Home Automation Contractions and Information

Frequently Asked Questions About Solar

Information courtesy of SolarWorld

Financials

How much does a solar electric system cost?

The cost of your solar investment will vary greatly depending on the size of the system, your location and available incentives. To find out what a SolarWorld system will do to your electric bill, contact our Solar Specialist, Jesse Michalski, at (920) 609-3546.

What incentives are available to me?

SolarWorld solar systems sold in the U.S. are eligible for a 30% federal tax credit. Additional state, local and utility incentives exist in many areas, further lowering the net cost of your investment. Ask our Solar Specialist what incentives are available in your area.

Can my electricity bill really be $0?

Some solar systems produce more electricity than is used each month, bringing net electricity costs to $0.

Do I get paid for my extra energy production?

Currently, most of America is under a system known as Net Metering, which allows your net electricity costs to be reduced to zero, but no further. In a select few places in the U.S., like the state of Wisconsin, you can be paid for any excess electricity you create, in what is known as a Feed-In Tariff system.

Will installing solar panels increase my property taxes?

No. According to the Wis. Stat. § 70.111(18), any value added by a solar-energy system is exempt from general property taxes in Wisconsin. The exemption applies regardless of whether the equipment is deemed real property or personal property.

Installation

Does a solar system require permits?

Yes. We will handle all the paperwork to make the process quick and easy.

Can I install solar panels myself?

It is not recommended. The process requires both licensed electrical and roofing skills to ensure the system is safe and optimally designed for 25+ years of production.

Maintenance

How much maintenance does a solar system need?

With no moving parts and at least a 25-year expected life-span, SolarWorld solar panels require very little maintenance. In fact, their design ensures that they remain relatively clean as long as they are exposed to rain or a quick rinse with a garden hose every few months.

Weather

Is solar a viable option in cold climates?

Yes. A general rule of thumb is that if you can clearly see your solar panels, they can produce electricity. In fact, given equal sunlight, a solar panel on a cold day will outproduce a solar panel on a hot day. Rooftop solar systems also keep your home warmer in the winter by creating a heat barrier, which is great for those frigid Wisconsin winters.

How do solar systems fair in extreme weather conditions?

Sunmodule solar panels can withstand high wind and snow loads. In fact, they are rated higher than any other solar panels under UL standards.

How does snow affect a solar system’s performance?

Snow will decrease production while it is on your panels, but given their tendency to produce some heat, the snow will fall off your panels faster than it would fall off your roof. SolarWorld panels also go through an inclined plane test, where a load of up to one metric ton is placed on a solar panel installed at a tilt to concentrate pressure on the lower edge of the panel. These panels are basically designed to combat Wisconsin snowstorms.

Blackouts

Will my system still generate power during a blackout?

For the safety of workers attempting to fix power outages, solar systems that are connected to the electrical grid are required by utility regulations to shut off during blackouts. SolarWorld recommends battery backup or traditional generators in places where blackouts occur regularly.

Off-Grid Systems

Can I take my home off the electrical grid?

Yes, provided you install optional battery-backup systems to provide power when your demands exceed your production, such as at night. While we can help you install such a system, it is not typically recommended for several reasons. First, batteries add significant costs to your system, extending your payback period. Second, you may not be eligible for some incentives if you do not connect your system to your utility. Lastly, staying connected to the grid ensures you will rarely ever be without power, unlike batteries that have a limited lifespan and storage capacity.

Selling Your Home

I don’t plan on being in my home for 25 years. Why would I add solar?

People move more frequently now than ever before, but that should not impact your decision to go solar. A solar system can save you money immediately upon installation and given recent incentives, an average residential system in Wisconsin can pay for itself in roughly 11 years. Even if you move before your solar investment is completely paid off, studies show the cost will likely be returned in added value to your home. Plus, your home will most likely sell faster because who in their right mind does not want a home with a guaranteed low electric bill? The SolarWorld warranty is even transferable one time to a new owner.

Roof Integrity

How does a solar system affect my roof integrity?

With proper design and installation following industry best practices, your roof should maintain all its pre-solar integrity. All of our solar installers have been trained and authorized by SolarWorld on these best practices, so you can rest easy knowing that your roof will be okay.

Safety

Are there any fire, electrical or other dangers from a solar system?

Similar to any other electrical component, proper installation will greatly limit any dangers. However, you should still take care to ensure your system is not easily accessible by children or animals who could potentially damage the system and possible injure themselves. If your system becomes damaged in any way, immediately seek assistance from a professional installer or electrician.

Insurance

Can a solar system be insured?

While SolarWorld does warranty solar panels for 10 years on workmanship and 25 years on energy production, we do not cover damage from external sources or theft. However, most homeowner insurance policies will cover your solar panels in these cases. Check with your insurance providers.

Homeowners Associations / Neighbors

Can my HOA or neighbors prevent me from installing a solar system?

In a lot of cases, no. Currently, 39 states have solar access laws that provide varying degrees of protection against restrictions that can be imposed on you. We will be able to discuss the laws and policies in your area.

Pools

Can SolarWorld’s solar panels heat my pool?

Most pools are heated by natural gas, so solar electric power will not be able to assist in heating outdoor swimming pools. However, our solar panels do offset the power used by a pool’s electric pumps.