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Get the answers to some frequently asked questions about solar.

What Are the Benefits of Buying a Solar Electric System?

The benefits of solar energy are far-reaching. Some of the most common advantages of installing solar panels include: 

How Much Do Solar Panels Cost?

The total cost of solar panel installation involves a number of variables that make it hard to give a general answer on how much it costs to upgrade your home to solar energy. A solar company near you like Energy Solution Providers will take into account factors like the layout of your roof and property (including how many trees or other obstacles might partially block the sun during the day), the amount of electricity your home uses over the course of a year, and whether you’re interested in solar battery backup. What’s the best way to get an accurate cost estimate for solar? Reach out to our crew today!

What Arizona State or Utility Solar Rebates and Incentives Are Available?

There are a number of solar rebates and incentives available through the state of Arizona, including a state personal tax credit (25%, $1,000 max), a property tax incentive, and a sales tax exemption. There are incentives available through your local utility as well, and while the amount will vary depending on the company, some cover up to 30% of your solar installation costs. Additionally, Arizona Public Service (ASP) has recently approved a new incentive program for solar battery storage, currently in its pilot phase. Through the program, ASP customers could receive up to $2,500 for the installation of a solar battery

How Does the Federal Solar Tax Credit Work?

The federal solar tax credit, also known as the Investment Tax Credit (ITC), allows eligible homeowners and businesses to reduce their federal tax liability by a percentage of the total cost of their residential or commercial solar panel installation, and to roll over any remaining balance into subsequent tax years. From 2020-2022, the solar tax credit is worth 26% of your total solar panel installation costs. In 2023, it will drop down to 22%. Then, in 2024, it will expire altogether for residential solar panels. Commercial solar panels will be eligible for a 10% credit from 2024 on.

How Do I Claim the Solar Tax Credit?

The Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) is one of the most lucrative solar incentives available to homeowners and business owners who install solar energy systems. To claim the solar tax credit, homeowners must confirm eligibility, gather all related receipts, and fill out the residential energy credits form (IRS Form 5695). Commercial solar panel owners must fill out IRS Form 3468

What Is Net Metering and Is it Available for Solar Panels in Arizona?

Net metering is a solar incentive program through which your grid-tied solar energy system sends any excess electricity that it generates — but doesn’t immediately need — back to the grid in exchange for a credit on your utility bill. This gives you the opportunity to offset the cost of your electricity used at night or when your solar PV panels aren’t producing enough energy. Unfortunately, as of 2020, Arizona does not have a net metering program, though utilities such as Arizona Public Service (APS) and Tucson Electric Power credit homeowners that export power to the grid at a lower ‘export rate’.

How Long Do Solar Panels Take to Pay For Themselves?

While the payback period for a solar energy installation will vary from system to system, depending on the number of panels installed and the home or business’ energy usage, the average 6 kW system would take roughly 10 years to pay off, and based on the average lifespan, you’d be left with another 15 years of completely free electricity—a savings of over $17,000!

Can Solar Help Me Save on Summer Electricity Bills?

Tired of high electricity bills from running your air conditioner all day during the summer? Solar is particularly beneficial during the hottest months of the year because the days are longer and your panels will get more daily electricity production. Plus, rooftop solar panels can also act as shade for your home, reducing the need for as much AC in the first place.

If I sell my property, what effect does solar have on the sale price?

Energy conservation and renewable generation adds value to a home. Surveys have shown that for every $1,000.00 saved per year, $20,000.00 is added to a home's value. Solar energy can be one of the best home improvement investments you make.

What’s the Difference Between Grid-Tied, Off-Grid, and Ground Mounted Solar Panels?

Grid-tied solar panel systems are connected to the power grid, while off-grid systems are completely independent, through the use of solar batteries (though you don’t have to have an off-grid system to benefit from solar batteries). And while most solar panel systems are mounted on roofs, they don’t have to be—a ground-mounted system is just as beneficial (and in some cases, even more so) to homeowners and businesses.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Off-Grid Solar?

When you take your solar energy system off-grid, you can become fully energy independent. This means that you will never have to pay for grid-generated electricity, and it reduces your carbon footprint significantly. However, off-grid solar panels are more expensive and harder to install than grid-tied solar panels, so your up-front solar installation costs will be higher. 

How Do Off-Grid Solar Panels Work?

Off-grid solar panels work the same way grid-tied solar panels do—by capturing energy from the sun and turning it into electricity. The difference is that off-grid solar panels are not connected to the electricity grid. Because of this, off-grid solar systems rely on larger solar battery banks to store significant amounts of excess solar energy for later use, since the system cannot pull electricity from the grid. 

Do Solar Panels Need to Be Mounted on My Roof?

Solar panels are often mounted on the roof but they can also be mounted on the ground. Ground mounts are great if your roof is shaded, or if obstructions limit available space on your roof.

Do You Need to Install a New Roof Before Solar Panels Are Installed?

Generally, if you think you will get another 10 years out of your roof, you're OK to install a solar energy system. If you think you will need to replace your roof within the next 10 years you may want to install a new roof before you install your new solar panel system. Solar panels will last many years (decades, even), and after the panels are in place, they will greatly reduce the wear on your roof by blocking ultraviolet rays. Most installations do not require a new roof prior to solar installation.

Do Solar Panels Need to Face South?

South facing solar panels are best, but solar panels facing east or west can still provide a great deal of power for you. There are a lot of factors that determine if your roof is right for solar. The best way to determine what makes sense for you is to have one of our solar professionals come out to your home. Contact us today to schedule a Solar Evaluation.

How Long Does it Take to Install a Solar Energy System?

Once the contracts and permits are complete, a typical residential solar panel systems take 2 to 5 days to install while commercial solar energy systems may take several weeks to over a month to install. Ground-mounted solar panels are more complex and may take longer to install than roof-mounted solar panels. Most of the installation work is done outside of your home, however, so there is little disturbance to you.

How Much Space Does a Solar Panel System Need?

Our smallest solar energy system only requires 183 square feet of space to install. Larger solar panel systems will require more space and this will be determined during your free home energy evaluation.

How Many Solar Panels Does My Home Need?

Each home or application is different, and the amount of electricity you use is very dependent upon your lifestyle, how your home was built, and your appliances. When you contact us for a Solar Evaluation we will help you identify how much electricity you use and tailor a solar panel system that makes sense for your particular needs.

 

How Much Power Do Solar Panels Produce?

Most residential solar panels produce between 250 and 500 watts of energy. Solar energy systems come in many sizes, however, and we will work with you to determine the correct size system for your specific needs. Many of the systems we install produce a significant portion of the home's required power, leaving room for additional solar expansion in the future. To get even more power out of your solar panels, we can install a solar battery, which will allow you to store any excess energy that your panel’s produce.

How Long Do Solar Panels Last?

Our solar panels come with a 25-year power warranty from the manufacturer, but they can last up to 50 or more years. What else have you ever purchased for your home with that kind of warranty? The other major components (inverters, mounting system) generally have a 10-year manufacturer's warranty.

Do Solar Panels Need to Be Cleaned?

Most of our customers do not clean their solar panels. In most areas of the country, there is sufficient rain to keep your solar panels clean. However, if you are in a dusty or dry urban area you may see a performance gain from cleaning the solar panels as needed. If necessary, a hose stream is usually sufficient for cleaning. Do not spray water on the panels when they are very hot.

Are Solar Panels Good for the Environment?

Solar panels have a number of environmental benefits: they reduce air pollution from the burning of fossil fuels and don’t result in the water pollution and water usage that coal-burning power plants create. Installing a solar energy system in your home or business will lower your home’s carbon footprint, and help fight climate change.

Do Solar Panels Work in the Shade?

Solar panels should be installed in areas where they get significant direct sunlight every day. Even small amounts of shade can significantly reduce the output of your solar energy system. Our solar panel designs and installations seek to minimize the impact of any shade issues through selection of the proper equipment and good engineering. When you partner with us for solar panel installation, we’ll help you decide whether solar panels are right for your home and provide a full shading analysis to determine the best, shade-free location for your solar panels. 

Do Solar Panels Work on Cloudy Days?

Just like it’s possible to get a sunburn when it’s cloudy, yes: solar panels do work when it’s not totally sunny. But they aren’t as efficient—you won’t generate as much electricity as you would on a completely clear day. Adding solar batteries to your system is a great way to store up excess energy generated when conditions are perfect and use it when they aren’t.

Can Solar Panels Provide 24 Hour Electricity?

With the right solar panel set-up, solar can provide enough electricity to power your home 24 hours a day, but you’ll need solar batteries to pull it off—otherwise, as soon as the sun goes down, your panels will stop producing electricity, and a grid-tied solar energy system will revert back to your utility powerline to get the juice needed to keep your home running.

Do Solar Panels Work During a Power Outage?

If you have opted for a solar only system with no battery backup, your power will go out when the utilities experience a power outage. If you have decided to install a solar system with battery backup power, you will have continuous power even when the electric grid is down.

How Does Solar Power Get Stored?

If you have opted for a solar panel installation without battery backup, no power gets stored; it is either immediately used or sent back to the grid, and depending on your utility, you may receive a credit for that energy. If you have decided on a solar system with battery backup power, your excess power will be stored in your solar batteries.

How Do Solar Batteries Work?

Solar batteries work by giving you a place to store the excess energy that your solar panels produce during peak sunlight hours. Then, you can use that stored energy to power your home at night, on a cloudy day, or whenever your solar panels are not producing enough electricity. Plus, solar batteries work during a power outage, and if you have battery storage, you can leave your solar panels on when the grid is down, so you’ll never be without power.

Do I Need Back-Up Solar Batteries for My Home?

If you want a truly independent power supply, you need solar battery storage. Installing solar power with battery backup will give your family a continuous and unstoppable power supply, allowing your home to be fully energy self-sufficient.

How Much Do Solar Batteries Cost?

There are many different types of solar batteries available and they all vary in cost. The cost of a solar battery will also depend on other factors, like how many batteries you need and whether you already have solar panels in place. To get an accurate price estimate for a solar battery, ask our team for a fast, free quote.

Can You Add a Solar Battery to an Existing Solar Energy System?

Yes, you can add a solar battery to an existing solar panel system. We can add battery backup to your existing solar energy system whether we originally installed the solar panels or not.