Frequently Asked questions

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These questions cover a range of considerations for individuals exploring installing solar panels on their homes. Answers may vary based on location, regulations, and circumstances. 

How do solar panels work? 

Solar panels convert sunlight to electricity. That electricity is DC (or direct current), and most items in a home use AC (alternating current). Because of this, an additional piece of equipment, an inverter, is installed to convert DC to AC. 

Is my home suitable for solar panels? 

Factors affecting suitability include roof orientation and configuration, shading, and available space. One good place to start is Google’s Project Sunroof website, which will help you determine if your roof gets enough sun: https://sunroof.withgoogle.com/  

What size solar system do I need for my home? 

The appropriate system size for a solar array is determined based on energy consumption, roof space, plans for the future, and budget. A no-obligation consultation and remote quote is the quickest way to determine the ideal system size. 

What is the payback period for a solar panel system?

Estimating the time it will take for a solar system to pay for itself through energy savings is part of our initial quote and proposal. We have programs that use your energy usage & energy costs, along with panel specs, orientation, and shading, to project the solar system’s output and determine the payback period. 

How long do solar panels last? 

Each manufacturer provides information on the lifespan of solar panels and the warranties. Solar Energy Solutions panels all have at least a 25-year output warranty but are projected to last longer. This means a solar system installed today will put out power for decades with a guaranteed amount of at least 80% of the original power output, up to 92%, depending on the panel selection.  

What maintenance is required for solar panels? 

The beauty of solar panels is that they require very minimal maintenance, if any. In the Midwest and Upper South, there is enough rain that panels rarely need to be cleaned. Additionally, all of the major components used in a solar system have 10 to 30-year warranties. 

Can I install solar panels myself? 

Because installing a solar panel system involves permitting, working with high voltage electricity, inspections, and interconnection agreements with the local utility, it can be a daunting project to take on if you’re not an electrician.   

What permits and approvals are needed for solar installation? 

While local regulations vary, electrical and/or building permits may be needed for grid-tied systems. An interconnection agreement with the local utility and inspections may be needed once a system is installed. Also, homeowners’ associations and historical districts may have requirements that must be met. 

How do solar panels affect the resale value of my home? 

The general answer is that solar panels may increase the value of your home by 4.1%. Several studies have been conducted on the resale value of homes with solar panels. Please see our blog post about resale value for links to the articles.   

Do I need a new roof before installing solar panels? 

You don’t need a new brand roof, but it should have a good amount of life left in it. While a solar array can be removed to have the roof replaced and then reinstalled, that is an additional cost that you can avoid, especially if your roof is nearing the end of its life. 

What is net metering, and how does it work? 

Net metering is the process of sending any excess energy produced by your solar system to the grid and getting a credit on your electric bill for that energy. It’s not available in all areas, and the value given to excess solar production can vary, so consulting an expert is advisable. 

What happens if there is a power outage? 

A solar system alone doesn’t provide power during an outage. Because grid-tied solar systems have the ability to send unused power out to the grid, they are designed to turn off during an outage to protect any linesmen who may be working to restore the electric grid. 

Is there a way to have power during a grid outage when you have solar panels? 

Yes, a battery backup system, like Tesla Powerwall, will allow you to store extra power for use at night or when the grid fails.  

How do I monitor the performance of my solar panel system? 

Almost all solar arrays process power through inverters. Each inverter has a free platform for monitoring all the power that your system will create. By logging in, you can see how much electricity the array is producing. You can also see historical production over a day, week, month, year, or lifetime of your system. The monitoring system will also alert you to maintenance issues. 

Are there financing options available for solar installations? 

Financing options do exist. One way to finance your solar array is through using a second mortgage or HELOC (home equity line of credit) with each of these options you are borrowing from the equity in your home. Also, we offer third-party financing through Credit Human.  They have a variety of options to meet customers’ needs. 

What financial incentives are available for solar installation? 

For homeowners and businesses, there is a 30% federal tax credit. Additionally, for business entities, there is accelerated depreciation. Agriculture operations and rural small businesses can qualify for a Rural Energy for America (REAP Grant), and there can be local-specific incentives.  

How much does a solar panel system cost? 

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all all/most when it comes to solar panels, so the answer to this question is always it depends. Systems are designed with a home’s unique energy usage and the customer’s goals in mind. We offer a no-obligation remote quote to make evaluating solar easy for people. With some information about your utility provider and annual electrical usage, we can use satellite data to put together a rough quote with pricing and payback. 

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