Frequently Asked Questions
How do Photovoltaics work?
A photovoltaic solar array or solar array is made up of several solar modules or solar panels. These solar panels convert the solar rays that come from the sun into direct current (DC) electricity. Sunlight is made up of photons, or particles of solar energy. Photons contain various amounts of energy, corresponding to the different wavelengths of the solar spectrum. When photons strike a PV cell, they may be reflected or absorbed, or they may pass right through. Only the absorbed photons generate electricity. When this happens, the energy of the photon is transferred to an electron in an atom of the PV cell.
How long will PV panels last?
A properly installed and maintained solar array will last for well over 25 years. If the system has been installed properly than there should be no problem with the system lasting over 35 years.
How will a solar array affect the life of my roof?
A solar array will actually increase the life of your roof. If your roof is over 10 years old it is recommended that you replace it before installing a solar array. However solar panels protect your roof from the daily wear and tear of the natural elements making your roof shingles last much longer than they otherwise would have.
How big of a solar energy system do I need?
Under the MicroFit program the maximum size of a solar array is 10 kW. To install a 10 kW system you only need 700 square feet of roof space.
Why should I buy a solar PV array?
Solar energy is clean and renewable energy. The process of manufacturing solar panels created 90% less pollution than the process of refining fossil fuels for our energy needs. Solar is a great alternative energy source that helps protect the planet.
In Ontario the Ontario Power Authority runs the MicroFit program. The MicroFit program allows homeowners and businesses to place solar arrays on their roofs and receive a 20 year contract with the government that pays a set amount for every kiloWatt hour that the array produces. This incentive program makes it solar not only great for the environment but a great investment as well.
How do I know if I have enough sunlight for PV?
To get the most out of your solar array you will need unobstructed access to the sun’s rays for most of the day. Climate does not really affect solar arrays, in fact the colder the climate the better it is for solar. Since most solar panels are mounted on an angle that is flush with your roof snow melts quickly in the winter.