Frequently Asked Questions
Are the tax credits still available for solar?
Yes, the 30% federal tax credit that has helped to bring down the cost of solar down for years is still available through 2019. After 2019, the amount of tax credit steadily goes down over a course of years to 0.
What other incentives are available for Solar Installations?
It depends on where your home, business, or farm is located. Each customer situation is unique, and we tailor solutions to make the most of available incentives resulting in the best solar system with the best return on investment (ROI). Some popular incentives are:
1. The 5% property tax credit in Charlottesville
2. Charlottesville’s Low or no interest loans for solar
3. Accelerated depreciation for income generating solar systems.
4. The REAP Grant which provides up to 25% of the system cost for businesses and agricultural producers in our area.
Is my house right for solar?
All homes have a solar opportunity, just some are better than others. Ideally a south facing roof with no shading will make the most solar power per square foot of roof. But we earn our living by finding creative ways to make the most of your unique situation. We often build ground mounted solar systems away from the home or utilize outbuildings, to providing clean solar power as well as numerous other benefits. Considerable experience with all types of solar and the ability to think outside of the box allows us to create a great solar solution for most potential customers.
How do I compare one solar quote to another?
Just because one solar quote is less expensive than another does not mean that it is a better deal. A more expensive quote may just mean that the one system is larger or more productive than another. To compare quotes, first compare the price per watt charged for a system. If this number is not provided in the quote, simply divide the total price of the quote by the size of the system in watts. ie: a 10kW (1,000watt) system costing $25,000 is ($25,000/10,000) Watts or $2.50 a watt. After considering the cost per Watt, consider the quality of the installer’s solution to address your goals, their physical location (within 1 hours drive time is best), and the installers responsiveness and references. Happy customers are the mark of a great contractor.
How long should the solar system last?
A solar system properly designed and installed should last a very long time (minimum 25 years). We have customers who are still using systems that were installed in the 70’s. So when purchasing a solar system consider that you will be providing clean energy and benefits for your home and community for what seems like forever. A home with solar is worth more than one without and typically sells 3X faster than a similar home without solar. Because your solar system will be around for so long, it is important to pick an installer who cares almost as much about how a system looks as they do it’s performance. To an untrained eye, all solar systems look the same. Once you know, there truly is art in the execution of the best solar systems.
Are the tax credits still available for solar?
Yes, the 30% federal tax credit that has helped to bring down the cost of solar down for years is still available through 2019. After 2019, the amount of tax credit steadily goes down over a course of years to 0
How long are solar systems warranted?
Solar systems typically come with two types of warranties; the installer workmanship warranty or the manufacturer’s warranty. The installer warranty, ours is 10 years, covers the labor it takes to replace any faulty equipment that may go bad or fix any problems related to the solar system. The Manufacturer’s warranty covers the parts cost associated with the replacement of faulty equipment. Panels carry a 25 year warranty, inverters and optimizers 10 years extendable to 20, and racking 20 years. All of the equipment should last well past their warranty period.
Should I put a snow retention system on my panels?
When snow falls on panels at night, it freezes in place. Once the sun hits these panels, even when they are beneath snow, they heat up quickly and melt the layer of snow just above the panels. The snow can then quickly slide off the roof damaging gutters and objects and people below. We do not always recommend or install solar panel mounted snow retention systems, but will if conditions warrant. Oftentimes what may be damaged by falling snow is vastly more valuable than the small cost outlay for such systems.
How long will the installation of my solar system take?
In most cases the work of a solar system will take around a week when accounting for weather. The design, permitting, inspection, and utility interconnection process takes longer. Most of our projects can be completed and up and running within 6 to 8 week of contract signing.
If I have a solar system, will I have power when the grid goes down?
Most Grid Tied Solar systems are designed to stop working when the grid goes down. This helps to protect line workers. Battery Backup systems are an exception to this rule.
Why doesn’t everyone add batteries to their solar system?
Cost. Batteries are expensive as batteries are battery capable inverters, not to mention the significant amount of electrical rewiring to the home electrical panel needed to make it ready for a battery backup system. Battery backup systems include a relatively large number of switches, fuses, and operations which make battery backup systems more prone to failure and maintenance.
Should I re-roof before installing solar?
If your roof is nearing the end of its useful life, it is often a good idea to re-roof before installing solar panels designed to last 25+ years. When we conduct a site visit, we will inspect the condition of the roof and if re-roof makes sense we will let you know. Most of the time, re-roofing is not required, however, if it is, we will assist you in locating a qualified roofer to handle the job. On a positive note, it is possible to apply the 30% federal tax credit to the section of your roof that will be covered by the solar system, bringing your cost for a new roof down.