General Solar FAQs
What happens when you receive authorization for Power to Operate (PTO) on your Eagle Point Solar array?
The utility will notify the client and Eagle Point Solar. When Eagle Point Solar is notified, we will reach out to the client to tell them how to turn the array on or schedule a staff member to come turn it on. Eagle Point Solar will monitor the array to ensure it is producing optimally and establish online monitoring access for the client.
An Interconnection Agreement is a contract with a utility for distributed generated systems, including solar photovoltaics. The agreement is a written notice to a utility company of plans to construct, install and operate any system which will be connected to the grid and must be submitted prior to the start of construction. After the utility receives the required documentation, the application is reviewed for approval.
Capturing the power of the sun using solar technology helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions (https://nature.berkeley.edu/classes/es196/projects/2013final/ArifM_2013.pdf), which contributes to climate change, and also results in fewer air pollutants like sulfur dioxide and particulate matter, which can cause health problems.
The size of the solar system you may need should be based on a Solar Analysis created by a licensed and certified solar energy professional. There are many things to consider like available space, electrical usage, current electric utility policy and shading. Working with an experienced solar company to evaluate these factors is critical so you accurately build a system which meets your goals and objectives.
Yes, as long as your roof or ground has the room for additional panels. Simply contact Eagle Point Solar to begin the design and engineering process.
Several studies have shown installing solar panels immediately adds value to your home and can potentially help your real estate sell faster. Read about it here: New York Times article (https://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/22/realestate/solar-panels-and-home-values.html?_r=0) or (https://news.energysage.com/home-solar-power-increase-property-values-across-us/)
A grid-tied solar array is synchronized with the existing utility fed into your building. You use the power generated by the solar system first and then if additional energy is needed, the system is intelligent enough to simply pull power through your meter and therefore your equipment will have a full supply of uninterrupted power. There are cases where solar energy is actually “cleaner” than power purchased from the utility, so equipment may run more efficiently.
However, in most cases, your equipment will not know where the electricity is coming from, so there will be no difference in its operation.
We know the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, but in the Midwest, the sun is always to the south. So ideally, the more we can point panels facing due south, the better. However, in some cases we are not able to have panels facing directly south. No worries, you can still capture power from the sun with east and west solar panel placement. Our licensed and certified Eagle Point Solar design and engineering team is uniquely qualified to supply you with the necessary energy production designs and reports for your particular solar project to help answer these questions.
Roof mounted solar systems are common but there are other options in most cases. Systems can be mounted on a frame which is built on the ground or in some cases single poles can be used as a mounting mechanism. Which solar mounting or racking system is right for you greatly depends on your home or business location, local building codes, covenants etc.
Solar panel brands are classified in categories, such as Premium (Tier 1), Standard (Tier 2), and Economy (Tier 3). Tier 1 panels often perform the best and are manufactured and warrantied by financially strong solar panel manufacturers. These panels have a higher price tag, while Tier 3 panels are inexpensive but often less durable over time. To maintain the highest level of quality and energy production, Eagle Point Solar is committed to only installing/purchasing Tier 1 solar panels.
Although most solar components have a 25-year warranty, they are expected to continue to produce power for 40+ years. There are no moving parts and virtually no maintenance which means longevity also comes with reliability. Major solar module (panel) manufacturers have modules which were installed over 40 years ago and the panels are still producing clean, renewable energy today!
Contact a licensed Eagle Point Solar Energy Consultant for extended warranty options.
“Net Metering” is an industry term used to describe how a utility company compensates you for any overproduction from your solar array which is sent back to the utility. Net metering simply means the utility gives the customer full retail credit for all energy the solar array produces but is not consumed by the owner and sent to the utility for them to sell to other customers.
If a utility does not “net meter” it generally means they do not give you full retail credit for any overproduction, but rather a lower “avoided cost” payment. Understanding your utilities policy is essential to anyone considering a solar project since it has a dramatic affect on the economics of the project.
The system is synchronized with the electric grid so the power the solar array generates is used first. If necessary, additional power flows through the meter just like it has in the past. If your solar array is generating excess power, this power flows back through your utility meter and back to the utility for them to sell to another customer. The utility company will generally compensate you for this electricity (over production) either through “net-metering” or by paying you an “avoided cost” for your excess power. You can call your local utility company to find out what their policy is regarding over production or simply contact Eagle Point Solar and we can provide you with this information.
Grid-tied solar systems are required to have a built-in shut down mechanism in the event of a power outage. Although a power outage may seem like the perfect time to be self-generating your own power, you must understand if you are generating power you could be sending electricity back to the grid and risking the lives of anyone working on the lines trying to restore power. Additionally, it is vital in the event of a fire and power loss, the fireman can be assured the solar array is not producing electricity as they are doing their job.
An off-grid system is a solar array which is not connected to the power grid. In most cases, power is generated by the solar panels and energy is sent to a storage receptacle like a battery. The facility then consumes the power from the battery. The capacity or size of the battery bank determines how often the battery needs to be charged by the solar array in order to provide you with an uninterrupted source of power.
In most cases, companies like Eagle Point Solar are installing “grid-tied” systems because the economics are much more attractive than an “off-grid” alternative. A grid-tied system means you will continue to be connected to your current utility company and most likely still purchasing a minimal amount of energy from them. Think of a grid-tied solar array as simply an energy reduction program which is scalable.
The percentage of the power which your solar system generates is often up to you. As long as you have enough space available to properly mount the solar panels and inverters it is possible to generate most, or all, of the electricity you need.
Eagle Point Solar staff will analyze your site and energy profile to determine how much of your power can be generated by a solar array and design, engineer and build a system which best fits your needs.
Eagle Point Solar offers an innovative, turn-key solar energy solution offered through a comprehensive process which takes your system purchase from concept to commissioning. There is no faster, easier way to obtain a cost-saving, environmentally friendly solar energy system for your home or facility. Learn more about the Eagle Point Solar Journey process.
Solar incentives change regularly depending on which state you reside in. The most significant is the 30 percent federal investment tax credit (ITC) (https://www.energy.gov/savings/residential-renewable-energy-tax-credit), which allows you to deduct 30 percent of the cost of your solar energy system from your taxes. Some states offer additional tax credits, and certain municipalities and utilities also offer cash rebates or other incentives. Additionally, commercial solar is eligible for a 5-year Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System (MACRS) (https://www.seia.org/initiatives/depreciation-solar-energy-property-macrs) depreciation schedule. Click here for a complete listing of solar incentives for Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin.
The cost of a solar energy system varies on a few factors including the system size and location. In the past several years, solar prices have decreased as much as 70%, making solar a financially sound investment. Economies of scale also come into play as larger systems will cost less than smaller systems on a per kW basis.
By simply collecting some basic information from you, a licensed Eagle Point Solar Energy Consultant can help you analyze how solar can help you reduce and manage your electricity costs with a Free Solar Analysis.
From day one, solar power offsets some or all of your electricity purchases from your utility and therefore reduces your electric bills. Since there are very few, if any, on-going costs, you also lock in the solar portion of your electricity costs which is a great hedge against inflation and makes budgeting your utility costs a breeze.
You will fully recoup the cost of the solar system long before the end of its useful life. Since most components are warranted for up to 25-years and last for 40+ years, you will be reaping the financial awards for decades to come.
Additionally, solar will improve public perception as you, and/or your business, are demonstrating your commitment to a healthier planet. Environmentally conscious residents and businesses are viewed as good neighbors in any community and that can be priceless.
The solar panel contains several individual cells which are made largely of two layers of silicon. By design, there is an electronic imbalance between the two layers and when the sun’s photons bombard the cell it knocks the electrons loose. The electrons then “bounce” from the top layer to the bottom layer creating energy. These bouncing electrons are captured as electricity by metal contacts in the panel.
Since the electricity created inside the panel is direct current (DC), it is necessary to push the current through an inverter which creates alternating current (AC). Once converted, this electricity is then routed to your electrical outlets for your use. Watch this short video to learn more about the specifics of a solar cell: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xKxrkht7CpY
Service & Support FAQs
Weather plays a role in the amount of power a solar energy system will generate. Bright sun is obviously the most productive scenario, but power is still produced on overcast days. Unless the panel is completely covered by something, it will continue to produce power. Overall production of energy will be the greatest in the summer months only because the number of hours of sunlight are greater than the winter months. Cold winter days actually allow the equipment to operate very efficiently.
The likelihood of damage from hail or strong winds occurring is very small. Modules are tested to withstand the impact of a 1” hailstone traveling in excess of 200mph and to remain firmly mounted to the ground or roof at windspeeds in excess of 100mph. Check out this video of a hail impact test: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2RGZzAw3_c
Heavy snow will decrease production while it covers your panels. However, it will not damage your system when designed and installed properly. Light can still penetrate a thin layer of snow and allow for energy production. The angle of the solar panels and their ability to produce some heat allows for the snow to slide directly off your panels faster than snow would fall off your roof, quickly returning your system to its full potential. In fact, snow on the ground can actually increase the output of your panels due to reflected sunlight. Check out this video on the study of solar and winter weather: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q4RVHyx9RMc
When quality components are installed properly, solar panels are designed to withstand extreme weather conditions including wind, rain and even hail. The glass that covers the panels is highly engineered and designed to resist breakage, even from 1″ hail stones impacting the glass at over 200mph. Check out this video of a hail impact test: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2RGZzAw3_c
In the event of a fire or flood, there is nothing special you need to do for your solar array. If you would normally turn off electricity in the situation, your solar array would turn off with the electricity shut off.
Generally, there is no need to clean the panels as Mother Nature takes care of that in the Midwest. Spring rains and winter snows provide the best glass cleaning for solar panels.
If you agreed to provide internet in your solar array contract, you will receive two emails: one from the monitoring portal provider, and one from Eagle Point Solar. The email from the monitoring portal will give you a link to register your email address. The email from Eagle Point Solar will have a short walk-through description for setting up your account and explanation of the monitoring portal. If you do not receive this email from Eagle Point Solar within 5 business days from the time your array is turned on, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
What do you do when you get a new Internet Service Provider (ISP) and your solar array is connected to the internet for monitoring?
This will be different, depending on your installation:
- For hardwire customers, it should be as simple as plugging the CAT-6 cable back into the new router.
- For customers with hardline directly to inverter, this cable will need to be plugged into the new router.
- For Zigbee customers, you will plug the ethernet cable into the new router.
- Engenius customers will need to plug ethernet cable into the new router.
- CDMA customers should not be affected by this.
- For ECU customers, this will require a service call to Eagle Point Solar.
What can you troubleshoot when you lose communication with your solar array before you call Eagle Point Solar support?
First, check your internet router/connection. This is the same as if your internet on a computer goes out. Second, check your solar array owner’s manual for your specific communication systems directions.
Eagle Point Solar provides monitoring clients with email instructions on how to access monitoring after Power To Operate (PTO) is granted. If you do not receive this email from Eagle Point Solar within 5 business days from the time your array is turned on, please email: email@example.com
Yes, Eagle Point Solar offers the capability to provide internet-based (online) production monitoring of your solar array. This provides us (and you) the ability to monitor the solar production and to troubleshoot anything which may need attention. Eagle Point Solar will also send you an annual production report comparing our estimated energy production with the actual energy production of your equipment.
What type of equipment is needed to monitor my solar array production (i.e. iPad, laptop, cell phone)?
Monitoring your Eagle Point Solar array can be done with the correct app and online access using most electronic (desktop and mobile) devices running Apple, Android and Microsoft operating systems. Application monitoring capabilities depends on the software development provided by the manufacturer. Often, manufacturers offer online portals through a web browser as well as mobile apps.
If quality components are used, solar systems require very little maintenance because there are no moving parts. The glass that covers the modules is highly engineered to withstand even the most extreme weather conditions including hail. In most cases it is not even necessary to clean the glass as rain and snow provide natural cleaning.
Most solar components carry a manufacturer’s warranty of up to 25-years. As with any other products you may buy, warranties can be driven by the quality of the equipment you are considering, cheaper equipment can mean shorter warranties.
Eagle Point Solar generally warrants our workmanship for 5 years. Warranty extensions of that timeframe are possible during the development of the initial contract.
Eagle Point Solar Hours of Operation
After hours, please call and leave a message – Matt Shear, Service Manager at (563) 582.4044 Ex.36 or email firstname.lastname@example.org