Is solar right for my home?
Rooftop solar is a great way to reduce your utility bills. But before you can start saving you need to determine if your home is a good fit. Key considerations include your roof’s sun exposure, the size of your roof, the age of your roof and whether trees or other structures may shade your solar panels. But don’t assume that solar can’t work for your home. Your best option is to speak with a solar energy expert so they can evaluate your situation and identify solutions.
Does solar power work if the power goes out?
If there is a power outage, your solar panels are still able to convert sunlight into electricity. Whether you can harness that power depends on your system. Most solar systems automatically shut off to prevent electricity from entering the wires as a safety measure for utility crews working to restore power in your neighborhood. But there are optional inverters that can enable you to safely power your household appliances during the day when a blackout occurs. For power at night a battery system would be necessary.
How long does it take to install solar panels on my house?
Mid-size solar systems often can be installed on a home within a day. In some cases it may take up to three days. How long it takes from when you decide to go solar to when the panels are installed varies, but generally takes from 3-6 months. The biggest variable is how long the solar company takes to get your necessary permits. Request a quote through our site and one of our partners can give you a customized estimate based on your state and potential installer.
Do I need to replace my roof before I put solar panels on my house?
If your roof is in good condition and you don’t anticipate replacing it soon then you probably will be fine to install solar panels. If you are planning on replacing your roof soon, you should probably install solar panels after you’ve replaced your roof. Of course, if you have solar panels and then decide to replace your roof, the panels can be removed and put back on.
What is the difference between leasing and purchasing solar panels?
Leasing solar panels is more popular because in many states it allows you to benefit from solar panels without any upfront costs. A solar lease means that you are renting the solar system and are entitled to the free power that the system generates. Solar leases are generally for 20 years. The leasing company is responsible for maintaining and repairing the system if necessary (though with no moving parts maintenance is not typically required). Homeowners save money on a solar lease when the monthly lease costs less than their electricity bill savings with solar (for example, if the lease costs $80/month and you save $120/month on your electricity bill, your net savings would be $40/month). Your contract would stipulate options for terminating the lease in the event that you sell the property before the term ends, such as transferring the lease to the home buyer.
When purchasing solar panels you pay for the solar system up front and own it outright. That means you keep all of the cost savings every month and over the long run will end up saving more money than from leasing. State and federal tax rebates may be available to defray some of the up-front costs.
How much will solar save me if I put it on my house?
There are some variables including how much you currently spend on electricity and what size solar system is installed. Contact one of our partners to get a more accurate estimate for your home.
Why is WWF promoting solar energy? What about other types of renewable energy?
For an individual, installing solar panels on your home is arguably the single biggest step you can take to reduce your impact on the environment. Using solar energy significantly reduces your carbon footprint and avoids the consequences of mining for coal or drilling for oil to power your home. Going solar means your electricity won’t pollute air and water or contribute to climate change, all of which are harmful to communities and wildlife.
Wind, solar and geothermal energy will all play an important role in reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and transitioning to clean, renewable sources of power. We urge you to consider all of these if they are viable installation options. WWF is promoting solar energy because many American homeowners can affordably install solar panels at their homes, unlike wind turbines.
What happens on cloudy days?
While solar panels perform best in sunny, un-shaded conditions, they will continue to work whether on overcast days or in fog. Consider Germany, which leads the world in residential solar but doesn’t have a sunny climate.
What happens if it snows?
Since solar panels are dark, face the sun and operate at a warmer temperature than the outside air, snow normally melts off quickly. If the panels are installed at an angle, the snow usually slides off the slick surface. Research shows that snowy conditions may actually help solar panels produce more electricity because sunlight reflects off the snow. Additionally, solar panels operate more efficiently in cold weather. All great news for colder, northern states.
Does solar require maintenance? Do I need to clean off the solar panels?
Since solar panels have no moving parts they rarely, if ever, require maintenance or cleaning. Even if something were to go wrong, most panel warranties last 25 years. Inverters may eventually need to be replaced but most come with at least a 10 year warranty. If you leased your solar panels, the leasing company is responsible to maintaining and repairing the system if necessary.
Can I completely eliminate my electricity bills?
In most cases people use solar panels to eliminate a significant chunk of their electricity bill, but still buy some energy from their utility such as at nighttime. But yes, it is possible to entirely eliminate your electricity bills if you went “off the grid” with a solar system and battery storage sufficient to meet your energy needs.
Should I buy a solar system now or wait?
Right now is the best time to explore going solar because solar panels are more affordable and powerful than ever before. According to 1BOG, the average homeowner saves $1217.63 a year on electricity by going solar. The longer you wait, the more cost savings are lost.