Solar Panel FAQ

installing solar panels

What is the grid and can I go off it?

On-Grid Systems are solar systems that only generate power when the utility power grid is available. When you install solar panels on your property, you will remain connected to the grid. This allows you to draw from the grid when your system is not producing all of the power you need (e.g. at night) and send power back to the grid when you produce more than you use (e.g. summer months and their long days). However, your solar panel system can provide emergency power or essential power via a battery system which is re-charged daily by the sun. Adding batteries to your system to power your entire array would significantly add to the overall cost. Many people find the peace of mind to be worth it. For those that want to use the battery systems such as Tesla Powerwalls or LG Chem, we recommend powering a few select circuits. Ask our Energy Advisors about Home Essential Backup and Full Energy Independence configurations to learn more. 

Will a solar system add value to my property?

The absolute best way to go with solar is to own your system. That produces the best financial returns. However, the answer to the “add value” questions is - yes and no.   The studies that have statistically documented this as a “yes” are not too current and were taken from a small national sample - although part of that sample was from Maryland. The often-cited Berkeley Lab Institute study summary predicted a home's value should increase by more than 4%. If you were looking at a house and the seller could demonstrate the extremely low or non-existent monthly utility bills that will remain unchanged for years to come, would you place additional value on that house? We thought so but wanted a tangible way to demonstrate this to our customers. To do that, Energy Select has partnered with Pearl, a third party that appraises homes post-solar-install to show the added value. This Pearl Certificate is provided to our customers at no additional cost. To learn more about Pearl, view the website

Will I need to replace my roof prior to solar installation?

If your roof is old and needs repair, then you should consider replacing it before the installation of solar panels. However, it's not as big a deal as you might imagine as the solar panels and racking can be taken off in a day and re-installed in a day. A good rule of thumb is if you think your roof will need to be replaced in five years, do that first. 

Will my roof accommodate solar panels?

If your roof has a little shade and enough space to fit a solar panel system, it should work. Solar panels no longer require direct light and the efficiency per solar panel keeps improving, so ambient light powers them. There are other mounting options if your roof isn’t ideal for solar panels. Contact us for a no-cost solar consultation.

Will I still receive a utility bill?

You will still receive a bill from your utility company.  However, with a solar panel system that matches your energy use, you can dramatically reduce your bill to $10 per month. If you produce more than you use by just a little bit, your bill will be effectively eliminated. See a sample solar customer’s new bill below. 

SMECO Solar Electric Bill

Net metering on a SMECO electric bill