All of your questions on solar, answered.
Why switch to solar?
Is solar energy financially feasible?
The best part is the monthly payments are predictable and will not increase unlike your standard utility bill.
Do solar panels increase the value of my home?
Yes. A home solar panel system can increase the value of your home and also make it more appealing to potential buyers.
A 2019 study found that homes with solar sell for 4.1% more than homes without.
Why do you need my utility bill to calculate my system cost?
We use this information to size your system accordingly to eliminate as much of your existing utility bill as possible.
If you ever hear the term “offset”, they’re referring to how much energy your solar will cancel out your standard electrical bill. Our target is 100% or more if allowed!
What is Net Metering?
When your solar panels produce more energy than required of your home, the energy is sent back to the grid. Your utility then pays you for the energy at a specified rate.
Is it true the Federal Government is giving rebates for switching to solar?
Yes, it is true!
For all projects installed in 2010, the Federal Government is giving you 26% of the total system cost back in the form of a rebate.
This is based on your taxable income and current financial situation, so it’s best to ask your tax professional how this would affect you.
The Investment Tax Credit (ITC) was first offered in the Energy Policy Act of 2005. Due to its popularity and volume of solar being installed, the ITC has been extended several times. It was originally set to expire in 2007, but for the entirety of 2020 you’ll be eligible for 26% credit, 2021 a 22% credit, and is now set to completely expire on Jan1, 2022.
I want solar, but don't have the cash to pay for the system. How does the Tax Credit work if I get a loan to pay for it?
This is the most common scenario, yet some companies fail to paint you a clear picture around it.
Many companies offer a $0-down loan to allow homeowners to make the switch to solar energy. The loan is structure to allow low payments right from the start, so the customer doesn’t feel the pain of a large down payment.
The solar loan companies (ex. LoanPal, Sunlight), allow you to pay a smaller amount at the beginning because you won’t have access to the Federal Tax Credit until you file your taxes the following year.
These loans are structured in a way so that in 18 months, you’ll be obligated to invest that tax credit back into the loan. This allows your payments to stay exactly the same as before the credit. Should you choose not to invest the credit back into the loan, your loan payment will increase.
The warranties for solar are directly from the manufacturer. The industry standard is generally a performance warranty guaranteeing 80% of a panel’s performance through 25 years. Some are better and guarantee 85% of nominal power up to 25 years.
The standard warranty for your inverter is 12 years, with extended warranty options often available up to 25 years.
Installation & Maintenance
Is my house suitable for solar panels?
Determining if your house is suitable for solar panels depends on a few factors.
- Do you have shade on your roof from chimneys, trees, other buildings, etc.?
- What condition is your roof in?
- Is your electric bill over $50/mo?
How long does it take to install a system?
The vast majority of systems are able to be installed within 1 or 2 days.
Is it possible to add more solar panels down the road?
Yes, however you’ll need to go through all of the same steps you did during the initial installation.
How can you guarantee the output of the system?
The installation company will have an engineer run the calculations that estimates the annual production, and this will be tested after one year.
If after year one it is within 5% of the expected production, you’re good to go. If it’s outside that range, the issue will be fixed and adjusted as needed.
Who is responsible for repairing the roof if it's damaged during installation?
The installation company is responsible for any damages that may occur during installation.
What happens if I need work done on my roof and the panels need to be removed?
The installation company can be paid to temporarily remove them and re-install them once the work on your roof is finished.
What happens if the power goes out?
Solar does not work during a power outage unless you have a battery backup system.
How do I keep animals from going under my solar panels?
Most solar contractors provide the option to purchase “pest abatement”. This is essentially a wire case that goes around the edges of the solar panels to prevent anything from getting underneath and affecting the wiring.
Who handles the HOA application?
You or your sales rep can assist you with the HOA application. Your HOA cannot legally prevent you from getting solar.
Cost & Ownership
How do I get a "zero bill"?
Because NV Energy limits you to 100% offset at an 81% export rate with a fixed monthly charge, $12.50 is the lowest bill you can achieve at the current rates
Are there recurring costs other than the monthly loan payment?
No. There are no recurring payments aside from your monthly loan payment. If you own, you are responsible for maintenance costs should issues arise.
Should I own or lease?
Owning is the better option 10 times out of 10.
If you can’t own, leasing still works. It will likely still be cheaper than your standard utility bill, although you will remain subject to rate increases just as you currently are with NV Energy.
If you lease, the solar company will most likely handle your maintenance.
What if I lease the system and move?
If you are leasing the system, the next homeowner can get approved to take over the lease. Alternatively, you can pay for the rest of the system and add value to the home sale price.
Who owns the system at the end of the lease?
At the end of the lease, you’re often given the opportunity to buy it at the assessed fair market value.
Who receives the tax credit?
Whoever purchased the system gets the tax credit the following year.
What does solar mean for my homeowner's insurance?
You may need to increase the amount of coverage on your home to account for the cost of the system, which can raise your premium. It’s best to contact your insurance company to ask about your specific scenario.