Solar Panel FAQs

How many solar panels are needed to power my home or business?

The number of panels required to power your home or business is determined by your annual electric usage, which we typically pull from a recent electric bill. After that we need to look at the available square footage of the roof or ground area we plan to install the panels. In an ideal situation we can fit enough panels on your roof or ground to get you to a 100% offset of your electricity. In some cases, the space is limited, and we must work with what we have available. It’s important to note that the percentage of offset has no implication on the efficiency or return on investment (ROI) for an array. The ROI is strictly determined by the amount of energy produced and the value of that energy.

What happens if my roof leaks?

Other than attaching the array to the roof, the secondary concern of racking manufactures is preventing leaks. The racking equipment is designed in a way that the only way leaks are possible is if the system is installed incorrectly. That is why we offer a 12-year workmanship warranty on our installs. This gives plenty of time for a leak to show up if there would be one. If a leak does occur, we work with you to repair / patch the leak as soon as possible to prevent any future damage.

What happens if I go to sell my house?

If your system is paid in full then the new homeowner’s just have to pay a small fee ($300) to Enphase to switch the system / warranties into their name. If the system is financed and there is still a balance on the loan, then the balance would be included in the sale of the house and the new homeowners would purchase the home without a loan for the system. 

What are the warranties of the system?

Both the panels and inverters are covered by a 25-year warranty. The panels do degrade slightly over time but need to be producing 85%+ at the end of 25 years. Because we live in an area with cooler climates for part of the year, you should expect a lower degradation over time. The inverters come with a full coverage 25-year warranty. If they fail at any point for any manufacture related issue they will be replaced. 

Is there a way to monitor the system?

Yes! Through the Enphase Enlighten app there are multiple ways to monitor the system. The system is connected to your homes WIFI and updates every 15 minutes. Not only can you see the total output of the system, but you can see the individual output of the panels. The app will also tell you if there are any issues with the system in general, or individual components. You can also tell if the system is functioning properly via some LEDs in the combiner panel. Your monthly utility statement will also have information about the amount of energy sold and received.

Does solar impact my property value and taxes?

Solar certainty adds value to the house, but it is tough to say by how much in this market because solar is still relatively new. If you were to go sell your house with solar the most important thing is to have a relator that understands how to market the array / house. There are two different ways of looking at the value of a solar array on a home or business; the cost of the equipment itself and the value of the energy it produces year after year. A lot of towns offer exemptions for solar systems, and more are being passed every year. You can find which towns offered exemptions last year here

What happens in the winter when it snows?

Living here in New England snow is inventible. For roofs with steep pitches, you will find the snow clears itself easily. As soon as the sun comes out the snow will start to heat and eventually slide right off. For roofs with less steep pitches it may be necessary to purchase a solar snow rake such as this one, which extends to the edge of the roof to expedite the snow removal. We are also conservative with our production values as we know the array will be covered for part of the year. 

What rebates are available for solar?

The biggest incentive for solar is the 30% Solar Investment Tax Credit (or Solar ITC), which gives you up to 30% off the total system cost in the form of a tax credit. You need to have enough Tax Liability to recoup the credit in a single year. Because we are not tax professionals, we strongly advise all homeowners to confirm their exact Tax liability and qualifications with a licensed CPA. More info about the tax credit can be found here. In addition to the ITC there is another financial incentive called Renewable Energy Credits. One REC is generated for every 1,000 kWh your array produces. This is in addition to and separate from your net metering credits and strictly based on overall production. As of right now each REC is worth a fixed rate of $27. So, if your array produces 10,000 kWh in a year you could expect about $270 annually in RECs.

Will my system work when the grid goes down?

If the grid goes down during a power outage, a grid tied solar array will also shut down. This is a safety feature to prevent energy back feeding during an outage. If someone were to be working on the lines and a system were to back feed the grid, they could get electrocuted. The only way to prevent this would be to install a battery system.

What is the deal with batteries?

We are currently not offering battery services here at 603 Solar. We do not feel as through battery technology has progressed far enough for us to confidently offer it to our clients. The are expensive, hard to implement with current code restrictions, have high component failure rates and have lots of service-related issues. The good news is the grid tied systems we are installing can have batteries installed after the fact, once the industry stabilizes. 

What is net-metering?

Net metering is the buying / selling of electricity with your utility provider. With solar you are constantly going to be in an ebb and flow with the utility company, both purchasing power from them and selling power to them. When you produce energy from your system that energy will first go towards powering any loads in the house. Once those loads are satisfied the excess energy will flow into the grid and you will be paid for that power. On the other end at night when your solar is not producing and you turn on a light you will buy that power from your utility. At the end of the month they look at how much power you sold to them, and how much power you purchased from them. If you sold more power than you purchased, you will be credited for the excess energy on your bill. The important take away is that the excess energy production is paid out at a reduced rate. That is why it is advantageous to use as much power as possible directly from the array, because the utility company will never see that power. 

Please note: Each utility company is a little different and we will review in detail how each company works. 

Have More Questions? Let’s Talk.

We are here to assist you. Contact us by phone at (603) 570-2607, or send us your question(s) by clicking on the “Contact Us” button.

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