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Frequently Asked Questions
What is solar energy?
Solar energy is a clean, renewable resource that is continuously supplied to the earth by the sun. Solar solutions are effective in every region of the United States, though certain areas, such as Florida, offer more ideal solar conditions. Current technology offers several ways to harness the sun's rays and convert it into clean energy.

What effect does solar power have on property value?
Energy conservation and renewable generation adds asset value to a property, results in faster lease-up and incrementally higher rents. There is good, solid market information to support this. Solar energy can be one of the best capital investments you can make.

What sort of solar technology does ArcStar provide?
We offer photovoltaic (PV) electricity systems. These systems contain photovoltaic cells that absorb the direct sunlight much like the solar cells found on some calculators. These systems contain certain semi conducting materials, such as silicon, for example. Once exposed to sunlight, they release small amounts of electricity in a process referred to as the photoelectric effect. In this way, a photovoltaic cell converts sunlight to electricity.

What is a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA)?
A Power Purchase Agreement, or PPA, is a long-term agreement to buy power from a company that produces electricity. ArcStar Energy, using its own financial sources, builds a solar energy facility on our customer's site and maintains and operates the facility over a long term contract period (10 to 20 years).

The facility generates reliable, long-term clean energy for use by our customer. Under the terms of a PPA, ArcStar assumes the risks and responsibilities of ownership when it purchases, operates, and maintains the turn-key facility. We clean the solar panels regularly, provide preventative maintenance services, repair any faults, monitor the energy production levels and the system's operational capabilities. ArcStar customers just run their businesses as usual, without any of the expertise or research of owning a power plant.

At the end of the PPA term, the solution can be purchased by a customer at fair market value or the PPA can be renewed on renegotiated terms. The PPA enables ArcStar customers to benefit from the use of "green" energy, while still receiving some of the benefits of ownership (lower and/or "hedged" electricity costs, positive public image, etc.) and enables them to spend their capital budget on their core businesses.

How will the system work if the sun is not shining?
PV systems will continue to produce electricity during cloudy weather, although the total amount produced will be less during inclement weather. During nighttime, the system will rely on the local utility power company for the bulk of your energy needs.

Can I generate more power than I use?
Yes, however, under the Net Metering guidelines, you will not receive a check from your utility provider, only credit against your monthly bill. It is for this reason we discourage installation of a system that exceeds your normal consumption.

Can I really get a credit for excess energy created?
Yes, in fact, our Governor and Legislators are pushing hard to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. They have enacted what is known as "Net Metering" to ensure cooperation from the utility providers with this type of alternative energy systems. And more programs are on the way.

Will my combined energy bill decrease?
The answer is yes for most businesses. The rate per KWH charged to many businesses is based on the peak usage that occurred during one instance in the billing cycle. By augmenting your energy supply with solar, you will in most cases also lower the peak usage thereby lowering the amount of power you purchase from the utility provider.

Will this increase my property taxes?
No. State law mandates that the value of renewable energy equipment at your facility is not a factor when calculating assessed property value.

Will the installation harm my building?
No, the equipment is designed to be installed while maintaining the integrity of the structure. On standing seam metal roofs we actually use clamps that grip the standing seam which requires no penetration of the roof. For flat membrane roofs, we use a ballasted mounting structure that requires no roof penetration.

Can the panels be mounted only on the roof?
Panels are usually mounted on the roof, but can also be mounted on the ground. Ground mounts work well in open space or parking lots as shade for people or vehicles.

Do I need to install a new roof before the solar panels are installed?
Solar panels will last many years (over 25). Because of this the roof should be in good condition or ground mounting should be considered as an alternative. It should be noted that the installation of panels will extend the life of a roof as they shield it from heat and ultraviolet rays.

Are the panels fragile?
No. The panels are made of tempered glass and are very durable. They can be mounted to survive the most severe natural conditions and are regularly installed in harsh environments extending from desert heat to Arctic conditions and outer space.

Will the equipment stand up to a hurricane?
Yes, all equipment and mounting structures are designed to withstand winds of 140 Mph.

How long will the system last?
ArcStar solar panels have a 20 to 25 year power warranty from the manufacturer. The other system components have 5 to 10 year warranties but a much longer useful life of reliable service.

How much power does the system produce?
Systems can be engineered to almost any size or application as the components are modular, and will produce as much or as little power as required to maximize return on investment. Many systems are designed to produce just enough to displace the most expensive power during peak demand periods during the business day.

Do the panels need to face south?
Solar Panels work anywhere that has a direct view of the sun. An installation with the panels on a flat roof will still perform well, especially in the summer months. There are also tilting and automatic tracking mounts which will adjust the panels to the optimum angle if greater efficiency is desired.

What happens when the utility has a power outage?
Most systems we sell are designed to actively interact with the commercial power grid. These systems do not generate power when the utility is out, even if it is sunny. If backup power is desired, a battery system can be added. This increases the costs, but provides reliable backup power generation and storage for use during a commercial power outage.

What is the required system maintenance?
All system components are solid-state electronics, have no moving parts and require no scheduled maintenance. However, we can perform certified inspection annually to verify that the system is producing at peak capacity.

Do the panels need to be cleaned periodically?
Most installations do not require cleaning if there is sufficient rain. The optical surfaces are designed to be cleaned with a simple rinse.

What if I move?
If you move your business, we can relocate the system to a new location.