1. What happens to solar panels in the event of high winds or hurricane?
Places that can experience extreme weather and wind events like Texas have done a pretty good job of passing rules to ensure solar systems can survive the worst. In place like Houston, Texas, where hurricane Harvey caused massive destruction, the panels must be rated to withstand winds of 110 mph.
2. Will the home insurance cost me more if I own a solar system?
Residential solar energy installations are typically covered as part of a standard homeowners policy, according the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL
3. Will solar void the warranty on my roof?
When you go solar, your roof warranty is voided on the portion of the roof. Don’t worry, you’re still going to be covered under your installer’s workmanship warranty. An installer’s workmanship warranty is generally for 10 years and it covers the areas of the roof they worked on. If there are any issues with the areas your installer worked on, you’ll be covered bumper to bumper for 10 years. If there are problems with the rest of your roof, your roof warranty will still cover you there.
4.-What if my HOA won't allow me to have a solar system installed?
In the state of California, the California Solar Rights Act prevents HOAs from
limiting a person’s ability to install solar panels. In other words, your HOA can not prevent you from installing a solar electric system on your property.
You still must notify the association and a good installer will work with you to make sure your solar installation layout meet your HOA’s requirements.
5.-What happens if I decide to sell the home?
You will see an increase in your home value in the tens of thousands when you go to list.
6.-How would I know if the system is working properly?
If you think your panels might not be at the top of their game, follow these simple steps and check:
If you’re worried about your system function, the inverter should be your first port of call. Take a look at the display, check for any warning lights, and in the case of an error or fault, take a look at the screen and note the error code! Unless you’re a qualified electrician, don’t take any further action, call the installer or technician who usually handles your solar PV system and let them know what the problem is.
Loose or damaged cables can lead to poor performance from your solar panels. Visually check for any tears, nicks or damage to the casings, but do not touch the cables as they will be live! If you see any damaged cables, call your installer or technician immediately
Like most electrical equipment, the components of your solar PV system won’t function as well if they’re hot. Make sure the inverter, meter and switches aren’t covered, and have room around them for air to circulate. This helps keep the equipment cool, and working properly.
Checking and maintaining your solar PV system is much easier if the electrical components are easily reachable. Keep your inverter, meter, and switches in accessible locations, so you can check production levels quickly, and without hassle.
…the isolation switch
In case of routine maintenance, or a fire or similar emergency, you should always use the isolation switch to cut off the panels from the rest of your home. We suggest flicking the switch on and off a couple of times, to make sure all the components are in full working condition!
If, while checking any part of your solar PV system, you come across any issues or problems, do not attempt to handle these yourself – call an expert!
7. What are the financial benefits of solar energy?
Stabilizes energy costs over time
By getting ahead of the curve and going solar, you can lock in future energy costs over several decades that are significantly lower than you are currently paying. Here’s a more practical example of why going solar for this reason makes a lot of sense. As you probably know, airlines are having severe problems maintaining their profitability after fuel hikes. Many are charging for additional bags, some are now charging for water! Water! Well, in the past 2 years, United filed for bankruptcy, Delta almost tanked, and others like America West and US Airways had to merge with each other to stay afloat.
Southwest was the only airline that made it through this continuing price surge. They recently reported their 28th profitable quarter in a row. Why? They locked in the price of fuel years ahead of time at a good rate by buying fuel futures. Buy your own energy futures with solar energy today. Don’t be the next United Airlines. Even if you don’t have pensions to sever, the money you save can be used for other things- like your bottom line, groceries, or your next tank of gas.
Utilizes free fuel (sunshine)
Oil extraction is risky, dangerous, messy and expensive business. Sunshine however, is.. well.. pleasantly free. I’ll spare you the elementary math. Yes, while the equipment needed to harness the energy is not free, the energy produced after payback is. It’s like having your own oil rig in your back yard, except it’s not ugly, nor does it move. Plus you don’t have to set the product on fire to make it work, it just does.
Adds value to your home
Having solar equipment on your home increases its value. How much? Appraisers are still getting their act together on this one and they may vary a bit from one to another, but according to The Appraisal Journal, solar energy adds $15-$20 times yearly energy savings to resale value. So let’s say you own a home in Pennsylvania and you install a solar power system on your roof, and it ends up saving you $4000/year in electricity bills. That means your home would increase in value $60,000-$80,000. That’s more than the system will cost, so your initial investment is recouped immediately and pays a $4000 dividend the first year. Instead of getting upset every time your utility raises power rates, you get a raise instead!
Reduces your annual electric or gas bill
Leverages lucrative financial incentives and tax credits
Incentives and tax credits were passed into law in many states. Check the right hand side of the page for further details. In some areas, you can deduct up to 50% of the cost of your solar power system (including installation!). However, these tax credits are not permanent. For some areas, credits like this are expiring and will be stepped down over the next decade. Now’s the time to lock them in. Once electric rate prices make solar more cost effective on it’s own, you will have purchased the same technology as the latecomers, but the government will have paid up to half the price for you. You’ve been paying for these rebates with your taxes and your electric bill…. TAKE THEM BACK!
Adds credits to your utility account for future use
Many states have net metering guidelines they must follow when home or business-owners install energy producing equipment. Net-metering does not involve people from your municipality donned in orange hardhats coming through to measure the height of your basketball hoop net with meter sticks. Instead, your power company is obliged to purchase power you generate back from you at a wholesale rate. So, let’s say you’ve got some solar power panels up on your roof for the summer but you decide to go on and take a vacation for a month or so. All the power that is being generated gets credited to your account. At the end of the year, if you use as much power as you feed back into the grid, your power bill is… negligible. In Germany, legislation has gone a step farther. There, they have huge feed-in tariffs which means that home and business-owners get paid 4 times as much for the electricity that they produce than for the power they consume. Also, they are cut a check from the power company for excess power generation. This is why over 60% of the solar equipment produced in this country is shipped there, creating a panel shortage here.
8. What are the environmental benefits of solar energy?
No emissions/pollution free
Unlike burning coal, oil, or even wood, solar power is clean. That is to say, there are no residual accumulating pollutants after a day’s worth of energy generation.
Reduce your carbon footprint
Whether you are an eco-cognizant carbon worrier, or someone who does not know the difference between a carbon footprint and a criminal fingerprint, you’ll be glad to know installing solar equipment on your property lessens the detrimental impact you have on our environment. There are some curmudgeons out there that will argue the carbon cost of producing the panels outstrips the advantage of them, but they are flatly wrong. Those panels have a net zero carbon footprint after only 2 years on your roof, and that number is decreasing with new production methods. After that, you’ll be consuming significantly less energy produced by processes which release CO2 into the atmosphere, thereby doing your part to ameliorate our global warming and pollution problems. Go you!
Provide clean energy for the next generation
Your home or business will probably be around for some years to come, even after you pass on to whatever you believe lies ahead. The equipment you install now has long-term warranties on it, and many panel manufacturers warranty their product for 25 years. There are installations done 50 years ago that still produce. Those that inhabit your home or work in your buildings in 2060 will be thankful you installed this equipment.
Be a part of your communities’ solar future
By conserving and installing solar power, you now are providing a model for others in your community to follow. You would be AMAZED at the difference in receptivity to solar from people on a block where someone has it vs. people on a block who don’t. It’s also a great way to teach your children or those in the neighborhood about energy, the awesome power of the sun, and electrical engineering. Even though I studied psychology, this stuff is really cool. Just think, you can run your electric guitar, Cuisinart or power tools with photons careening off of our sun. Try to imagine explaining that to someone who was born in 1608. This technology is simple, elegant and really amazing.
9. What is net-metering
Net-metering is the system utilized used to credit solar energy system owners for the electricity produced by their solar panels. With net-metering you only pay for the electricity you use beyond what your solar panels can produced.
10. What happens if there's snow on solar panels?
A common myth is that solar panels do not work during winter, but in contrary, the cold temperature will typically improve solar panel output. The white snow can also reflect light and help improve PV performance. Winter will only hurt solar production if the panels are covered with snow.
Solar panel snow problems are usually minimal. However, there are a few things that you should know about the implications of winter weather as you consider installing a solar energy system on your home:
All solar panels are designed to bear a certain amount of weight – and snow will usually not be heavy enough to cause issues. All solar panels undergo pressure tests to assess durability and quality. Ratings vary by panel, with higher pressure ratings indicating that your panels are better at withstanding the weight of heavy snow.
If snow covers your panels, they can’t produce power – but it’s easy to clean them off with the right equipment. Solar panels need sunlight to produce power, so if your solar panels are covered in snow, they will not generate electricity. Most panels are tilted at an angle, so snow will slide off on its own accord, but that can take time. You can take control of the situation by getting a solar panel snow rake or similar tool made for solar panel snow removal that won’t damage the panels.
Cold, sunny weather is actually good for panels. Winter months are actually good for solar energy production, as long as your panels aren’t covered by snow. Like most electronics, solar panels function more efficiently in cold conditions than in hot. This means that your panels will produce more power for each precious hour of sunshine during the short days of winter.