Things To Know Before Going Solar

Things To Know Before Going Solar

Posted by in Solar Answers | July 06, 2011
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We get asked so many questions about going solar and what happens when you have a solar system installed. That it prompted us to answer a few questions and concerns.

My power bill is so high I need solar.” One of the first things we ask people is if they have looked at what uses power in their home?  Sometimes changing out old appliances and HVAC  to new energy star rated equipment can make a huge difference.  What about insulation?  Is your attic properly insulated?  That is an easy and economical fix.  A good solar professional should address these issues with you if your bill is higher than normal.

If I get a solar system that is too big for my needs can I make money off the power company?”  Unfortunately it doesn’t work that way.  The goal is to offset your power demand from the grid and the power companies will give you rebates to do that.  They don’t want to pay you for power you produce over your own demand.  Even though both SDG&E and Edison have said they will, they still haven’t said how much they will pay you in that case.  We can only assume it will not be near what you are paying for it.

I want solar because I don’t want any more power outages.”  In theory this sounds logical because you will own your own power source, but being tied to the local power grid doesn’t work that way.   The way solar works is like a building a credit and debit system with your energy provider.  During the day when the sun is shinning you will be feeding power to the grid thus building a credit.  At night when you aren’t producing power you will need to draw on the credit you produced during the day.   This helps explain why you will lose power when everyone else does.  If the power goes out in your neighborhood workers will be working on the power lines.   If your system were feeding power to the lines at that time the workers would be unable to fix them.  Your system has an automatic shut off to prevent this problem.

I don’t know if solar is the right fit for us but, owning your own power source sounds like a no lose situation.”  Solar is not the right fit for everyone.   If you are energy efficient and your bill is less that $200 a month then it might not make sense.  It would take too long to pay the system off.

We plan on putting a lot of palm trees close to the house.”  That might not be a good fit since they will grow and make shade for the system.  On the other hand people who are good candidates for a solar system tell us they will be moving in a few years and don’t want to install a system and move.  It is proven in CA that solar increases the value of your home $20,000 to $40,000.  What about the marketability of your home if you sell?  If you are looking at two similar houses in the same neighborhood, one with solar and one without, which one will you choose?

Prices on solar keep coming down, I think I’m going to wait a little longer.” That is true to a certain point and that point may have been reached today.  Let me explain.  The solar industry has seen many manufactures come into the market which has driven down the price to produce panels.  How much further can they go?  That is a good question since the main price of a panel is in the silicon crystals they use to make them with.  Those silicon crystals are in demand.  As we know if something is in demand price will go up.  Another thing to consider is the rebates and incentives.  Will they keep going?  Will there be more to come?  Well, we can’t tell you that.  What we can tell you is that the rebates from SDG&E and Edison  have been decreasing and will run out and the 30% Federal tax credit will expire in 2016.

None of us know what the future holds but we can tell you the state of the market today and it is as strong as we have seen it since PV Solar came into the market.

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