Why Should I Go Solar?


By Erin Bakker

Q: What are the financial benefits of solar energy?
A: When you install a solar energy system on your property, you save money on your electricity bills and protect yourself against rising electricity rates in the future. How much you can save depends on the utility rates and solar policies in your area.

SRI solar houseQ: What are the environmental benefits of solar energy?
A: Solar power, like other renewable energy resources, has many environmental and health benefits. Going solar reduces greenhouse gas emissions, which contribute to climate change, and also results in fewer air pollutants like sulfur dioxide and particulate matter, which can cause health problems.

Q: What is net metering?
A: Net metering is the system that utilities use to credit solar energy system owners for the electricity produced by their solar panels. With net metering, you only pay for the electricity that you use beyond what your solar panels can generate.

Q: How does solar impact my property values?
A: Studies have shown that homes with solar energy systems sell for more than homes without them. However, your property value will only increase if you own, rather than lease, your solar panel system. In most parts of the country, going solar will actually increase your property value more than a kitchen renovation. (Zillow Tool)

Q: What solar energy rebates and incentives are available?
A: Solar rebates and incentives vary depending on where you live. The most significant is the 22 percent federal investment tax credit (ITC), which allows you to deduct 22 percent of the cost of your solar energy system from your taxes.

Solar Panels and My Home
Q: How do solar panels work?
A: Solar panels absorb the sun’s energy throughout the day and convert it into direct current (DC) electricity. Most homes run on alternating current (AC) electricity, so the DC electricity is then passed through an inverter to convert it to usable AC electricity. At that point, you either use the electricity in your house or send it back to the electric grid.

Q: Do my solar panels produce power when the sun isn’t shining?
A: The amount of power your solar energy system can generate is dependent on sunlight. As a result, your solar panels will produce slightly less energy when the weather is cloudy, and no energy at night.

Q: Can I go off grid with solar panels?
A: When you install solar panels on your property, you will still be connected to the grid. This allows you to draw from the grid when your system is not producing all of the power that you need, and send power back to the grid when you produce more than you use. It is possible to go off the grid with a solar energy system that includes battery storage, but it will cost significantly more and is unnecessary for the majority of homeowners.

Q: Will I still receive an electric bill if I have solar panels?
A: Unless your solar energy system includes battery storage and you are fully off the grid, you will still receive a bill from your utility. However, you can dramatically reduce your bill, or even cut the amount you owe to $0, with a solar panel system that matches your energy use.

Q: Do solar panels work in a blackout?
A: If your solar panel system is connected to the grid, it will shut off in the event of a blackout. This is to prevent emergency responders and electricity utility repair-people from being injured by your panels sending power back to the grid. However, there are certain inverters you can buy that provide backup power in a blackout when paired with a battery.

Q: Can I afford to go solar?
A: If you can afford to pay your electricity bill you can afford to go solar. Our Solar Experts can go over a customized proposal that will show you expected savings from going solar.

Q: Is my roof suitable for solar panels?
A: Southerly-facing roofs with little to no shade and enough space to fit a solar panel system are ideal for installing solar.

Q: What size solar system should I get?
A: That will depend on how much electricity you use on a monthly basis, as well as the amount of optimized roof space you have to install panels.

Q: Do I need to replace my roof before installing solar?
A: It is highly advised that the roof and solar installation occur at the same time. The Deco Tech system is integrated with your roof, meaning that the shingles and the solar panels install directly to the deck of your roof. These two systems working together provide both aesthetic and functional benefits to the homeowner.

Q: How long will my solar power system last?
A: Solar panels have no moving parts and are very durable. They are designed to withstand snow, wind and hail. Your system will continue to generate electricity for 25 years or longer and is guaranteed when installed by a GAF certified contractor.

Q: Do I need to install solar batteries with my solar power system?
A: Solar power systems that include solar batteries can be very expensive. Luckily, batteries are not necessary for most solar homeowners. As long as you are connected to the grid, your system does not need a battery: excess power goes back into the grid, and you can draw from the grid if you need more electricity than your panels can generate.

Specialty Roofers’ solar experts can generate a customized proposal to determine the best system for your needs. Call 850-974-ROOF (7663) or email info@specialtyroofers.com.