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When making important investments such as with solar panels, it is natural to ask questions.  Here are answers to some of the most common questions we receive.

This question appears first for a reason – it is often the most important factor in determining whether solar will work for you.  Unfortunately, it is one of the most difficult questions to answer due to the amount of variables.  Cost will vary depending on your energy goals, the size of your electric bill, the placement of your panels, the type of panels you purchase, if you want battery storage, and so on.

The best way to determine the cost will be to contact us to talk about your specific situation.  You will also want to see what incentives you qualify for: currently businesses in our area can get up to 80-90% of their system paid for through tax credits, grants, and other rebates!

The return on investment, or ROI, for a solar panel installation is dependent on several factors.  Overall cost is the biggest factor and the lower the cost, the quicker the ROI.  The best ways of lowering the net cost are to utilize the 30% federal tax credit as well as any state and utility level rebates available in your area.  You can also lower your net cost by applying for grants.  There are currently grants available for schools, churches, businesses, and agriculture producers.  Businesses with a tax appetite can depreciate their system within 1-5 years.

The other factors impacting your ROI are how much electricity your panels are producing and how much your utility will reimburse you for any overproduction.  The more your panels produce and the more your utility will reimburse will quicken your ROI.  

Typically when a business or resident only utilizes the 30% tax credit, the ROI will be around 8-12 years. However, if a business utilizes grants, tax credits, tax depreciation, and rebates, it will be able to quicken its ROI to 1-2 years!  

According to a 2016 assessment by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, approximately 70-90% of buildings in our service area are suitable for solar.  That said, it is best to contact us, so that we can conduct a virtual site visit and run a solar simulation to see if your site is viable.  Ground mounted solar panels are a great option whether or not your roof is viable.  Ground mounts have similar installation costs, but tend to produce more energy and lower maintenance costs.

According to a 2020 survey by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the lifespan of a solar energy system ranges from 25-35 years.  Systems may produce power much longer than that.  To read more regarding lifespan and end-of-life management for photovoltaics, check out the website.

Solar panels are very durable and require little to no maintenance for the 25-35 years they generate power.  There is some loss of production due to dust/dirt collection, so you may want to clean them occasionally, but that is usually not necessary.  In the event that part of the system fails, most manufacturers include warranties.  Terms vary by company.

Current solar panel mounting hardware and techniques should maintain a watertight seal, just as any other ventilation duct or roof penetration.

According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, every $1 saved on energy increases a homes value by $20.  According to Zillow, homes with solar-energy systems sold for 4.1% more on average than comparable homes without solar power.  Combined with the electricity savings you enjoy, solar is a tremendous investment.

Not likely.  Most of the time people install “grid-connected” solar energy systems.  This means you will continue to draw power from the utility when your panels aren’t producing enough electricity to meet your needs, such as at night.  However, you will be able to use your solar while it is being produced. Any electricity you do not use will be fed back to the grid and you will receive a credit in return.

Probably not.  Since most systems are connected to the grid, the main advantage of having battery storage is having backup power during outages. 

No.  Grid-tied panels will shut off during an outage to prevent injuries to emergency responders and utility repair people.  If a battery storage system is connected to the solar power system, the battery will provide electricity during the outage.

Yes, unless you are fully off-grid, you will still receive a bill from your utility.  However, your bill will likely be reduced dramatically and could possibly give you a credit for overproduction during the summer months.

Net metering is how utilities credit homeowners for the solar power they produce.  In Wisconsin and Minnesota, the compensation rate or tariff is set by the utility.  To make sure your return on investment is accurate we make sure we are up-to-date with utility rate books.

Solar panels convert sunshine into electricity, so snow coverage will reduce or eliminate the ability to produce power.  When ground mounted, some system owners choose to clean the snow off.  Otherwise the snow will eventually slide or melt off.  Generally speaking, solar energy production is low in the winter and high in the summer.