Solar 101 For Homeowners

How does solar work?

Shopping for solar can be a daunting process, and the terms that get thrown around can seem intimidating at first. The goal of this guide is to break the process down into layman’s terms. Your best bet is to schedule a personal evaluation with one of our highly trained consultants, but this guide is a good place to start.

Sunlight hits the solar panels, and the photons generate DC current. Inverters convert the current from DC to AC, which is what you use in your home. During peak sun hours, your system typically generates more electricity than what you are using in your home. You will sell this excess back to the grid, and the utility company will credit you for it. Most utility companies in the area net-meter (JEA is the exception), which means they pay you what they charge you for the excess power. At night, your panels are no longer generating electricity, so you will draw from the grid.

During the spring and early fall, a system designed for a full off-set will produce enough electricity to generate credits on your electric bill. The concept is similar to “roll-over minutes.” During the winter and summer, you’ll consume the credits you accrued during the spring and fall.

System components

  1. Solar panels. We offer a variety of panels, and make recommendations based upon your goals. We offer SunPower, LG, Mission Solar, Canadian Solar, and other brands.
  2. Inverters. Our standard inverter is the Enphase IQ7Plus microinverter. We do install other inverters depending on the system, but the vast majority of our installs utilize Enphase microinverters.
  3. Racking system. The racking system attaches your panels to the roof. We engineer for 140 mph winds
  4. Electrical work. Some systems will require an electric panel upgrade, dependent upon system size and your utility company. A1A Solar is an electrical contractor, and all work is performed by employees.

Benefits of going solar

  1. Saving Money! The average homeowner will save $30,000-$50,000 over the life of their system. This is money you keep in your pocket, rather than hand over to your utility company.
  2. Increased property value! Homes with solar sell four times faster, and for more money than homes without solar.
  3. Energy independence! With solar, you are no longer at their mercy of the utility company, which may increase rates at their sole direction. Add batteries to the system, for real independence.
  4. Saving the planet! By going solar, you embrace the cleanest energy available in our area. No fossil fuels burned, zero emissions.