Q: How durable are solar modules against weather conditions?
The solar energy systems we use in Iowa have passed UL 1703. This is a testing standard that includes things such as hail strikes, corrosion resistance, weather resistance, etc. The short answer is, properly installed modules are at low risk to weather damage.
Q: If there’s a power outage in my neighborhood, will I still have power?
It depends on your type of installation:
- Grid Connected – the energy you consume is provided by two sources; your solar array and the utility. In order to maintain safety, when the electric grid goes down, the inverters turn off. When the grid comes back online, the inverters turn back on automatically. Currently, this is the least cost installation if you have easy access to utility provided electricity. It is also the most common installation in the United States. (No)
- Off-Grid (or stand alone) – this is a solar array with a storage solution such as batteries. Pricing continues to drop, but it is still a fairly expensive option and only makes sense in certain installations. (Yes)
- Hybrid – this uses a combination of the previous options. The storage is typically smaller and for shorter use periods. Existing Grid Connected projects have the ability to be converted to a Hybrid with the addition of new equipment and energy storage. (Yes)
Q: Do I need to remove snow from my modules in the winter?
The modules and mounting structure are designed to handle the weight of snow. In addition, the sun and angle of the modules promote self-clearing. You should never try to climb on a structure to clean it when the surface has snow or ice; energy production during the winter is much lower than summer. Any additional energy gained is not worth the effort or risk.
Q: Is there any regular maintenance I need to do on my solar modules?
At Atwood Electric, we service anything we sell. Solar is a very low maintenance technology, but an annual inspection is highly recommended. We can provide these services. In some cases, cleaning every few years or annually is beneficial.
Q: Are there warranties available for solar modules?
The solar modules we install have a 25 year power output guarantee and 10 year warranty for physical defects. The inverter warranties are typically 10 years, depending on brand. Extended warranties can also be purchased.
Q: How long will solar installation take?
The length of the project duration depends on the size of the project and utility company. Each utility company’s process is different and may extend the length of the project. Utility paperwork can easily take a month for approvals. Project completions are typically 2-4 months after you give us the go-ahead. This will vary seasonally.