You can switch your panels on - after these two steps
Unfortunately, you won’t be able to start producing renewable energy immediately after the installation is complete. There’s at least one, but potentially two things that need to happen first.
Firstly, your home will have to be fitted with a bi-directional meter. This type of meter allows for electricity to not only be supplied to your home via the grid. but for electricity to also be exported from your solar panels. Your home may already have a bi-directional, meter and if that’s the case, you can skip this step.
Secondly, after your panels and bi-directional meter are installed, you will need to receive a permission to operate (PTO) from your utility company. You can't switch on your solar panel system until you receive this. This usually doesn't require any work on your end as your solar company should apply for this on your behalf.
Once you have these two things, your solar inverter can be switched on and you can start selling power back to the grid and substantially reducing your electricity costs!
You can check panel performance with monitoring apps
Most reputable brands of solar inverters are equipped with remote monitoring which connects to your home's WiFi network, enabling you to monitor the production of your solar panels from anywhere in the world.
You can also see how much power your home is using and how much power is being exported to the grid; however, this is usually a premium feature and costs an extra $200-300.
Most inverter manufacturers even have an app to make things even easier. Below is a view of SolarEdge's monitoring dashboard.
The image above is from a solar customer who opted for the premium monitoring plan. In addition to solar system production, the homeowner can see how much solar power was consumed by the home and how much was exported to the grid. Under a standard monitoring plan, they would only be able to see system output.
Your electric bills will be much lower
During the day, your solar panel system usually produces more electricity than needed by the home. This excess is exported to the electric grid. A program called net metering (available in most states) requires your utility company to credit your bill for the energy your solar system exports at the same rate you would otherwise purchase power at.
For example, if you pay an electrical rate of 14 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh), your utility would then have to credit your bill 14 cents for every kWh your solar energy system exports to the grid.
There’s another great thing about net metering: in months where your system has exported a greater amount of electricity than your home has drawn, you can carry over the excess credit into future month’s energy bills. Depending on your utility you may also have the option to be paid out at the end of your annual billing cycle.
Net metering allows you to get full value for the entirety of your solar production - without the need for battery storage. Most homeowners who install solar reduce their energy bills by 80% or more, and save tens of thousands of dollars over the life of their solar system. That means they not only recover the initial cost of the system, but also save a large amount over that.
Net metering isn’t the only incentive you can benefit from, there’s also the federal solar tax credit, worth 26% of the cost of your solar system, as well as many other state and local incentives.
The value of your home will increase
A recent article by Zillow finds that homes with solar panels see a 4% property value increase. Zillow also suggests that the average home price in America is $269,039. Assuming Zillows data is true, you would then expect on average to gain a $10,762 increase in your property’s value.
When you consider that the average price of a typical 6 kW solar system in America after incentives is $13,500, you’re essentially getting 80 percent of the cost of your investment back immediately.
What makes solar so valuable?
That’s because any future owner of your home will have very little or no energy usage bills.
There is, however, a crucial factor to be aware of: the property value benefits are far greater if you own your solar panel installation completely. This means purchasing your system outright by either paying cash or using a loan to own your solar system. Transferring the ownership of a solar lease or PPA (power purchase agreement) can be a major hassle when selling your home. Furthermore, solar leases and PPAs generally yield smaller long-term savings compared to owning your own panels.
Your solar installation’s value doesn’t just come from reducing your utility bills. Energy production from your system will also help in the fight against global warming and promote a greener, more sustainable world for everybody.
You will dramatically lower your carbon footprint
The carbon footprint of solar energy is tiny, especially compared with the alternatives.
It’s estimated that coal-powered plants produce 2.2 lbs of carbon dioxide emissions for every kilowatt hour of energy produced and gas at 0.88 lbs. Solar panels, on the other hand, are estimated to produce a measly 0.047lbs to 0.088 lbs per kWh - a much better option for the environment. This information is covered further in an excellent article from Solar Bay.
The small environmental damage that solar panels do have is related to their manufacturing process. And while there is some pollution created during the making of solar panels, researchers still find that the footprint of solar (and wind and nuclear) is ‘amazingly low’ compared to energy from fossil-fuel sources.
The simple truth is that a lot of good things happen when you go solar - not just for your wallet, but also for your carbon footprint and the planet. If you’re yet to make the leap, you can gain a free estimate on the cost of a solar system in your area by entering your zip code below.
Your warranty will cover you in the unlikely event of problems
In the very unlikely event that your panels have issues, this will usually be for one of two reasons:
- Faulty equipment
- Faulty installation or poor handling
In both cases, you will be protected by warranty, although the period of coverage for each differs.
On the equipment side, solar panels from all major brands are covered by production warranties of either 25 or 30 years. If your panels fail or underperform during this period, you can use your warranty to claim a replacement.
If the issues you experience have to do with improper installation, then the installer is responsible for making any repairs and replacement for a period of at least 12 years. This type of warranty is referred to as a workmanship warranty and is usually 12 years or longer.
Warning: just because solar panels have a warranty doesn’t mean it will be honored!
Unfortunately, some companies operate under the motto of “get in cheap and quick and then get out”. What they do is buy the cheapest possible gear and run on razor thin profit margins (hence why they’re so cheap). When these companies are inevitably plagued with maintenance issues and warranty claims they shut up shop, open up under a new name and completely abandon their old clients. Sadly many of these disgruntled customers never receive help with their solar systems as many other solar installers lack the resources to install solar for new customers and perform maintenance jobs on the side.
If you’re yet to install a solar system on your home don’t be deterred by a few bad eggs! There are thousands of solar installers across America who are an absolute pleasure to deal with. Lifestyle Solar located in Fresno, California always warmly welcomes every dear customer. Get in touch with us right now by going to the website www.lifestylesolarinc.com/ .