Frequently Asked Questions
I would like to put solar in my home. Where would I start?
Going solar is one of the best investments you can do for your home and the planet. Not only does it produce renewable energy, but it also reduces your light bill, gives you electricity independence, adds value to your home, and saves you money in the long run. The first thing you need to do is understand your electricity consumption. This is measured in kilo-watt hours, or kWh. Simply look at your electricity bill and it will give you how many kWh you consumed the previous month. Knowing the kWh consumed will allow a solar contractor to know how big your system should be, and a fairly accurate idea of how much it will cost. Second, understand that this is an investment and could run several thousands of dollars. They could go from $5,000 to over $50,000. Last, make sure you do your homework on solar contractors in your area!
How long does the solar installation process take?
The project timeline for your solar project begins after you have made an educated decision to go solar. Contacting a solar contractor, signing contracts, designing and engineering the system, pulling plans and permits, and actual installation need not be a lengthy process. This will take somewhere between two to four weeks. A good and respected solar contractor will do all this for you.
I have a 2,500 sq. ft. home and would like to put solar to run my fan, fridge, T.V., etc. How much will that cost?
The size of the home isn’t as important as the electric consumption. A contractor needs to know how big your system is supposed to be. A 1,000 sq. ft. home may have antiquated, energy-draining appliances and run the AC at low temperatures all day long, which skyrockets the electricity consumption. A 3,000 sq. ft. home may have brand new, energy-efficient appliances with LED lightbulbs. Its consumption will clearly be lower than the smaller home. The bigger home will consequently need a smaller system than the smaller home.
This isn’t saying that the size of the home is irrelevant; space is another big factor when designing a solar system. There needs to be enough space to place the right number of panels and other components. Most solar systems in Florida are limited to the amount of space for the solar panels not the cost. As a rule of thumb each square foot can yield 14 watts of power. Meaning a 500 square foot rooftop can hold 7,000 watts of power or enough to provide the majority of the power needed for most homes in Florida.
What makes a house ideal for solar?
Solar panels should be facing south and free from any shadows and shades. Ideally, a solar system should be away from trees or anything else that may block sunlight from reaching the panels. Same goes for ground-mounted systems; anywhere that faces south and no obstructions is the way to go.
Many homes can choose to install solar facing east or west. The penalty to not face true south is only 10% so don’t be discouraged if all you have is east or west facing space. Call a solar professional who can show you the output for these cases.
What’s the best way to choose a solar installer?
Making an investment in solar is a major consideration; you want to have a positive experience and relationship with your solar installer. First and very important, you want work with someone who you can trust. Your solar installer should be someone who is clear, transparent in their quotes and communications, and be willing to answer all of your questions in a timely manner. The most important thing to know is their work history and resume – verifying their quality standards and record is a good thing. For example, Florida Solar One has received numerous awards over the years, such as Top Florida Contractor.
What happens when the power goes out?
The majority of residential solar installations are grid-tied, meaning that you are always connected to your local utility company. This means that when the power goes out, your solar system shuts off. This is meant to protect the servicemen who come and repair the grid. When the power is restored, as long as your breaker is still on, your solar system will automatically begin working again.
What is the status of the Federal Tax Credit?
The 30% Federal Investment Tax Credit is still available through December 31, 2017, with no maximum credit limit. After the end of 2017, residential systems will drop 4% per year until reaching 10% (five years). Commercial tax credit will remain at 30% until 2021 when they too will drop 4% per year until reaching 10% (again 5 years or 2026).
Will my appliances work any differently after I install a solar system? Will I need to replace anything?
The power inverter you select will convert DC electricity produced from the solar panels into the AC electricity used in your home. Everything will continue to work and operate as it always has… you just won’t have to pay as much to use your appliances anymore!
What does NABCEP certified mean? What are good indicators of respectable contractors?
NABCEP stands for the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners – a standard bearer in the solar industry. Florida Solar One holds NABCEP Certifications as well as many more credentials that makes it perhaps the most qualified solar contractor in South Florida. The head engineer is a master instructor for Underwrite Laboratory (UL), founder of The US Solar Institute, and president of USSolar, one of Inc. Magazines top 5000’s fastest growing US companies. Florida Solar One is licensed and insured and a division of USSolar.