Frequently Asked Questions About Going Solar
Making the switch to renewable energy is exciting and likely raises a few questions. Here are some frequently asked questions you might already be thinking about as you consider embarking on your solar journey.
Whether you're hoping to reduce your energy footprint or are eager to offset your electricity bills, these questions are a great launching point for any solar project.
Solar products and services we provide range from; residential and commercial installations, off grid projects, maintenance and service (even if your system wasn't installed by us), solar expansion of existing arrays, and battery backup. We operate and serve throughout Utah, Wyoming, and Idaho.
- What are the financial benefits of installing solar energy for my home?
Solar energy systems have the potential to save homeowners money on electricity bills and provide energy independence from future rising electricity rates. Depending on the state you live in, there might be federal, state, and local tax incentives to help you go solar as well.
Federal tax benefits: homeowners can get a 26% Income Tax Credit (ITC) on the total cost of an installed solar system in 2022.
State & Local benefits: your state, county, city, or town may offer other solar incentive programs in addition to the Federal Income Tax Credit.
Learn more about your local area's incentives here:
In addition to saving money on energy bills, solar panels are also an excellent investment in your home. Studies show that a solar system can increase the home's value and help the home sell faster.
- What are the environmental benefits of solar energy?
Solar power benefits the environment by lowering the agents of climate change and supporting cleaner, healthier air by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and air pollutants like sulfur dioxide and particulate matter. Today’s solar modules offset the CO2 required to produce them in 1-3 years depending on the roof location.
- How can I figure out how much energy my home uses?
If your home is grid-tied, meaning you are connected to the power grid and pay for electricity from an energy provider, you can find your energy usage through a recent utility bill from your power company. Oftentimes, an energy bill will display a month-to-month breakdown of your energy consumption, providing an interesting and useful overview of your home's usage over time. If you are off-grid, finding an accurate measure of your energy consumption becomes a bit more uncertain unless you already have a monitoring system in place. Fortunately, our team of has 20 years of experience optimizing solar systems and is here to help you along the way.
- How does solar on my home interact with the utility grid?
When a homeowner's system generates more solar than it uses, the electricity is fed back to the grid and credited to future bills. Those credits depend on where you are located and what utility company services your area. When there are power outages, a grid-tied solar system will shut down to protect workers who might be working on power lines. A solar system with battery backup, however, will continue to produce and store energy for home use.
- How do solar photovoltaic (PV) panels work?
Solar panels absorb the sun's energy and turn it into Direct Current (DC) electricity. Since most homes and appliances run off of Alternating Current (AC) electricity, the DC electricity from the panels has to pass through an inverter and be converted to AC electricity. The converted AC electricity can then be used throughout the home, stored in a backup battery, or fed back onto the electric grid.
- Do my solar panels produce power when the sun isn't shining?
Peak solar production happens during longer, sunnier days, usually between 9 am to 3 pm, but cloudy and shorter days will still produce solar energy to power your home. At nighttime, your panels will not generate power.
- What happens if there is snow on my solar panels?
Snow generally isn't heavy enough to cause structural issues with solar panels and the tilted design helps snow slide off in a self-cleaning way. Snow coverage can, however, block sunlight, preventing solar panels from producing energy. Steeper roofs shed snow faster and allow the system to begin producing sooner, while lower pitched roofs will retain snow longer. Creative Energies factors in snowpack when designing a system so that it releases snow naturally rather than needing to remove it manually. Energy loss from snow is factored into our calculations when providing an estimate.
- How long will solar panels last?
Solar panels can produce power for 30-50 years and manufacturers warranty power output for 25 years.
- Do solar panels need a lot of maintenance?
With no moving parts, solar systems require little to no maintenance. Inverter maintenance or replacement generally occurs about halfway through the system's lifetime (around year 15). Creative Energies recommends a service check every 3-5 years to be proactive rather than reactive to any potential issues that could arise. If you have questions our Service team can help.
- How long does it take to install solar or how long does it take to install solar panels?
The installation of the solar panels can be as short as 1-3 days depending on the system's size and complexity. The planning, design, and permitting process can take one month or longer. Smaller systems generally go faster while larger, more complex solar systems take longer.
- What are solar financing options?
Homeowners can purchase a system directly or take out a solar loan. For loan financing, Creative Energies recommends Clean Energy Credit Union, a financial institution focused solely on providing loans that help people afford clean energy products and services such as solar electric systems, electric vehicles, and home energy efficiency retrofits. This financing option has no loan origination fees and no prepayment penalties.
- Will my roof work for solar?
South-facing roofs with little to no shade are ideal for installing solar, however, East and West-facing roofs can work great too. If there are any doubts, it's always worth asking. Our team will always be honest and transparent about whether your home is suitable for solar. If you have an older roof that is needing to be replaced soon, some people opt to do their roof replacement before going solar, but our Service Team can always uninstall and reinstall solar panels if a roof needs repairs.
- Can you put solar panels on a metal roof?
Yes, solar panels can go on metal roofs. Our team has experience installing solar panels on different types of metal roofs (as well as solar on asphalt shingles, solar on membrane roofs, and more).
- How heavy are solar panels?
An average solar panel is about about 44 pounds or 4 pounds per square foot. This extra weight is typically not an issue on most roofs and during a site visit our technical sales team will check the condition of your roof structure.
- How many solar panels can I fit on my roof or how many solar panels do I need for self-sufficiency?
Our team will work with you to design a solar system that meets your energy goals and usage history. The number of panels will vary depending on generation goals as well as your roof structure, angle, slope, and shade.
- How do I know if my solar panels are working properly?
You can check your solar monitoring system (it might be SolarEdge, Enphase, Tesla, or Generac) online or via the monitoring app to see your solar generation data in real-time. You can also contact us directly at 866.332.3410 or info@CEsolar.com if something looks off or if you're not sure how to access your account.