The Solar Power Quiz

Sep. 09, 2019

Back to School Quiz: Solar Edition

For some, the back to school scent of sharpened pencils and white board markers can have a triggering effect. The sunshine of summer combined with the break from school will chip away at the knowledge of the previous year, for adults and children alike — so what better way to celebrate the beginning of another school year by testing your solar knowledge with a pop quiz?

Step right up, test your solar knowledge retention, and see where you rank! All you’ll need is something to keep track of how many questions you get right to compare your scores once you have completed this solar pop quiz. 


Question 1: True or false — Solar panels can only be mounted on roofs that face the right direction, and have the optimum slope.


Answer: False


Solar panels are significantly more efficient than they used to be, making solar energy a viable source for residential use in nearly every climate. This means even if your roof is not ideal for solar production, a customized solar design and  installation with an experienced solar contractor can still provide the clean and renewable energy your home needs. Boston Solar also installs solar panel arrays on the ground, for those with ample unused acreage. 


Question 2: Which of these devices will generally use the most energy throughout one day?

A: Air Conditioner

B: Your teenager’s Samsung Galaxy

C: Clothes dryer

D: Dishwasher


Answer: Air Conditioner

There’s no doubt, a hip teenager can drain a smartphone battery quicker than it takes you to settle on which Netflix show to watch. However, an air conditioner utilizes multiple systems to keep your home cool during the heat of the summer, and is usually operating during most of the daytime. Though many homeowners may still use their clothes dryer or dishwasher each day, it is not common that those appliances will run as long as an air conditioner.  Also, quick tip - upgrading appliances and your HVAC system to more energy efficient models will help reduce your overall energy demand!


Question 3: What does the acronym “PV” stand for in relation to solar energy?

A: Precise Voltage

B: Physical Volume

C: Personal Vaporizer

D: Photovoltaic


Answer: Photovoltaic

Photovoltaic refers to the process in which your solar panels react to the sun’s rays, and how they generate electricity. The Oxford dictionary defines photovoltaic as “relating to the production of electric current at the junction of two substances exposed to light.” For more commonly used solar terms, check out our solar energy glossary!


Question 4: What percentage of your total solar installation costs can you deduct from your taxes through the Federal solar tax credit this year?

A: 15%

B: 20%

C: 30%

D:  50%


Answer: 30%

The Federal solar tax credit can offset your tax liability by almost a full 1/3 of your solar installation costs. Plus, if your federal tax liability is under the amount of your solar tax deduction, you can roll the remainder over for one more year. 


Question 5: When will the Federal Solar Tax Credit end for good?

A: 2019

B: 2021

C: 2022

D: Never!


Answer: 2022

You solar installation must be placed in service before the end of 2019 for you to qualify, but this is in fact the final year for the max 30% of the Federal tax credit. In 2020, the deduction drops to 26%, then 22% in 2021, and as of January 1st, 2022 there will no longer be a residential solar tax credit but commercial solar projects will remain at 10%. This is why scheduling your solar installation this year is so critical if you want to get the maximum savings!


Question 6:  What percentage can the average Massachusetts homeowner expect to save on the energy bill by installing solar?

A: 40%

B: 50%

C: 75%

D: up to 100%


Answer: D. up to 100%

Though each and every home will be different, our customers can save up to 100% of their utility bill (excluding the utilities standard service charge), depending on monthly energy usage and amount spent. With the average monthly electricity bills of $185 in Massachusetts, totalling $2,220 a year, imagine what you could with those savings!  


Question 7: The two basic elements of a grid-tied residential solar system are solar panels and a(n) ________________________.

A: Inverter

B: Electricity monitor

C: Generator

D: Battery storage system


Answer: Inverter

Though all of the listed equipment can be used in tandem with a solar PV system, an inverter is what every solar panel array will need in order to operate. Inverters take the direct current (DC) of your solar panels and converts it to alternating current (AC) so that it is safe to use with your devices and appliances.  

Looking for a battery storage system for backup power? We’re now a Tesla Powerwall Certified Installer


Question 8: The process of receiving an energy credit from your electric utility company based on your solar production is called:

A: The energy exchange

B: Net Metering

C: Power lending

D: Community Solar Co-op


Answer: Net metering

Net metering is eligible from every electric utility company (Eversource, National Grid and Unitil) in the state of Massachusetts. However, if you’re a customer of a municipal-owned electric company, you can contact your municipal-owned electric utility to see if they offer net metering.  Once your solar system is installed and operational, someone from the city or utility company will inspect the system for any safety concerns, and then swap out your standard electricity meter for a bi-directional meter. This is so you can receive the proper credits on your energy bill for the excess solar electricity your solar panels generated!

Psssst … don’t forget about the financial incentives of the SMART program! Read up on it here.


Question 9: What energy saving method could save you the most on your heating and cooling bills?

A: Turning back your thermostat 7-10 degrees for 8 hrs a day

B: Seal uncontrolled air leaks

C: Replace your top 5 used light bulbs with LEDs

D: Lower water heater temperature by a few degrees


Answer: Seal uncontrolled air leaks

While all these methods could help you reduce your energy bills, by sealing uncontrolled air leaks you could save 10-20% on your heating and cooling bills! By reducing your energy demand before you go solar, can also reduce how many solar panels you may need to meet your energy needs.  Our top tip - Schedule a no cost home energy assessment with our partner, Mass Energy Experts, to get a personalized home energy action plan to put you on the path to saving money! 


Question 10: Which of these fossil fuels has the highest carbon emissions?

A: Diesel Gasoline

B: Propane

C: Natural Gas

D: Coal


Answer: Coal

On average, coal emits 215 pounds of CO2 emitted per million British thermal units (Btu) of energy. Much higher than the 161.3 pounds of CO2 of diesel.  With solar, you can lower your carbon footprint by using renewable energy resources. Find out just how much you could offset here!


How Many Did You Get Correct?

How did your solar knowledge fare in our back to school solar edition pop quiz? Whether you aced this quiz like back when you pulled all-nighters in the library, or you learned something new after making a bunch of wild guesses, you’re in the right place to have your solar questions answered and get on the path to solar energy. If you have more questions about solar, speak to the solar experts at Boston Solar.  Now, compare your scores and see where you stack up! 


1-3 Correct: It sounds like you’ve been playing a few too many video games over the summer break. It might be time to hit the books!


4-6 Correct: We won’t be signing you up for any AP classes this semester, but you’ve managed to “maintain” rather well! And if you’d stop doodling in your notebook during lectures, who knows — maybe you’d even qualify for some scholarships next year!


7-10 Correct: Well lah-tee-dah Captain Solar-Pants! It looks like you’re ready to go solar!


Put your solar knowledge to good use! Schedule a free solar consultation today, and learn how you can power your home using the clean rays of the sun. Get a quote at 617-858-1645 or you can contact us.

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