Unless you are paying cash for your system, there is nothing out of pocket. When properly sized, solar should save you money. There are some cases where savings is realized over the long-term, but for the average homeowner savings is achieved day 1. I’m talking ownership, tax credit, increased home value, monthly savings and of course cleaner living.
No, you are always connected to your utility. Though the main idea is to send electricity to the grid for credits from your utility, the system is still designed to receive power at night, high usage times of the day, and months where light hours are low. Unless there is a power outage, you are never without electricity.
Unlike computers, solar technology the past 20-30 years has been fundamentally the same. With advances, the efficiency or amount of light a panel can turn into electricity has increased, but these subtle changes have not made previous version obsolete. If today, I can install 25 panels on your home that cover all of your electrical need, does it matter if 5 years from now it only takes 23 panels? I have already provided the electricity you needed, and you’ve been saving the entire time. Don’t wait. Tax credits are being reduced and the utility companies continue to roll out less attractive solar programs.
Everyone is entitled to reduce their carbon footprint and save money. You may receive a slight discount from your employer, but solar saves a ridiculous amount more. I have worked with several utility company employees that are extremely happy they made the switch. References available.
In light of COVID-19 and the concern for person to person contact, Green Light Energy is taking all precautions to protect you and its employees. There are many circumstances in which customers may not feel comfortable with someone in their home. We understand. Most don’t realize that we can, and have always been able to provide solar consultations without being in your home. Via phone or video conferencing we are able to discuss and highlight the benefits of going green. Every aspect of the process can be altered to accommodate these situations. Also, solar installs are on the exterior of your home and in most cases do not require home entry or direct contact.
In most cases, the second you penetrate your new roof you are voiding the installation warranty from your roofing company. But, but, but.. most solar companies offer 10-25 year penetration warranties for the anchor points on your roof. Unless the roof is brand new the typical 10 year workmanship warranty offered by your roofer is extended with this protection in most cases for the areas work is performed.
Solar, like swimming pools and granite counter tops, has become a desired feature for homebuyers. Green homes sell faster and for higher value than similar models without solar. There were issues with the transfer of leased systems in the past, but the industry has made the necessary adjustments to allow homeowners to pass on the payment or ask for the value in their home’s asking price. Check out our Buy / Sell a Solar Home page for more information!
Our purchase option holds a longer, more inclusive warranty coverage package. Initially leasing was the easy choice as the basic 20 years protection made solar attractive. We now offer 25 years all-inclusive which is also backed by a secondary company on all purchases. Additional benefits being added value to the home and tax credit eligibility. Keep in mind, when you own your system, once it is paid off the electricity production is free and the savings snowballs.
When the electricity goes out, your solar is out as well. No power in, no power out. The only way to keep your home powered is with back-up storage. The most common sources are battery back-ups or generators. Either can be connected to your home, and each has its benefits.
There are many companies that market “Free” solar to draw you in. Most relate this to the ability to install solar with no money down, making the installation seem free. In reality, once installed you either pay to rent the equipment (Lease), pay for the electricity produced (Power Purchase Agreement), or pay for the panels (Ownership). All cases should save you money in comparison to your current utility rates, but we can help you decide which option is best for you.
At one time this was possible. There was a point where utility companies were paying a premium for any excess electricity produced. Early solar customers would install oversized systems that helped pay off or compensate them with the extra production. Over the years utility companies have continued to reduce the value given to excess generation. Currently, credits for solar generation only average 2-4 cents per kilowatt hour, depending on the utility company. This amount does not cover the cost of adding extra panels. Thus, it is important not to oversize your solar system to be most efficient with your savings potential.
There are many capable individuals out there that could install their own solar, but installing is only one piece of the project. Ask any solar consultant and they will tell you, years later they still drive by homes that said they would install their own system, but have no solar. That is because solar companies provide more than the installation. Where one could potentially save a couple thousand dollars doing it themselves, efficiency evaluations, planning, design, maintenance, monitoring and warranty combined, far exceed the value saved. Furthermore, the peace of mind in having a turn-key installation from a reputable company can be worth its weight in gold.
Size doesn’t matter. The number of panels needed truly depends on the amount of electricity that is needing to be produced. For example, some large newly built homes with the latest in energy efficiency may use less electricity than a small older home with no insulation. Also, the number of people, large appliances and personal living habits all contribute to electrical demand. Small demand equals fewer panels while large demand requires a larger system. Thus, solar is specific to your home and lifestyle, making each of our proposals a custom solution to your energy concerns.
While the home value does increase, many states (California included) have protections in place to prevent property tax increases. Don’t fear saving money!
While you are still billed by your utility company, it is not for electricity production. Post-solar, you continue to receive monthly utility billing statements that consists of gas charges, minimum service charges for electricity (connection fees), and any nonbypassable charges. The electrical portion on average should fall between $5 and $20 depending on programs you may be enrolled in. The bulk of your billing pre-solar was electricity generation and transmission. This portion of the billing is now gone, and covered by your solar production. Unless you paid cash, your solar payment should be fixed and less than you previously were paying the utility for both generation and transmission. Yes, technically there are two bills, but not double the amount. The only time you would pay for additional electricity production is if you use more annually than the solar system produced. This is called a "true-up" bill.
This is one of the most common questions regarding solar. Properly sized solar systems, unless specifically altered at the customers request, should cover 100% of that home's last 12 months usage. Meaning, the amount of electricity used over the year should be produced by the proposed solar system. 100% is the target, as it is not cost effective to oversize, and undersizing leaves any remaining electricity to come from the utility at their increasing rates. Panels are fixed in their ability to produce and limited to creating a certain amount of electricity. They should not be expected to overproduce and provide at will. Any electricity used above and beyond what the panels provide spills over to an annual bill from the utility company called a “True-up”. The horror stories of solar typically involve a true-up and a miss-informed customer. Solar education is critical.
While any solar install is better than continued dirty energy usage with rising costs, your system is only as good as the company that installs it. Install issues, production deficiencies, maintenance lead times, and warranty claims are a true gauge and reflection of the company. Solar has been a volatile industry, seeing even a few of its largest leaders fall, leaving reduced and voided warranties. Know who you are working with, and what to expect. All solar companies are NOT the same.
Solar production comes from light, not heat. Thus, the amount of solar generation is dependent on the amount of light hours in a day. Though some of our longest light hour days come at the peak of summer, high heat can actually negatively affect solar production. Colder climates do just as well with solar.
There is a way in which you can become more efficient with your solar production. As all Californians will be switching over to the new time-of-use rates, once you go solar, the switch is made for you immediately. Time-of-use rates charge customers based on the time of day at which they are using electricity. Utility companies took a look at when they are having to supply the greatest amounts of electricity to their customers. They noticed their peak production times were afternoons. They then decided to bill based on usage during this period. For example, peak hours between 3pm & 8pm are charged at a higher rate than usage before 3pm. Since solar customers under this rate plan actually receive credits based on the same time-of-use schedule, it is important to strategize. Use electricity during lower credit periods, ie. before 3pm or after 8pm. During the peak period try to send as much electricity to the utility for higher credit reserves. Wash clothes in the mornings or late evenings. Set pool pumps to run over night. A savvy solar customer with west facing panels can typically generate additional credit than originally projected.
I’ve had solar panels on my roof for 8 years now and have not touched them once. Solar panels have no moving parts, so the chances of failure are reduced. Depending on where you live, the region, and your surroundings, natural elements could play a part in creating dusty panels. For most, the rains take care of this. For others, an annual cleaning may be necessary to keep production levels at their best. Either way, the amount saved by having solar far outweighs any cost of an annual cleaning, if needed.
Green Light Energy combines 20+ years of home improvement sales with solar expertise. Bringing homeowners the very best in energy efficient products, while making sure the customers needs and concerns are met, we focus on long-term custom solutions to rising utility costs.