Top 5 solar questions answered

By Solar United Neighbors on October 5, 2023

We know it can be a big decision when you’re thinking about going solar. To help you out, we’ve rounded up the top five questions you might have on your mind. Remember, if your questions aren’t answered here, our Solar Help Desk can guide you through the process of adding solar panels to your home.

1. What are the benefits of solar?

The benefits of going solar include potential savings on your electricity bills over time, increasing your home value, and providing energy independence. You can also take benefit of federal and state incentives, such as the federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) and net metering programs, which allow you to earn credits for excess energy your system generates.  You can find a comprehensive list of incentives specific to your state here.

Example of Solar Savings:

Doug’s is getting 6,000 Watts.
6,000 W X $3.000 (cost per W) = $18,000 Total Cost

Now, let’s adjust this cost to account for the 30% tax credit.

$18,000(Total Cost) x .30 (Tax Incentive) = $5,400 in Tax Credits
$18,000 (Total Cost) – $5,400 (Tax Credit) = $12,600 Adjusted Cost

 This means that Doug’s total investment is $12,600.

Additionally, solar energy is a clean, renewable energy source that generates electricity without polluting. By using solar panels, you reduce your carbon footprint, decrease your reliance on fossil fuels, and contribute to a cleaner environment. Over the lifespan of a solar panel system, you can offset a significant amount of carbon dioxide emissions.

You can learn more about the Value of Solar here.

2. What financing options are available to me?

There are two ownership structures available when going solar: direct system ownership and third-party ownership. Direct ownership means you own your system outright. This makes you eligible for all available incentives. Third-party ownership means another entity owns and operates the system. Each offers benefits. Which model is right for you will depend on individual preference. The SUN Solar Help Desk can walk through the benefits of both options. We’ll help you decide which is best for you.

Click here for additional information on Solar Financing Options.

3. How do I select a qualified installer?

To choose a qualified solar panel installer, start by researching local installers through recommendations and online searches. Check their licenses and certifications, including those from industry organizations like NABCEP. Read reviews and ask for references. This will help you gauge their past performance and customer satisfaction. You should get quotes from at least three installers. You’ll want to compare pricing, equipment, warranties, and timelines.

Evaluate the installer’s experience. Focus on the number of installations completed. You should also see how many installations they’ve done that are similar to the one you want for your home. Have they worked on similar roofs as yours? Are they familiar with local regulations?

Verify their insurance coverage, particularly liability insurance, in case of accidents or damages. Scrutinize their equipment and technology, as high-quality components contribute to system performance and longevity.

Understand the warranties and guarantees offered for both equipment and workmanship. Inquire about financing options and their ability to help you navigate incentives and tax credits. Pay attention to their communication and customer service.

Before committing, you should receive a comprehensive contract detailing all aspects of the installation. It should include:

  • costs,
  • equipment,
  • warranties, and
  • project timelines.

If there are parts of the agreement you’re unclear on, SUN’s Solar Help Desk offers proposal reviews for free to help you through the selection process.

Learn more about finding solar installers that you can trust here.

4. How much maintenance do solar panels require?

Solar panels are relatively low-maintenance. They typically require occasional cleaning to remove dust and debris. In terms of maintenance, you should periodically monitor the system’s performance. Most solar panels come with warranties ranging from 20 to 25 years and can last even longer with proper care.

Click here to read the 5 solar maintenance mistakes you can’t afford to make.

5. Can I put solar on my home myself?

It is possible to install solar panels yourself, but it’s important to understand that it can be a complex and potentially hazardous project, especially if you’re not experienced with electrical work and roofing. Installing solar panels yourself, in some cases, can void warranties. It can also make the process of getting approval to turn your system on more difficult. While it may seem like an easy way to save money on your solar panels, there are other cost-saving opportunities the SUN Solar Help Desk can help you find.

Take the first step to get solar and download our Solar Guide.

Download the Go Solar Guide now

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