Solar Panels – Frequently Asked Questions

PV Solar System DISCOVERY

How does solar power work?

A photovoltaic (PV) solar system includes solar panels, the racks for installing panels on your roof, some electrical wiring, and an inverter. As long as the sun is up, the solar panels can generate electricity that is sent to the inverter to convert the power so it can be used in a home. The electricity is then sent right to your home’s main electrical service panel and can be used throughout your house.

Does shade affect the solar system’s performance?

Shade can be an issue. Solar panels cannot give their optimal output if they cannot capture direct sunlight. Your solar installer will be able to look at your individual situation to provide options to make it work.

Will a solar system raise the cost of my property taxes?
A solar system may add value to your home, but it will not increase your property taxes.
How much money can I save by installing a solar energy system?

That depends on how much electricity you normally use as well as the size of the solar system you install. After the initial installation costs, the solar panel systems will pay for themselves over time. You can anticipate a typical return on investment of about 15-20%.

Will Installing Solar Panels Increase Your Property’s Value?

Yes, though the amount of increased value varies depending on where you live as well as the size of the system. In a study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, homes with solar panels appreciated in value by 17%. Also, homes with solar energy sold about 20% faster than non-solar homes.

How much does it cost to install a solar system?

The total cost of installing a solar panel system depends on your current energy usage, how much of your roof is unshaded, the size of the system that you have installed, and the local utility company’s net metering policy.

How do you maintain solar panels?

Most solar panels can be cleaned with a garden hose, but the amount of build-up and debris that can affect them depends on the tilt of the roof as well as the amount of dust and dirt in the area. It is recommended that you have your panels inspected annually to ensure that all of the electrical and mechanical connections are still in good working order.

What type of Electric Current do you use to analyze my Electric savings (kWh-DC or kWh-AC)?

 (Hint; Home electric consumption is kWh-AC same as your Electric Bill)

What is my solar system losses by converting DC to AC?

(DC to AC conversion can cause losses up to 30% of proposed kWh-DC)

What is your solar panel kWh-DC & kWh-AC output?

(Panels output size can be varying from 200-400 kWh, more Solar Panel doesn’t mean you will get more Electric power)

Which Brand and where does the Solar Panel made?

((Hint; Panels size is only one of the effecting parameters on your future savings)

What type of Solar Panel do you suggest?

(Monocrystalline or Polycrystalline silicon panels. Hint: Polycrystalline are cheaper and absorb less sunlight)

What type of testing method does your PV Solar Panel rated?

(Standard Test Conditions – STC, Performance Test Conditions – PTC, California Energy Commission – CEC)

What is Solar Panel Degradation?

(Solar system will lose partial of the production capability during the years)

Do you consider Solar Panel Degradation into estimate my long run savings?

(Hint; Any PV Solar Panel has degradation of performance during the time)

What type of inverter do you suggest?

(Central, Micro, Optimizer. Hint: Central Inverter is cheaper and cause critical energy losses to cause by shading & dirt)

What is the efficiency of the suggested inverter?

(Inverters has different efficiency that must took in consideration in your system output)

What is the effect of My Roof Sloop, Azimuth and shading on my PV Solar Output?

(The above can affect your system production up to 40% from suggested System Size in kWh-DC)

Do you provide monitoring to track my system performance?

(Monitoring is recommending in order to track your system performance as part of system warranty)

Which type of typical meteorological year (TMY) are you using to calculate my Solar Irradiation?

(TMY is officially method using by National Renewable Energy Laboratory -NREL)

What is Annual Insulation in my Home Geographic Location?

(Different location has different Irradiation, from one city to another)

 

Solar Panels – Utility DISCOVERY

Does my PV Solar system will cover 100% of my electric bill?

(In so, your utility provider will charge “Minimum Monthly Charge” and/or “Basic Charge”)

What is my Utility Minimum Monthly Charge?

(Accurate solar system can simply skip or reduced this unnecessary payments)

Do you consider My Utility Minimum Monthly Charge as part of my estimate savings?

(You deserve to know what is your actual savings to justified your decision on going solar)

What is the Utility escalation rate have been used on my estimate savings?

(Hint: Excessive electric escalation rate assumption sales better)

What are the sources of utility escalation rate?

(Accept only official data)

What is my local Baseline Region?

(Your Baseline Region is defining the amount of kWh usage in each Utility Tiers and might change between seasons. It is significantly effect on your potential saving analysis)

Solar Panels – Tax Savings DISCOVERY

Do I eligible for full Federal Tax Credit as same as Rebate?

(Rebate are subject to change, but if you lucky to get, Rebate have to deduct portion of tax credit- ITC)

Can I claim for Tax Deductions on Full Payments paid together with my property Tax (Common in use PACE PROGRAMS)?

(Hint, Check IRS Publication 17, section 22 & IRS Rev Rul. 79-201)

 

Solar Panels Financing DISCOVERY

What is the APR rates?

(Financing program fees sometime increasing loan rate dramatically)

Fix monthly Payment, Is it?

(Hint, Interest and system degradation should take into consideration as effective cost)

Affordable Solar- % down, 1st no payments?

(Hint, ask for accumulative Interest before first payment)

What is my Home Added value with PV Solar System?

(Need to define by officially appraisal. Solar system without Production guarantee consider as zero added home value)

 

Solar Panels – LEASE / PPA DISCOVERY

Where does my Incentives (30% Federal Tax Credit & Rebates) goes to?

(Hint, check your cost by adding your lost incentives)

Do you install the system yourself?

Most Lease companies are only one more investing managing group that provide your system to some local installer. Hint, ask about which panel brand you are using?)

What will be the misestimated system size in order to allows me to cancel the deal?

(The percentage differences between what you have been offered to what you really get can be vary up to 10% variance)

Low price per kWh?

(Monthly payment annually increases 0%-3% not far from US historical increasing electric rate. If no escalation rate indicated, probably your increasing cost is linked to the inflation)

Does suggested cost per kWh stay fix?

(Hint, Production guarantee reduced over the years together with the increasing or fix initial suggested rate)

What is your system Performance Guarantee?

(Your guaranteed price is what you get pay back if your system will not produce enough energy power under circumstance)

What is the effect of Performance Guarantee reduced by the time?

(Performance Guarantee reduced by the time, while your payments stay or increase over time)

Does solar lease can be safe and effective way to invest in a solar system?

(High level restriction and penalty of late payment, Non automatic payment, incentives losses, Guaranteed price differentiation, escalation rate, etc. might cause your electricity expanses to be much higher than you should pay to your local utility provider)

What does your Maintenance warranty include?

(Ask about dirty panels, shading of grown tree, storm damage, ball strike etc.)

What does Limited Warranty include?

(Insist of getting for review the full contract, not just the shiny proposal)

Are there any sales taxes on Monthly bills?

(Sales taxes or City taxes should be considered above Lease suggested price per kWh. Those taxes might not be Income Tax deductible)

When the Lease term ended, what will be the cost of my system?

(Hint, you might be offered to continue the lease in 10% off utility rates)

What is the non-auto charge fee?

(Unless you direct debit your monthly payments your monthly payment will increase in fix price)

Does Leasing PV Solar System Increased my home value?

(Resources dedicate that your home value will decrease due to the long-term obligation and potential customer barrier)

Do I lose the ownership of my roof?

(Hint, check what happened when you want to upgrade your roof)

What is my home sale fee (Seller/Buyer)?

(Hint; Credit Application cost for new buyer)

What are the requirements for new home buyer?

(Hint, Fico Score, Financing buyer and long term contract. “Leased solar panels can complicate – or kill -a home sale” LA Times).