Does solar power really work in Western Pennsylvania and the Tri-State area?
Yes, solar power works in this area, even with all of our cloudy days! Solar panels use the radiation from the sun, rather than sunshine, to make electricity. Germany is the world’s leading solar power installer, and the climate in Germany is very similar to Pittsburgh’s.
What is the best renewable energy solution for me?
That depends on a number of variables, including what you hope to achieve with your purchase, your budget and the specific attributes of your home. Fill out our questionnaire, and our professionals will be glad to help you determine what is best for you.
What incentives are available?
Currently there are state rebates, federal tax credits, accelerated depreciation (for commercial projects) and renewable energy credits that help to recover the costs of the renewable energy system.
What is an REC or Renewable Energy Credit?
One REC is earned by renewable energy system owners each time their renewable energy system generates 1000 kilowatt hours of electricity. The REC represents the positive environmental attributes of your electricity. The REC can be sold to utility companies or to anyone required to buy or interested in buying REC’s.
What happens to the electricity that I do not use?
The electricity that you generate with your renewable energy system is either used in your home or business or, through net metering, is credited back to your electricity provider. Utility companies are required by law to give you a credit for the electricity you produce but don’t use, and the credit must be worth the same amount they charge you for electricity. With each installation, a net meter is installed, and when you are generating electricity but not using it, the meter does spin backwards, crediting your electricity to your electric utility company.
I have heard about trade tariffs against Chinese solar companies. Does Vox install Chinese panels?
No, while we are willing to work with customers if they have a specific module that they would prefer, we do not install Chinese solar panels.
How many solar panels do I need?
You can purchase one solar panel or many. How many panels you decide to purchase depends upon many factors including your goals, your electric usage, your budget and various attributes of your home. Solar panels are modular and therefore, you can purchase more solar modules at a later time if you choose.
How many solar panels will fit on my roof?
Solar panels vary in size by manufacturer, but are generally 3.5 feet by 5 feet and weigh about 35 pounds. However, it may not be efficient to fill your roof with solar panels. Shading and home orientation should be factored into your analysis.
Do I have to put solar panels on my roof?
No, ground mounting systems are available for solar panels.
I have an older roof. Should I still get solar panels?
It is advisable to replace your roof prior to investing in solar panels, if you are within a few years of needing to do so. The solar arrays will need to be removed and reinstalled in order to replace your roof.
Does my house have to face due south?
Actually, no, it does not have to face due south. It is important that you have a roof or yard space available for the proper placement of your solar panels, but an installation of exactly due south is not always necessary.
I have a lot of trees in my yard. Am I a good candidate for solar?
If there is shading on solar panels, the shading will affect the performance of the solar panels. It is recommended that you do not have trees that will shade your solar panels.
What is the difference between solar and solar thermal?
Solar panels use radiation from the sun to produce electricity. Instead of converting solar radiation from the sun into electricity, a solar thermal system converts the sun’s energy into heat. The heat is can be used for domestic hot water or for space heating.
Can wind or hail damage my solar panels?
The solar panels that Vox purchases are rated to withstand one inch of hail and 125 mile per hour winds.
Can I use renewable energy to heat my pool?
Yes! We currently have solar pool heaters available for purchase. Contact us to learn more.
Is an off-grid, battery back-up system available?
Yes, you can choose to purchase an off-grid battery back-up system rather than a net metered system. A battery back-up system is a very high maintenance investment. We recommend battery back-up systems for those customers who are in a very rural area with difficult or impossible connection to utility electric service.
What type of maintenance is involved in renewable energy systems?
There is no maintenance required for your solar panels. Solar panels are normally installed at a tilt and therefore, anything landing on the solar panel, such as snow or falling leaves, naturally falls off. If your solar panel becomes covered, the debris covering it should be removed. The wind turbines are also maintenance free. There is no regular maintenance required for the wind turbines.