Solar FAQ

We have compiled a few of our frequently asked questions below. If you have a question that is not answered here or elsewhere on our site, please do not hesitate to call us or email us at:

-How long does a solar electric system take to pay for itself?

A full financial evaluation will determine the pay-back for you based on a host of factors. Often we find that a smaller system coupled with long term conservation investments: more attic insulation, higher efficiency appliances, LED and fluorescent lighting, and hybrid pool pumps, leads to the shortest payback term. Given SunWave Solar’s pricing, tax incentives and rebates, and careful site evaluation most customers can enjoy payback in under7 years.

-How do I apply for all the solar rebates and incentives?

We will assist you in all phases of rebates. As for tax incentives, check with your tax professional to help you take advantage of the 30% federal tax credit. For more information, check out our tab under residential solar.

-Should I reroof before I go solar?

We will assess your roof with a professional licensed roofer and determine the feasibility of a rooftop mount. Since we stand behind your roof penetrations for 10 years, we do everything to keep you and your home dry inside. Our installations always require stripping your roof area under the array and re-roofing around the new stand-offs. Whether a larger area needs to be re-roofed will be determined by the roofer.  

-How much space is required for my system?

A good rule of thumb is 100 sq. ft. of roof or ground area for each kW of system size. The average system size in the US is around 3.5kW.

How is the solar energy stored?

It’s not. During the day, you will use the solar energy in your home. If you produce more than you are using, you will sell that power back to the power company in the form of a credit. Then you buy it back at night or on days when you use a lot of energy. If you produce more than you use on average for the month, the extra amount carries over to the next month.

In California, and most other states, annual net metering is the law. Feed-in tariffs are coming which will allow over-producers to be paid for extra power they generate. At the present time installing a system larger than what you need is economically not feasible.

-What happens when the power goes out?

Most solar systems are grid-tied. Automatic anti-islanding features prevent production of power when the grid is down to protect power company employees working on the lines. If power outages are a large concern, we can design and install battery or generator back-up systems for you.

-What maintenance is required?

Not much. Normal wind-borne dirt should be rinsed off twice a year. Leaves, bird poop, and frisbees MUST GO.

-What about thin film solar and other emerging solar technologies?

Thin film panels need much more area to produce the same electricity as SolarWorld modules.  Their flexibility and smaller size do allow them to be built into places our modules can’t fit. Solar roof shingles are also an option. The major hold back on both these technologies is their efficiency. They produce a fraction of the energy a panel will and therefore are not a great investment yet.

-I live in a Condo; can I get solar?

Solar energy systems are separated 100% by your electric meter.  SunWave Solar will have the answers to all of your questions concerning how solar works on condos. Usually the hard part is how much roof you can have for your system and whether your home owners association (HOA) will continue to maintain the roof. In California, there are specific laws that deal with solar and HOAs.



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