apex frequently asked questions
Curious about solar? That’s great—it means you are open to all of the possibilities the sun’s power has to offer. Here we shed light on some of the most common questions people have about solar energy.
If you don’t find the answer you are looking for, send us a message and we can help.
- general questions
We install only the best and most reliable solar panels on the market. We primarily install Solar panels made by Trina Solar, the largest manufacturer and most bankable solar panel company in the world- This ensures reliability not only of the panels, but a rock-solid warranty and production guarantee.
We also utilize Solar Edge Optimizers and inverters. This equipment is the very best available, and offers better production than microinverters, coupled with an outstanding 25 year warranty and included panel level production monitoring.
With your new turn-key Apex Solar Energy System, you’ll be provided an online monitoring platform that allows you to see exactly how much the system is producing in real time, for the life of the system!
Solar panels absorb the greatest amount of solar energy when they are in direct sunlight, but they continue to capture indirect sunlight when it’s overcast or raining. So, whether it’s a blue-sky day or perhaps a little grey, your solar panels will still be hard at work. In fact, rain can be an unexpected friend to the solar panel owner. It rinses dirt off of the panels, which allows them to perform their best all day long, rain or shine.
While many different forms of solar technologies exist, there are three main types: photovoltaic (PV), solar heating and cooling (SHC), and concentrating solar power (CSP). Here’s a quick rundown on these three types of solar technology.
PV technology uses panels to convert solar energy into electricity, which powers lights and appliances in homes and businesses. Check out the step-by-step process on our How PV Solar Works page.
SHC technology uses thermal energy to change the temperature of water or air in homes and businesses. In short, SHC powers cooling units, heating systems, and/or water heaters. It’s a great technology but no longer has the support of rebates and incentives that solar PV has.
CSP technology is often used by power companies to generate electricity on a very large scale. CSP uses a system of mirrors to concentrate sunlight, produce thermal energy, and then drive turbines to produce electricity.
Most homeowners and business owners are interested in PV technology, and generally speaking this is usually the best fit for them. With no moving parts and fantastic warranties, these are the most reliable systems you can install in your home. We can help you decide if solar is right for you, or at least worth a look by providing a free consultation.
Solar panels are very strong, and are built to last for well beyond their 25 year warranty. They are made of glass, metal, and silicon with no moving parts. Simply put, the panels are built to last which is why they are guaranteed for 25 years.
Absolutely, with our Solar Edge monitoring app you get panel-level production numbers of every single part of your solar system. Coupled with the advantages that solar Optimizers bring to a system, your solar is easy to understand, and production is easy to track.
Our crew completes most of our installations in just 1 day. The entire process of the project design, permitting, incentive applications, and engineering diagrams takes an average of 45 days from start to finish; mostly due to the time it can take to acquire building permits and work with various municipalities.
Our record installation was a 7KW install that took only 18 days to go from contract to fully installed, permitted, and approved.
We have many installation options available. Most customer’s install systems on their roof in order to capture an optimal amount of sunlight without taking up space elsewhere on the property. We; however, are one of the only companies in NY that specializes and thrives on turn-key ground mounted solar solutions, and we’d love to speak with you about either mounting option.
Unlike many other companies in the solar space, we are proud to maintain in-house installation talent. When you sign up with Apex Solar Power, it will be Apex Solar Power Installers installing your system.
We’re glad you asked! Apex Solar Power is one of the only companies in the Northeast that also offers roof replacement. If you have a roof in poor condition and your thinking of going solar, we can tackle both projects for you.
Each of our 56 Installers are fully trained and certified through an extensive safety program that includes: OSHA 10 hour certification, Fall arrest systems training, NFPA- National Fire Protection Association, and NFPA 70E.
The short answer? Less each month than your current electric bill.
The cost of your system will depend on a number of factors including your available unshaded roof space, the size of the system, your current energy usage and costs, your area’s utility net metering policy, and tax credits, incentives, and rebates. The easiest way to find out is to get a free quote. We can talk you through your system needs, available tax credits, and financing options. Most customers have a solar payment that is lower than their previous electric bill, making their investment cash flow positive from day one.
Low Interest Financing through New York’s Green Jobs Green New York Program
GJGNY provides an awesome loan product that can provide up to $25,000 at 3.48% interest. This is most frequently used by customers who wish to pay for the portion of the system cost covered by tax credits up front.
Tax Credit Bridge Loans
We have a number of solar loan products available that include a $0 down, 0% interest bridge loan for the value of the 30% federal and 25% NYS tax credits.
Our Financing Partners offer a number of different solar loan products that enable customers to have a solar bill that is smaller than their electric bill. Coupled with an included Tax Credit Bridge Loan, financing a solar system has never been easier. This makes solar an easy choice, after all, why pay more than you have to for electricity?
A solar lease or PPA is a method of financing where you do not directly own your system, instead it is owned by another company. You then pay this company either a flat rate for the system, or for the power the system produces.
Generally speaking- It is always better to own your own solar system. The technology is tremendously reliable (otherwise the leasing company would not be so willing to guarantee it for 20 years) and its more profitable to own the system yourself (that’s why a leasing company wants to own it for you). When you lease, the leasing company receives all the tax credits, rebates, and incentives that you would otherwise receive through ownership.
Everyone’s situation is different, and for some people a leased system is the best way to proceed with a solar installation. Many times retired individuals, parents of many children, and small business owners already have more tax deductions and tax credits than they can utilize. In these situations a lease is worth a very close look, as it can be more financially viable for these individuals.
When your system is placed in service you receive a 30-percent federal investment tax credit. This tax credit is used to offset taxes that you have paid as a refund, or to offset income taxes that you may owe during tax season. There is no maximum to this tax credit, and if all the credits are not used in the first year, you can take up to 5 to realize the benefits.
This federal tax credit is available to residential and commercial customers. Many states, counties, and municipalities also offer rebates or other incentives for going solar. We will be able to provide you with the most up-to-date information on solar incentives. You can also check out the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency, which maintains a comprehensive list of solar incentives available by state.
SRECs represent the amount of energy your solar energy system produces. Every 1 megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity produced by your system is equal to 1 SREC. Utility companies use SRECs to show they are meeting renewable energy standards in their state. Some states like MA have a healthy SREC market, whereas in NY, SREC’s are not in place and the NYSERDA incentive provides a better up-front benefit.
To understand the basics of going solar, you should start by getting familiar with these acronyms:
PV photovoltaic – The solar panels you are most familiar with are made up of PV cells, which convert sunlight into energy (that’s the photovoltaic process).
SHC solar heating and cooling – This refers to the type of solar energy system that uses sunlight to change the temperature of water or air in your home or business.
kW kilowatt – A kilowatt is a unit of power. We will talk about the size of your solar energy system in terms of kilowatts. In the solar industry, people may use the kW unit of measure when discussing the capacity of a single home or business.
MW megawatt – Along with the kilowatt you should be familiar with the megawatt, a unit of power that is one thousand times larger than the kilowatt (in short, 1,000kW = 1MW). In the solar industry, people may talk in terms of MW when discussing the capacity of large solar energy systems or the capacity of a number of home/business solar energy systems taken together.
kWh kilowatt-hour – A kilowatt-hour is a unit of energy. When we’re talking about solar energy, kWh refers to the amount of energy your system produces. KWh is also used when describing how much energy you consume. If you look at past utility bills, you’ll see that you paid per kWh you used.
SREC/REC renewable energy credits, or solar renewable energy credits – SREC’s represent how many megawatt-hours of electricity your system has produced. One SREC is equal to one MWh.
If you are comfortable with the basics and want to learn more, the Solar Energy Industries Association does a great job of describing many common acronyms used in the industry.
The current national average of homes powered by one megawatt of PV solar is 164. When taken together, the Apex team members have experience in installing more than 25MW of solar projects—enough to power 4,100 homes. That’s a lot of MW, but we strive to install many more!
Many major American companies have helped to further the solar energy revolution. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, Wal-Mart is the top U.S. company in terms of total solar capacity (141.99MW) and number of on-site PV system installations (348). Also among the top 20 companies are Target, Apple, Costco, Kohl’s, IKEA, FedEx, Johnson & Johnson, and Walgreens. However, businesses large and small, widely-known and up-and-coming have made the switch to solar in the past decade.
The biggest solar installations in the country can be found on the West Coast. Completed in 2015, Solar Star Projects in Rosamond, California has a total of 1.7 million solar panels and a capacity of 579MW. Solar Star Projects delivers enough energy to power around 255,000 homes. Also in California, Topaz Solar Farm and Desert Sunlight Solar Farm tie for second largest at 550MW. But large-scale solar projects are coming east. Construction began in 2015 on a 156MW-capacity solar farm near the city of Pueblo, Colorado. Your city could be next.