General Solar FAQs
How does solar work?
Simply put, photovoltaic technology harvests energy from the sun in the form of sunlight and transforms these photons into electrical energy. When it does this it makes direct current (DC) power, so we must use inverters to transform the DC power into alternating current (AC). AC is the form of electricity provided to you by your home or business outlets and powers our world.
Does it impact my insurance or roof warranty?
The short answer is no. It has zero impact on insurance and we won’t let it impact your roof warranty either. In the occasional case that coordination with the roof be required, we work with your roofers in order to maintain warranty.
How much maintenance is required?
These systems require very little maintenance. We do recommend power washing occasionally, but with no moving parts, maintenance is negligible.
How long does it take to get a project designed and installed?
It depends on the size and scope of the project, but this can be a few short weeks for small projects or a few months for larger projects.
How involved will I need to be in the process? Will I need to manage anything?
How much you decide to be involved is up to you as the client, but we strive to take all the managerial, permitting, and other requirements out of the process in order to provide a real turnkey experience that’s easy and effective.
Am I still connected to the grid?
Most systems remain grid-tied, yes. Occasionally, we might use battery storage and a micro-grid arrangement for projects seeking independence because they are remote or for other reasons (resiliency).
What assurances do I have that the solar will work?
We offer performance guarantees which pay our clients for any shortfalls they might experience. If this is of interest, be sure to inquire about performance guarantees.
What are the benefits of switching to solar?
Solar has countless benefits such as energy savings, cost savings, reducing your carbon footprint and adding resiliency to your property’s power.
What’s the best way to pay for the system?
Although many of our clients pay cash, we often find that financing by taking advantage of the current low-interest rate environment improves the economic performance of the array. We often see the rate of return on the investment is higher because you cash flow the asset very quickly after installation.
Are there incentives available to me?
For tax-paying organizations and homeowners, there is a lucrative federal tax credit available to everyone. There may also be state or local government incentives, as well as utility incentives. Our team of project developers will help you find these incentives so you don’t leave any money on the table.
If the grid goes down, does my solar work?
For most systems that are solar-only, no. This is because of a code requirement that requires technology to shut down the solar modules in the event of a power loss so that the power doesn’t back-feed the system and injure a utility lineman. For systems that use battery storage, however, it is possible to run your facility on solar even while the grid is down.
What is my expected payback/financial performance?
Due to high utility rates and the cost of solar falling substantially, the paybacks are relatively short. By financing your project, we often see paybacks of a few short months or even instantaneous.
When installing solar, can your electricians also upgrade my electrical service?
You bet! Our electricians are not only well-versed at installing solar, but can handle most any electrical need you may have.
What about battery storage? Should I be looking at this?
Battery storage is here and we are often seeing it may a significant impact on economics where electric demand rates are high. It’s also beneficial for projects seeking to up their resiliency factor for more energy independence.
Will the solar penetrate my roof?
It doesn’t have to. Sure, sometimes this might make sense, but most of our work is either done non-penetrating using ballasts or ground-mounted to get it off the roof altogether.
Will hail damage the panels?
Not likely. The hard silicone nature of our Tier 1 panels have all been tested to withstand some of the worst mother nature can throw our way. In the rare event you receive hail damage, long warranties will have you covered!
Will you service my already installed panels if they weren’t installed by SunSmart?
Yes! Our team is happy to assess your current system and make recommendations on your existing system.
What types of buildings do you service?
We service and install panels on all types of buildings in Kansas City and surrounding areas, including but not limited to commercial buildings, residential homes, industrial parks and government campuses.
Where can I find the inverter? Shut off?
The inverter and system shut-off is typically located close to the meter, but every design is different. Feel free to call us if you need help from one of our service technicians!
How much will a solar install cost?
This answer will vary with size and scope, but we generally design for high value so that should you finance the system, the savings will more than pay for the cost.
How do I know what kind of system I have?
There are so many different system options, it may be tough to tell what you have. Our service technicians can quickly and easily help you identify what you’ve got and what condition it’s in.
I do not have a roof suited for solar panels. Can you place panels on other surfaces?
Yes! We can place panels on any surface that receives unobstructed sunlight, such as parking garages or open fields.
How do I know if my solar system is working properly?
The best way to assess your solar energy usage is by using our Energy Monitoring System. Contact our team to learn more.
I need to redo my roof that currently has solar on it. How do I deal with that?
Assuming you have quite a bit of system life left on your solar array, we simply remove the modules and related appurtenances and reinstall once your roof work is complete. We call these “uninstall-reinstalls” and do them all the time.
Squirrels keep getting into my wiring. How do I deal with this?
Rodents and other animals occasionally get frisky around solar systems. When they do, we can effectively shield all the wiring and components using critter-guard to keep them at bay.
I just bought a new electric vehicle. Can I use the solar to charge?
Whether at your business or home, electric vehicles pair well with solar. Nonetheless, EV charging doesn’t necessarily require solar. Our team of electricians installs EV charging stations everywhere, some with, some without solar components.