What's the difference between ON THE GRID (Grid Tied) and OFF THE GRID solar systems?

On the grid (Grid Tied) means that your solar system is hooked into the utility company. Off the grid means you are not connected to the utility company.

It’s more efficient to be hooked to the utility grid because off grid systems must store the energy, as in batteries. If you are on the grid, the utility company stores the energy. The utility company keeps track of the kilowatts you use on an hourly basis. During a sunny day, you can produce more energy than you are using so your electric meter goes backwards and you build up energy credits. The goal of your solar power system on the grid is to produce as much power over a twelve month period as you use.

The Diagram below shows how a typical On the Grid (Grid Tied) system works.

Grid-tied solar diagram

The Diagram below shows how a typical Off Grid system works

How much do solar panels cost?

The installed cost of solar panels depends on site-specific factors, customer-selected options, and market pricing. Most residential systems have an installed cost of $7 – $10 per watt. However, 50% of this cost can be recouped through state and federal rebates!

How many solar panels do I need?

If your home or business is already connected to the grid, then the size of your system can be as large as your available space and budget allow. Most people choose to install between 2,000 and 10,000 watts. If your home is not connected to the grid, then the solar electric system must be specifically designed to meet your electricity demand. In either case, we can help you decide the on the system size that is right for you.

How much space do I need for solar panels?

You will need about 100 square feet for every 1,000 watts of solar panels. Solar panels are usually mounted on the roof, but they can also be mounted on walls or the ground. Ideally the site should be facing south and free from shade for most of the day. Contact us for a free site assessment!

How much money and energy will I save with solar panels?

The energy you save with solar panels depends on how much sun you receive. Five Star Solar Construction can provide a complete cost-benefit analysis based on your utility bill and a brief site assessment.

How much can I reduce my carbon footprint with solar panels?

Over the life of the system, your system will prevent the emission of 35,000 lbs of CO2 gases for each 1,000 watts of solar panels you install. Solar panels only require about 6,000 lbs to manufacture so they are more than carbon neutral – they are carbon negative!

How long does it take to install solar panels?

Most systems can be installed in 2 days. Solar panels can be easily retrofitted to existing structures or installed during new construction. The process is easy! Most of the work can be done even when you are away from home. Call us for an overview of the steps to start using solar electricity.

Will my solar panels work when the power is out?

Solar panels produce energy whenever the sun is shining. However, any back-up system that is connected to the grid is prohibited from operating when the grid is down in order to protect the lives of utility workers. It is possible to install a hybrid system that is both grid-connected and provides back-up power, but this option will increase costs.

Can I sell my excess power back to the utility company?

In most cases the answer is Yes! Check with your utility company to find out what their buyback rates are.

How long will my solar panels last?

Solar panels are designed to withstand wind, rain, snow, and hail. Most panel manufacturers provide a 25-year warranty.

Do solar panels require any maintenance?

Solar panels require virtually no maintenance. Wind and rain can actually help keep the panels free of dirt and debris! Periodically, the mechanical connections should be checked and the panels cleaned. 

Will installing solar panels affect the value of my home?

A house with solar panels should sell for more than the same house without solar panels because the green home will have a lower cost of ownership for the new owner. Even if you sell your home, it is highly likely you will recoup the investment cos