Energy FAQs

Solar Energy

About how much money will a solar electric system save me?

The amount of money that your solar electric system can save you depends on the size and number of your photovoltaic modules, and the specific geographic conditions of your site. Remember: sunlight will always be free, and so your solar panels will be able to supply you with electricity for the cost of their installation over the next 25+ years. You can learn more by submitting a request for a free solar evaluation.

What happens to my solar power generation during a cloudy day or at night?

During cloudy or bad weather conditions, your grid-tied system will get some exposure to light but will generate at a lower efficiency depending on density of cloud cover and other factors.  At night, your solar system goes into sleep mode and your home is powered by the electric grid as normal.

During a power outage, will my solar system still provide power to my home or business?

No, by law, a grid-tied solar system must shut down to prevent solar electricity feeding into the grid when linemen are repairing the outage.  SES does provide optional battery backup systems which allows the solar to decouple from the grid and continue to operate and provide energy to a bank of batteries. The stored power is made available to critical or dedicated loads. To read more about backup options, read more under Energy Management.

Where would my solar electric system go? How much space do I need?

It’s possible for SES to install the solar electric system on either your roof or open ground space where permitted, as long as the area is not significantly shaded.  The amount of space needed for the system will depend on what space is available and your particular energy needs.

How long does the installation process take?

The average time it takes to install a typical home solar electric system is one to two days.

What can the electricity from a solar panel system power?

A grid-tied solar electric system is designed to offset the total amount of electricity consumed in your home, rather than a single device.  The average SES solar system offsets a third to 2/3 of a home’s electric usage.  Your SES solar electric system will supply you with energy in the same way the utility grid currently supplies you with energy, only now your energy will be clean and more cost effective!

Are the solar panels durable?

Solar modules (also known as panels) are extremely durable. They typically come with a 20-year guarantee and are designed to withstand severe weather of all types. They are even guaranteed to endure ¾ inch hail stones moving at 120 miles an hour without fail. Most solar electric systems outlast their 25-year guarantee, even functioning beyond the 40-year mark. Typically, panels do not even need to be cleaned regularly; in most places it rains regularly enough to keep the panels functioning properly.

Do I need to worry about the weight of the system on my roof? Will anything have to be done before installation to support the weight?

Solar electric panels are light-weight and can be supported by almost any type of roof. Typically, a home’s roof in good condition will not need any additional support or reinforcement before a solar installation.  All designs are reviewed and stamped by an independent structural engineer before a project is permitted.

Are there government incentives for going solar?

Yes, there are significant government incentives for going solar that can help make solar more affordable for you. These include federal income tax incentives, possible state grants, net metering, and Solar Renewable Energy Credits. Contact us for more information about rebates and incentives in your area.

Is solar energy right for me?

The time is right to install a solar electric system in your home: federal and state governments are providing significant incentives to those who do, and it’s a great way to avoid mounting utility costs that are predicted to rise even further. Even a small solar system lowers your energy bill and your carbon footprint. SES, your energy solutions partner, will help you find out.  You can learn more by submitting a request for a free evaluation.

What is net metering?

Net-metering occurs when your solar electric panels are generating more energy than your home needs at any given moment. Excess energy is fed back into the power grid, which means that you receive credit for that electricity from the utility company. The credit that you generate is then used to offset your power bill when you pull electricity from the utility company.

How will a solar energy system increase the value of my home?

Installing a solar energy system will increase the value of your home because you are adding technology to the property that will not only provide clean energy, but will also lock in electrical costs for the life of the system (typically 25+ years!). A multi-institutional research team of scientists led by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkley Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) in partnership with Sandia National Laboratories, universities, and appraisers, found that home buyers consistently have been willing to pay more for homes with host-owned solar photovoltaic (PV) energy systems, averaging about $4 per watt of PV installed—across various states, housing, PV markets, and home types.

The Savenia Solar Rating System is an independent, third-party online rating service that helps home sellers capture and communicate the full value of solar systems to prospective buyers. Savenia provides Solar Rating Labels and marketing materials, so that solar home sellers can differentiate their homes, sell faster, and capture more value.

How does sunlight generate electricity?

Sunlight generates electricity when it hits a solar electric cell. There is a “photovoltaic” reaction in which light energy from the sun (photons) hits semi conducting materials that cause the photons to lose an electron. This creates a direct electric current which is converted by an inverter to an alternating current that can power your home.

How does using solar energy help the environment?

By adding a solar energy system, you will reduce demand for electricity from traditional, nonrenewable resources. With a solar energy system, you not only use clean energy, but you also put that power back on the electrical grid for others to use when your system is producing more energy than you are using.

You’ve convinced me – I want a solar electric system to power my home or business. What’s the next step?

You’re ready for a consultation and estimate. Get the conversation started by submitting a request for a free solar evaluation.

Energy Efficiency

How long does the Standard Energy Solutions (SES) Energy Audit take?

The audit takes approximately 2-3 hours depending on the size of the home and the questions you have for your SES Expert.

Do I need to be there during the Energy Audit?

Yes, it is important that you are available at least during the start of the audit to answer any questions your SES Expert might have. However, you do not have to be present for the entire audit.

Is there anything I need to do to prepare for the Energy Audit?

Yes, there are several steps you may take to help your audit process:

  • Take note of any drafty areas or rooms that are consistently too hot or too cold.
  • Remove clutter and obstructions around the water heater, AC units, furnaces, attic, basement, and crawlspace openings.
  • Find out your last 12-months of utility usage. This information may be requested from your utility provider or may already be on your monthly statement.

Why should I choose Standard Energy Solutions (SES) to fix all of the recommended improvements?

SES Experts have extensive experience in residential construction. We possess a strong knowledge of construction sciences as well as the best energy efficiency practices. SES is a recognized Building Performance Institute (BPI) Accredited Contractor and a participant in the BPI Quality Assurance Program. SES works with reputable, licensed contractors to perform retrofit work of the highest quality.

What are all the services Standard Energy Solutions (SES) can provide?

  • Air Sealing & Insulation Upgrades
  • Attic, Basement, & Crawlspace Sealing
  • HVAC Replacement & Duct Sealing
  • Solar Electric Systems & Battery Backup Solutions
  • Water Saving Features & Water Heating Upgrades
  • Lighting Upgrades

How long does it take to schedule the retrofit?

Standard Energy Solutions (SES) typically schedules retrofit work 3-7 business days following receipt of a signed copy of the contract and deposit.

How do I prepare for the retrofit?

If we are installing additional insulation, we ask that you please remove all personal items from the attic. If we are replacing your heating and cooling systems, we ask that you please clean around the area to make sure it is cleared for our experts to work. We also ask that you move personal items from basement walls if we will be insulating them.

How long will my upgrades take?

Depending on the scope of your improvements and our test out procedure, most upgrades are typically completed in one 8-10 hour day. Occasionally, due to unforeseen circumstances, we will have to return to complete some minor items and will do our best to work around your schedule if this occurs.

What precautions are taken to ensure my home is not disturbed during the retrofit?

Our SES experts and experienced subcontractors strive to keep every home as protected and clean as possible. We cover flooring, carpeting, and stairs in protective plastic and clean thoroughly upon completion to return your space to its pre-work state.

Who will oversee the improvements?

SES’s Project Manager will oversee your entire retrofit from start to finish, making the process simple and convenient for you. From directing subcontractors to completing test outs, our Project Manager will be there to answer your questions and ensure that the job is done right.

What should I expect when the work is completed?

Upon completion of your retrofit, you will receive a leave-behind packet that consists of our Energy Efficiency Certificate, incentive information, an owner’s manual with product information, an efficient home window cling, and SES yard sign acknowledging that your home is now energy efficient. You will also receive a final blower door test report identifying how your retrofit lowered your home’s overall air leakage level.

Who fills out the incentive forms?

SES will help guide you through all of the requirements for securing local, state, utility, and federal tax incentives, however, the homeowner is ultimately responsible for filing these forms. Since available incentives change frequently and are project specific, please speak to your SES Energy Consultant to discuss which incentives may be available to you.

How long will it take for me to receive my energy efficiency rebates and incentives?

Depending on the type, state and utility incentives can take 8-12 weeks to receive. Incentive checks will be sent directly to the homeowner. Tax based incentives, however, will be claimed as deductions on your tax returns. For specific questions, please contact your SES Energy Consultant.

Backup Power & Energy Storage

What is Backup Power?

When the grid fails and the lights go out, a Backup Power system utilizes a battery bank to  provide energy to dedicated loads during an outage.  The battery system will be capable of independently energizing these loads for 24 to 36 hours

Can my solar system feed the battery bank?

Yes, during daylight hours your solar array will help to energize your dedicated loads and recharge the battery bank, extending the duration of time your home can operate independently of the grid.

What circuits can I energize with a Backup Power System?

The system is designed to provide emergency power to 6 to 10 circuits ranging from lighting, refrigerator, well pump, sump pump, various outlets, TV/communications and security system.  Our 8 battery bank system will provide 36 hours of continuous load of 400 watts.  Our 12 battery bank option is capable of 57 hours of 400 watts continuous load.

Do the batteries require regular service?

No, the batteries we use are sealed, do not emit fumes and do not require service.  It is recommended the battery bank is placed in a temperature controlled environment or in an insulated battery box to protect against extremes.

What is the life of the batteries?

For batteries used for the purpose of backup power, the expected life is 7-10 years.  If batteries are used for backup and storage purposes, life span is 5-7 years.  Batteries are recyclable after their usable life.

What is the difference between emergency backup power and energy storage?

When the grid fails, backup power will provide emergency power to selected, critical loads.  Energy storage is power capable of being utilized on a daily basis to minimize reliance on utility electricity.  In markets with dynamic electric rates based on supply & demand, stored power can help you avoid purchasing electricity at peak rates. In addition to the benefits this system provides, solar and storage can provide value in the form of resiliency and frequency regulation to the grid.  This is an evolving market and SES will provide guidance and expertise to maximize value for our customers.