How does solar work?

The sun’s power can be harnessed and turned into electricity using two primary technologies. You’re likely to be familiar with the first one, which is photovoltaics. You’ve seen these panels on rooftops or in the field. The electric field created by the cells in the panel when the sun shines on them causes electricity to flow.

Concentrating solar power, or CSP is the second technology. It is not appropriate for residential use because it is used in large power plants. This technology utilizes mirrors to reflect and concentrate sunlight, which can be used to make electricity.

Is my home suitable for solar panels?

Even though solar panels are built to work in all climates, some roofs may not be suitable for age or tree cover. If trees surround your home, rooftop panels are not the best option. The slope, size, and shape of your roof are also important factors. South-facing roofs with a pitch between 15 and 40 degrees are best for solar panels. The age of your roof and how long it will need to be replaced should be considered.

You can still benefit from solar energy if a professional such as installers found in determines that your roof is not suitable for solar. A single, shared solar array can be installed on- or off-site to benefit multiple people. All of the participants can buy into the shared system at a level that best fits their budget. Still, costs associated with purchasing and installing a solar energy system are divided among them.

There is a tool that can be used by those interested in community solar. Consumers can quickly locate and compare multiple community solar projects in their area with the help of the company’s Community Solar Marketplace.

Can I install solar myself?

The best option to install solar is a qualified professional who holds a certification and works with high-quality solar panels. The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) gives industry-standard accreditation. You’ll be able to install solar yourself in the future. A plug-and-play solar array that enables consumers to easily attach the panels to their roofs using a roof mounting system and connect it to the grid in under 12 hours is being developed by an awardee. Until it becomes available at your local home improvement store, you should work with a certified solar installer.

How much power can I generate with solar?

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory came up with a tool to do this. Every address in the world estimates the energy production and cost of the grid-connected solar energy systems. It is possible to compare solar’s prices to utility bills with the help of this tool. Making sure to work with a solar installer for a custom estimate of how much power your solar energy system is likely to generate is something that these tools are great for.

Will I save money by going solar?

The amount of money you can save with solar depends on several variables, such as how much electricity you consume, the size of your solar energy system, and how much power it can generate, given the direction your roof faces. Your savings are dependent on how much the utility will compensate you for the excess solar energy you send back to the grid, as well as the electricity rates set by your utility. You can see current electricity rates in your area by checking the National Utility Rate Database.

Solar is competitive with the electricity sold by your local utility in some cities around the country. According to researchers, the cost of going solar has dropped every year since 2009. SETO’s funding programs are improving the affordability of solar and making it easier for consumers to choose solar.

It’s important to note that energy efficiency improvements complement solar energy economically. You’ll use less solar energy to power your home if you use Energy Star appliances and other products.

Can I get financing for solar?

When choosing to go solar, consumers have several financing options to choose from. It is possible to install a solar system at a lower total cost than if you use a solar loan, lease, or power purchase agreement.

Solar loans can lower the up-front costs of the system if you prefer them. If you save money from the beginning, monthly loan payments are smaller than a typical energy bill. Solar energy loans can be subsidized with below-market interest rates, making them even more affordable than home improvement loans. The Federal Housing Administration Fannie Mae allows borrowers to include financing for home improvements in the home’s purchase price if they add solar as part of their mortgage. You can get a tax credit for buying a solar energy system. In December 2020, Congress passed an extension of the ITC, which provides a 26% tax credit for systems installed in 2020-2022 and 22% for systems installed in 2023. The tax credit will end in 2024.

Consumers can host solar energy systems that companies and repurchase electricity own from them. Consumers can have lower electricity bills without monthly loan payments. In some cases, putting no money down to go solar is what it means. Fixed monthly payments are calculated using the estimated amount of electricity the system will produce. Consumers agree to purchase the power generated by the solar system at a set price per kilowatt-hour. Since you do not own the solar energy system, you are not entitled to tax benefits.

It can be hard to understand the landscape of solar financing. The guide was published by the Clean Energy States Alliance to help homeowners understand their options.