If you are confused or frustrated, as you try to determine if investing in solar is right for you, rest assured that you are not alone!
The hardest step for many consumers is trying to figure out where to start—so we thought we’d take this time to see if we can help clear up any confusion.
So let’s begin at the beginning:
Just like you purchase ordinary everyday items in a specific quantity or weight, the same is true for energy, except energy is measured in Kilowatt hours or kWh. One (1) kWh is equal to 1000 watt-hours or the equivalent of a 100-watt lightbulb in use for 10 hours.
Once you have your electric bill in hand with a 12-month total of kWh’s used, we or you can use our handy dandy calculator, to determine what size system matches up with your objective i.e.…reduce the electric bill by 50%, 80%, etc.…and the calculator will also show the potential savings.
Once we have determined the size of the system that works best for you we can then address some of the other major questions–
Why buy solar now?
Frankly the incentives and pricing have never been better. With no WA state sales tax, a 30% Federal Tax Credit on the installed costs and in many areas cash rebates. As your utility rates continue to climb your investment continues to improve.
What if my roof is not facing the South?
This is simply a design issue we workaround for example an 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:
- There is a cash rebate program still available in many areas that pays between .15 and .54 cents per kWh that your system produces whether you consume the electric or not. This is a production incentive. This incentive expires in July of 2020 and is capped at $5,000 per year.
- 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 taxes, depending on your use and size of the system. You need to use all solar produced in the year by December 31st 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.
- There is no sales tax on systems below 10kW and over 10kW you pay sales tax upfront but then receive a refund from the state of 75% of the sales tax you paid.
- 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 do 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 an inverter fails, the entire system is down||N||Y|
|If the panel is shaded, the 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 upfront?
We have a couple of great credit solutions both of which eliminate the need for a down payment from you directly. If you choose to pay another way, we require 50% with contract signing.
What kind of Warranty’s and Maintenance can I expect?
Panel warranty’s all are pretty consistent in 10-year manufacturer and 25-year production warranties. Microinverters come with a 25-year warranty and most string inverters are 10 to 12 years. Once you have selected your specific products we can provide more information for each respective manufacturer.
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 the value of my home?
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. http://news.energysage.com/home-solar-power-increase-property-values-across-us/
Start your path to energy independence and start saving money! Contact us for a free quote!.
At Hot Solar Solutions, we are not only the owners, but we are customers too!! We believe in our product and live out our mission to leave the world in better condition than we found it, by installing Solar Electric and Solar Hot Water Systems in our very own home. Your home is your biggest investment; Call us today to see how you can make it work for you!