Solar Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

By : Next Level Energy | August 28, 2018

We have made a sample list of frequently asked questions that covers the use of solar for your home or business.

Are there enough good reasons to go solar?

solar faqs

1. If I go for solar energy, what are the financial benefits ?

You save a lot of money on your electricity bills and get protected against increasing electricity costs in the future when you install a solar energy system on your property. The amount of savings you will make is dependent on the utility rates and solar policies in your area. Regardless of where you might be living, solar is a smart investment.

2. What are the environmental benefits of solar energy?

Just like other renewable energy resources, solar power has numerous health and environmental benefits. There is a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions when you go solar. Solar is a great contributor to climate change and air pollutants reduction. It also helps to reduce these attached environmental problems that can create health issues.

 3. How can I find out how much I pay for electricity?

We recommend that you take a look at your utility electricity bill to find out how much you pay for electricity and your monthly electricity use. It is the quickest and easiest method.

4. What is the meaning of net metering?

Net metering is simply explained as a system that allows solar energy system owners to be credited for the electricity produced by their solar panels. When you are on net metering, you are only charged for the electricity that you consume beyond your supplied unused generated energy. Please be informed that net metering policies are not the same in all states.

 5. Does solar impact my property values positively or negatively?

Diverse studies have revealed that homes that are installed with solar energy systems sell incredibly faster than homes without them. Nevertheless, you should note that leasing a solar energy system doesn’t increase your property value. Your property value increases only when you own your solar energy system.

How do solar panels work for my home?

6. How do solar photovoltaic (PV) panels work?

Throughout the day, solar panels absorb the energy in the sun and get it converted into direct current (DC) electricity. Majority of homes and businesses operate on alternating current (AC) electricity. This means that before the energy is converted to usable AC electricity, the DC is made to pass through an inverter. At this junction, you may choose to utilize the electricity in your house or send it back to the electric grid.

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

It is the availability of sunlight that will determine the amount of power your solar energy system can generate. This means that when the weather is cloudy, you get less energy produced by your solar panels and no energy at night. Nevertheless, even if you reside in a cloudy city, solar is still a good idea because of high electricity costs and financial incentives

8. What if there is a snow on solar panels?

If your panels are covered in snow,  they can’t produce electricity because solar panels convert sunshine into power. It is unlikely for snow to cause structural issues with your panels because it isn’t heavy enough and it is likely to slide off since most panels are tilted at an angle.

9. Can I go off grid with solar panels?

You will still be connected to the grid when you install solar panels on your property. This permits you to draw from the grid when all the power you need is not produced by your system. You can go off the grid with a solar energy system that includes battery storage but we don’t recommend this to homeowners because it’s not necessary and would cost a whole lot more.

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

Yes of course, you will still receive a bill from your utility unless you are fully off the grid and your solar energy system includes battery storage. However, it is possible to reduce your bill drastically or even reduce your owed amount to $0 if you procure a solar panel system that matches exactly your energy consumption.

11. Do solar panels work in a blackout?

In the case of a blackout and your solar panel system is connected to the grid, it will shut off. The essence of this is to curb your panels from injuring electricity utility repair-people and emergency responders. Still, you can make purchase of some inverters that give you backup power in a blackout.

 12. How much will solar panel maintenance cost?

Your solar panel system needs little or no maintenance for the 25 to 35 years they will be generating power because it is made of durable tempered glass. In fact, there is no need for you to clean your solar panels regularly. If something eventually goes wrong, there are warranties that cover them. These warranty terms however depend on the company.

What are my solar financing options?

13. What solar energy rebates and incentives are available?

Solar rebates and incentives differ based on your area of residence. The most substantial is the 30 percent federal investment tax credit (ITC), which gives you the freedom of subtracting 30 percent  of your solar energy system’s cost from your taxes. There are additional tax credits that are offered by some states.

14. What are my solar financing options?

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

15. Should I buy or lease my solar panel system?

Your reasons for going solar are what would determine if you’re buying or leasing your solar energy system. If you want to maximize the financial returns of your solar energy system, we recommend that you purchase your system. If you just want to reduce your energy bills and help the environment in an easy and maintenance-free way, you may consider leasing a solar. The choice is yours.

16. Which is better – solar loans or solar leases?

Both solar loans and solar leases have their pros and cons. The major advantage of the two is that there is a reduction in your monthly electricity bills and an environmental improvement.

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

The main difference between secured and unsecured solar loans is that you require to promise an asset as a collateral (which is usually your home) for secured solar loans while you do not require collateral to borrow money on unsecured solar loans but you will be paying a higher interest rates as compensation for the increased risk the lender is taking.

18. How do I choose the best solar loan?

To chose the best solar loan that is best suitable for you, we recommend you to make a comparison of distinct options from a few different financing providers.

Am I ready for solar?

19. Can I afford to go solar?

So far you can afford to pay your electricity bill, yes, you can afford to go solar.

20. Is my roof suitable for solar panels?

The ideal roof for installing solar is southerly facing roofs with little to no shade with sufficient space to fit a solar panel system.

 21. What size solar energy system should I get?

It is the weather of the area you live and your monthly electricity use that will determine the size of your solar energy system. We suggest that you take a look at your previous electricity bills and make comparisons from licensed solar installers to ascertain the perfect system size for your needs.

 22. Do I need to replace my roof before installing solar?

It can be very costly to remove and reinstall solar energy systems if you need to make a replacement. Solar energy systems can last for 25 to 35 years. Nevertheless, if there is a need to make repairs on your roof, do them and ensure the completion before you finish installing your solar.

23. How long will my solar power system last?

Solar panels are durable and resistant to wind, hail and snow. At different times, you will need to replace various components of your solar power system but your system should continue to serve its main function of generating electricity for 25 to 35 years.

24. What happens if I sell my solar house?

If you have your own solar energy system, you will sell your solar house at a premium because of its solar value. However, the case is different if you lease your system.

How do I evaluate solar quotes?

25. How do I choose a solar installer?

There are certain criteria you must consider when choosing a solar installer. Make sure you confirm that they are insured, licensed, certified and have enough experience.

26. How do I compare solar quotes?

It might be a bit herculean to compare multiple quotes from different solar installers because it’s not the same underlying assumptions and metrics that are used by all solar installers.

27. What are the different types of solar panels?

At NextLevelEnergy, we group solar panels into three distinct categories: Economy, Standard, and Premium. Premium performs best but with higher price tag, Economy panels are low-priced with low durability.

28. What are the different types of power inverters?

There are three types of power inverters. They are, microinverters, string/centralized inverters, and power optimizers.

29. What happens during the solar power installation process?

The first thing you need to do while going solar is to register on NextLevelEnergy where you can receive and make comparison of numerous installation quotes. The actual installation takes a day or two to complete.

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

If you need detailed information on the amount of energy your solar panel system is producing, you are at liberty to enquire from your installer about solar monitoring system options.

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

For most solar homeowners, batteries are not necessary. In as much as you are connected to the grid, your system doesn’t require a battery.

 What is shared solar?

32. How is this different from rooftop solar?

You receive a part of the generated energy from a large solar panel system if you buy into a community solar project. In contrast to home solar panel system, you don’t install community solar project on your roof.

33. How should I evaluate my options?

Foremost, make a decision if you prefer to own your share or find a subscription-based program. If you decide to go for ownership, this implies that you’ll be making an up-front investment in order to save money in the future. If you decide to go for subscription-based programs, you can make savings over a set period of time.

34. What if I move or have to cancel?

You can keep your share of the community solar project if you move, provided that your new home is within the same service area. If you relocate outside the service area, you are requested to sell your share if they are yours, transfer a subscription to another account or you may make an early payment of cancellation fee (if you choose a subscription-based model). Terms for cancellation are different based on project and provider.

35. How does it save me money?

Your unavailability to install solar panels on your roof is no longer a problem when you invest in community solar. You save money and enjoy electricity in your home or business. You don’t have to buy electricity at standard utility rates when you’re participating in a community solar project because you’re paying less for solar electricity.

36. How will it appear on my electric bill?

If you subscribe to a community solar project or you own a share, you will receive virtual net metering credits on your electric bill from your utility. 

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