Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How will I have electricity at night with a photovoltaic solar system?

A:Our systems are almost always connected to the electric grid, which has several benefits. It eliminates the need for batteries and lowers the price and required maintenance of your solar system. When there is peak sun, it is possible that the system may be producing more power than you will use. Instead of wasting this power, you can sell it to your electric company, creating a credit on your electric bill. Your power meter can spin backwards! During the night and on cloudy days, you can get power from the grid. You can also rest assured that you will always have as much power as you need. The only difference is that you will be utilizing the energy that hits your roof and would otherwise be wasted.

Q: What size system will I need if my home is 1800 square feet?

A: We size your system based on how much electricity you use, not by the size of your business/home. To determine your energy use, look at your electric bill. Factors to consider also include how you heat and cool your business/home, heat hot water and the energy efficiency of your home and appliances.

You may be able to decrease the size of your photovoltaic system through energy efficiency. This may include replacing inefficient appliances, using compact fluorescent light bulbs, and minimizing cooling costs.

Q: How much electricity will my solar system produce?

A: This depends on several factors, including weather, location, and the size of the system. California is a good climate for solar. The smallest system available is a 1 kW system, which will produce about 1,600 kilowatt hours of electricity annually. We can design and install a system to serve a variety of needs.

Q: Will trees reduce the performance of the solar system?

A: The more full sunshine that you receive, the better. Typically, trees on the south end of your business/home that are taller than the roof will affect the output of your system the most. Some types of solar modules have greater tolerances for slight shading, so we can keep this in mind while designing your system.

Q: What are the components of my solar system?
A:

  1. Solar panels: Converts photons from the sun into electricity and comes in many shapes and sizes
  2. An inverter: Converts power from DC to 120 volt AC to make the electricity usable for your business/home.
  3. Wiring (AC & DC circuits)
  4. Mounting System: Attaches panels to roof or structure at the optimum angle. Tracking systems are available that will change the angle of the panels depending on the position of the sun.

Q: Why is Safeway a great choice for harvesting the sun on your roof?

A: At Safeway Electric, we pride ourselves on our high quality work, attention to detail, and over 30 years of design, build and maintain. We make it easy to go solar every step of the way.

Q: Will I have power during a power outage when nobody else does?

A: If your system is connected to the electric grid and does not contain batteries, it will be turned off during a power outage. This is to ensure safe working conditions while repairs are being made to the power lines. Some solar system owners choose to have a battery backup for emergencies.

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