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How Much Do You Charge To Design My Solar Energy Savings Report?
$0. Rather than blowing our marketing budget on billboards and TV ads, we invest our time and energy into creating these custom solar energy-saving reports specifically for you in hopes that, if your home qualifies, you do choose to go solar. If it makes sense, we'll be here to help you navigate through the next steps.
Why Do Some Homes in My Neighborhood Have Solar But Not Others?
Not every home is suited for solar. Your home needs to have roof orientation angled towards the sun in order for your panels to produce energy. This term is called “sun exposure”. One of the first things we’ll do is pull your home up with satellite imagery software to analyze your level of solar access. We’ll take into account the orientation (azimuth angle and tilt angle) of each potential panel array and use that data to calculate electricity production projections which will then be taken into account during system design and sizing. We’re also going to take into account obstructions such as trees and roof vents as well as make sure there are no structural issues with your roof during our site visit. If proper solar access cannot be achieved, we will inform you that your home is not a good candidate for solar and what steps can be taken to rectify it. If it can be achieved, we’ll present the numbers as well as what your solar panel design will look like with 3D rendering.
What Is Net Metering?
Net metering is an amazing policy that works in your favor which allows you to treat your utility provider as your personal battery. Being in a net-metering state presents you with the advantage of being able to lend your excess power production back into the grid and then pull that electricity back when you need it with a kilowatt-for-kilowatt match.
The easiest example of net metering is the day/night example. During a nice sunny day, imagine the dial on your power meter spinning backward as your solar system produces more energy than your home consumes and the excess electricity goes back to the grid. Then imagine it spinning clockwise later that evening after the sun goes down and your home pulls its power back from the grid. That is net metering.
While net metering is legally mandated in most states, It’s important to know if your home is connected to a net-metering utility because that will help you determine if it even makes sense for you to go solar right now.
How Much Does Solar Cost and How Do I Pay For It?
The answer to this question will change depending on who’s asking the question. Odds are your electric bill does not match that of your neighbors month over month. Therefore, solar is typically not thought of as a one size fits all solution. Different panels will produce different amounts of power and inverters are limited to their specific parameters. Often times your specific utility provider will play a cost factor as well. The first thing any solar company should ask you for is a copy of your bill. They do this because it’s important to know how much energy your family uses in a typical year. We factor in the needs of the people living in the home, the square footage of the home, and anticipate your future needs as well as we can, we can size the system with the proper equipment. Once we’ve determined the optimal solar system setup for your needs, we will calculate and show you the cost. There are several other variable cost factors that go into your system from design to permit fees to the cost of the panels themselves and the labor costs in your market to install them.
Once properly designed, your Luminosity Solar advisor will show you your total system cost, but more importantly, walk you through your different options to pay for it. Some folks prefer to pay cash outright and eliminate that monthly expense altogether. More often than not, families tend to take advantage of our partnership with Conscious Energy Consulting & Mortgages to utilize a Solar Refi to cover their system cost while also lowering their current and future mortgage payments. This is often the most financially viable option with the strongest ROI. However, it is not suited for everyone. Oftentimes people will take out a low-interest loan with zero $ down. We work with a plethora of national, top-rated lenders to offer these as well. Sometimes people tend to lease their system with a PPA vs purchasing their system. That works for some folks who may not necessarily qualify for a traditional solar loan due to lack of income or lower credit score yet still want to do their part to offset their carbon footprint. However, leasing your solar fails to grant the homeowner true power of ownership. Each of the above payment options comes with its own list of pros and cons. Your Luminosity Solar advisor will take a deeper dive into the various payment options with you and help you select the method that makes the most sense for you.
Is Solar a Good Investment for My Home?
It is well-documented that adding solar increases the value of your home. The reason for this is that it's a rare home investment that actually produces income. A solar system sits on your roof and generates electricity, and there is a value for each kilowatt of electricity your system produces.
In fact, each KW you produce is a KW that you don’t have to purchase from your electric company. Plus the future value of all of those savings is valuable to the next buyer of your home.
Another amazing reason to go solar today - get the economic benefits today, and get more for the sale of your home tomorrow.
Do I Need to Buy a Battery?
No. Batteries are not necessary to go solar. However, they do provide a couple of prominent advantages when added to your solar system. There are two primary ways that homeowners benefit from owning a battery:
The obvious reason is you can use the battery for backup power. If the grid goes down, you're still covered. If disaster strikes, having a battery will allow you to continue to have electricity in your home, even if your utility company can’t provide it.
The second reason is that you can often actually save money by getting a battery if you live in a region with specific rate structures where you would benefit from using stored power from the battery during more expensive times of the day. In many regions, the net metering policy allows you to save money without the need for a battery unless you want the peace of mind that comes from knowing that your home can provide electricity even when your utility company can’t. Ask your Luminosity Solar advisor for more information. They'll be able to give you a detailed proposal of exactly how much a system will cost with a battery if you're interested in one.
Luminosity Solar works with some of the largest home battery backup storage manufacturers in the event you choose to add that upgrade to your installation.
What Does The Typical Solar Warranty Look Like?
While there are no moving parts in your PV solar system, the very best of things do not always last forever and it's nice to know someone has your back in the event of failure. Warranties should be looked at individually for each of the major solar system components involved.
The first warranty you’re looking at is the solar panel itself and most likely going to be 25 years if you’re working with a tier-1 panel. This warranty should cover both manufacturer defects as well as power output guarantees. The production capability of a solar panel is at its optimal peak fresh off of the factory floor. Each year it is exposed to the sun, its ability to convert the sun’s energy will drop by a fraction of a percent. Typical PV (photovoltaic) solar panel production drop rates are about a quarter to a half of a percent each year. That means 25 years from now, your solar panels should be warranted to produce at least 85%-92% of their rated output the day of installation.
The second warranty people worry about is the one that covers the inverter. UV rays come into the solar panels as DC current and your home (and the grid it’s connected to) uses AC current. That means the energy your system produces will need to be converted from DC to AC before it enters your home. This is where the inverter comes into play. Your typical solar inverter will come with a warranty of 10-25 years and is often the first thing to be replaced throughout the life of your system.
Lastly, and most overlooked, is the workmanship warranty. Quality solar panels and inverters are crucial but equally important are the hands that install them. It’s very crucial when you’re looking into solar for your home to also ask about the length of the workmanship warranty (also thought of as labor). 10yrs is typical but read between the lines and look for hidden charges such as service fees, filing fees, or deductibles, just to name a few.
When you get your solar system through Luminosity Solar, you will have peace of mind knowing that your system will come with 30 years of solar warranty protection. We’ve partnered with “A” rated Solar Insure to offer this fully transferable, zero-deductible, parts & labor included, bumper-to-bumper warranty on all of our installations. That means you can forget about all of these 10, 12, 15, or even 25-year numbers.
What is the Solar Investment Tax Credit?
The Solar Investment Tax Credit (also known as the Solar ITC) is a tax credit offered by the federal government as an added incentive for going solar. As of 2021, this rebate is 26% of your total system cost. We are not tax professionals and we always recommend consulting with your tax professional to determine if you are eligible to claim the Solar Investment Tax Credit. After you and your tax professional have determined your eligibility, you simply file a form that will include the cost of your solar system, and the government is going to send you a check back for 26% of that amount (or subtract it from your existing tax liability). Again, please consult with your tax professional regarding the ITC to determine your eligibility.
What is Involved in Going Solar?
So what happens when you sign an agreement to go solar with us? Actually, the agreement is the hardest part! Once you sign your agreement, we do the rest. We will assign you a dedicated project manager that will keep you posted through every step of your project.
First, we will schedule your site survey. Next, we create the design that gets submitted to the City to receive a construction permit. Once the permit is received, we schedule your installation, which typically takes 1-3 days depending on the size of your system. After we finish installing the solar system on your house, we schedule the city inspector and/or your utility company to approve the installation and give you what is called “permission to operate”, or PTO. Once you have PTO, we power on your system and you can enjoy clean power for your home from the sunshine. The whole process typically takes 45-90 days. Although much of that time is simply waiting for permits, inspectors, and the like.