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Frequently Asked Questions about Solar Panels

Solar Panels FAQs

Which Solar Panel Is Right for Me?

Since there are so many choices on the market and an ever-growing list of solar companies,Total Solutions can help you choose the right option from those that offer solar panels for your home or business. We will help you decide which solar panel system meets your needs when making the switch to solar. Before deciding, it’s important to get as much information about the product you are purchasing from us at Total Solutions. Panel efficiency differs between manufacturers and so do product warranties.

Solar power systems are designed and warrantied to produce a certain amount of energy, usually stated in kilowatt hours (kWh). As technology grows and develops, less panels and a smaller surface area will be required, but it will produce exactly the same results. So, the best solar panel for you is one that uses the space you already have and greatly reduces or even eliminates your electric bill from day one.

We’d be happy to discuss your product-related solar questions with you. Call us Total Solutions today at 602-321-5403to request a free quote.

What Size Solar Power System Do I Need?

This depends on how much electricity you use. Two homes the exact same size will use different amounts of electricity and therefore require different size systems. Major electrical loads within a home are air conditioners, electric heaters, pools, and other heating elements or motors will require more panels.

An average 2,500 sq. ft. single-family home uses about 8,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year. For example, a4 kilowatt (AC) system will generate nearly all the electricity required for such a home on an annual basis. Sometimes a PV system can be installed that is slightly over-sized to allow for the possibility of a growing family or other factors that may play a part. net-metering is used.when a system overproduces electricity, the unused portion is fed back into the grid and will actually be credited back to your utility account as a credit.

The actual amount of electricity produced is dependent on how much solar energy reaches your home or business. An optimally located system would face south and have nothing obstructing the sun’s rays from reaching the solar panels, such as trees or other structures that produce shading. Actual system production can easily be calculated by a Solar Consultant from Total Solutions.

Can I add more solar panels to my existing system?

There are many factors to consider in upgrading a system. Panel size, inverter capacity, and space are going to be the biggest deciders.Total Solutions is here to help you decide!

As far as possible, stick with the same manufacturer. But since brands come and go, it isn’t unheard of to mix and match components – as long as the voltage is compatible and can be balanced it can generally work. Not the best scenario, but if options are limited as far as what’s available, it is possible. That being said, if the panels are too unbalanced, they will only perform as good as the lowest wattage panels.

For example: Say you had a system installed 5 years ago made up of 200W panels and you are looking to now increase the size of the system. If you connected 330W panels to the 200W panels’ string, your 330W panels would only produce up to 200W.

Sometimes inverters need to be upgraded. inverters can only handle so much power. Since your system was sized accordingly when it was designed, the inverter may be limited in the amount it can process. Sometimes inverters are installed that can handle additional panels (if the future needs were taken into account when the system was designed), we can take a look at the size of the inverter you have installed already and determine whether or not it can handle more power or needs upgraded.

So what should you do?

No worries! Total Solutions is here to help your make your best informed decision. For the example mentioned, if there is plenty of space, one option would be to install a separate system complete with a separate inverter if the current inverter is too small.  The power produced by both systems will be combined in your main AC power panel, or in your battery bank if you are connected to storage batteries instead of the main grid.

If you have yet to install a system and are just thinking for down the road options, here are a few key things to keep in mind as far as adding solar panels:

1. Choose a manufacturer that’s been established and will be around for a while, even if it might cost a little more initially. Search up as many reviews as possible. Don’t just try to look for the cheapest deal or you may end up paying more in the long run. We will offer you the best deal we possibly can.Total Solutions has access to many panel vendors.

2. Discuss any future plans or possibilities with your consultant from Total Solutions. Let us know your concerns and the possibility of wanting to add to your system later. That way, we can design a system that will accommodate future growth.

3. As soon as you know that you know your electrical needs will be increasing, such as you’re installing a hot tub, planning to have children, have other family members moving in with you, make sure to get your system expanded. The longer you wait, the more you risk not being able to upgrade with compatible components.

Also, something else for you to consider isif you had/have panels installed with microinverters, the future add-on issues will be greatly reduced. Since each panel has its own inverter in the string, adding more panels is more of a space consideration and additional wiring. Microinverters are initially a little more expensive but make up for it in cases like this.

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