Frequently Asked Questions About Converting Your Home To Solar Power
How much does solar power cost?
Solar equipment and installation costs are lower than ever. There are also various government incentives that make the cost of solar even more affordable. You can even go solar with our $0 down options and start saving money immediately.
How does solar work?
A solar PV system captures sunlight and converts it into direct current (DC) electricity through a series of semiconductors. The DC electricity is converted to household AC (alternating current) electricity with an inverter that flows to your main electrical panel to power your house. On days you generate more electricity than you use, your meter spins backward and you “bank” PG&E credits.
What is the environmental impact of solar panels?
Benefits of solar beyond reducing carbon emissions are:
- Solar panels today are being built to be 100% recycled at end of life
- Solar panels create enough energy in 2 years to offset energy needed to manufacture a panel.
- Major sources of silicon are silica sand, an abundant material on Earth
- Solar panels use 0 gallons of water to produce power
Will solar impact the ability to sell my home?
Not only does owning solar increase the desirability of your home, but it also increases the value of your home.
Real estate studies have found that, by reducing electricity costs, solar energy systems increases a home’s value by an average of $17,000. According to the Appraisal Journal, for every $1000 saved in annual energy costs, $20,000 is added to the value of the home. Other home improvements, like kitchen and bathroom renovations and decks, are only worth about 75-100% of the cost, making solar more valuable than other home improvements.
Why not wait until prices drop even lower?
Solar will lower your energy costs immediately, meaning every year you wait to go solar is another year of lost savings. State and federal rebates are on the decline and labor costs are on the rise; even as the solar technology gets cheaper, the net price will remain relatively flat.
Does my house have to be in a very sunny area?
Solar creates electricity from sunshine, so the less shade on your roof the more electricity you produce. Ideally, your panels shouldn’t be shaded by trees, chimneys or any physical barriers casting shadows over the solar modules.
How much power can I expect?
Solar systems typically provide between 25% to 100% of your electricity usage. Your solar installer will analyze your energy situation and suggest different size systems to maximize financial return. We will interview you and customize a solution that makes sense. Offsetting 66% of your annual electricity usage is a typical size where homeowners can see immediate savings and great long term benefits.
Is it possible to save up power to use at night or during a power outage?
It’s not currently practical to disconnect from the grid and power your home solely from battery storage. You can have batteries installed, but it’s typically not the best decision financially. Batteries are coming soon (2-3 years) but the current Net Energy Metering program in California helps clients bank energy credits during the day when the solar is working and then use credits at night when there is no sun to create electricity with.
Isn’t solar expensive?
It’s true that the total cost of a solar system can be anywhere from $5,000 to $20,000+. However, it’s important to understand solar is a long-term investment. Over a 25 year period, your system will pay for itself many times over.
Most people don’t have thousands to pay for solar up front. That’s why we will work closely with you to find the best financing options for your project. We have access to leading financing programs and can help make sense of all the options.
I can’t afford to purchase a system, is leasing cheaper?
Don’t be fooled by the low monthly costs of solar leases. Over a twenty year period, you will actually pay much more than if you purchased the solar system. You won’t receive the tax credit and it’s likely that leased system will be made with inferior equipment. Leasing also makes it difficult to sell your house because any new owners must assume your solar lease… or you have to buy out the system (on top of the monthly payments you’ve been making.)
Is there any maintenance involved?
Very little, if any. There are many solar systems built in the 1990’s that are still going strong today. Solar panels are built to last and have no moving parts. Washing modules late spring is recommended to optimize production during the summer when most solar energy is produced.