Solar cells make up the solar panels. The cells use the sun’s light (not heat) to generate direct current (dc) electricity (like a battery). That direct current is changed to alternating current by the inverter to power any electrical loads that are running in your house. If what you are using is less than the energy produced by the solar panels, it will send the excess to the grid (‘spin the meter backwards’) resulting in credits on your electric bill. Contact your electric provider to find out what their rules are for crediting your bill.
Be sure to see the Solar page for more details on different types of systems.
There are a few details to work out before a firm price is established, but typically costs are between $3.00 and $3.25 per watt. Example: an average residential system is 4200 watts. 4200 x 3.25 = $13,650. That would typically be a high end working budget. In most cases, the cost would be less than that.
Yes. It will vary by where you live and who you get your electricity from.
This system would qualify for a tax credit* of $4,725.00 (30%). That would leave you a net price of $11,025.00. If you live in the Oncor service area, there is even more incentive that could get that “out of pocket” price even lower!
*Currently expires 12/31/16
Depending on incentives and final actual cost, we are seeing paybacks in the 7 to 10 year range using current electric rates. As those rates go up – and they will – your payback time gets shorter.
We help with that. We do like to see a 12 month history of the electric bills. That is usually represented by a bar graph on the first page of your electric bill. If you don’t have one of those, you can look at your account online or contact your provider to get the information.
For new homes or offices, give us a call.
Several. Depending on a few things, we can find a place to get the most out of your system. Give us a call.
No, batteries are not necessary. See Solar page for breakdown of different types of systems.
Virtually zero. There are no moving parts in the system. If it doesn’t rain for six weeks or so, you might want to hose the system down. We can give you the details on cleaning the panels.
In the 16 years we have been doing this, we have not replaced a single panel due to hail. The panels are tested by shooting a 1” ice ball perpendicular to the panel at 60 miles per hour.
Not to say that a rare hail storm won’t break them, but that is what insurance is for.
Historically we have seen homeowners pay a modest one-time rider to add the solar panels to their policy