Capturing the sun’s rays to create solar energy has many advantages but may also raise some questions. Read this FAQ’s page to learn more about the maintenance, incentives, climate effects, warranty and benefits of installing your own system.
Can I eliminate my electric bill?
In theory, yes. Homeowners can ask their power company for their annual energy consumption and size their solar panels based on that consumption. Most power companies have minimal connection fees and it is possible to oversize the system slightly to generate enough power to offset the connection charges.
Can I get incentives or grants to offset the cost of my solar equipment?
Solar photovoltaic systems are eligible for a 30% Federal tax credit. Depending on your power provider additional incentives may be available. Farmers and rural small businesses can apply for a 25% USDA REAP grant as well. Especially with incentives, the system payback can be very short.
Can I produce more energy and get paid for the production?
Possibly, depending on your power provider rules. Minnesota has a net metering policy of 40kW. This requires power companies to allow systems up to the size of 40kW to offset your power consumption on a 1:1 basis. Some power companies will pay the same rate for the excess power produced.
How much maintenance is required for a solar system?
Virtually none. Since solar panel systems have no moving parts there is really no true maintenance. The system should be checked occasionally for ensure it is operating properly. By design, the panels should stay clean as they are exposed to the rain, however, if they are in a rural setting with dust from gravel roads or an agricultural area the panels may require a quick wash with a garden hose every few months to maintain optimal performance.
Is solar equipment suitable for our climate?
Yes, many solar products have gone through rigorous testing and have ratings down to -40F. This may not be the case for Chinese solar manufacturers. As a matter of fact, solar panels and equipment will generate more power in the cold as the panel output voltage increases as the temperature decreases.
Will the solar panels handle snow, wind and hail?
Yes, just like the temperature requirements the solar equipment is tested and rated in order to verify that it can handle the environmental conditions for our area. This equipment meets local and state regulations and is UL certified.
Will the solar panels produce power during a power outage?
No, grid connected systems by law are required to shut off during a power outage to prevent back feed to the electrical grid and safety for the electrical utility workers.
What kind of warranty does the solar equipment have?
Many of the solar panel manufacturers’ provide a 25 year performance warranty. By a performance warranty, they guarantee a minimum level of power production throughout the 25 years of the product and the minimum level is based on a sloped line. As for the solar inverters, a standard warranty is 10 years and extended inverter warranties can be purchased. The mounting systems have similar warranties and depend on the company.
What about my home value and property taxes?
A solar panel system will increase your home and/or property value. Even if you don’t plan to live in your home for 25 years, the system will entice buyers and give value to your property. Solar energy systems are exempt from BOTH sales tax and yearly property taxes!