All your answers to the how’s, what’s, & when’s of solar power.
What are the financial benefits of solar?
When you install a solar system, you not only can save money on, or eliminate your electrical bills, but you are also protecting your property from rising electricity costs. Solar is a smart investment regardless of where you live. Learn more about the benefits of solar energy.
Do solar panels need batteries?
No, our systems use the existing electrical grid to manage the system, and net metering from the utility to buy and sell electricity.
Does solar work in the midwest?
Yes! Wisconsin and Illinois can produce approximately the same amount of electricity as East Texas, and about 30% more than Germany, which produces more solar than any other country in the world.
Does the utility buy back solar?
Yes, all utilities in Wisconsin and Illinois are required to Net Meter.
Can hail damage the panels?
We have yet to see a panel damaged by hail as they are very robust, but your home owners insurance usually covers any damage due to extreme weather.
Can snowfall cause issues with production?
Solar panels are very slick and we only use black on black panels, which quickly absorbs light from the sun and causes the snow to melt and slide off.
Do solar panels require maintenance?
Solar panels require no maintenance. If you have any issues with your system, contact us and we will correct it as quickly as possible.
What are the warranties?
Sun Badger warranties our systems for 10 years. We only use panels which have a 25 year linear production warranty. Solar Edge inverters are warrantied for 12 years and Solar Edge optimizers are warrantied for 25 years.
How big is a solar panel?
A 60 cell solar panel is approximately 3.5 x 5.5 Feet.
What about leaks?
We use a detailed solar panel installation process which encompasses flashing, precise penetration and sealant. While we have yet to see a leak, we completely warranty against them.
What is net metering?
Net Metering is the system that utilities use to credit solar energy system owners for the electricity produced by their solar panels. With net metering, you only pay for the electricity that you use beyond what your solar panels can generate. Net metering is slightly different in Wisconsin and Illinois. Ask your energy consultant for more details.
Does solar work in a blackout?
Unless you have battery backup, your solar system will not produce power during a blackout for the safety of any line workers.
Can I go off grid?
Yes, you can, but the system would involve redundancy such as generators, which can be very expensive. Grid tied systems are a fantastic return on investment and 99% of our work.
What incentives are available?
There is a 26% federal tax credit for all installations. Both Illinois and Wisconsin have individual incentives, and commercial projects qualify for 100% depreciation in the first year. Check out our Solar Panel INCENTIVES page for more information.
How long will my system last?
We expect our systems to last 35 years or even more. The only replacement portion of the system is the inverter, which may be replaced after 12 – 20 years.
Can I afford solar and what financing options are available?
If you can afford to pay your electricity bill you can afford to go solar. We have both 0 down unsecured loans and secured loans.
Do I need to replace my roof before I put up solar?
Solar energy systems can last for over 35 years, and it can be costly to remove and reinstall them if you need to replace your roof. If your roof needs maintenance in the near term, you should complete it before you finish your solar installation. In some cases, the cost of a new roof can be included in the federal tax credit. Ask your financial professional if you can receive the tax credit on your roofing work.
How does solar effect my property value?
Studies, have shown that homes with solar energy systems sell for more than homes without them. However, your property value will only increase if you own, rather than lease, your solar panel system. In most parts of the country, adding solar panels for home use actually increase your home value more than a kitchen renovation. https://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/22/realestate/solar-panels-and-home-values.html
What is the difference between a secured loan and an unsecured loan?
The primary difference between secured and unsecured loans is that secured solar loans require that you promise an asset, usually your home, as collateral for the money that you borrow. Unsecured solar loans do not, but their interest rates are generally higher to compensate for the increased risk taken on by the lender, but they also allow you 12 months with no interest or payments for the incentivized portion of your solar system.
Can I install batteries?
Yes, we have options for battery backup form Solar Edge and LG.
Can I install solar monitoring?
We install a monitoring system with all of our installs.
What incentives are available for commercial solar?
A 26% federal tax credit, 100% bonus depreciation and local incentives are available in WI, MN, and IL.
How much can electricity can you offset with a commercial installation?
With some commercial tariffs, the delivery charges are separate to the cost of electricity, but in most cases we can still offset at least 65% of your costs.
What type of commercial roofs are best for solar?
Most types of roofs can accommodate commercial solar installation. For a flat roof, we generally install systems using a blasted, non penetrative system.
What is the payback on commercial systems?
If your business has a tax burden, commercial systems in MN, WI, and IL should be less than a 5 year ROI.
INTERESTED IN LEARNING MORE?
We’d love to sit-down with you to answer any additional questions you may have as well as discuss how we can help you specifically.