Homes and businesses across the nation are making the decision to use solar energy and turn sunshine into savings. For many, this decision is a no-brainer due to solar energy panels ability to put money back in your pocket.
If you are considering making the switch to solar, you should educate yourself before you inquire to ensure that you are receiving the best performing system and highest quality of service. Having an in-depth understanding of the pricing and workings of a solar energy system will help you get the best value.
As you conduct your research and gather quotes, there are some important questions to keep in mind to determine if solar panel installation to right for you. You should break down each aspect of a solar energy system in order to know questions to ask about solar energy to determine what system is best for your home, or business, and how to choose a solar company you can rely on.
How do solar panels work?
To put it scientifically, solar energy panels are comprised of silicon semiconductor cells. When the sunlight hits them, the electrons move across the solar panel and into the electrical circuit, which is how the cells convert sunlight to electricity.
The next step in generating power is for the inverter to convert the electricity from direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC) which is what is used by most household appliances and electricity needs.
Once electricity is produced by the panels and converted from DC to AC by the inverter, it will flow through the electric meter and into your home or building where it will be used immediately after it is created. Any excess will flow back through the electric meter and onto the grid or into a battery storage system to conserve it for later use.
How can I get the best performance from my solar energy system?
There are ways, before your solar energy estimate and consultation, that potential consumers can lower their energy consumption and get the most efficient solar energy system, such as replacing standard lights with LED bulbs and switching to low-flow water systems.
Consultants can help make your space more sustainable by sealing your attic entrance, repairing and sealing your ducts, installing a water heater insulating jacket, weather-stripping, performing blower door testing and providing a programmable smart thermostat.
Each of these steps can help increase the performance of your solar energy system. This will increase the comfort of your home and reduce any issues you may have with your home.
How do I decide how big my system should be?
One panel alone does not create enough energy to power an entire building, but when strung together, multiple solar panels generate substantial energy to sustain your home and business. It can be hard to determine how many panels you should purchase, which is why consultants should work closely with clients to maximize the amount of solar they install.
Solar energy consultants will ask about the energy consumption needs of your home or business and request to see your bills from the past year in order to calculate your energy needs. This information on your energy usage, as well as the size of your roof and how much sunlight it receives, will give you an accurate estimate of how many panels can fit on your roof.
What happens to solar panels when it’s cloudy or raining?
While the panels are most effective in direct sunlight, they are still able to use indirect sunlight to generate power when the light is reflected or blocked by clouds. In instances where your system is not at full capacity, for example, at night, it will use excess energy that it generated and stored previously from the sun.
The rain and snow are actually beneficial for your panels. They help to keep your system running efficiently by washing away any dirt or dust that it may have collected.
Questions on Installation
How experienced is my solar panel installer?
When considering questions to ask a solar company, experience should be top of the list. An experienced solar panel installation company will take care of your solar energy needs and anticipate any problems that could arise.
Sun Solar has been in business for over 7 years and is named #1 residential solar installer in Missouri, as well as the fastest growing business in Springfield. In the nation, they are the 156th fastest growing company. Sun Solar’s solar energy experience in the Midwest is unmatched and rivaled nationwide.
To date, Sun Solar has saved customers over 12 million dollars on energy costs, over installed 100,000 solar panels and have generated over 27 million green kilowatts of energy. This kind of experience and energy efficiency is the equivalent of planting 228,811 trees in our ecosystem. When you can invest in solar energy with experts that care about your future, in your home, business, and outside of it, you can begin to feel more secure.
How much maintenance will my solar energy system require?
Durability and life expectancy are fundamental when determining if the cost of solar panel installation is for you. There are some solar electric systems that were installed in the 1970’s that still function today.
To ensure you are receiving the best deal on your solar energy, you should also acquire a warranty and check to make sure the panels and system have a long–life expectancy and are designed to sustain most weather conditions.
Your solar panel installation experts should be mindful of roof life and do not recommend installation when a roof is within five years of needing to be replaced. If the situation does arise, and a roof needs to be replaced after solar panel installation, the panels can be removed and reinstalled once the reconstruction is complete.
That being said, customers considering solar panel installation on a roof should know that panels actually shield shingles from the sun and other destructive elements, which help maintain the life expectancy of your shingles.
How do I know if my roof is suitable for solar panels?
Solar panels are attached to your roof using a racking system. This system will depend on the structure and materials of your roof. This allows for it to be installed on all roof types including asphalt shingle roofs, tile roofs, slate roofs and flat roofs.
The majority of roofs are suitable to have solar panels installed on, but there are some important factors to keep in mind to determine if this is the best option for you. You should be mindful of the quality of your roof and may consider replacing it before installing solar panels if it is over 15 years old or unreliable.
Your roof may not be suitable for solar due to obstructions like dormers and chimneys, shading, orientation, or even because of neighborhood requirements. There are many options for a ground-mounted system is this is the case.
Is my roof the only place suitable for solar panels?
Roofs aren’t the only place for solar panels, there are lots of alternative mounting options available. Sun Solar offers ground mounts, carport mounts, pergola solar mounts and decorative installations like sunflowers to all customers who are interested in an alternative solar energy panel installation method.
What happens if my residential or commercial space experiences change?
When discussing questions to ask your solar panel consultants and installers, it is important to know that solar energy systems can not anticipate your future energy needs if your home or business requires more energy usage down the line. If that is a possibility for you, you should discuss this with your solar panel installation expert at the time of consultation.
If you find yourself in a situation where you are moving from your residential space, there’s nothing to worry about. Recent studies actually show that a solar energy system increases the value of your home and that a home may sell quicker with the added amenity. Likewise, as a general rule, homeowners can often transfer their lease to the new homeowner once they have been approved for the home, based on a credit check.
How much does solar energy cost?
Over the last decade, the cost of going solar has significantly been lowered due to increasingly efficient manufacturing and installation procedures. Each system should be custom–designed to offset the cost of electricity for home and business owners.
A reliable solar company should consider square footage, current energy efficiency, number of residential and commercial occupants, and general energy usage. Solar energy panels are designed to cover the cost of an energy bill and have, on average, saved customers $40,000-60,000 over the life of the system.
When consulting if solar energy is for you, your solar panel installer will base the cost off your specific needs and budget. Custom solar installations should meet all of your specific needs depending on what type of invertor you need, how the panels will fit around your roof with things like a chimney and what kind of warranty you would like.
What type of financing is available for my solar energy systems?
The return of investment on solar energy can be impressive, as home and business owners may often qualify for specific tax rebates and credits, as well as federal grants and loan programs. Federal REAP grants and PACE loans are a good option available to those considering solar panels; REAP grants provide customers up to 25% of your total cost to go solar, while PACE loan programs allow you to finance the cost of your system for up to 20 years. Consumers going solar will most likely not bear the entire cost of their solar energy system alone with grants and loans so readily available.
Those going green with solar energy may qualify for a federal tax credit that gives 26% of the total cost of their solar energy system back as a credit against total tax liability for the year of installment. Likewise, depending on your area, cash rebates are available through your local utility company; those considering solar power are encouraged to reach out to their utility company to reserve your potential rebate.
Will using solar energy have an affect on my insurance?
Most rooftop solar systems are covered under your standard homeowner’s insurance policy. You should let your insurance company know about the addition to your property and verify any replacement costs.
In most cases adding solar doesn’t increase your homeowner’s insurance premiums, and many insurance companies will offer discounts to customers who make the decision to go green.
It is also important to check with your insurance company to see if they will insure a solar electric system in case of damage or maintenance. Certified solar panel installers may recommend you check with your insurance agent for specifics on your policy.
How will installing a solar energy system effect the value of my home?
Many people worry about the potential resale of their home or business and how a solar energy system may affect it, in many instances this adds value to the home and brings the resale value up.
Real estate agents work to properly assess the value that solar energy adds based on its ability to boost the resale value of your home. A 2019 study by Zillow found solar increased home values by about 4%.
Is Solar Energy Right for You?
In summation, there are many questions to ask when considering installation of solar panels. What to know before installation of a solar energy system, as well as questions to ask your solar company, and questions for solar panel installers are fundamental. A general guide to the process can help potential customers ease their way into an energy–efficient lifestyle, saving themselves money and energy every year after installation.
To discover your potential solar savings, Sun Solar has made it easy for you with our Solar Savings Calculator. If you’re curious if going solar is for you, this savings calculator can determine what your energy bill could look like with solar energy. Don’t be intimidated by solar energy, simply know the questions to ask.