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, you can use your solar panel system to provide emergency power or essential power via a battery system which is re-charged daily by the sun, but adding batteries to your system to power your entire panel would more than double the cost and we do not recommend it. For those that want to use the battery systems such as Tesla Powerwalls or LG Chem, we recommend powering a few select circuits. Whole house generators should be looked at as an option when considering power needed when the utility power is out. We’re happy to help design and install the perfect generator system for you.

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% and that would be a reasonable conservative estimate. The appraisal industry has been slow to comprehend or statistically demonstrate the increase in value and does not raise a home's value for lending purposes. However, as the solar market matures, there are some new appraisal models which are being worked on and it’s just a matter of time until the financial industry catches up on its evaluations. It's like taking money out of one pocket and putting it in another – like adding a garage to a home. Even better, this investment, unlike a garage or a pool, saves you money. 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?


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 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. Our solar installation team will be able to advise you if your roof should be replaced 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 also powers them. There are workarounds if your home doesn't have the ideal roof for solar panels. Contact us for a consultation and we will test your property for a solar solution to your energy needs.

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 your produce more than you use by just a little bit, your bill will be effectively eliminated.

SMECO Solar Electric Bill

Net metering on a SMECO electric bill