You’ve got a lot of questions about solar panels, and we’ve got the answers.

Will I save money going solar?

The short answer is yes. Once solar panels are installed, you will use less electricity than before. Your power bills will decrease immediately. Even better, you’ll protect yourself from future rate increases from the power company.

Is solar power really good for the environment?

Because sunshine is a renewable resource, yes. Going solar reduces your use of and dependency on non-renewable resources of energy like coal and oil. This also means that we’re putting less pollutants in the air which hurt the environment and can cause serious health problems.

Why should I go solar? What about changing technology?

The sooner you switch to solar power, the sooner you’ll see the benefits of it, especially in your energy costs. Waiting for new technology means you’re paying for electricity that much longer. And new technology may come with a higher price tag.

How does solar increase the value of my home?

Homes with installed solar panels tend to sell for higher prices than homes without. Many homeowners receive more of a return on their investment for solar panels than for a kitchen remodel. This only applies to solar panels that you own, though. Homes with leased solar panels do not see an increase in their value.

Will solar panels cause my taxes to go up?

It depends. In many cases, no, property appraisers do not account for solar panels when determining the value of your home. Always check with your local city or town to be sure, though.

What is net metering?

Net metering is the system power companies use to determine your energy credits for the energy produced by solar panels. With this system, you only pay for the electricity you use if your solar panels don’t generate enough power for your home.

How do I pay less to go solar?

A tax credit from the federal government allows you to deduct 30 percent of the cost of your solar panels from your taxes. In different areas around the country, state and local governments may provide rebates, cash assistance programs, and other options to make going solar more affordable. Some solar loans also offer zero down options so you don’t have to pay anything upfront.

What are my options for getting solar panels?

You have two basic options: buy or lease. If you buy, you can pay upfront or take out a solar loan and finance the purchase. If you lease, you’ll sign a 20 year agreement and pay each month for the solar panels.

Which is better: buying or leasing solar panels?

Both options can be good ones depending on your needs and finances. Buying solar panels increases your home value and allows you to see overall savings quicker. Leasing your solar panels lowers your cost each month and makes maintenance and upkeep easier, but it does not increase the value of your home.

Will maintenance be needed on my solar panels? How much does it cost?

In most cases, solar panels require little to no maintenance. They don’t even need to be cleaned off. Because they’re built to last for 25 to 35 years, most companies offer warranties if anything stops working. Every company will have a different warranty policy so make sure you understand those details when you go solar.

What kind of roof do I need to have?

Roofs that face south with a large enough area for the racking to be installed are ideal. But workarounds exist if your roof doesn’t meet these criteria. If your roof is made of slate or cedar or it’s an extremely old roof, solar panels may be more difficult to install. Talk to installers for their advice about what, if any, workarounds exist. You may need a new roof before you can move ahead.

How do I know what size solar panel system to buy?

The size of your system is determined by the amount of energy your home uses and the weather conditions in your area.

How long will my solar panels last?

Over the years components will need to be changed out, but solar panel systems are very durable and do well in nearly any weather condition. Your system should continue to generate energy for 25 to 35 years.

Should I DIY my solar panels?

In most cases, it’s better to hire a qualified, trained solar power installer. For small projects, like an RV or boat, DIY solar panels may be a better option. If you want to power your entire home and potentially receive credit from the power company, working with a professional may be the best option.

How do I choose a solar panel installer?

Always get multiple quotes from professional installers. Look for installers who are licensed, certified, and insured. You’re paying a lot of money, so make sure they’re a professional. Ask a lot of questions and see if they’re able and willing to explain the process to you and help you understand what will happen. Always read the estimate and any agreement carefully before signing a document. Meet with the installer in person before hiring them.

How do solar panels work?

The solar panels absorb the energy from the sunlight during the day and convert it into direct current (DC) energy in a process called the Photovoltaic Effect. An inverter must be installed with your solar panels. It converts the DC energy into alternate current (AC) energy that is used to power your home.

Will solar panels work if the sun isn’t out or there’s snow on my roof?

If direct sunlight isn’t reaching your solar panels, they can’t produce energy. On cloudy days, they produce a lot less, and at night, they produce no energy. If it snows in your area, any snow that blocks the panels will prevent them from getting sunlight. Because the panels are angled, most snow will slide off, but panels are not difficult to clean off if needed.

Am I going to keep getting an electric bill after I go solar?

In most cases, yes, but it may be a bill with a zero balance. If that’s not the case because of cloudy or snowy weather, your electric bill will still be greatly reduced.