Commonly asked questions

Got questions about solar? We’ve got you covered. GreenSpark Solar has answers to your most pressing solar questions. For more detailed information about solar options for homes and businesses, contact us. Send us an email, give us a call, or stop by our office.

General

First, the PV or photovoltaic cells that cover solar panels soak up sun’s abundant, clean energy. What happens next is part science, part magic – tiny particles of light, known as photons, break electrons free from their atoms. This creates a unidirectional flow of direct current or DC electricity that is converted to alternating current or AC electricity which can then be used to power homes and businesses.

While it’s true that solar panels generate the most energy when they receive direct sunlight, solar panels will still produce plenty of clean energy on overcast or rainy days. This also applies to cold, cloudy winter days – really! That’s because solar panels absorb both visible and infrared light in order to generate usable electricity. Even the cloudiest, grayest, and rainiest days can’t prevent light from reaching solar panels.

Contrary to popular belief, cold, winter weather can actually improve solar panel output. That’s because white snow acts as a mirror to reflect light and improve photovoltaic performance. Sure, you might generate slightly less power during the winter months in Rochester and Western NY, but long, sunny summer days more than make up for this.

Solar panels are typically installed at an angle, making it difficult for any significant amount of snow to accumulate. When calculating your annual sun exposure, we take into consideration how much snow we see in a typical winter. It’s important to keep in mind that long, sunny summer days will more than make up for this difference.

No. In order for solar panels to generate electricity, they need to be in contact with either direct or indirect sunlight, both of which contain the photons necessary for photovoltaics. Although exceptionally bright on clear nights, moonlight contains no photons and therefore cannot be used to generate energy.

The question is, can you afford not to? If you can afford to pay your electric bill – better yet, if you’re tired of paying way too much for electricity – then you can afford to go solar. So yes, you can afford to go solar, really. We promise!

Yes, and it works wonderfully! Just look at Germany, who recently emerged as the undisputed leader in the global solar revolution. Like New York State, Germany’s weather is often pretty overcast. In fact, the Rochester area receives 40% more sunlight than Germany on average. Yet Germany is able to cover half – yes, half – of its electricity needs with solar energy. Similarly, the UK is notorious for its gray skies, yet it too has experienced great success with solar. Our hundreds of happy customers say it best. Read their testimonials.

Absolutely! Solar energy can power all of your home’s systems, including your appliances, lights, and even your heating and cooling systems. When we size a solar system for your home, our goal is to cover 100% of your household’s annual energy consumption. 

Of course! Commercial solar arrays can be used to power businesses and institutions of all industries, from offices, to factories, and everything in between. Green Spark Solar provides both onsite and offsite solar options for businesses of all sizes. Find out more about commercial solar.

It’s a no brainer. Whether you choose a residential or commercial solar option, you can save big. Going solar means safeguarding yourself against the unpredictability of constantly rising electricity rates. In addition, a solar energy system can increase your property’s value. It’s a win-win no matter which way you look at it. 

We thought you’d never ask! That’s a great question, and one we’re happy to answer after taking a closer look at the specific energy needs of your home or business. We encourage you to contact us us to find out exactly how much you can save. In our 16+ years of experience, we’ve had several customers completely zero out their electric bill. Clean energy means real savings. If you have have an electric bill, you can save by going solar. It’s that simple!

Like other clean, renewable energy sources, solar has a number of environmental and health benefits. Not only are you helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change and pollution, but you’re also reducing the carbon footprint and environmental impact of your home or business. Every home or business is different, and we customize a proposal for your energy needs that includes the environmental impact you’ll have by going solar. All of this preserves the environment we’ll rely on for generations to come.

In the event of a blackout, your solar energy system will also also shut off. That’s because it’s connected to the power grid, so when it goes your solar energy system will too.This is done as a safety measure to protect electricity utility workers and first responders from becoming injured by solar panels sending power to the grid. In New York State, we’re able to use the power grid as a battery which allows us to over-produce in the months that see more hours of sunlight. Through accounting at the local utility provider, such as RG&E, you receive those credits during the months that experience less sun hours. If you’re concerned about having a source of backup power, there are a few options, such as special inverters that supply backup power during a blackout when paired with a battery.

Well, that depends. It’s important to keep in mind that our solar systems have an average lifespan of at least 25 to 35 years. With that being said, if your roof is in need of repair or replacement in the short term, you should consider doing so before having solar panels installed. As part of your free analysis, our engineers will evaluate the integrity and structure of your roof.

Nope, not at all. Solar panels can actually help to protect your roof and act as a barrier to the elements and damaging debris. And like professional roofers, our solar installers are experienced and know exactly what they’re doing.

No. In fact your solar panels require very little maintenance throughout the 25 to 35 years they generate power. You won’t even need to clean your solar panels on a regular basis. Wind and rainfall act as effective natural cleaners that gently remove dirt and debris. If or when your solar panels happen to need maintenance, we’ve got you covered.

Our solar systems are tough. They’re very durable and are designed to generate electricity – and big savings – over the course of 25 to 35 years. All of the equipment associated with your array comes with a 25 year warranty. Now that’s getting the most bang out of your buck!

A solar system can significantly increase your property values, however the exact amount varies from property to property and depends on the size of your solar installation.

Residential

The size that works best for your home depends on your specific energy goals and needs. Our solar advisors can help you determine exactly what your energy needs are and what size system will work best. Contact one of our solar team members to learn more about what size system will work best for your home.

Solar panels make little to no noise. On a quiet day with no wind, you might be able to hear the soft hum of the inverter.

Even with limited to no roof space, it’s still possible to enjoy the benefits of solar without having an array mounted on your roof. Contact Us to learn more and explore your solar options.

As long as you have an electric bill, there’s a way for you to go solar. Contact Us to learn more about solar solutions for renters.

Each installation is unique and requires different factors specific to that project. Keeping that in mind, most residential solar installations can be completed within a week.

Our solar arrays are designed with both performance and aesthetics in mind. The final look of your solar array will depend on a number of factors, such as the size and shape of your roof. We’ll design a custom solar array that matches your energy goals while complimenting the look of your home and its surroundings.

That depends on several factors, such as financing and what tax incentives or credits you qualify for. There are in many cases in which homeowners can go solar with little to no money down.

We offer a number of flexible financing options. We work closely with financial institutions to secure the best rate possible, in addition to repayment terms that work for you. In most cases you’re replacing your ever-rising electric bill with your fixed loan payment and paying that off on an average of 6 years. 

Thanks to a large number of solar energy rebates, such as NYSERDA grants or state and federal tax incentives, there’s never been a better or more affordable time for homeowners to go solar. The best way to find out what rebates and incentives you qualify for is to contact us directly and speak with one of our solar team members.

Awesome! The first step to go solar is to contact us and get the ball rolling. We’ll take it from there!

Commercial

The specific energy needs of your business are a major factor in determining what size solar system will work best. We’ll take a look at your energy usage history to put together options that will maximize your return and get you the most savings.

Learn more about our power purchase agreements and how they work for a variety of businesses and industries. 

Absolutely. A power purchase agreement is a great way for business owners to go solar even if they rent their office or production space.

There’s never been a better time for businesses to go solar in New York State. With a 30% Federal tax credit, New York State incentive, and 100% bonus depreciation, up to 70% of the costs are covered. But don’t wait too long, 2019 is the last year to take advantage of the peak Federal tax credit & incentives in New York State before they decline.

Want more good news? GreenSpark has a variety of ways to structure a project which allow businesses and institutions to pay little or no upfront costs. We have established solar-specific financiers we work with, but we’re also happy to work with a bank or lender of your choosing. Take a look at the different options

There are a number of flexible financing options which allow businesses and institutions to pay little or no upfront costs. Whether it’s through owning your own solar array, or purchasing solar energy through a Power Purchase Agreement, we’ll have you saving money and lowering your operational expenses in no time.

contact us directly and speak with one of our solar advisors.

Each installation is unique and requires different factors specific to that project. Keeping that in mind, the installation and construction of your solar array is actually the shortest part of the process.

Our solar engineers are experienced in designing custom solar arrays meant to complement the aesthetics of any building. We’ll work with you to design a solar energy system that not only meets your energy needs, but that also compliments the look of your business.

The first step is to schedule consultation in order for us to assess your property and its energy needs. After that, you can choose to own your system, host a solar array, or participate in a solar array.

To determine how much savings you can expect to see, we provide you with a free proposal based on your specific energy usage and preferences. A double digit return on investment is just one of the reasons businesses are making the strategic financial decision to Go Solar.

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