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Is Solar a Good Idea AZ?

February 8, 2020 Uncategorized

1. Is summer a better time to install solar panels?

Not necessarily. Although Phoenix racks up nearly 300 days of sunshine every year, solar companies find most people don’t think of installing a PV system until summer is nearly upon them.

“We get most of our inquiries at the start of summer, when people get their first big electrical bill,” Cheshire said. “Then they start winding down close to the holidays and tax season when people are more preoccupied with travels, buying presents, school being out.”
2. Do hotter days mean more energy production?

The opposite, actually. Experts say solar panels perform better in colder temperatures.

“The hotter your panels get, the less productive they are,” said Ronald Roedel, the director of the Solar Energy Engineering and Commercialization program at Arizona State University. “It matters less if it’s 110 degrees or 35 degrees, what matters is the amount of light.”

Although Phoenix’s extreme heat reduces the performance of PV systems, there are also more hours of sunshine in the summer, so it balances out, Roedel said. On the other side, winter days are shorter, but solar panels collect energy more efficiently.
3. How do weather events like heavy rain, hail and dust storms affect a PV system?

“Extreme weather affects PV systems everywhere,” Roedel said. “Anything other than our typical blue, cloudless skies. That is why you have the grid to back you up.”

If the power goes out during a storm, don’t expect your PV system to still work. Since your PV system depends on the energy grid, when the grid is down, your PV system will also be down, unless you own a battery and can use what is stored.

But batteries are expensive and the majority of residential solar power users do not have one, Cheshire said. While other states have invested in neighborhood battery storage, that is currently not possible in Arizona, he added.
4. How do I stop pigeons from nesting around my solar panels?

When Mills got her solar panels from Sunrun installed more than two years ago, her friends brought up one concern she hadn’t considered: keeping the pigeons out. Although a flock of pigeons on her street once gave her initial worry, she felt relieved when the pigeons passed her in favor of a neighbor’s roof instead.

“Pigeons aren’t interested in foraging on solar panels or eating wires, which are tucked away anyway,” Cheshire said. “They’re not really a problem unless there are a lot of them, then the pigeons are more of a pest and can be a pain to clean up after.”

Cheshire said SunHarvest offers “pigeon proofing,” which consists of a physical barrier made of poly-coated steel placed at the bottom of the panels. The guards prevent birds from going there, but otherwise, pigeons, in general, shouldn’t present a problem.
5. Will I have to cut down my trees?

In about 25 percent of the cases SunHarvest sees, shade is an issue, not just from trees, but from power lines, neighbors and mountains, Cheshire said. That’s why an in-person evaluation is required.

If a tree is going to grow and affect unfettered access to sunlight, the engineers will try to design around it to minimize the impact, he said. SunHarvest uses software analysis to estimate how much the shade would affect sunlight collection.

If there is no choice but to remove the tree, homeowners must weigh whether the benefits from going solar will outweigh the cooling shade from the tree.
6. Don’t solar panels produce the most amount of power midday, when I’m not home to use it?

It’s true: The biggest utility load occurs when people come home from work and turn on all their appliances. And PV systems produce the most power at high noon, when the sun is highest in the sky. But since solar users are connected to the grid, which can provide backup power, they don’t have to limit their electrical activities to noontime.

“You have to look at the overall period of time, one whole year,” Roedel said. “On average, you make more power than you need. You shouldn’t worry about one time of day or one month because that’s just a snapshot.”
The full picture includes the summer, with 12-plus hours of sunshine, and winter, with nine or less hours of sunshine.

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