How much will i have to pay upfront?
- For qualified customers, there are a number of low or no money down, low interest loan options available. We can help you understand which options make the most sense to pursue. Additionally, power companies themselves are beginning to offer very attractive loan options so they can help their customers keep everything on one, easy bill. Most loans still allow customers to qualify for the Federal, State and local incentive programs.
- If you would like to purchase a system outright, we can help you understand which incentives are available. The Federal, State and local credits can reimburse qualified Solar Improvement purchases up to and even in excess of 55% of the purchase price.
what if i sell my home?
- A solar system can save a homeowner thousands or even tens of thousand of dollars over the life of the system. If you're planning on moving out of your home in the near future, you won't be there to realize many of those savings and a solar system may not make the most sense.
- If you decide to sell your home, simply call us and we'll help you transfer your agreement & warranty to the new homeowners for free.
is solar right for every house?
The short answer is no. While a solar array can be installed on pretty much any good roof, excessive shading can significantly impact the production which in turn, can eliminate the value that a solar system can provide. This is why we take great care to make sure that we're not only considering your location, but also completing a Shade Analysis during our on-site survey so that we can have a real world idea of what your production will be.
how long does a solar system typically last for?
Solar module manufacturers usually have either 25 or 30 year efficiency guarantees. Most financing companies use a 20 year life-cycle as the benchmark for their loans.
what sort of impact does installing a system have on the environment?
- It's hard to visualize what all the kWh & CO2 numbers mean. The best way to understand how much carbon dioxide gas our homes create is to look at the math and envision our house. If you're an oil, coal or natural gas customer, about every month or two, your home's energy production is probably creating enough CO2 to fill a space the size of your home to the brim with CO2. Solar systems are not 100% emission free. They do, after all, need to be manufactured. However when compared to oil, coal and natural gas, solar systems save tens of thousands of pounds of CO2 from entering the atmosphere.
- EIA.GOV (The Energy Information Administration) is a great resource to help understand more about energy usage and CO2 production.
how will a solar system affect my homeowner's insurance?
Most insurance companies consider solar panels an "attachment" or "fixture" to the home. The home's insurance value will need to be modified to account for the improvement. You should make sure to contact your insurance company prior to installation so that you're aware of their policies regarding how a solar array would affect your insurance.
what about when it's cloudy?
Even when it's cloudy, your solar system can still be productive. Hot days, cold days, cloudy weather & shading are all factors which will influence your system's productivity. This is why we take great care when sizing a system.
I heard that I can sell power back to my energy company. Is that true?
- Sort of. To understand how the relationship between your solar array and your power company works, you need to understand net metering. Every power company has different rules, one of our jobs is to make sure that you're informed about how your power company will treat your solar array.
- In the past (and even today), some power companies wouldn't account for any excess power that your solar array produced. Or, if they did account for it, they'd often buy the power from you at a very discounted rate, then sell it back at a higher rate. This was very bad for the customer. Most people aren't home during the middle of the day when the solar array is working at it's max production. They're producing energy that they can't immediately use. If the power company doesn't allow the customer to "store" that excess power in the grid for future use, it's lost. As a remedy to this problem, now-a-days, most power companies use net metering.
- Net metering can mean slightly different things to different power companies. We can help guide you. It's also important to contact your provider to make sure you understand their program options. Essentially, net metering tracks the power that's coming in, as well as the power that's going out. They will "store" any excess power that your array produces in the grid for future use, so that nothing's lost, nothing's wasted. With most power companies, if you produce more kWh than you need in a given month, any excess energy is carried forward to the next billing period. Don't go expecting a check from your power company anytime soon though. They'll allow you to carry the excess energy forward or they'll give you a bill credit, but generally they will not pay you for it.
If the grid goes down, can I use my solar system for backup power?
- For most people, the answer to this question is no; your solar array needs the availability of the utilities grid.
- If you'd like to use a solar system for backup or off-grid use, we can engineer one for you. In either case, we'd be building a system that utilizes batteries for storage. Lead-acid batteries are most commonly used for backup or off-grid energy storage. The problem is that lead-acid batteries need to be regularly maintained and they have a fairly short life-cycle which is usually around 5-7 years. Lithium Ion battery packs are just one of the new battery storage technologies which is just starting to make it's way into the market. They have a much longer life cycle and they're built to be no maintenance units. However, they are currently very cost prohibitive. As with all technology, as time goes on, prices will fall and these new battery packs will become a very attractive option.
What should i expect during my energy tune-up consultation?
Our salesperson will do a complete in-person inspection of your home or facility and complete our energy tune-up checklist to determine what improvements could be done to save you money and energy. We'll explain all of our recommendations and their associated savings and YOU decide what is most important to you!