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How Do Solar Panels Work for My Home?

How do solar photovoltaic (PV) panels work?


Solar panels absorb the sun’s energy throughout the day and convert it into direct current (DC) electricity. Most homes and businesses run on alternating current (AC) electricity, so the DC electricity is then passed through an inverter to convert it to usable AC electricity. At that point, you either use the electricity in your house or send it back to the electric grid.




Do my solar panels produce power when the sun isn’t shining?


The amount of power your solar energy system can generate is dependent on sunlight. As a result, your solar panels will produce slightly less energy when the weather is cloudy, and no energy at night. However, because of high electricity costs and financial incentives, solar is a smart decision even if you live in a cloudy city.




What happens if there is snow on solar panels?


Solar panels convert sunshine into power, so if your panels are covered in snow they can’t produce electricity. Snow generally isn’t heavy enough to cause structural issues with your panels, and since most panels are tilted at an angle the snow will slide off. If snow does accumulate, your panels are easy to clean.




Can I go off grid with solar panels?


When you install solar panels on your property, you will still be connected to the grid. This allows you to draw from the grid when your system is not producing all the power that you need, and send power back to the grid when you produce more than you use. It is possible to go off the grid with a solar energy system that includes battery storage, but it will cost significantly more and is unnecessary for most homeowners.




Will I still receive an electric bill if I have solar panels?


Unless your solar energy system includes battery storage and you are fully off the grid, you will still receive a bill from your utility. However, you can dramatically reduce your bill with a solar panel system that matches your energy use.




Do solar panels work in a blackout?


If your solar panel system is connected to the grid, it will shut off in the event of a blackout. This is to prevent emergency responders and utility workers from being injured by your panels sending power back to the grid. However, there are certain inverters you can buy that provide backup power in a blackout when paired with a battery.




How much will solar panel maintenance cost?


Solar panel systems are made of durable tempered glass and require little to no maintenance for the 25 to 35 years that they will generate power. In most cases, you don’t even need to clean your solar panels regularly. If something does happen, most equipment manufacturers include warranties, although warranty terms depend on the company.





What are My Solar Financing Options?

What solar energy rebates and incentives are available?


Solar rebates and incentives vary depending on where you live. The most significant is the 26 percent federal investment tax credit (ITC), which allows you to deduct 26 percent of the cost of your solar energy system from the taxes you pay. Some states offer additional tax credits, and certain municipalities and utilities also offer cash rebates or other incentives.




What are my solar financing options?


There are three solar financing options: you can purchase your system in cash, take out a solar loan to buy your system, or sign a solar lease/power purchase agreement (PPA).




Should I buy or lease my solar panel system?


The decision to buy or lease your solar energy system depends on your reasons for going solar. If you are interested in maximizing the financial returns of your solar energy system, buying the system is typically a better decision for you. However, if you prioritize an easy, maintenance-free way to reduce your energy bills and help the environment, you should consider a solar lease.




Which is better: solar loans or solar leases?


Solar loans and solar leases each have advantages and disadvantages. Both options reduce your monthly electricity bills and your impact on the environment, but the terms and conditions of each type of agreement are different. Compare solar loans and solar leases to determine which one is right for you.




What is the difference between secured solar loans and unsecured solar loans?


The primary difference between secured and unsecured solar loans is that secured solar loans require that you promise an asset, usually your home, as collateral for the money that you borrow. Unsecured solar loans do not, but their interest rates are generally higher to compensate for the increased risk taken on by the lender.





Am I Ready for Solar?

What solar energy rebates and incentives are available?


Solar rebates and incentives vary depending on where you live. The most significant is the 26 percent federal investment tax credit (ITC), which allows you to deduct 26 percent of the cost of your solar energy system from the taxes you pay. Some states offer additional tax credits, and certain municipalities and utilities also offer cash rebates or other incentives.




What are my solar financing options?


There are three solar financing options: you can purchase your system in cash, take out a solar loan to buy your system, or sign a solar lease/power purchase agreement (PPA).




Should I buy or lease my solar panel system?


The decision to buy or lease your solar energy system depends on your reasons for going solar. If you are interested in maximizing the financial returns of your solar energy system, buying the system is typically a better decision for you. However, if you prioritize an easy, maintenance-free way to reduce your energy bills and help the environment, you should consider a solar lease.




Which is better: solar loans or solar leases?


Solar loans and solar leases each have advantages and disadvantages. Both options reduce your monthly electricity bills and your impact on the environment, but the terms and conditions of each type of agreement are different. Compare solar loans and solar leases to determine which one is right for you.




What is the difference between secured solar loans and unsecured solar loans?


The primary difference between secured and unsecured solar loans is that secured solar loans require that you promise an asset, usually your home, as collateral for the money that you borrow. Unsecured solar loans do not, but their interest rates are generally higher to compensate for the increased risk taken on by the lender.





How Do I Evaluate Solar Quotes?

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