FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

If your question isn't answered on this page, don't hesitate to contact us for additional information. We'd be happy to help you.

Is Solar more expensive than regular power?

Yes and no. Solar requires a large installation cost that means paying "upfront" for many years of energy. Once the system has "paid for itself" the energy you gain from the system is free. Proper financing of a system can create a positive cash flow after installation of a system. Look at our financial page for some information.

How much will solar reduce my energy bill?

The reduction depends on the size of your system and the weather patterns. A system is sized to satisfy a certain percentage of your loads on an annual basis.

Is there financing available?

Yes, there are a variety of financing options that are similar to home improvement loans.

How much does a system cost for an average home?

A system for an average home with four residents that uses 400kwh and 40 therms a month will be-Solar Electric $16,983 after rebate + Solar Thermal $10,000=$26,983. This system would satisfy 75-100% of your annual load.

What is the ROI (Return on Investment) for an average system?

Currently the ROI for solar electric systems ranges from 8-25 years and 5-20 for solar thermal systems.

How do I tell how much energy I use?

Look at your PG&E bill for the usage information that gives totals for the month. You can request your bills for the past year to get an accurate figure for annual usage.

How much roof area do I need to provide electricity or heat for my home?

To provide electricity and hot water for an average home with four residents-Solar Electric 400 sq ft & Solar Thermal 160 sq ft.

Can I sell power back to my local utility?

Yes, the PUC has mandated that your local utility purchase surplus power. You must install an appropriate meter that runs two directions.

What if I don't produce enough power for my household?

If you are connected to the grid you purchase power as needed. Remote homes need an alternative source of power.

How much maintenance is required for a system?

A yearly check-up by a qualified technician is recommended, in addition to regular checkups by the owner. Stand-alone systems require a greater amount of maintenance.

Will I still have power when the sun doesn't shine for a couple of days?

Stand-alone or UPS systems require an alternative source of power generation to guarantee a constant source of power.

Can I install these panels myself?

If you have a construction background you can work with us to install the system.

What is the life span of a system?

25-40 years.

Does Solar help the environment?

Yes, Solar reduces the production of greenhouse gases
Reduces the need for new power generating facilities that are often coal, gas or nuclear powered.
Extends the life of traditional power components ( water heaters, power plants, generators ) by cutting back their usage.
Creates a local economy that reduces energy transportation costs.

What are the environmental costs of producing solar panels?

Solar Electric - The main component of PV cells is silicon based substrate that is grown in a clean room environment. The energy needed to produce the cells is gained in 7 years depending on the manufacturer. The byproducts of this manufacturing process have some environmental damage but the solar industry is active in containing the waste material. The frames are made of aluminum and glass.
Solar Thermal - The energy used to produce the components of the collectors-Copper, Aluminum, Glass and Insulation are gained in 5-8 years depending on the manufacturer. Production of these materials has some environmental impacts in the areas of mining, refining and processing.

Are the panels recyclable?

Yes, the silicon, copper, glass and aluminum can be recycled.

Are you a licensed contractor?

Yes, We are a licensed solar and general building contractor. You can visit the State Contractors board website, www.cslb.ca.gov.

Do you have insurance?

Yes, we have liability, and a bond.

What kind of warranty do you give?

We give a warranty of 5 years on work in addition to the manufacturers warranty.

Do you have references?

Yes, we will provide appropriate references for your project.

 

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