Solar Panels FAQs

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Frequently asked questions about solar panels.


Can I install solar photovoltaic (PV) panels at my home or business?

Yes, as long as the location selected is clear of obstructions that will block the sunlight. Some shading may be unavoidable, but you want it to have direct sunlight most of the time.

How do solar panels generate electricity?

Solar panels absorb energy from the sun by way of a semiconductor (typically silicon) and generate a direct current electrical source. An inverter is used to convert the source to an alternating current source. Learn more about “How Solar Works.”

How can I use solar panels to power my house at night?

Battery storage may be ideal for some small scale PV systems. However, this method requires additional maintenance, and can be costly. Most customers remain connected to the grid for access to continuous, reliable electricity at all times.

What size PV system do I need to power my home or business?

PV system size is directly related to how much generation you need and the available area you have. By observing your monthly and annual usage, you can calculate your ideal PV system size.

How much does a typical installed PV system cost?

The initial installed cost of a solar PV system is typically around $3.30 a watt. Therefore, a 5,000-watt system costs around $16,500. Variables specific to the installation site can increase the price significantly.

How long does a typical solar panel last?

Most solar panels are under warranty to produce 80 percent efficiency for 20-25 years, though some panels have been known to perform in excess of 40 years.

Is maintenance required for PV systems?

Yes, minimal maintenance is required. Panels should be cleaned of debris and anything else that can block the sun, to ensure maximum output. Some components may need regular inspection by a professional.

Where can I find a licensed contractor to install my solar panels or solar water heater?

Gulf Power does recommend using a solar installer who is certified by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners. Learn more about NABCEP and find certified professionals in Northwest Florida.