FAQ

General Questions

What are the financial benefits of solar energy?


When you install a solar energy system on your property, you save money on your electricity bills and protect yourself against rising electricity rates in the future. How much you can save depends on the utility rates and solar policies in your area, but going solar is a smart investment regardless of where you live.




What are the environmental benefits of solar energy?


Solar power, like other renewable energy resources, has many environmental and health benefits. Going solar reduces greenhouse gas emissions, which contribute to climate change, and also results in fewer air pollutants like sulfur dioxide and particulate matter, which can cause health problems.




How do I find out how much I pay for electricity?


The easiest way to find out how much you pay for electricity (and how much electricity you use per month) is to look at your utility electricity bill.




What is net metering?


Net metering is the system that utilities use to credit home owners for the electricity produced by their solar panels. With net metering, you only pay for the electricity that you use beyond what your solar panels can generate.




How does solar impact my property values?


Studies have shown that homes with solar energy systems sell for more than homes without them. However, your property value will only increase if you own, rather than lease, your solar panel system. In most parts of the country, going solar will actually increase your property value more than a kitchen renovation.





How Do Solar Panels Work for My Home?

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.





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?

Can I afford to go solar?


If you can afford to pay your electricity bill you can afford to go solar. $0-down solar financing options, including both solar loans and solar leases, make it easy for homeowners with good credit to start saving on their electricity bills by going solar.




Is my roof suitable for solar panels?


South-facing roofs with little to no shade and enough space to fit a solar panel system are ideal for installing solar. However, in many cases there are workarounds if your home doesn’t have the ideal solar roof.




What size solar energy system should I get?


The size of your solar energy system will depend on how much electricity you use on a monthly basis, as well as the weather conditions where you live. Take a look at your past electricity bills and compare offers from licensed solar installers to determine the best system size for your home.




Do I need to replace my roof before installing solar?


Solar energy systems can last for 25 to 35 years. If your roof needs maintenance in the near term, you should complete it before you finish your solar installation.




How long will my solar power system last?


In general, solar panels are very durable and capable of withstanding snow, wind, and hail. The various components of your solar power system will need to be replaced at various times, but your system should continue to generate electricity for 25 to 35 years.




What happens if I sell my solar house?


If you own your solar energy system, your solar house will sell at a premium: studies have shown that solar increases property values. If you lease your system, you will need to either buy out your lease before you sell your home, or work with your leasing company to transfer the lease agreement to the home’s new owner.





How Do I Evaluate Solar Quotes?

How do I choose a solar installer?


There are a few criteria that everyone should use when choosing a solar installer. Confirm that they are certified, licensed and insured, have relevant experience, and can provide references. Meet with your solar installer in person before you sign an agreement to ensure that you are comfortable working with them.




What are the different types of solar panels?


While every solar panel brand and product has unique specifications, EnergySage has grouped solar panels into three broad categories: Economy, Standard, and Premium. Premium panels perform the best, but have a higher price tag, while Economy panels are inexpensive but often less durable over time. Your decision about which category of solar panel to purchase depends on your priorities.




What are the different types of power inverters?


Power inverters convert the electricity your panels produce from direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC) power. There are three types of inverters: string/centralized inverters, microinverters, and power optimizers.




What happens during the solar power installation process?


The first step to going solar is to review your installation quotes. These quotes will include a variety of equipment choices, financing options, and solar company reviews. When you find one you’re happy with, your installer will conduct a site visit to assess your property. Once you accept a quote, your installer will file the paperwork necessary to have your system approved. The actual installation takes a day or two to complete.




Should I ask for a solar monitoring system for my solar panels?


If you are interested in receiving detailed information about how much energy your solar panel system is producing, ask your installer about solar monitoring system options. In many cases, solar lease agreements will include free programs to track your system’s performance. If you own your system you may need to pay for one separately.




Do I need to install solar batteries with my solar power system?


Solar power systems that include solar batteries, known as solar-plus-storage, are increasingly popular, but can be pricey. Luckily, batteries are not necessary for most solar homeowners. While you are connected to the grid, your system does not need a battery: excess power goes back into the grid, and you can draw from the grid if you need more electricity than your panels can generate.





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