How do home solar panels work?
Solar panels collect sunlight throughout the day, automatically converting it into electricity. The electricity produced from your panels travels through the system to the inverter, where it’s converted from DC to AC for household use. Energy (measured in kilowatt hours or kWh) produced by your solar system first supplies your home. Any energy that isn't used is sent back to the utility company’s grid to be used by other homes and buildings nearby.
What makes up a solar power system?
1. Solar Module: A panel made of a crystalline semiconductor that converts sunlight into electricity.
2. Inverters: Devices that are used to convert direct current (DC) electricity produced by the panels into alternating
current (AC) so it can connect to the main electrical systems.
3. Electrical Equipment aka Balance of Plant: Electrical wire and conduit will be used to connect the panels to the
inverter and the inverter to your electrical panel.
What is net metering and how does it work?
1. The extra solar power energy that your home doesn't use gets sent back to the grid and your meter will “spin backwards.”
2. You earn energy credits for this extra energy and can use these credits at times when your system is not
producing the energy you need at any given moment. Examples are; at night time, in winter when solar production
is down, or during days of inclement weather.
3. Once a month, PSEG looks at how much energy you used from the grid. If there are any credits in your energy bank at the end of the month, they will be shown on your bill and can be carried over to the next
month. Note: PSEG cannot see how much your system produces, they only see how much you consume from them OR how much excess energy you send them on a monthly basis.
4. For many homes, the spring and summer month’s bills will show extra credits generated. These are stored in your bank and can cover your bills through the winter months when your system does not produce as much energy and you are taking energy from the utility company.
What steps does EmPower take to protect a roof from leaks and damage caused by animals?
Roof integrity is our first priority and involves two steps. First, we carefully inspect the roof and grade it on age, layers, condition and a physical stress test. The roof needs a passing score or we won't build. Instead, we would require a new roof to proceed. Second, we use a metal flashing system for each penetration which is equivalent to installing a metal roof.
To protect from animals, we offer a "squirrel guard" which is installed around the solar panel arrays to keep animals from nesting underneath, preventing them from causing degradation to the solar panels. The guards are wire mesh to allow for air flow and to keep aesthetics, we use a dark coated metal wire which is usually invisible from the street.
What should I expect in the event of a utility power loss (blackout)?
During a blackout, your solar power system will automatically disconnect. This is required by the utility to maintain safety of the grid and the line workers attempting to restore power. Once power returns, your system will begin producing power automatically after five minutes.
SunPower Data Monitoring FAQs
What can I learn from the graphs?
You can use the graphs to see how much energy your solar power system produces.
The energy graph shows how much electricity your system produces over a period of time (measured in kWh or
thousands of watt hours). Energy is useful for analyzing the effectiveness of your system, especially over time
The power graph shows the rate at which your system is converting sunlight into electricity at a specific point in
time (measured in kW or thousands of watts). Power is useful when you're trying to analyze short-term variations
in performance due to temporary external factors like weather changes.
How do I use the graph?
- Check out the green bars to see how much energy your solar power system produces.
- Hover over any point on the graph to get detailed energy information for a specific date and time.
- Change the dates and times of the graph.
- Switch between Energy and Power graphs to see the details of your solar system in action.
- Download your energy data for analysis offline.
What is the difference between the energy and power graphs?
The energy graph shows how much electricity your system is producing over a period of time (measured in kWh or
thousands of watt hours). The power graph shows the rate at which your system is converting sunlight into
electricity at a specific point in time (measured in kW or thousands of watts).
The difference between energy and power can get a little tricky, so it helps to compare energy and power to
something more familiar: distance and speed.
Power is like speed--it tells you how fast you are driving at a given moment. Like speed, power will fluctuate,
sometimes wildly--unobstructed summer sunshine is like flooring it on the open highway, while a patch of clouds is
like hitting traffic. In both cases, your system is generating electricity (your car is moving), but at very different
Energy is like distance--it tells you how far you have travelled over a given period of time. Like distance, energy
accumulates--the energy produced in a day is like the distance traveled on a road trip. Even though your power
(speed) varies during the day, the energy produced (distance) smoothes out these variations, providing a more
helpful measure of how much energy is actually available to you (how far you have actually traveled).
Generally speaking, energy is more useful than power for analyzing the effectiveness of your system, especially
over time. Power helps when you're trying to analyze short-term variations in performance due to temporary
external factors like weather changes.
How can I download my energy and power data?
To download the current graph and time setting you are viewing, click
" at the upper right of your graph.
Data is saved to your computer as a “.csv” file that you can then view and use in a spreadsheet program like Excel
When you download energy data, the data included depends on the time period you are viewing in the graph:
- 1 to 31 days = hour intervals
- 32 or more days = day intervals
When you download power data, the data included depends on the time period you are viewing in the graph:
You can also set up a report to be delivered monthly via email as a PDF.
- 1 day = minute intervals
- 2 days or more = hour intervals
How can I get a report of my energy data?
- Navigate to your Dashboard or Settings.
- Click or tap the gear icon in the header of My Reports and turn reports on.
- Select the date each month when you'd like to receive your report.
- Enter additional emails where you'd like to send your report.
- Once you configure your report, SunPower will send it to you every month via email as a PDF attachment.
- You can also download your currently graphed energy data.
How can I tell if there are any issues with my solar power system?
If there is an issue with your system, an alert bar appears at the top of the screen. Click the alert text or the icon on
the left for details regarding the issue and for troubleshooting instructions.
If you see an alert bar at the top of the screen, click the alert text or the icon on the left for details regarding the
issue and for troubleshooting instructions.
I have an alert that says there's a problem with my system. What should I do?
There might be a temporary issue affecting the performance of your system. For example, your system or your home solar panels may be covered by snow. If they are, wait until the snow melts and check back to see if this alert is gone.
If snow or some other temporary issue is not a factor and the alert doesn't go away, please contact us.
I have an alert that says I've lost a connection to SunPower. What should I do?
You might get this alert because your home Internet network isn't working. It's also possible that your monitoring
equipment is not connected or functioning correctly.
The good news is that your solar system is most likely operating normally. However, you'll need to reestablish a
connection to verify this and to update your energy charts with any missing information.
Please follow these troubleshooting steps to reestablish your connection:
Check your Internet connection
Make sure you can get online at home using your home Internet network. If you can't get online at home,
disconnect your router cables and reconnect after 10 seconds. Wait 15 minutes, refresh your browser, and sign
into https://monitor.us.sunpower.com. If you still can't get online, please contact your Internet service provider
(such as AT&T or Verizon).
If you have a SunPower Ethernet Adapter located near your router
- It's plugged directly into a wall outlet (not power strip or surge protector)
- It's connected to your router by an Ethernet cable
- All three lights are lit (either solid or blinking)
Wait 15 minutes, refresh your browser, and sign into
https://monitor.us.sunpower.com. If you still can't see your
energy information, please contact us.
If you don't have a SunPower Ethernet Adapter
Make sure an Ethernet cable connects your SunPower monitoring enclosure (mounted in your garage or on the
side of your home) to your router.
Wait 15 minutes, refresh your browser, and sign into https://monitor.us.sunpower.com
. If you still can't see your
energy information, please contact us.