Frequently Asked Questions

Neighborhood with solar installed on the roofs of houses in Ojai, CA.How much solar electric power will I need to power my home?
This will vary home to home. The number of panels installed is dependent upon your lifestyle, appliances, and how your home is built. Our renewable energy consultants are experts in designing the most effective system for reducing your electrical consumption and costs.

Does solar work for commercial buildings?
We have installed solar on office buildings, retail buildings, agricultural facilities, and schools with much success. Solar electricity is a viable option anywhere electricity is used.

What does a PV system consist of?
For all their sophisticated output, a solar photovoltaic system have few parts. PV system components include:
• PV modules (groups of PV cells) commonly called PV panels
• one or more batteries
• a charge regulator or controller for a stand-alone system an inverter
• wiring mounting hardware or a framework.

How much power will the system produce?
Systems come in all sizes and can be designed to produce as much or as little power as needed. Many homeowners install initial systems that only produce a portion of the home’s required power, leaving room for them to add panels in the future or to work on reducing energy consumption.

Do the PV panels have to be mounted on my roof?
Panels are often mounted on the roof, but can also be mounted on the ground. If the roof is overly shaded or has many skylights or other obstructions that limit available space, ground mounts are a great option.

Do the panels have to face south?
Facing the panels south is ideal, but panels installed facing east or west still generate a very high percentage of power. It is usually more effective and attractive to install the panels in the same plane as the roof, regardless of the direction it faces.

How much space does a system require?
A typical system requires about seven to eight square feet for each dollar of your electric bill. Again, this figure depends upon your electric rates. The SunPower systems installed by CSE are manufactured to require the least amount of install space.

Are solar panels fragile?
Even though they may seem fragile, these tempered glass panels are actually very strong. They pass intense hail and stress tests, are built to withstand temperature drops and spikes, and are engineered to deliver long-term, high-impact resistance.

How long will the system last?
The photovoltaic modules carry a 25-year manufacturer warranty. We offer an additional 10 year warranty on installation and inverters. Theses warranties are longer than almost anything else you can purchase.

What happens if the panels are shaded?
We make sure that PV panels are installed in areas where they get significant daily, shade-free sun. We use the most up to date technology to predict shade over various seasons and project for tree growth. Micro-inverters and ground mounts are some of the options we employ to overcome low-energy producing concerns.

A husband and wife are discussing whether or not to get solar installed on their house in Ojai, CA.How long does it take to install a PV system?
Typical systems take from 1 to 5 days to install, with the average being 2-3 days. However, since since every job is custom, timelines vary. Permits, financing and other phases of the permits also influence schedules. Some larger commercial systems may take longer, depending on the size and type of installation.

Do I need to clean the panels periodically?
Most of our customers do not clean their panels and are still happy with their output. However in areas like ours where there is little rain, dust and pollen can create a film over the panels that can reduce optimal energy generation. If necessary, using a hose to spray off dust monthly can increase efficiency. Panels should not be sprayed when they are very hot, abrasive methods should never be used, and they should never be walked on.

Do I need to install a new roof before the solar panels are installed?
Most of our installations do not require a new roof prior to PV installation. Since the panels will last for over 25 years, ideally we want the roof to be in decent condition so it can mirror the lifespan of the panels as close as panel. After the panels are installed, they actually reduce the wear on the roof by blocking UV rays and blocking objects from hitting the roof.

What is Net Metering?
Net Metering is the regulatory ability to get credit for electricity you generate with your solar modules and send backwards through your utility meter. Basically net metering allows you to generate excess power during the day, and then use it at night without needing batteries. Since it is a 12-month agreement, it also works summer to winter; when you use more energy than you generate, you use credits that were built up when you were generating more than you used.

If I sell my property, what effect does PV have on the sale price?
Adding solar to your home is one of the only ways you can increase your property value without increasing your property taxes. Recent surveys have shown that for every $1,000.00 saved per year, $20,000.00 is added to a home’s value. Solar energy can be one of the most effective home improvement investments you make.

Are there financial incentives for buying solar electricity?
There are many incentives for purchasing solar. In California, there are rebate incentives and tax advantages, which our renewable energy consultants and rebate specialist can explain in detail. Other financial incentives include not having to pay for the ever increasing electricity costs, higher resale value of home, tax write-offs for businesses, back-up power for utility shortage, etc. This is all in addition to the mitigation of global climate change by reducing greenhouse gases, reducing our dependency on nonrenewable energy sources and the associated environmental impacts with extraction, while taking care of our children’s future.