At Solarcon, we know this is a complex decision for both home owners and business building owners. This page is a frequently updated page of resource links, info graphics and helpful FAQ explanations.

Can You Explain a Kilowatt?

What is a Kilowatt and how is it measured for solar.

How long will my solar system last?
Depending on the manufacturer, you can expect your system to be warrantied for 20 to 25 years.
Will my system need maintenance?
Solar electric systems don’t require much maintenance. The typical system SolarCon sells have no moving parts. The first major maintenance required will be when your inverter reaches the end of its lifespan. Depending on equipment type, this will be between 10 and 25 years into the system’s life. If you have a lease or power purchase agreement, this cost will be covered by the maintenance plan. If you own the system (cash or loan), you will pay for the replacement costs yourself.
Do I need to clean the panels?
In most locations, rain and snow will clean your panels for you. If you live some place where dust and leaf debris are a problem, you may get improved energy production by having your panels cleaned yearly.
What happens if I sell my house?
The reduced cost of electricity for the new homeowner should add value to your home sale. The actual value varies by region. For loan purchases, the loan can typically be paid off as part of the sale. If you have a lease or power purchase agreement, the agreement can usually be paid off during the sale or transferred to the new owner.
Do I need to replace my roof before I install solar?
If your roof is more than 10 to 12 years old and showing signs of wear, you should consider having it inspected by a roofing professional to determine its remaining lifespan. The solar system installed on your roof will last between 20 and 25 years; during that time it may provide some protection to your roof from the elements, actually extending your roof’s lifespan. Should you need to replace your roof, a solar professional can easily remove the solar system in advance of your roof work and re-install it when the work is complete.
Will my solar system work when the power goes off?
The most common kind of solar PV (“grid-tied”) systems do not work when the power is off. To allow a system to provide energy when the utility power is out, you must also have a battery system. Adding batteries is more costly and less efficient than a simple grid-tied system. For homeowners where utility service is not reliable this may be a good choice. However, most homeowners choose a grid-tied system that is more cost effective and efficient.
If I generate 100% of my power from my solar panels, will I be able to go off the grid?
Depending on your available roof space, you may be able to have a solar PV system that covers all your electricity usage, but you won’t be able to go off the grid. The grid provides you with energy whenever your solar array isn’t producing any energy, like at night for example. Even though you can’t go completely off the grid, installing a battery system can help you prepare for emergency situations by storing energy for power outages. These systems do cost more however, and usually don’t make economic sense for people with reliable utility service.
Does solar work on days when there isn’t much sun?
On cloudy days, solar continues to work, but does produce less energy.
How does solar work with my home electrical system?
The solar energy from your system will enter your home electrical panel (in most cases) and be available for use by your home. If appliances and other electrical loads in your home need energy, they will use the solar energy before pulling additional energy from the utility grid. On days when you make more from your solar system than you need, it will go back to the grid and you will get a credit. On days (and nights) when you use more than you make, you will pull energy from the utility grid. Based on the monthly energy bill estimate you give us, we’ll tell you what percentage of your total electricity usage will come from solar power over the course of a year.
What happens when snow and ice build up on panels? Does it have to be cleared? Am I responsible for that?
Snow and ice will be shed on their own from the modules over time. Because the panels are dark in color, they usually warm up and clear themselves of ice faster than the rest of the roof.
Will I get a Federal and State Tax Credit or Deduction?
If you own the system (cash or loan financing), you will receive the applicable Federal and State tax credits. Check out DSIRE for your state tax credits or work with your SolarCon representative to get the list of credits available in your area.
How much will this cost? What does it include? Installation, equipment, permits, inspections, anything else?
Costs vary depending on whether you purchase your system in cash, use loan financing or go with a lease or power purchase agreement (where available). Loans, leases and power purchase agreements can cost as little as no money down with monthly payments made for the term of the agreement. With cash, you will pay most or all of the amount to the installer upfront, (usually with milestone payments) and receive some back after you claim any applicable tax credits. In all cases though, what you receive is a turnkey solution that includes all equipment, installation, permits, inspections and project management. In many cases, system monitoring services are also included in the price.
How long is the warranty?
Lease and power purchase agreements

The warranties are handled by the third party company who will maintain the system for the full term of the agreement.Purchased systems (cash or loan) – There are several different warranties involved:

  • Workmanship Warranty Provided by SolarCon. It covers the installation workmanship.
  • Equipment Warranty Provided by the manufacturer. It covers the manufactured equipment (modules & inverters) from defects. Lengths vary from 5 to 25 years.
  • Production Warranty Provided by the module manufacturer. It covers how much power loss is expected over the life of the module.

How does the solar panel system connect to the utility company grid at my home?

Solar Connection Diagram