Frequently Asked Questions
How many solar panels do I need to power my house? What is the correct system size for my needs?
These are common questions posed when someone is considering the purchase of a solar energy system. The answer is unique for every home/business. Following are key factors to consider:
- Home/Business Energy Consumption: Use your utility bill to determine monthly and annual energy (kWh) usage for the last year. In general, more electricity consumed equates to more panels needed.
- Area Available for Solar Energy System: How much space (rooftop- and/or ground mounted) is available for the installation of a system? More available area means more panels may be installed which results in more power generated.
- Investment Strategy: The size of the system you choose will depend on the amount of money you want to invest and the amount of electricity you want to produce.
BENEFIT & AFFORDABILITY
What impact does a solar energy system have on my house value?
Energy conservation and renewable generation adds value to a home. Results from a study conducted by the Ernest Orlando Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory* showed increased home values that ranged from $3.90 to $6.40/watt of PV with an average of $5.50/watt. Assuming the average US residence would require a 5 kilowatt (kW) system, homeowners could realize approximately $15,000-$20,000 in value added (using Texas as the example). Simply put, solar energy is one of the best home improvement investments you can make.
*U.S. Department of Energy, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and Clean Energy States Alliance; http://eetd.lbl.gov/ea/emp/reports/lbnl-4476e.pdf
What happens if I need to move after I install solar on my home?
A US Department of Energy‘s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy study* reports home buyers are consistently willing to pay more for a property with solar across a variety of states, housing and solar markets, and home types. Average market premiums of homes (~$3-4/watt). Premiums are durable; remain consistent through housing market fluctuations.
*US Department of Energy ‘s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy; https://emp.lbl.gov/sites/all/files/selling-into-the-sun-jan12.pdf
The benefits of solar energy are clear. Can I afford it?
The prices for the components of a solar energy system have dropped significantly in recent years making them more obtainable for residential and commercial customers. In an energy environment where annual utility company rates are increasing faster than the rate of inflation, the affordability of solar power is bolstered by a generous 30% tax credit offered by the US Federal Government.
In addition, financing methods can reduce or eliminate up-front costs (ie, out-of-pocket expenses). Meaning, you simply install solar panels and begin to pay less for electricity starting on Day 1.
What is a payback period?
The payback period is the amount of time (years) required for the savings produced by your solar energy system to accumulate such that your initial investment is paid off. Thereafter, further savings from your system are realized as returns on your initial investment. One particularly noteworthy benefit is that these returns are ‘after-taxes’ unlike traditional investments.
What is Net Metering?
Net Metering is the ability to get credit for solar-generated electricity by sending (exporting) it back to your utility company’s electric grid. Your electric meter literally turns backwards so you get credit for every kilowatt hour generated by your system. In essence, you are using the grid as a battery.
TIMELINE & SUPPORT
How long does it take to install the solar energy system? What is the duration of the project life cycle?
The typical installation time for a rooftop residential system is from 1.5 to 3 days. Ground-mounted systems or systems with batteries are more complex and may require additional time. Most of the installation occurs on the exterior of your house or business, so disturbance is minimized. The installation of commercial systems may require several weeks to >1 month, depending upon system size and type.
The duration of entire process from site survey to contract execution, installation, inspection, and activation, is approximately 30 to 45 days. You begin saving on Day 1 of activation!
Will Renergy Solar help me apply for the Federal Tax Credit and other available rebates?
Yes, we will assist with the completion of all documentation regarding the Federal Tax Credit and available rebates.
Is a building permit needed for the project?
Yes, in most projects, a building permit is required before installation. Renergy Solar will obtain the necessary permits from your local municipality.
Will the solar energy system require a building inspection after installation?
Yes, Renergy Solar will schedule and host all building inspections as required by your local municipality.
Do I need permission from the local utility to connect my system to the grid?
Yes, the local utility company has rules and procedures that must be followed to connect any power-generating system to the grid safely and legally. Renergy Solar will manage all of the necessary documentation and procedures.
Do I need approval from my homeowners’ association?
If you belong to a homeowners’ association, you should review your covenants for details.
DURABILITY & WARRANTY
Are solar panels durable?
Solar panels are required to pass a set of standard tests for durability before being sold on the market. Panels are made of tempered glass and are designed to withstand 130 mph winds and a one inch hail stone.
How long will my solar energy system last?
A solar panel will typically last 40+ years. During the life of the system, there is little-to-no maintenance beyond the occasional panel cleaning, if necessary. The life of a system is dependent upon the quality of the equipment and quality of the installation. It is projected that solar panels lose half a percent of performance annually, so that the panels operate at approximately 85% efficiency after 25 years.
All solar panels have a 25-year warranty while inverters have an average warranty of 12 years.