FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Frequently Asked Questions
All answers are general and intended to be an example. Your solar professional will assess your particular situation. As always, seek professional tax advice to make sure rebates and credits etc. are applicable to your situation.
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Why buy solar now?
Pricing, Quality, Output and Longevity/Warranties, have never been better and make going solar an easy decision. And let’s be honest, electrical rates only go one way— UP–at about an average of 4% each year here in Eastern Washington. Add to that the threat of breaching dams, aging infrastructure and talk of peak rate charges, the future looks really bright for visionary home and business owners who install solar now!
What size system do I need?
This is a very personal question depending on your needs. Easiest way to determine is call your utility for rolling 12 months of kWh usage. (How many Kilowatt hours or kWh) you used in 12 months. In our area the kWh is about 120% of the total watts.
As example a 7.54 kw system is 7,540 watts x 135% in kWh = 10,179 kWh so if you use 20,000 kWh per year that would cut your bill in ½
What does a 7kw system produce?
In general that means 7,000 Kilowatt Hours (kWh) the average home in WA state uses about 12,000 kWh so over 50% of your consumption. Again production is based in large part on installation site.
What if my roof is not facing South?
This is simply a design issues we work around for example a East or West orientation typically is only a 10 to 15% loss from South so we just adjust w/ number of panels if you need to hit a specific target.
I’m confused about whether the utility is “buying back” my excess power.
There are really a number of things happening at once depending on your service area:
- At the same time the solar is feeding you regular meter this meter “nets” out the power so your utility bill will likely be lower and sometimes only your base utility fee and taxes, depending on your use and size of system. You need to use all solar produced in the year by April 1st at that time the utility’s hit the reset button and you start over. This is not an issue if we size your system correctly.
- The 30% federal tax credit is a dollar for dollar credit against your tax liability and you have a number of years to use that credit up. (Although most of us don’t need more than one!)
Can I monitor my system performance?
Yes in most cases, with internet availability. Our preference is to use microinverters which allow you to monitor every individual panel’s production. Below is a great comparison between string inverters and microinverters. Of course all final recommendations will be based on your particular site and goals.
|Operates each panel individually||Y||N*|
|If inverter fails, entire system is down||N||Y|
|If panel is shaded, entire system is reduced||N||Y*|
|Rough replacement cost per year||$250+||$4,000+|
|Monitoring of each individual panel||Y||N*|
*Solar Edge makes an optimizer that tracks individual panels on a string inverter.
How much do I need to have up front?
What kind of Warranty’s and Maintenance can I expect?
Panel warranty’s all are pretty consistent in 10 year manufacture and 25 year production warranties.
Micro invertors come with a 25 year warranty and most string invertors are 10 to 12 years. Will of course determine once final equipment is selected.
Maintenance is practically nonexistent as only potential need is cleaning the modules occasionally and frankly with the rain and snow they tend to stay quite clean naturally. If you ground mount your modules that may require some cleaning annually based on your location.
How will this affect my homes value?
This is a question we get a lot of as the demand continues to grow, below is a recent article that highlights a growing trend.
Installing solar panels can significantly increase your property’s value, according to a new study from the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (LBL). The report, titled “Selling into the sun: Price premium analysis of a multi-state dataset of solar homes“, builds on previous research which concluded that homes with solar panels in California sold for more than those without.
In addition to California, the new study investigates home pricing trends Connecticut, Florida, Massachusetts, Maryland, North Carolina, New York and Pennsylvania by analyzing the sales of over 20,000 homes in these states. LBL’s analysis of the housing markets in these other states shows that the premium paid for homes with solar is not a phenomenon isolated to the Golden State.
The takeaway is this: If you are thinking about purchasing a solar system for your home, the study’s conclusions should give you a boost of confidence that you are making a smart investment. LBL finds that homes with solar panels will benefit from a ‘solar premium’ when they are sold because buyers are willing to pay more for a home with solar panels.
How Much Does Solar Power Increase Home Value?
Example: a 5 kilowatt (kW) solar system (the national average) will offer 5,000 watts of power. LBL says that each watt of solar adds about $4 to a home’s value in California and about $3 elsewhere. Thus, a home with solar should sell for about ($4 x 5,000W =) $20,000 more in CA or still ($3 x 5,000W =) $15,000 more outside of CA.
POOL HEATING FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
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How do they work?
Our systems are completely automated. A sensor tells the valve to push water through panels only when there is heat present and will repeat the cycle until the target temperature is reached.
What is the expected life?
20+ years for both of our options. One warranty is 7 years with limited lifetime and the other is 12 years.
How much maintenance?
No maintenance systems are designed to drain back automatically after every cycle, so panels require no cleaning or winterization beyond your normal winterization of your pool pump area.
Will they actually heat my pool?
Absolutely. Most of our customers target temp is between 78 and 80 degrees and typically are swimming at target temp from mid May until September.
Can I do it myself?
Yes, we sell parts for the DIY folks.