We’ve already answered seven of the most commonly asked questions about solar. Now it’s time for five more!
1. Should I purchase or lease a solar system?
It depends on your current financial situation.
Purchasing a system up front will save you much more money overall:
– Short term: immediately reduces or virtually eliminates your electric bill
– Long term: allows you to leverage generous state and federal rebates. It also increases the value of your home.
Leasing is great way to reduce your electric bill without having to pay for a system. Since you don’t own the panels, you pay your solar lease company a reduced rate for electricity.
Want more info? Read our in-depth post about purchasing versus leasing a solar PV system.
2. Do my solar panels require maintenance?
For the most part, your panels do not need maintenance. In Hawaii, the regular rainfall takes care of keeping them clean. If you want to clean them occasionally, you can do this on your own or hire a professional. You should also make sure there are no obstructions blocking the sunlight to your panels (such as trees or tall shrubs).
Many solar systems include technology to monitor your panels’ electricity output and overall health, which you can access anytime. The mechanical maintenance of your panels depends on the manufacturer (and sometimes installer) warranty. Most solar PV panels carry a minimum 10-15 year warranty, with higher quality panels offering a 25 year warranty.
3. How long will my system last?
A good solar PV system will produce power 25-30 years and beyond. Keep in mind that all panels will lose some of their efficiency over time. Again — higher quality panels such as SunPower are guaranteed to lose less efficiency.
4. How many panels will I need on my home?
An average system has anywhere between 10 to 20 panels. The exact number you’ll need depends on:
- The amount electricity your home uses
- The direction, angle and pitch of your roof
- Available roof space
Of course, the best way to find out how many panels your roof will need is to schedule a free Home Energy Analysis.
5. Where can I learn about solar tax credits?
The unbiased and up-to-date source for federal and state solar tax incentives is The Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE).