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Frequently Asked Questions
Why do you need my address?
An address helps approximate system size and sunlight exposure. It also provides information necessary for investigating available incentives, rebates, etc. in your area.
How about my electric bill?
The electric bill is an important factor in the estimation process. It helps calculate how much you will save throughout the life of the solar energy system.
Do I have to upload my electric bill?
No, that is optional. But a copy of your electric bill will help us identify your local electricity utility or local distribution company (LDC)—useful information for the microFIT or upcoming net metering program. It also provides information on your usage performance—useful for calculating long term system payback scenarios.
Did you know?
According to a study by the U.S DOE—home buyers were willing to pay $15,000 more for a home with the average-size solar system (3.6 kilowatts)—or about four additional dollars per watt of solar power in California.
What is net metering?
Net metering is a policy that allows homeowners to receive the full retail value for the electricity that their solar energy system produces. Net metering allows homeowners with solar systems to use any excess electricity they produce to offset their electric bill. As the homeowner’s system produces electricity, the kilowatts are first used for any electric needs in the home. If the system produces more electricity than the homeowner needs, the extra kilowatts are fed into the utility grid.
How big a solar energy system do I need?
The size of solar system you need depends on several factors such as how much electricity, hot water or space heat you use, the size of your roof, and how much you’re willing to invest. It is also affected by whether the solar energy system is intended to supply your complete energy usage or to supplant a portion of your higher cost energy usage. You can perform a rough estimate of energy production and system cost at http://pvwatts.nrel.gov/. Solar system designers or installers will be able to provide you more accurate technical and economic analysis.
How much does a solar energy system cost, and how much will I save on utility bills?
There is no single or simple answer. This cost depends on a number of factors, such as the size of the system, and the particular system manufacturer, retailer, and installer. For solar water heaters and space heaters, you also have to consider the price of the fuel used to back up the system. In most cases, you would have to add the cost of natural gas or electricity to get a more accurate estimate of how much you can expect to pay for a solar energy system.
It is also difficult to say how much you will save with a solar energy system, because savings depend on how much you pay your utility for electricity or natural gas, and how much your utility will pay you for any excess power that you generate with your solar system. You can ask your solar system provider how much your new system will produce on an annual basis and compare that number to your annual electricity or hot water demand to get an idea of how much you will save.
Where can I find someone who designs, installs, and maintains solar energy systems?
A good way to begin the search is by talking with family members, friends, neighbors, and coworkers about their experience with local installers and checking online consumer reviews of your local installers. It is a good idea to select a designer or installer of solar energy systems by first asking for information about their experience with solar energy systems as well as how much their services and products cost.
With a system designer, you can discuss power requirements or hot water needs for your home, sunlight availability, and other important factors, and determine the type of system that’s needed to meet your needs. System designers and installers should be able to provide you with cost estimates and other pertinent information.
Do you have any extra questions?
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