FAQ

A short list of questions you might have.

 

What happens if the sun doesn’t shine or the wind doesn’t blow?

Grid-tied system:

If your system is not making enough power for your needs during the day due to weather conditions, then you will be drawing more of your power from the grid. The same idea can be applied to solar panels at night. Other days where you might make more than you need will help balance out the days that are not ideal.

Grid-independent system:

If you are independent of the grid, you most likely will have some sort of battery bank. Depending on how your system was designed, and what you want out of it, you could run for several days without any solar/wind energy. Batteries, however, can be very expensive, so an alternative that many go with is having a backup generator that runs off some sort of fossil fuel. When the system detects your batteries are within the preset percentage drained, the generator will kick on to top off the batteries and keep your home or business running smoothly.

 

What if it’s storming or extremely windy?

The products we use have varying ratings for the strength of wind gusts that they can withstand. For Ohio, solar panel racking is usually designed to withstand up to 100mph gusts. Wind turbines are usually rated around 140 mph. To put these numbers into perspective an EF-1 tornado has wind speeds between 86 & 110mph and an EF-3 has wind speeds between 136 & 165mph.

 

What kind of warranties are available?

Any warranty will come from the manufacturer and differs between brands. Here is some idea of what to expect:

  • 25 year warranty on solar panels
  • 3-10 year warranty on batteries
  • 5-15 year warranty on inverters
  • 10 year warranty on wind turbine
  • 20 year warranty on Crown Royal Stoves

 

What parts are made in the USA?

Rocknoll uses as many American made products as possible.

  • Solar Panels
  • Wind Turbines
  • Crown Royal Stoves
  • Batteries

 

How much does the switch to LEDs save?

It depends on what you’re switching from. Lighting can be up to 40% of your electric bill. If switching from incandescents, LEDs can save you between 75 & 80% of the lighting portion. If you’re switching from already more efficient options like CFLs or fluorescent the savings on lighting may be somewhere around 30-50%.

lighting

 

How is my bill affected?

Grid-tied system:

When you tie in with the grid, you have to submit what is called an interconnect agreement to the utility company. After it is accepted, they will replace the current recording meter you have with a bi-directional meter that will measure what you take from the grid, and how much you push out onto the grid. Your bill will then be the net of what you used and made. It could be a positive amount, zero, or even a credit to you if you made more than you used.

Grid-independent system:

Bill? What bill? When you are not connected to the grid your electricity bill will be zero. However, if you have a propane backup or other emergency backup then you will still have a bill for however they are fueled.

 

How big of a solar array or wind turbine do I need?

It depends, and that’s a big depends. There are a lot of factors that we have to take into account when designing your renewable system. One of the key things we look at is your energy consumption history. When contacting us, it’s a good idea to have a few bills on hand to be able to forward to us so we can see what is being used to better estimate what you might need. Wind turbines need to be clear of other tall obstructions, like trees, and solar panels can take up some decent amount of ground space. The location and area you wish to have your system installed will also play a factor in the design process.

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Green energy is expensive, how can I lower my costs?

There are 3 main categories of “free money” that can help you pay for your project.

  1. Grants: They have a competitive application process and you don’t have to pay them back like a loan.
  2. Rebates: Many energy providers offer rebates for increasing the energy efficiency of your home or business.
  3. Tax Credit: The federal government offers a dollar-for-dollar tax credit on your income taxes. Currently, it is 30% of the solar/solar thermal/wind project cost.

An extra option for farms & companies is that you can accelerate the depreciation of your project. Contact your tax advisor for all the rules that go along with that.

incentives

 

Do I have to be tied to the grid?

No, you don’t have to be tied to the grid, however, in many cases, we find it is easier or better to be attached to the grid then to have battery banks. In order to be independent of the grid, you will have to have several batteries, and or a backup generator. This is something we have done for many customers, but in some applications, it isn’t necessary or cost beneficial. Be warned, batteries can be very expensive and will drive the cost of your project up. If you want the freedom from the power companies, or if you live in an area where the grid is unreliable (rural areas for example), you may find the extra cost worth it. This is something you can easily discuss with our experts to find out what is best for you.

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More questions? Contact us!