Frequently Asked Questions
How do solar systems work?
Solar photovoltaic (PV) panels convert sunlight to electricity. The panels are usually connected into the electric grid and directly power your home, which allows you to pull less, or during certain times, no electricity from the utility.
How long will a solar system last?
SunPower systems are guaranteed for 25 years, though they are engineered for over 40 years. Other solar panels vary and performance can degrade faster over time, so it’s important to demand better solar!
How much will I save with a solar energy system?
Your energy use and the size of your solar energy system will determine your actual savings amount. With little or no startup costs, systems start paying for themselves immediately and increase each year as the cost of electricity rises. A typical return on investment is usually about 15-20%.
How much will solar increase my property’s value?
Solar homes appreciated 17%, and sold 20% faster on average than the non-solar homes, according to a recent study by the (NREL) National Renewable Energy Laboratory. In fact, a study in California estimates that purchasing solar can increase the resale value of your home by more than $5,000 per kilowatt added.
Are SunPower solar panels better?
Not all solar systems are created equal. Of all solar panels on the market, SunPower panels convert the MOST amount of sunlight into electricity. Our solar panels generate more power than conventional panels within the same amount of space and you’ll need fewer solar panels to produce the energy you need. You can maximize your available roof space to choose the best, unobstructed location for electricity production.
How much will a solar system cost?
The cost of your solar system depends on several factors including: your current energy usage, your available unshaded roof space, your utility’s net metering policy and other factors. There are ways that a ‘ball-park’ price can be given through an online tool, however these are often not accurate because there are many variables to consider. We recommend getting a free site consultation; we’ll create a proposal with all of the costs and incentives included.
Are prices going to drop quickly in the near future? Is it better to wait?
While it is likely that prices will continue to decline slowly, a much bigger impact on the final price you pay are the incentives. The biggest and most effective incentive is currently available only until the end of 2018.
So, how do I save money with solar?
The main savings from installing solar is replacing your expensive and volatile electricity bill with a new source of more stable and cheaper power. Your power bill is rising each year, and most estimates calculate that your bill will be 2-3 times more expensive in 20-years. So when you install solar you are signing up for cheaper power.
What is net metering?
Solar panels or other renewable energy generators are connected to a public-utility power grid and surplus power is transferred onto the grid, allowing customers to offset the cost of power drawn from the utility. Essentially you are charged for power you use and credited for power you produce, which will be the total amount you owe; that accounting process is called “net-metering.”
Do solar panels generate electricity in bad weather?
Solar panels need sun to generate electricity, but even in areas with bad weather your system will still produce. Solar systems continue to produce even when it's cloudy, your panels just produce less of what they normally would. If you live in a cloudy area, or an area with seasonal snow, your expected weather conditions will be factored into our estimates for your energy production.
Do solar systems require maintenance?
Home solar systems generally require very little maintenance and are maintained by our natural weather cycle.
Will I have power during a blackout?
Not without a battery backup system. In the event of a blackout, your inverter will automatically shut down for safety reasons, thus you will not have electricity until power is restored to the grid.
Do I need a battery backup system?
No, you will not need batteries for storage. However, as the price of batteries comes down, and their benefits are better understood, batteries will likely become a more affordable and mainstream technology. So you can go solar now, and add batteries later, or do both! If you live in an area with frequent blackouts, or having power is critical, you should speak with your local installer about battery backup systems. Battery backup systems do add costs to the overall project, but remember the incentives apply to the complete cost of the system.