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Frequently Asked Questions

Financial

  Do you provide any type of financing?

We offer monthly and prepaid PPAs through the SolarWorld Freedom Plan. Our finance team can also provide details about attractive solar loans in case you want to own the system on your roof but would prefer low money down. Please ask our sales team about the latest finance options available. No matter which financing option you choose, your new total monthly payments will be generating financial return vs. simply paying the utility monies that do not generate financial return.

  How long before a solar system investment pays off and what returns can I expect?
The solar systems we install typically have a payback period of five to seven years. Considering the system will generate electricity for 30 years, an Internal Rate of Return (IRR) of 15% is not unusual. A $15,000 investment in solar could save you over $150,000.
  What rebates and incentives are available?
The main incentive that everyone qualifies for (if you have tax liabilities/pay Federal annual taxes) is the 30% Federal Tax Credit that will be available until 2016. See detailed Federal 30% Tax Credit info here.
There are other local incentives that you may qualify for. New homes automatically qualify for the New Solar Homes Partnership program rebates and many fully remodeled homes also qualify for this excellent incentive. We’ll make the effort to ensure that your project will qualify for all possible incentives available.
  How long will my solar panels last?

This comes down to the quality of the panels. SolarWorld panels have been proven to last over 30 years. Panels that are not quality made will fail well before this; typically after 12 years or so. Here are some tips:

  • Look for performance history; how long has the company been making panels for? Do not blindly trust 25 year warranties from companies that have been around for less than 5 years.
  • Where were the panels made? In the USA? Do you know where the factory is? Many companies claim to have panels “Made in the USA” when they are in fact made in Asia and only assembled here in the U.S..

Guide

  How does solar technology work?

There are two common solar technologies on rooftops today: solar thermal and solar photovoltaic (PV).Solar thermal is basically a very long black pipe coil that circulates water. As the sun rays hit the black piping, the water heats up. This water can then be used for your pool or stored in your water tank.

Solar PV consists of panels that turn the sun rays into electricity. The electricity generated can be used for any number of purposes (heating, cooling, powering electronics…). Because there are no moving parts there is very little maintenance.

  What kind of maintenance is required for my solar system?
There are no moving parts on a solar system and so very little maintenance is required. The solar modules require cleaning every few months to ensure that dust is not blocking sunlight from reaching the panel. This can be achieved by rinsing the panels with water; a good rainfall achieves the same goal.
  What happens when it’s cloudy or raining or at night?

If it is cloudy your solar system will not be producing electricity at its maximum capacity. But you would be surprised how much electricity can still be generated. Germany has the highest production of residential solar in the world, and they have far less sunshine than sunny California!At night, you shouldn’t expect any production from your system. (Although some full moons are bright enough to generate some electricity!)

Because your home remains connected to the electric grid, even if your system is not generating electricity, you will always have power. So there is no need to worry about being left in the dark.

Installation

  How old can my roof be to have solar installed?
Because your solar systems are guaranteed for 25 years you wouldn’t want to install one on a roof older than 30 years. If you want to re-roof before installing your system, we have a team of licensed roofers that guarantee their work for life. Another option is to re-roof only the section of roof under the solar system and re-roof the rest later on.
  Do I need batteries?
No. Any electricity that your system produces and that you do not consume right away is sent into the grid. Your electric meter keeps track of the net amount of electricity (consumed minus generated). The utility provider then charges you for only that amount of electricity.
Batteries are typically only used for off-grid buildings.
  How long does it take to install solar on my home?
The moment you sign the agreement, we book the date for the solar panels to be delivered to your home. This will usually take two weeks. The installation of the system onto your roof will typically take two to three days. At this point your system is ready to generate electricity! However, the utility company must now approve the system and install your new Net Electricity Meter (NEM). The average time for this last process is six weeks and we have no control over it.

Technology

  How does solar technology work?

There are two common solar technologies on rooftops today: solar thermal and solar photovoltaic (PV). Solar thermal is basically a very long black pipe coil that circulates water. As the sun rays hit the black piping, the water heats up. This water can then be used for your pool or stored in your water tank.

Solar PV consists of panels that turn the sun rays into electricity. The electricity generated can be used for any number of purposes (heating, cooling, powering electronics…). Because there are no moving parts there is very little maintenance.

  What kind of maintenance is required for my solar system?
There are no moving parts on a solar system and so very little maintenance is required. The solar modules require cleaning every few months to ensure that dust is not blocking sunlight from reaching the panel. This can be achieved by rinsing the panels with water; a good rainfall achieves the same goal.
  Do I need batteries?
No. Any electricity that your system produces and that you do not consume right away is sent into the grid. Your electric meter keeps track of the net amount of electricity (consumed minus generated). The utility provider then charges you for only that amount of electricity.
Batteries are typically only used for off-grid buildings.
  What is solar irradience testing?

Irradiance refers to the power of solar radiation per unit area on a surface. Global irradiance on a horizontal surface is comprised of direct irradiance and diffuse irradiance. On a tilted surface, the reflected irradiance from the ground also contributes to the total global irradiance. Generally, solar irradiance is called insolation.

Solar radiation affects many systems in the house and can vary considerably within the same town. On-site, solar irradiance is a particularly useful measurement if there is a photovoltaic (PV) system or solar thermal system installed at the field test location. Also, if space conditioning is a focus of the field test, solar irradiance is an important measurement as solar radiation has a large effect on heating and cooling load requirements, electrical lighting demand (daylighting), and envelope performance.
Compliments of NREL.gov

  How long will my solar panels last?

This comes down to the quality of the panels. SolarWorld panels have been proven to last over 30 years. Panels that are not quality made will fail well before this; typically after 12 years or so. Here are some tips:

  • Look for performance history; how long has the company been making panels for? Do not blindly trust 25 year warranties from companies that have been around for less than 5 years.
  • Where were the panels made? In the USA? Do you know where the factory is? Many companies claim to have panels “Made in the USA” when they are in fact made in Asia and only assembled here in the U.S.