Solar Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can You Save with Solar?

Yes. You are essentially trading your electricity bill for a smaller bill. Your savings amount may be impacted by the price of electricity and active solar incentive programs. For most homeowners in California, the cost of electricity has doubled in the last ten years.

2. What are the top benefits of installing a solar energy system?

  1. Cost Effective: Reduced electricity cost and makes a predictable electric bill.
  2. Tax Savings: Financial incentives for installation which may include Federal and State tax credits.
  3. Home Value: Can increase the property value when it’s a solar PV system purchase.
  4. Sustainability: By reducing our dependence on fossil fuel based energy from the utility company, we can prevent the release of air pollutants that are harmful to both the environment and public health.
  5. Provides Protection: Solar panels can provide protection for your roof, and from the sun. Solar carports, for example, can provide shade and a covered parking lot for cars.
  6. Power Grid Demand: By going solar, you can reduce your energy demand on your power grid during peak demand times.
  7. Low Maintenance: Solar systems typically require very little maintenance; they are incredibly durable and easily accessible for service and repair.

3. Disadvantages of installing a solar energy system?

Costs: There is an initial investment, but property owners can reduce the cost with solar incentives, a lower electric bill, and numerous financing solutions.

How it Looks: Some individuals don’t like the aesthetics that come with solar panels. However, there are newer panels that are available, which may even accentuate the look of your home.

Impacts to Efficiencies: Some residential and commercial properties have aspects about them that hinder the performance of their solar PV energy systems. For example:

– Poor roof design – with too many vents or corners that makes it difficult to maximize space to fit solar panels.
– Poor positioning – South facing roofs typically are best since they maximize the exposure to the sun.
– Weather – Solar panels work efficiently in most weather conditions unless it is extraordinarily cloudy or an area without a lot of sunlight.

4. Will a solar PV system protect me from grid blackouts and outages?

Even though you have a solar energy system, your power will also be interrupted for the safety of the repair crews who may be working on the power outage. Homeowners, looking to protect themselves against outages and blackouts should consider a battery backup system to gain independence from the grid.

5. Why Don’t More People Use Battery packs?

Cost and availability. Solar PV systems that include battery storage are still quite expensive, and there are waiting lists for specific brands. If you’d like the comfort of knowing that you’ll have power and independence when the grid goes down, a solar PV system that includes battery storage may make sense.

6. Will I ever need to replace my solar panel?

Not likely, but it does happen. Solar panels have been designed to prepare  for exposure to harsh outdoor elements. Plus, they are relatively simple, with no moving parts and so it is rare for issues to arise.  If cracks or breaks do emerge, it is typically best to get a maintenance service to come and assess them. 

Most companies offer 15, 20, and 25-year warranties as a standard to some of their systems. While warranties are excellent because it helps provide peace-of-mind and brings protection to your solar investment, but it is essential to know what your warranty covers.

If there are issues with regards to the performance of the solar panel output and are underproducing, the manufacturer will replace those panels for free. It is required by law that all solar panels come with at least a 25-year performance warranty.

7. Will installing solar panels damage my roof?

It shouldn’t. The technology has gotten much better where the chance of this happening is much less than before. If there is an issue, it is typically during the installation and workmanship warranties are offered by the company who sold you the solar PV system. Workmanship warranties will cover any labor-related defects, such as damage to your roof or other parts of your home or property as a result of a solar system installation.

Besides, as long as you own your solar panels and they are roof mounted, the system will be included under your homeowner’s policy and covered in standard plans without raising your premium.

8. How long do solar panels take to install?

The installation itself should take less than 4 hours.

The entire process of going solar, however, may take a bit more time. For most the experience process spans from finding the right solar installer, getting a quote, evaluating financing, to having a site assessment all before the installation itself takes place.

Always search for an approved contractor to install your solar panels. We recommend that you do consult with at least three different contractors for advice and pricing of solar systems. Whoever you choose, should do a detailed analysis of your property, and advise accordingly. They will be able to guide you through the process from start to finish. Because it can be such a process, working with a broker like ORME Solar will help simplify the process while finding you the best rate possible.

9. How long do solar panels last?

Solar panels are built and installed to endure harsh and unpredictable weather conditions, even in situations with lots of snow, rain, and wind. Only in the most extreme cases like places with lots of hurricanes, solar panels may not hold up very well. But that could also be said for the condition of the home as a whole.

For most places with strong winds or harsh weather conditions, counties and cities will require a specific way to design and install the solar panels to accommodate for different wind uplift speeds. These speeds can range anywhere from 3-5 seconds at 130 MPH in areas like Upload, California and Rancho Cucamonga, California. CAD designers and Engineers will make be sure to take these factors into account as they do the load calculations for your home.

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