipes

  • Get insulation for your basement walls and attic

  • Get a new water heater

  • Get a new AC unit

  • New furnace

  • Geothermal

  • Smart Home Appliances

  • LED lighting 

  • New windows

  • New doors, storm doors

These are just a few things you can do. Take a look at AEP’s website. It has a great toolkit to get started called the Home Energy Profile. It considers a lot of variables and will give you a good idea of how to conserve and how to save where you can. Little things can add up.

Can I make my home all electric?

Yes but it depends. I would suggest asking about this in a consultation. Homes that are all electric can be difficult to achieve. If you want your home to be powered fully by your solar array, it will have to be substantial. Average homes consume close to 10,000 kWh per year. Assuming your home can accommodate the solar for that load alone and more, then you can add on things like an electric water heater, geothermal, heat pumps and induction stoves. Consider the cost, it is more expensive to go this route than to use gas for those items. The good news is gas is very efficient and cost effective. Just ask!

I have a historic home, can I still get solar panels?

Yes, and it requires a few extra steps. Historic homes have to go through a committee hearing and be approved for the addition of solar panels. Part of our installation process is verifying if your home can have solar. We will do all the work associated with this process.

If you would like to check for yourself, in Columbus, we have Historic Preservation Society. You can find more about that here:

https://www.columbus.gov/planning/historicpreservation/

I’m a part of an HOA or my neighborhood has restrictions

It’s always good to review the rules in your neighborhood. Check with your local HOA if you think solar might be an issue.  Also, check with your area commission about your neighborhood rules. We will automatically check during the consultation if there are any rules in affect in your area.

Is my home right for solar? 

The main things to consider when thinking about solar for your home are, home age, roof age, tree coverage, and the amount of roof space. The solar array will be most effective on south facing roofs, getting the most exposure to the sun, but can also be applied to east and west roofs. Both flat and angled roofs can work.

If your home can’t be used then consider your garage, other standing structures, or a ground mounted system.

Financials:

-Policies, incentives https://www.solarpowerrocks.com/ohio/

How much does it cost? How long does it take to pay itself back?

The cost of solar varies and the time it takes to repay itself can also vary. The size, cost, efficiency, type, and percentage of the total yearly electric coverage are all variables. Some residential systems can take as little as 10-15 years.

How long does the solar array last?

The average array is built to last 25–30 years. 

Tesla Roof, Tesla Wall  (**Can I mention this?) 

EV’s 

Solar panel (Photovoltaic module/PV) 

Photovoltaic solar panels absorb sunlight as a source of energy to generate electricity. A photovoltaic (PV) module is a packaged, connected assembly of typically 6x10 photovoltaic solar cells. Photovoltaic modules constitute the photovoltaic array of a photovoltaic system that generates and supplies solar electricity in commercial and residential applications.

How your house uses electricity

Your home is connected to the grid with your Electric meter outside your home. Some are completely digital, and others are standard, using a rotating disk. Columbus just recently started replacing the standard meters with the new digital ones. The meter is connected to your switch board/box and distributed throughout your home. 

The solar basically plugs into your home via the switchboard. The solar array creates electricity, called direct current (DC), then is transported to the inverter where it is converted into alternating current (AC). AC is the type of electricity your home uses. 

Battery/Storage technology 

Vermilion is an advocate for storage technologies. The huge advantage of installing a battery is the ability to make the most of the array you’ve invested in. Net Metering is subject to change: policymakers can always enact new polices that can change that agreement. If you have a way to store the energy you make, it no longer is subject to price change because you’re using all of it rather than giving it back to the grid. Battery prices are lowering every year and rapidly improving the amount of energy they can store. If you don’t want to purchase one now, you can always integrate them later.

I’ve heard Solar doesn’t work in Ohio?

It’s true that we get a lot more cloudy days than western states.  293 days on average here in Ohio. That doesn’t mean that panels don’t work here, it just means we have to do things a little bit differently. 

We’re not shooting for 100%. The goal is to come as close to Net-Zero as possible. Net-Zero means that we will try and size the array to average out your yearly electric bill to the lowest cost possible, hopefully $0.  The way this works is to produce enough in the summer to make up for the lack of sun in the winter. In some cases we can achieve off grid homes, but it comes with certain lifestyle choices and careful planning. 

Things to consider: the amount of south facing roof space, the amount of yard space you could put an array (and the distance from that area to the home), tree coverage, and storage technology. Also think about the possibility of changing policies. 

What about Snow, dirt, and residue on the solar panels?

Here in Ohio, we get about 22 inches of snow a year. The panels will be covered from time to time: you can clean them off yourself with something non-abrasive, or wait for the snow to slide off. Dirt can also affect the amount of sunlight that the panels absorb. In areas with a high amount of airborne dirt or pollution, it can reduce the efficiency as much as 25%. In Ohio, it is a much lower percentage. 

It is good practice to occasionally clean your panels. Today, we have a lot of tools to help diagnose issues, including dirt build up. SolarEdge, the monitoring software integrated with the inverter, will let you know if a panel is not performing as it should be. I will also be alerted if something is off. Panels can be cleaned like windows: with soap, water, and a soft towel. There are also services specifically for cleaning solar panels. 

How do panels work in the winter?

Yes, panels work 365 days a year. The cold weather actually makes the panels more efficient. The light reflecting from the snow also helps panels absorb more sunlight. We get a lot of cloudy days here in Central Ohio, and even then, light is absorbed through the panels. Panels are most efficient when the sun is directed straight overhead, but they still work great even with some clouds. The real challenge of winter is the shortened daylight. The sun is lower in the sky, therefore is not directly over the panels like in the summer time. The excess of energy is the summertime will make up for the lack of sunlight in the winter. 

Interestingly enough, snow can help your panels. 

Interconnection Agreement

 

Definitions

Inverters

A power inverter, or inverter, is an electronic device or circuitry that changes direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC). Solar panels produce DC, and the inverter converts that into what your home uses, AC. 

Battery

Electric Meter

An electricity meter, electric meter, electrical meter, or energy meter is a device that measures the amount of electric energy consumed by a residence, a business, or an electrically powered device.

Electric utilities use electric meters installed at customers' premises for billing purposes. They are typically calibrated in billing units, the most common one being the kilowatt hour (kWh). They are usually read once each billing period.


Our Process

What all goes into solar installation?

NEW_VS_Consultation_Icon-8.png

Consultation

We will come to your home or site for a free consultation and look at things like your home’s location, roof or land access to solar, and your home’s structure and electrical.

NEW_VS_Assess_Icon-8.png

Proposal

We will give you a proposal for the best course of action in accordance to your needs. This includes a layout of the panels, load calculations, itemized list of materials and cost, and savings projection.

NEW_VS_Plan_Icon-8.png

Planning or Permit Interconnection Agreement

After agreeing to a proposal, we will submit the plans for a permit and contact AEP to set up your contract for Net Metering and an Interconnection Agreement. This is so AEP can give you money in exchange for generating electricity. This will take a few weeks to complete.

Hammer_TEALVS_Install_Icon-8.png

Installation 

We Install the panels and equipment. Size and scope can add or reduce the number of days this will take.

NEW_VS_Monitor_Icon-8.png

Monitoring, Saving 

We will set up a monitoring service with SolarEdge. Once you have an account you can get alerts and see data incoming from your panels. We will have access to the monitoring service, and will get alerts if something goes wrong. This will be for the lifetime of the system. The only other thing to do is to enjoy the savings!