Frequently Asked Questions
How much solar would be right for my home?
The size of the system depends on the usage of the household, not on the square footage of the home. The kilo watt hours or kWh on your utility bill is the key number and is what your payment is based on. Find the kWh on your bill and that will tell you what the solar array on your roof should produce for 100% offset of your electric cost.
Will we be the only house on the block with power when the utility power is off?
No for a couple of reasons; batteries are required in order to have a "bucket of energy" to draw from, and a safety requirement to turn off the solar system for the safety of the utility lineman working on the power lines to restore power.
What is a net meter?
The net meter keeps track of electricity generation and consumption, and as with everything else, it is now an electronic digital meter, different from the old horizontal rotating wheel.
How do I know when I'm generating more electricity than I'm using?
The "worm" as your utility person will tell you, are the small “underscores” under the digits of the meter display, they sweep from right to left (selling back to the utility) or from left to right (buying electricity from the utility).
Why are there so many boxes, switches and meters on the wall?
The switches are there to turn the power off to the inverter or meter for maintenance. PICTUREOF wall of inv/ac disconnect/dc disconnect
Is there any maintenance for a solar electric system?
No, our frequent rains and snows clean off the solar panels to get the most power possible. If it's convenient, you may wash the solar panels when the temperature of the glass is close to the temperature of the water.
Is there any maintenance for solar hot water system?
Yes, have Flatiron Solar give your system a checkup every three to five years.
Now that I have solar, can I use more electric heaters in the winter?
Sure, everyone wants to be warm and toasty on a cold winter day. However, the most efficient means of heating your home is to use fossil fuels such as natural gas or propane or wood.
Why would I want to shut off my solar system?
For the safety of anyone working on the roof, the solar system or the utility electrical system.
Why would I buy one solar panel versus another?
Efficiency, color and size, made in USA versus China, price. Efficiency is important when there is not much roof space for the size of system needed.
How much solar (electric) do I need for my size of house?
Three things help determine the amount of solar; the average monthly kilo watt hours (kwh) used over a years time; the amount of roof space available; and your budget.
How much solar (hot water) do I need for my domestic hot water (DHW)?
Always one storage tank sized to the number of solar panels. Usually 1 panel for two people, and add 1 panel for each additional person.
How much solar (hot water) do I need to help heat my house?
Usually at least 4 panels and often more.
Will a bad hail storm break by solar panels?
Yes, however the panels are built and installed to withstand hail, wind, and snow. They are also insured by your home's insurance policy for those times when a severe storm occurs.
How do I know my solar system is working?
That's the beauty of a solar system, silently producing electricity. Several indicators will tell you this information, occasionally glance at your inverter or meter during the day, check your utility bill when you receive it in the mail, or look at the online monitoring system Flatiron Solar has installed for you.
How do I know if a solar system is right for me?
A free visit from Flatiron Solar will answer all your questions and provide you with a customized quote loaded with specific information for your investment.
What is best for me, solar electric or solar hot water?
Pick the low hanging fruit or choose which bill is the highest. Usually the electricity bill for city residences can be eliminated with a solar electric system. The propane bill for mountain residences can be eliminated or reduced by a solar hot water system.
What does photovoltaic mean?
My Webster dictionary says photo is light and voltaic are volts or electricity made from a chemical action.
Should I wait until summer to install a solar system?
No, you may miss out on some incentives. Often a south facing roof is clear of snow and a few 60° days will allow for Flatiron Solar to install a system.
How long will the installation take?
Flatiron Solar manages the steps, first the building department has to approve the permit (1 day to 30 days depending on the office), and Xcel Energy has to approve the project (several days for many of the steps). Usually one to two months from signing of the contract.