a roof with solar panels

3 Common Questions for Residential Solar

Residential Solar

solar panels

Written By Cody Luebeck, TruNorth Solar’s Solar Ambassador

Being a solar ambassador with TruNorth Solar, I find myself chatting with folks who are constantly curious on how solar works in Minnesota, and how they could utilize this free source of electricity themselves.  Many of the times these conversations can last hours, but part of our philosophy at TruNorth Solar is educating the public of the advantages of solar and being transparent about when it works, and when it doesn’t work.  I truly enjoy every minute of our conversations.  I have found that many of the questions that come up seem to revolve around the same three ideas, so I would like to take a moment to not only educate you on this growing field, but hopefully raise more questions along the way.
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  1.  How does solar work with my current electrical set up in my house?

A: Solar is a unique type of energy producing technology.  As photons from the sun hit the panels, electrons flow through the circuitry in the panels, producing electricity.  This electricity is then fed from your roof into your house’s subpanel (where your breakers are), providing electricity to your home.  Your subpanel will then distribute this electricity throughout your home as it is needed.  Any additional electricity not consumed within your home is sent to the meter on the outside of your home, causing your meter to spin backwards, and generating a credit on your electricity bill.  Imagine seeing your meter spin backwards.  There you have it – you just sold electricity to the grid!

  1. How many panels do I need for my house?

A:  Well, the simple answer is… it depends!  It depends on your solar goals, your roof size and your budget.  TruNorth Solar creatively works with clients to find the right system to each individual.  Do you want the number of solar panels installed to fill an entire roof?   Meet a particular budget?  Do you have a goal to meet a desired electrical consumption (kWh) offset or be off the grid completely?  We first look at how many panels could possibly fit on a roof, as this is the limiting factor for the maximum system size.  Next we work with our customers to find a balance between budget and offset goals.  Between these two, we work hard to find a solution that will maximize the electricity offset without breaking the bank.

  1. How much does it cost/is it worth it for me?

A:  There are typically two major factors driving residential and commercial owners to install solar.  First, they want to become independent clean power producers taking environment initiatives into their own hands.  Second, they want to make sure the investment meets a certain criteria they deem financially beneficial.   With the recent Clean Energy legislation passed last May, Minnesota has created many different programs available for solar installations, resulting in a balance between impressive return on your investment financially and environmentally.  You essentially get an opportunity to pre-purchase clean solar electricity much cheaper than the current utility rates are today.  Imagine locking in an electrical rate while producing your own independent power!  Check out our recent blog on the different options available HERE!

Hopefully this has helped answer some of your questions, and possibly raised a dozen more.  That was the goal!!  If you do have more questions, or are interested in a solar system for yourself, feel free to contact us at TruNorthSolar.com or me directly at CLuebeck@TruNorthSolar.com.  You can also stay up-to-date on what we are doing by liking us on Facebook at TruNorth Solar or following us on Twitter @TruNorthSolar.

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