June 24, 2021
Frequently Asked Questions About Solar Energy
By Creative Energies
Making the switch to renewable energy is exciting and likely raises a lot of 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 provide solar installations and service throughout Utah, Wyoming, and Idaho.
Learn more about solar with frequently asked questions (FAQ) and answers below.
- What are the financial benefits of installing solar energy for my home?
Solar systems save homeowners money on electricity bills and provide energy independence from future rising electricity rates.
Federal benefits: homeowners can get an Income Tax Credit (ITC) of 26% of the total cost of an installed solar system in 2021.
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 increases the home's value and helps the home sell faster.
2. 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.
3. How do I find 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 members are experts at optimizing solar systems with 20 years of experience and here to help you along the way.
4. How does solar on my home work with the utility company 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.
When there are power outages, a grid-tied solar system will shut down to protect workers who might be working on power lines. Whereas a solar system with battery backup will continue to produce energy for home use.
5. 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.
6. Do my solar panels produce power when the sun isn't shining?
Peak solar production happens during longer, sunnier days, but cloudy and shorter days will still produce solar energy to power your home. At nighttime, your panels will not generate power.
7. What happens if there is snow on 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' design optimizes the system to release snow naturally rather than needing to remove it manually. Energy loss from snow is factored into our calculations.
8. How long will solar panels last?
Solar panels can produce power for 30-50 years and manufacturers warranty power output for 25 years.
9. How much will solar panel maintenance cost?
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.
10.How long does it take to install solar?
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.
11. 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.
12. What about my roof and solar?
South-facing roofs with little to no shade are ideal for installing solar, however, east and west-facing roofs work great too. Some people prefer to install a new roof before going solar, but our Service Team can always uninstall and reinstall solar panels if a roof needs repairs.