Learn about solar power and how you can harness the power of the sun for good with these answers to common questions about Residential Solar Power
I thought he was crazy when he brought it up. Solar Panels? On our roof? But, my husband was convincing and just a few months later we had a large installment on our roof and a significant investment in solar energy.
We get asked about our solar panels A LOT. They are definitely a curiosity in our neighborhood. Walkers-by stop to ask us questions, cars slow down when driving by our backyard.
We don’t mind answering their questions at all, and hope that our early adaptation will encourage others to do the same.
We own our solar panel installation, but I was unaware about leasing options prior to being contacted by Sunrun, a solar lease provider, to sponsor this post. Going with a provider such as Sunrun cuts out some of the headache of finding the right installer, paying the somewhat large upfront costs, and managing the tax credit details.
Want to know some answers to other popular questions?
I brought in the expert, my husband, who thoroughly researched the concept for our own home and became so inspired he’s taking a course now in alternative energy.
And now, allow me to turn this over to the expert (and my husband): Jon Harding
Q: What should I consider before installing rooftop solar?
A: There are many things to consider, so your best bet is to work with a professional installer. Your roof of course needs direct sunlight, and if your roof is facing south, it will have the most amount of sun each day to produce power. Generally, if you live in a community with an HOA, it’s best to let you association that you’re considering an install. By law, an HOA may not restrict you from installing, however we chose to spend a little extra to have panels which were designed to be a little more aesthetically pleasing. I personally, would not consider cutting down a tree to make your roof sunnier, because you’ll loose the shade and beauty from the tree.
Q: Will I have electricity when there’s no sunlight? What about if the power goes out?
A: Unless you have a battery back-up system installed, most solar installations don’t provide power when the sun’s not out. Although we haven’t experienced this yet, our solar system was designed to stop working in the event of a power outage. The electrician who did some of the installation work told me that it can pose a risk to workers who are working on the rest of the lines near your house to restore power to the overall grid.
Q: Are there tax credits available?
A: Federal tax credits are available, and state credits vary state-by-state. You can find more information for your state by searching http://www.dsireusa.org/. For our installation in 2014, we were eligible for a tax credit for 30% of the total installation price from the IRS, and 30% from North Carolina. There are limits to how much tax credit you can receive in some cases, so it’s worthwhile reviewing with a tax advisor for your specific situation.
Q: What happens to excess power your home creates that you don’t use?
A: This is one of the coolest things about solar power: You now have your own mini power plant! Of course, it depends on what’s available where you live. In North Carolina, we have a system called net metering, in which you enter into a special agreement with your electricity provider to sell them power when you are producing more than you use. In our state there is also another group called NC Green Power that will pay you for the electricity you produce at a flat rate.
Q: What does your electric bill look like compared to what it was before solar power?
A: This depends on how big your house is, how much electricity you normally use, and how big your solar array is. Our system is 5.2 KW in size, and our house is around 3500 sq ft. Our electricity bill has been reduced on average by 40-50% each month. Actual savings will vary. See here for details.
Excited to learn more about solar? Visit Sunrun for more info and don’t miss this opportunity to enter to win a Nest Learning Thermostat here!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.