Below are just a few Frequently Asked Questions for residential solar. There are no dumb questions, so don’t hesitate to ask us yours.

How much does solar cost?

Whether or not you and your home qualifies is the first question. If qualified, your cost depends on multiple factors such as usable roof space, shade level, how energy intensive your home is, which state you live in, whether or not you qualify for tax credits and your goals. The “average home” does not exist and systems range from $15,000 to $150,000. The actual price of the system can be irrelevant without knowing how much you’ll lose without solar. To understand your costs with and without solar, schedule a consultation with Moneywise Solar today.

I’m looking into installing acres of solar on my land, Can you help?

Installing acers of solar panels for any purpose is beyond the scope of residential or even commercial solar and your first step is to consult with you electric company. These days, most of them have a department they can direct you to.

What are my neighbors seeing in solar that I am not?

The new reality is that homeowners will pay dramatically more for the same electricity in the future. A perfect example is Virginia, where with the passing of the 2020 Virginia Clean Economy Act means residents will pay up to 58% more by 2030.  A solar owner understands that they are going to pay for electricity regardless and would rather their electricity cost be applied to owning an asset rather than paying more for forever increasing electrical rent. Saving money is usually number 1, but lately we’ve seen an increase in people finding the most value in achieving energy independence and cost security.  

How do I pay for solar?

While paying with cash is possible, most of our clients just finance their solar with no money down using their lender or one of ours. If you are a customer of Central Virginia Electric you can choose to lease a system.

What is the Virginia Clean Economy Act and how will it impact me?

Past in 2020, the VACEA mandates that all electric utilities provide 100% renewable energy by 2045. Therefore, each utility must dispose of their fossil fuel burning facilities and invest in solar, wind and nuclear power. Considering electric utilities are legally able to pass all their expenses to ratepayers, and must provide a profit to their shareholders, ratepayers will be responsible for paying the price of this massive transformation.  For example, Dominion Energy’s phase 1 of compliance is to invest $59 billion dollars which translates to a 58% increase in your electric bill by 2030.  (Contact us to see VA SCC reports on the 58%). The bill also caps the number of Virginians allowed to go solar to 5%, and incentivized Virginian’s by opening a market for Solar Renewable Energy Certificates. SRECSs pay a system owner on an annual basis, essentially shortening the payback period. 

Who will own the panels?

In most cases you will. If you are a customer of Central Virginia Electric you can choose to lease a system.

Will my solar system require a battery?

Thankfully no. Your system will be grid-tied so you will be Net Metering with your electric company. You will get energy credits when you export your unused energy on the grid and can utilize that energy at night when the panels are “sleeping”. For now, Virginia’s net metering program allows for a 1 to 1 kilowatt exchange with your electric company. Your utility now functions as your energy savings account or battery. We do offer batteries for homeowners who want energy independence/security. 

What if I need a new roof?

Generally, the cost of waiting more than 3 years to reroof is greater than the cost to remove and reinstall your panels on your new roof. By waiting to reroof, not only will you pay more for solar and roofing in the future, the monthly payments you’ll make to your utility during that waiting period are lost when they could have been be applied to owning your system. (Example: Your bill averages $150/month you decide to wait 2.5 years (30 months) to reroof. $150 x 30 months is $4500 of loss capital.) If your roof is currently showing damage (such as losing shingle) we will ask you to have it inspected before we move forward with your solar project. 

Will you be putting holes in my roof?!

Your roof’s material will determine whether or not drilling is required. Ninety percent of the solar installed in the US are on asphalt shingles which require drilling.  If installing solar caused leaks, we wouldn’t be seeing the industry growing exponentially.  Workmanship warranties cover leaks and any other damage due to installation.    

What happens when I sell my home and move?

You’ll have two options. Either have the new homeowner call the solar financing company and request to have the loan put in their name or if it’s paid off, you can lump the value of the system into the purchase price. Since your home’s value will increase significantly with solar, the second option is popular.

Will I have the same experience as my friend who went solar?

No, solar systems are customized and vary widely by state. Your system is designed around your roof’s characteristics, your specific energy needs and your goals which don’t mirror your friend. If you use the same installer as your friend, your experience with that company should be similar but your cost and energy offset won’t be.

How does the solar federal tax credit work?

All U.S. homeowners who go solar are eligible for a federal income tax credit worth 30% of the system cost. In addition, any cost you incur to go solar such as re-roofing or tree removal may also be eligible for the 30% tax credit. If you owed and paid MORE in federal taxes than your solar tax credit, then Uncle Sam will direct deposit your full tax credit amount. If you owed and paid LESS in federal taxes than your solar tax credit, then Uncle Sam will return only your paid tax liability and the remaining credit will be applied to the following tax year. Your solar federal income tax credit can be applied to your solar financing, help pay for home projects, or used however you wish.  

How long do your solar panels last?

We install only highest quality, highest efficient panels, some of which are 92% efficient at year 25 as they were the day they were installed. If we install your solar, expect your panels to continue delivering valuable energy saving for 35 years.

Will my electrical experience change with solar?

Nope, you will never know the difference.

What does the process to go solar look like?

If you and your roof qualify, we request a recent electric bill which we need in order to design a system. Then we’ll meet to explain how solar compares to your electric company, your payment options and how the tax credit works plus the additional benefits.  Typically, after signing up, you can expect to get installed in 5-7 weeks and be activated by the 10th week. After you sign up, your work ends. The 8 steps we run are: 1) Design and Engineering finalize your mechanical design, 2) Permitting 3) HOA clearance if needed, 4) Installation, 5) County/city inspection, 6) Interconnection (electrical meter swap), 7) Energy Audit and Efficiency Improvements, if requested, 8) Receive Permission To Operate letter from utility, i.e.- Activation.

Will solar increase my home’s value?

According to Zillow.com, Peal Certification, The National Association of Realtors, educated real estate agents, your homeowner’s insurance company and solar owners, yes it will.

Will solar affect my homeowner’s insurance?

Most likely, your premiums will increase a few bucks. A premium increase of $10 or more is rare. Ask us about our trusted insurance agent who will verify whether you should stick to you policy or can benefit from switching. 

If the power goes out in my area, will my system continue to work?

As a safety feature, your grid-tied solar system will automatically shut off when it detects an outage. This prevents your solar system from back feeding your unused electricity onto the grid during maintenance.  If you need or want power during an outage, you will need a battery, special inverter, or a gas generator.

What if my HOA does not allow solar?

We have a department dedicated to handling HOAs so you don’t have to. Rarely do we see an HOA with bylaws that prevent solar. The VA Clean Economy Act makes it illegal for HOA’s to block solar projects but it does not restrict them from having bylaws that restrict solar installations.

Will I still get a bill from my electric company?

Ideally, your system will cover all your electricity needs which is referred to as 100% Offset. Since most homes aren’t designed for solar, only 5% of homes can achieve 100% Offset.  Most solar homes get roughly 70% of their electricity from their system and the remainder from their utility. Even if you never needed another kwh from your power company, you’ll still receive a bill with a small utility connection fee.

Do my panels need maintenance?

Solar systems typically require very little, if any maintenance. Quality panels are incredibly durable and will last roughly 35 years.  If you choose a solar installer who offers the lowest price, chances are you will have maintenance issues and that company won’t be in business when you call them.  Sadly, we hear these stories all too often and, in some cases, we’ve had to remove the system.

When will my panels produce the most?  The least?

The amount of power generated is dependent on duration and degree of sunlight.  Your solar panels will produce the most during mid-day when the sun is higher in the sky and less on cloudy days or in the winter when the sun is lower in the sky. Almost no energy is generated at night or when the panels are covered in heavy thick snow.

Could I go off grid?

You could but off grid systems require multiple batteries and therefore cost twice as much as a grid-tied system. 

Am I able to add more panels in the future?

Yes, however, it will be treated as a new, separate project. Ideally, your system should be built according to your future energy needs since there is typically an upcharge for systems with 8 or fewer panels.

How much solar will I need to cover my electric vehicle?

It all depends on your roof, but as a general rule:

3,500 miles/year = 1kW

10,500 miles/year = 3 kW

14,000 miles/year = 4kW

How much energy will my future pool use?

While running, smaller above ground pools use about 450kwh/month and larger pools use about 800-kwh/month. 

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