Frequently Asked Questions
Will solar pay for itself?
- Many customers feel that the pride and peace of mind of solar ‘pays for itself’ as soon as the system powers on. From a financial point of view, solar will recoup the outright cash investment in roughly 5-10 yrs in most states, depending upon the system and rebates. The system also helps lift the grid overall by providing highly valuable ‘peak’ electricity. With multi-million dollar grid improvement projects already in place, the one certainty is that rates of grid electricity will increase. Installing a solar system on your home or business helps protect against rate increases.
- What are the incentives of going solar?
- Incentives change periodically. However, you can typically expect a 30% federal tax credit taken when you file your yearly taxes. Also, some states may have additional rebates as well.
What’s better? Solar or wind power?
- While we’re supportive of all forms of renewable energy, small-scale wind power is generally not cost-effective. In other words, you’ll typically get more electricity, dollar for dollar, by investing in solar instead of wind.
Why should I install a solar energy system on my home or business?
Grid-tied solar electricity offers a way to fix your electricity rate for more than 25 years. The maintenance-free panels come with a 25-year production warranty and the expected useful lifespan is up to 50 years (output starts to slow down over time but is still significant). A grid-tied PV system can protect you from electricity price increases for decades. That’s a feeling of energy security that is hard to duplicate.
Why should I go solar now? Aren’t innovative new technologies on the way?
Simply put – the sooner you get solar, the sooner you will enjoy its benefits! If you wait for some unproven technology down the road, you will have missed the opportunity to generate your own power now.
Will the solar array put holes in my roof, or be too heavy?
We mount solar panels on a purpose-built aluminum rail system that is fastened about every four feet by penetrations into roof rafters. On a standing seam metal roof, these attachments are made directly to the standing seams, with no roof penetrations. On asphalt roofs, each mount is sealed with a 50-year Tripolymer sealant to prevent any leaks. We guarantee all roof work will be free from leaks. As for the weight of the array, it is less than 5 pounds per square foot, so a typically framed roof is more than adequate to carry the weight.
How much roof space will I need for a solar array?
Every kilowatt of solar array takes about 75 square feet. So a typical 3kW array (twelve panels) will take a roof area about 11′ tall by 20′ wide (two rows of six).
What can I do if my roof is not adequate for a solar array?
At Stone Creek Solar, we can also pole-mount photovoltaic panels or ground-mount panels on a concrete base. We also offer single or dual-axis solar trackers.
How will I know if the solar array is working?
Today nearly all inverters come with built-in monitoring that varies based on manufacturer. By reconciling your production with your electric bill, you can get a good idea what your household’s electric load is and how much of a difference the photovoltaic system is making.
How will my utility bill be different with a solar electric system?
It will be smaller! With solar, your inverter and your household loads are all “behind the meter,” meaning that if the sun is out and you are in your house and running loads – say a TV, dryer, and electric stove – your solar-generated power will be consumed without it ever being registered by the utility company. So at the end of the month, your electric bill will say you’ve exported fewer kWh to the grid than your inverter says you have generated. This is because your home consumed some solar power before it was ever sold to the utility. Though it can be a bit confusing, you can feel good about this situation because every kWh you didn’t export, is also a kWh you didn’t have to buy! That’s putting your photovoltaic system to work.
Can a solar array increase the value of my property?
Yes! Several studies demonstrate that solar homes are worth more money and sell more quickly. See our blog post for more details: How Much Does Solar Increase the Value of Your Home?
Is a solar array noisy?
- Solar power inverters are relatively quiet – emitting about as much noise as a refrigerator. They are generally installed in utility rooms or basements alongside existing mechanical systems, rather than in living spaces.
Will I see a difference in my lights or in how appliances run with solar, like on a generator?
Solar electricity is identical to grid power, so you will never notice that the house is running on solar power. What you will see, of course, is a smaller electric bill
What happens to my solar array when the power goes out?
When the grid power goes down, the grid-tied solar electric system goes down, too. This is to prevent any accidental back-feeding of solar electricity to the grid which might endanger line-workers. However, a new generation of battery backup technology is available, providing clean backup power in event of a power outage.