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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked solar system, home backup battery and commercial solar questions.

Frequently asked solar questions

How do solar panels work?

Solar panels produce the photovoltaic effect, which is the process by which solar cells produce electricity when exposed to sunlight. Photovoltaic cells do this by allowing photons – light particles – to free electrons from atoms, which generates electricity.

How many solar panels are needed to run a house?

The number of solar panels you need depends on the size of the solar system you have for your home. We have solar packages for 7, 9 and 12kW solar systems that include the estimated number of panels needed to run your home. For example, a smaller 7kW system will use between 18-22 solar panels, while a bigger 12kW system might use between 30-36 solar panels. It will depend on the size of your home, your electricity needs and the space available for setting up your solar system.

How long does it take for solar panels to pay for themselves?

The length of the payback period depends on the size of your solar system and electricity habits, but on average solar panels pay for themselves within 9-12 years for most Virginian households.

Do I have enough ground area for a solar system?
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Do solar panels increase property taxes?

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, R, has signed into law a bill creating property tax exemptions for residential and mixed-use solar installation of less than 25 kW.

Will owning solar panels increase my home value?

In short, yes. Adding a solar system to your home increases the value like any other home improvement. If your solar system covers a sizable amount or all of the energy usage the home is expected to use this is ideal.

Do solar panels need maintenance?

While solar panels do require regular cleaning to remove dirt, dust or debris, they should run well with minimal technical maintenance over their 25 year life span. Should you require technical assistance with your solar panels, we provide technical service and repairs, regardless of who installed your system.

Will owning solar panels increase my home value?
Studies linking solar panels to home value increases

For an example, a study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory yields a formula of a $5,000 resale value increase for every kilowatt (kW) of solar installed. To get that same $48,000 home value increase from the Appraiser’s Journal with this calculation, you’d need a 9.6kW system (9.6 x $5,000 = $48,000). 

What are the benefits if I add a home battery backup?

Yes! The solar panels as well as the ground mount, string inverters or microinverters and battery are under a manufacturers warranty. Depending on the brand of equipment this could include a labor warranty as well. The length of warranty varies, but for the solar panels and ground mount the warranty is 25 years.

What happens if my system breaks or isn't working as expected?

The solar panels, battery and other components are under various warranties provided by the manufacturers. In most cases they will have us service any problem by sending at team out to your home. In the event we cannot trouble shoot or fix the problem, they normally send their own team or pay to have the broken components replaced.

What happens during a solar installation?

During installation, our team will have the utility company mark underground lines near the proposed site. Then if needed we will preform any clearing work or grading if necessary. The ground solar system is installed and conduit is run back to your home underground. If desired, we can do basic landscaping or have a fence installed for esthetics.

Does Virginia have any incentives to go solar?

Virginia does not offer state tax credits for solar systems. If your locality offers any incentives, we can research this for you during the consultation.

How to clean solar panels?

Generally speaking, natural rainfall should take care of most dust or dirt. However, if you live in an area with less rainfall or there is significant build up on the panels that is noticeably affecting your generation performance, like bird droppings or grime, then a clean might be in order. If you don’t wish to do this yourself, most companies will offer a maintenance service.


If you want to do it yourself – pick a cool time of day (very early morning would be best) and DO NOT use any high pressure equipment. Our equipment is specifically set for use on solar panels. Your garden hose should suffice, or some gentle soap and water with a non-abrasive sponge (like you would use on your car, so as not to scratch it) will do the trick for tougher build up.

How do I monitor my solar panel output?

Solar energy production is monitored via the inverter and many companies who design and manufacture solar inverters have proprietary monitoring software that goes with them. So this can be an easy way of integrating monitoring with your solar system.

What happens to solar panels after 25 years?

25 years is the average lifespan of a solar panel and it’s usually around this time that you will need to upgrade your solar system. The solar panels are under a manufacturers warranty for 25 years.

Frequently asked backup battery questions

Which batteries are best for solar?

Solar batteries typically use one of three chemical compositions: lead acid, lithium ion, and saltwater. However, lithium ion batteries are the most common and best battery storage option for a solar panel system, though other battery types can be more affordable, they do not offer the storage capacity that lithium ion batteries provide.

How much does a solar battery cost?

How much a solar battery will cost will depend on how big a battery you want and whether you are buying battery storage on its own or with an inverter/charger. But could cost between $15,000 – $20,000.

How many batteries do you need to power a house?

Unfortunately, this is not a simple question to answer. How much battery storage you need requires a little math; we need to know the size of your solar system, how much solar energy you produce and the amount of electricity you consume.

What is the usable storage capacity of a solar battery?

The usable storage capacity of a solar battery is the amount of energy that can be stored or discharged by the battery. This battery storage capacity can vary depending on the kW size of the battery you get to go with your solar system, i.e. a 10kW battery vs a 15kW battery.

How long do solar batteries hold their charge?

A solar battery can usually hold its charge for up to 20 years, but this can vary widely depending on a number of factors, including frequency of use and maintenance for example.

What is the biggest solar battery?

Some of the bigger batteries we have available from sonnenBatterie have a capacity up to a 30kWh capacity. Contact us for more information on battery storage capacity.

What happens to solar power when batteries are full?

Once your solar batteries are fully charged, any additional solar power that is generated will be redirected and sold to the grid.

Can you overcharge a battery with a solar panel?

With solar monitoring technology it is unlikely you will overcharge your solar battery. These intelligent solar system technologies monitor the systems generation, your consumption and redirects additional energy that’s generated to the grid once the battery storage capacity is full.

Do I have to have a solar system to have a backup battery?

You do not have to have a solar system. In this case the battery will be recharged from the grid, and be a source of electricity in the event of a power outage, much like a generator.

Frequently asked commercial solar questions

What size system do you need for commercial solar power?

The solar power system size you need for a commercial solar project will depend on the amount of electricity a business is using and how much space the business has for the solar system required. For more information on what size solar system your property will need, contact us today.

What is the lifespan of a commercial solar panel?

25 years is the industry average for the lifespan of solar panels, whether they are designed for businesses or residential.

How much does commercial solar cost?

The cost of a commercial solar system will depend on where your electricity needs and the square footage available for solar panels intersects. Small solar power systems start around 10kW (between $30,000-$32,000) and a large solar power system can get up to 100kW (between $300,000-$320,000).

Are commercial solar panels worth it?

Between savings from reducing your power bill and money back from tax credits, solar panels are definitely worth it. We understand it’s a big investment, which requires planning and transparency around the ongoing costs of using solar power. For more information on how your company can benefit from solar panels, get in touch with your local accredited solar installers at Kilo Hollow today.

How long does it take solar panels to pay for themselves?

The length of the payback period depends on the size of your solar system, electricity habits and whether or not you use other solar products such as the type of solar inverter and battery storage, but on average solar panels pay for themselves within 9-11 years. For such a big investment, this payback period makes solar energy affordable for a lot of businesses, as they know they will save money and reduce their overhead costs over time. Plus with 25 years warranty on many solar products, you have peace of mind that your solar system will make it through this payback period.

How do you connect a large commercial solar power system to the grid?

Your solar system installer can assist you with the logistics of connecting your solar power system to the grid. If you have any questions about your installation, get in touch with us today.

Financing a commercial solar system.

There are a variety of ways to finance your commercial solar system, including, incentives and competitive bank loans. Businesses may also be eligible for low interest loans.

Does a commercial solar system need solar batteries?

The short answer is no. The long answer is this depends on the needs of your business and how adding solar batteries to your system will serve you best. Get in touch with us if you have any questions about adding solar batteries to your commercial solar system.

What’s the difference between commercial solar panels and residential solar panels?

The main difference with commercial or utility grade installation solar panels, is that commercial projects use 72 cell solar panels, while residential solar panels have 60 cells usually. Ultimately, the size of the panels drastically alters how can be handled and installed, with the 60 cells being easily moved and installed by workers, while the 72 cell panels need to crane lifted.

ground solar array on a hillside


Kilo Hollow is your
local specialist

Low profile, high efficiency ground mount solar arrays for residential and commercial use. Paired with a backup battery and generator, for a complete off-grid energy solution.

Our design team will not compromise your system by substituting cheaper components for the sake of a low price only to find that further down the track the solar system fails and requires repair.


Kilo Hollow has carefully chosen our partners and suppliers.

We are proud to be one of the few approved sonnen Certified Partners in Virginia. The solar products our team recommend are truly the best in Virginia.