Can I afford to go solar?
YES! If you can afford to pay your electricity bill you can afford to go solar. All the solar programs available offer $0-down financing, both for ownership and leasing programs. There are also financing programs available that are not dependent on having a good credit score.
Are the solar energy tax credits and incentives still available?
The most significant incentive currently available is the 30 percent federal investment tax credit (ITC), which allows you to deduct 30 percent of the overall cost of your system from your taxes. This incentive will be available in some form through 2021. Certain municipalities and utility companies also offer additional rebates and incentives.
How long does it take to go solar – from start to finish? What should I expect?
Once you’ve signed your solar agreement, the process for Homeowners is incredibly simple. We take care of everything from scheduling the site survey with our engineers, completing a final design for Homeowner approval, submitting permits to the city, scheduling and completing the final installation, scheduling inspections, to putting in the request for system interconnection from the utility company.
- Site Survey: An engineer will go to your home and take detailed measurements and shade readings of your roof planes, and outline a preliminary design of your system and an accurate projection of its overall annual production prior to installation. (1-2 weeks)
- Design Approval: Following the site survey, our engineering team will make any necessary adjustments if needed, and complete a final system design for your approval. We can often streamline this process with Homeowner design approval on the day of the site survey. (1-3 weeks)
- Permitting: Once the design is approved, we’ll submit your design and permitting paperwork to the city. Permit approval can vary significantly from city to city. (1-8 weeks)
- Solar Installation: Once your permits have been approved, one of our licensed and experienced team of installers can get to work on completing your solar installation. Installation times are generally only 2-3 days, but can vary depending on the overall size of the system, additional electrical work, type of roofing, or any other work necessary to give you a high quality, great looking, and safe solar installation. (0-2 weeks)
- Inspections: When construction of your installation is completed, City/County/Fire inspections must be completed before your system can be interconnected to the grid. Inspections vary by city, county, and utility company. (1-4 weeks)
- Utility Interconnection: Once your system has passed the required inspections, your documents will be submitted to the utility company requesting system interconnection of your solar system to the power grid. Once you get Permission to Operate from the utility company and you have the go-ahead to flip the switch and officially go solar! (1-4 weeks)
What size solar system do I need?
Solar system size is generally directly correlated to your homes kWh consumption. One of our trained solar representatives will work with you to analyze your homes 12-month usage, and design a system that’s tailored to your family’s usage needs.
How much does a system solar cost?
Buying a solar system is not as much as you think. The overall cost of a system is directly related to a home’s kWh consumption and the size of it’s utility bill. Don’t let anyone else’s system cost scare you away from checking it out for yourself, there is no cost involved in getting a quote.
The cost of solar installations has reduced significantly over the last five years, and the 30% federal investment tax credit incentive really makes going solar a no brainer for almost every Homeowner. All our programs are $0 money down with reduced monthly payments offering immediate savings from the very first month over your electricity bill.
If you want to lease there’s cost for the system at all. The solar company installs the equipment for free, and you simply get to purchase the electricity the panels produce at a discounted rate.
How does solar work?
- Solar panels convert sunlight to direct current (DC) electricity
- The solar inverter converts the (DC) electricity into alternating current (AC) electricity
- Your electrical panel then sends the power to your lights and appliances in your home
- The Net Meter measures any energy that you need to draw from the grid but also measure any surplus energy you feed back to the grid during the day. This is key!
- The Net Meter is essential to maximizing the benefits of your system. During the day your panels often produce excess energy that get measured and fed back to the grid, and the utility company pays you credits for every surplus kWh that your system generates. You can then use your energy credits to offset your electricity usage at night, for example, when your panels are generating power.
Is there a lot maintenance involved with a solar system?
No. Solar systems are made of durable tempered glass and corrosion resistant anodized aluminum, and require little to no maintenance for the 25+ years they will generate power. Cleaning your panels every so often is recommend, and tracking the production of your system over time is always a good idea so that you can make note of any changes in production.
Most system components carry 25 year warranties in the unlikely event that something needs maintenance.
Should I buy or lease my solar system?
The decision to buy or lease your solar system depends on your reasons for going solar. If you want to maximize the financial returns of your solar system, buying the system is probably a better option. If you’d like an easy, no-hassle, maintenance-free way to reduce your energy bills, you should maybe consider a lease (PPA).
What happens if I move from my solar home?
If you own your solar system, you home will sell at a premium. Studies have shown that owning a solar system increases the value of your home. If you’re still making payments on your solar system, transferring payments to the new owner is an option for most programs. Or if that’s not an option you can either pay the remaining payments and include the added value in the overall sale, or you could make it a condition of sale wherein part of the proceeds from the sale would go to pay off the remaining balance of the system.
If you’re leasing your system, you can either transfer the agreement to the new Homeowner, buy the system outright, or prepay the expected remaining payments.
What is the difference between microinverters, central inverters, and power optimizers?
Power inverters are what convert the (DC) electricity your panels generate, into the (AC) electricity your home uses.
Microinverters: are small inverters that are installed directly under the solar panel, and offer the benefit of functioning independently from all the other panels and inverters, optimizing performance and efficiency in limiting conditions. Microinverters are incredibly durable and carry a 25 year manufactures warranty.
Central inverters are large wall mounted inverters that the convert power for the whole solar system within a single unit. Central inverters can be significantly limited overall by shading on a small portion of the system, and generally need to be replaced after about 10-12 years due to significant strain to the system.
Central inverters with power optimizers are sort of a hybrid between both different types of inverters. Power optimizers offer the benefits of optimized performance and efficiency under limited conditions, while still doing the DC/AC conversion in a large central inverter.