Solar Energy FAQ
Solar power is a relatively simple form of energy production but there are a lot of misconceptions about this energy source. The solar energy FAQ section below is a list of frequently asked questions about solar for your home or business. If you have additional or unanswered questions and you need to speak to us, please call Kiss Electric at (215) 547-0603.
There are many benefits of using solar. First, it’s eco-friendly – you are using the natural power of the sun to generate your own power. Second, you can reduce or eliminate paying the utility company. Third, you can protect yourself against rising electricity rates in the future by generating your own power. Fourth, there are tax benefits to installing solar in your home. The actual energy and tax saving depends on your state and your utility consumption. At Kiss, we can show how much you can save – just ask for a free estimate.
Solar power, like other renewable energy resources, 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.
The easiest way to find out how much you pay for electricity (and how much electricity you use per month) is to take a look at your utility electricity bill. The bill can be very confusing especially in deregulated states. In addition, most electricity rates change annually and if you are under contract with a reseller is can change often.
Net metering is the system that utilities use to credit solar energy system owners for the electricity produced by their solar panels. With net metering, you only pay for the electricity that you use beyond what your solar panels can generate. Net metering policies differ from state to state – please ask your Kiss Electrician for an explanation of net metering when considering a solar system.
Studies have shown that homes with solar energy systems sell for more than homes without them. However, your property value will only increase if you own, rather than lease, your solar panel system. In most parts of the country, going solar will actually increase your property value more than a kitchen renovation.
The solar panels absorb the sun’s energy via solar cells in the glass panels. The panels absorb and store the energy and convert it into direct current (DC) electricity. Most homes and businesses run on alternating current (AC) electricity, so the DC electricity is then passed through an inverter to convert it to usable AC electricity. At that point, you either use the electricity in your house or send it back to the electric grid.
The amount of power your solar energy system can generate is dependent on sunlight. As a result, your solar panels will produce slightly less energy when the weather is cloudy, and no energy at night. Even at low light – the panels can still generate electricity.
Solar panels convert sunshine into power, so if your panels are covered in snow they can’t produce electricity. Because of the dark colors, snow does not last long on the panels and because the panels are on a slope – snow clears very quickly.
When you install solar panels on your property your electric is still connected to the utility (the grid). This allows you to draw from the grid when your system is not producing all of the power that you need, and send power back to the grid when you produce more than you use. In order to get completely off the grid, you need to have a system that produces more energy than you use and battery systems to store excess energy. These systems cost significantly more and is unnecessary for the majority of homeowners.
Yes, you will always receive a utility bill. Depending upon your solar system there may be times when you bill is zero. Unless your solar energy system includes battery storage and you are fully off the grid, you will still receive a bill from your utility. However, you can dramatically reduce your bill, or even cut the amount you owe to $0, with a solar panel system that matches your energy use.
If your solar panel system is connected to the grid, it will shut off in the event of a blackout. This is to prevent emergency responders and electricity utility repair-people from being injured by your panels sending power back to the grid. However, there are certain inverters you can buy that provide backup power in a blackout when paired with a battery.
Solar panel systems are made of durable tempered glass and require little to no maintenance for the 25 to 35 years that they will generate power. Solar panels require little if any maintenance. If something does happen, most equipment manufacturers include warranties.
Solar rebates and incentives vary depending on where you live. The most significant is the 30 percent federal investment tax credit (ITC), which allows you to deduct 30 percent of the cost of your solar energy system from your taxes. Some states offer additional tax credits, and certain municipalities and utilities also offer cash rebates or other incentives. Check with you Kiss Solar representative for the best offers in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.
There are three solar financing options: you can purchase your system in cash, finance your purchase (we have lending partners standing by) or sign a solar PPA (lease/power purchase agreement). Your Kiss Solar representative will provide a free no-obligation detailed financial analysis so you can make the best financial decision.
The decision to buy or lease your solar energy system depends on your reasons for going solar. If you are interested in maximizing the financial returns of your solar energy system, buying the system is probably a better decision for you. However, if you prioritize an easy, maintenance-free way to reduce your energy bills and help the environment, you should consider a solar lease. Both are great options and your Kiss Solar representative will help you make the best decision.
Solar loans and solar leases each have advantages and disadvantages. Both options reduce your monthly electricity bills and your impact on the environment, but the terms and conditions of each type of agreement are different. The main difference is who owns the equipment and maintains the solar system. Kiss Solar will gladly review the options so you can choose the best option for your home.
Many different institutions offer solar loans, including local and national banks, specialty financing companies, manufacturers, and credit unions. Kiss Solar works with a few finance partners that understand the solar business and we offer very competitive options.
Solar Power is much more affordable than most people realize. Long ago, solar systems were really expensive but today the cost of materials and installation have come down to a point where anyone can really afford solar. If you can afford to pay your electricity bill you can afford to go solar. $0-down solar financing options, including both solar loans and solar leases, make it easy for homeowners with good credit to start saving on their electricity bills by going solar.
In general, roofs with south-facing with little to no shade and enough space to fit a solar panel system are ideal for installing solar. However, in many cases there are workarounds if your home doesn’t have the ideal solar roof. Kiss Electric will come to your home for a free no-obligation quote and provide installation options for your home.
The size of your solar energy system will depend on how much electricity you use on a monthly basis, as well as the weather conditions where you live. We will help you analyze your historic and future energy consumption and determine the right size solar system to fit your needs.
Solar energy systems can last for 25 to 35 years, and it can be costly to remove and reinstall them if you need to replace your roof. If your roof needs maintenance in the near term, you should complete it before you finish your solar installation.
In general, solar panels are very durable and capable of withstanding snow, wind, and hail. The various components of your solar power system will need to be replaced at different times, but your system should continue to generate electricity for 25 to 35 years.
If you own your solar energy system, your solar 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.
There are a few criteria that everyone should use when choosing a solar installer. Confirm that they are certified, licensed and insured, have relevant experience, and can provide references.
Kiss Solar offers several options of solar panels. We recommend certain panels for certain projects since each home is different. We will provide you with options and price ranges to meet your budget.
Power inverters convert the electricity your panels produce from direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC) power. There are three types of inverters: string/centralized inverters, micro inverters, and power optimizers.
There are several steps in the installation process. Step one is the initial quote where we can determine the ideal solar system for your project based on a site visit. Once the equipment is chosen we will send our installers out again to conduct a site visit to assess your property for installation. The equipment is ordered and delivered to the property where our installers will get to work assembling your system. Most projects take a few days from start to finish.
If you are interested in receiving detailed information about how much energy your solar panel system is producing, ask your Kiss Solar representative about solar monitoring system options. In many cases, solar lease agreements will include free programs to track your system’s performance. If you own your system you may need to pay for one separately.
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.