Frequently Asked Questions

1.   Is my home good for solar?

A lot of things affect how well-suited your home is for solar, including where your home is, the angle of your roof, how much shade it gets throughout the day, and how old your home is.

Another good thing to note is that the more you spend on electricity the more solar will make sense financially.

2.   How many solar panels will my home need?

Every household is different. When determining the number of solar panels your home needs, consider the following questions:

  • How much power do I need? Check your electric bills to see how many kilowatt-hours (kW) you use throughout the year. We’ll go over this with you in detail during your free solar consultation to figure out how many solar panels you would need to produce the amount of power you consume.
  • What’s your climate like? The number of panels you need depends on how much sun reaches the ground where you are.
  • How much direct sun hits your roof? Shading, which direction your roof faces, and any aesthetic preferences you have can impact how big your system needs to be.
3. Can I afford to go solar?

If you can afford to pay your electricity bill you can afford to go solar! That is not a sales pitch that is the truth. If you can not save money then we will not sell you a solar system. $0-down solar financing options make it easy for homeowners with good credit to start saving on their electricity bills by going solar. When you combined the already less expensive cost of going solar vs. staying with your current utility with state, federal and utility incentives then the economics of going solar really start to get exciting !

4.   Why do you need my historical electricity usage?

Your historical electricity usage allows us to design an accurate solar system that is the right size for your home.

Electricity usage varies from person to person and from season to season. That’s why we request a full year of your electricity bills so we can build a system that’s right for you.  This is very easy to obtain from either your utility login page or by calling your utility company.

5.   What Rebates and Tax Credits are available?

This depends on which state you live in and also the utility company you purchase your power from. You can find information on state incentives at dsire.com  . You can also search your utility companies website for Utility rebates and incentives for solar. The most common solar incentives include state tax credits, net metering and rebates from your local utility. No matter what state you live in, you’ll also be eligible for the federal solar tax credit when you purchase your own solar system. Incentives change annually and most incentives do have a cap on them . To get the most up to date information on what incentives you are eligible for simply shoot us a quick message or sign up for a free custom solar proposal.

6. How Long Do Solar Panels Last?

The short answer is – A long time! Solar panels have an expected lifespan of at least 25 years (there are panels installed in the 1970s that are still generating power), and they are typically warrantied for 25 years. They are generally made with tempered glass that is rated to withstand a direct vertical impact of a one-inch diameter hail stone traveling 50 miles per hour.

7. What are the financial benefits of solar energy?

When you install a solar energy system on your property, you save money on your electricity bills and protect yourself against rising electricity rates in the future. How much you can save depends on the utility rates and solar policies in your area, but going solar is a great investment regardless of where you live. Food for thought If you called up your utility and asked them to lock in your rate and also give you a set term of 12 years and then you would like to be done paying what do you think they would say? Huh? Exactly. But that is what solar can do for you! It provides a means to an end of a bill that everyone pays.

8. Do Solar Panels Work In The Winter?

Yes. But we don’t want you to think they work with 1 foot of snow on top of them… The nice thing is that Solar Panels are essentially glass and snow does slide off of them fairly easy, especially with steeper roofs. Overall Snow is not as big of a problem as most people think. Most homeowners do nothing about the snow. We also design your system based on the last 50 years’ weather patterns which assume a certain amount of snow each year and therefore days with little to no production. Solar panels actually produce more efficiently in cold weather compared to a hot summer day. But the difference is the sun is obviously out a lot more in the summer than it is in the winter. Therefore you will produce much more power in the summer compared to the winter.

9. How Much Does Solar Cost?

This depends on a few factors and will vary from company to company as with anything you buy. Here are the things you need to know. 1. How many solar panels do you need? 2. What type of equipment do you want? 3. Are you looking for the lowest price? Or the best quality? Best overall value?  Typically the saying “you get what you pay for” rings true. Just know what you are looking for. Its ok to look for the lowest price. It’s ok if you want top tier service. In our experience we have found overall most folks are looking for the best of both worlds and are looking for the best value.  At Optimum Solar we have positioned ourselves to be able to offer really good pricing combined with great service. We are not trying to accommodate the lowest price because we don’t want to sacrifice quality and the things we know are important to our customers. Conversely, we are also not trying to oversell our services and overprice our offering. We would like to help as many folks go solar as possible and have a great experience in doing so. If we can’t save you money than we won’t sell you a solar system.

10. Will my solar panels generate electricity during cloudy, rainy, or snowy days? What about at night?

Your solar panels don’t need sunshine, per se, to generate electricity as much as they need direct, unobstructed access to the sun’s UV rays.

Similar to how your skin still tans when it’s overcast outside, your solar panels will still generate electricity during cloudy, rainy, or snowy days — they just won’t produce as much energy as they do during clear days.

Solar panels do not generate electricity at night since the sun’s not out. This is when staying connected to the power grid comes in handy and this is where you will utilize your utility companies “net metering” program which essentially credits you for electricity produced during the day and then you are able to use those credits at night.

11. What is net metering?

You currently have an electric meter on your property to record how much energy your home or business uses every month. Then at the end of the month you get a bill for that amount used.

When you switch to solar energy, you’ll have an electric meter that works both ways:

  1. It will show the utility company how much energy you consume from the “grid” your utility company each month.
  2. It will also show how much energy your solar panels back feed into the grid when your solar system was producing energy that you were not using at that moment. Then you will get “credits” for this energy that you can use at a latter time ( at night time for instance when the sun isn’t out and your solar panels are not producing)

You see, when you go solar you will always have 2 sources of power available. The Net Meter” combined with the components of your solar system is set up to push power into your home when you need it. Whether it’s from the Utility Company or your solar system depends on how much energy you are using and if the sun is out or not. The idea is at the end of the month the amount of energy you have consumed and the amount your system has produced even out and you have a $0 bill. (assuming you have the space to offset all of your usages)

12. Will installing solar panels damage my roof?

If anything, solar panels will protect your roof from damage and may even keep your home cooler. Make sure the installers are licenced and insured and also pay attention to the “roof warranty” section in your agreement. Many companies offer 10+ years on roof penetrations. In our experience , if your system is installed correctly than you are not going to have a leak ! However if your roof is not in great shape than it may be best to replace your roof before installing solar. Our team will assess your roof during our “site survey” and your roof may be denied if it’s in to bad of shape. 

13. How does solar energy benefit the environment?

Solar power is a renewable resource, which means there’s so much of it freely available we never have to dig for coal or refine other toxic energy sources just to keep the lights on. Solar power, like other renewable energy sources , has many environmental and health benefits. Going solar reduces greenhouse gas emissions, which contribute to climate change, and also results in fewer air pollutants like sulfur dioxide and particulate matter, which can cause health problems. Obviously there are big debates politically in regards to global warming and the causes but I think we can all agree that Utilizing the suns power to generate electricity is a much smarter way to produce power.

14. What happens if I sell my solar house?

If you own your solar energy system, your house will sell at a premium: studies have shown that solar increases property values. However, if you lease your system, that is not the case. You will need to either buy out your lease before you sell your home, or work with your leasing company to transfer the lease agreement to the home’s new owner. At Optimum Solar Group we do like to make sure our customers plan to be in their home for at least 2-3 years so that equity can accrue and the amount of money they owe on the system vs the sales price of the system puts them in a positive situation.

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

If you live in the city and have a current utility company then no you do not need batteries. If you are in a remote location with no electricity available then yes you will need batteries. Solar power systems that include solar batteries, known as solar-plus-storage, are increasingly popular, but can be pricey. Luckily, batteries are not necessary for most solar homeowners. As long as you are connected to the grid, your system does not need a battery: excess power goes back into the grid, and you can draw from the grid if you need more electricity than your panels can generate.

Need more answers? Download our free buyers guide to the right or schedule a free consultation with an energy consultant.