Solar panels on a roof

At Graves Bros. Home Improvement Co., we get lots of questions about solar panels. We thought it would be helpful to collect some of the most frequently asked questions and answer them here for you.

Solar-Panel Roofing FAQ

1. How Does a Solar-Panel Roof Work?

Solar panels are made up of photovoltaic (PV) cells that turn sunlight into direct current (DC) electricity by allowing particles of light (photons) to knock electrons free of atoms. Our homes run on alternating current (AC) electricity, so an inverter converts DC electricity into AC for our use.

2. Do I Still Need to Be Connected to a Utility Company?

Solar panels do not generate power during the night, so yes, you do need to be connected to a power company.

Your solar panels may generate more power than you need to run your home. In that case, your power company acts like a bank for your electricity. You "deposit" the extra electricity generated by your solar panels during the day, and "withdraw" some when you need it in the evening.

3. Do Solar Panels Work When It's Cloudy or Raining?

PV cells use both direct and indirect sunlight to generate power. They will still generate electricity when it is cloudy, and rain will work to wash off the panels to increase efficiency.

4. Will a Solar Roofing System Work in a Power Outage?

Because you are tied to a utility company, you will not be able to use energy during a power outage. Your solar system will automatically shut down for safety reasons. However, if you have installed a battery backup system, your power will continue uninterrupted.

5. Are There Tax Credits or Other Savings for Installing Solar Panels?

Yes! In New York, there are a variety of opportunities for incentives for using clean energy. Refer to New York State Energy Research and Development Authority's (NYSERDA) ongoing list of funding incentives for the latest.

Currently, you can take 25% of your solar installation cost for an NYS tax credit and 26% of your total solar project costs for a federal tax credit.

You also may be eligible for a 15-year property tax exemption to protect against increased taxes related to solar panel installation.

6. What Percentage of My Electricity Will Come From Solar Power?

This depends on several factors, including your location, number of panels, and energy consumption. We are happy to discuss the solar system that is right for you.

7. How Much Will Solar Panels Reduce My Carbon Footprint?

Your solar roof should meet all your electricity needs and will result in the elimination of three to four tons of carbon emissions each year. That is the equivalent of planting over 100 trees.

More questions? Contact us for a free estimate and more information.