As of 2016, 1.3 million homes in the United States used solar power. That number has surely increased over the past three years and will continue to increase in the years to come.
You may be curious about solar power but hesitant to jump on the bandwagon because you don’t simply don’t know enough about it yet. If you are interested in solar energy but need to learn more, you've come to the right place. We're here to alleviate your fears of going solar! Read on for all the answers to frequently asked solar energy questions.
What are the benefits of going solar?
You may have a general idea that going solar could benefit you, but do you know exactly how much it can help? Understanding all of the benefits of going solar is the first step to making the change. Here are the benefits of using solar energy:
Solar energy is better for the environment
One of the main reasons solar energy has become so popular is because it is a renewable resource that does not harm the environment when it's utilized. Traditional forms of energy, such as gas and coal, are not renewable and cause a great deal of harm to the environment.
By installing solar panels on your home, you'll be greatly reducing your carbon footprint on the Earth compared to when you were using non-renewable energy sources.
You'll save money on utilities
After paying for the solar panels, you won't have to worry about paying anything else for the solar energy you generate. You get your energy directly from the sun, and the sun doesn't charge you a utility fee! You can greatly reduce, or even completely eliminate, your electric bill by switching to solar. Over time, your savings will have paid for your solar panels several times over.
Check out the average solar savings for each state.
Incentives and tax credits
Not only will you save money on your monthly utility bill, but you'll get major monetary incentives and tax credits by going solar. That means you'll save money on taxes each year and even get a portion of your solar panels paid for.
How do solar panels work?
Solar panels absorb sunlight during the day and convert this energy into electricity for your home. The amount of electricity produced by the solar panels depends on how much sunlight they get each day. On a sunny day and with an appropriately-sized solar system, you will cover your household’s electricity needs and generate surplus power. This excess power can either be sold to the grid or used to charge a battery storage system.
During the night when you don't get sunlight, you will either draw on traditional electricity from the grid or draw on power saved on your batteries (if you have them). For a more detailed, easy-to-understand explanation read: What is solar energy and how do solar panels work in your home?
How many solar panels do I need?
The more solar panels you have, the more electricity you'll generate from available sunlight. If you can find the right amount of panels for your home where you can completely eliminate your power bill, you'll be golden. But how many panels should you get? Unfortunately, there's no set number that will work for every home. You can get a general idea about the total system size that you might need by checking out the size of the average solar system installed in each state. But the best way to find out how many solar panels you need is to check out Solar Estimate’s solar calculator page. It will give you a reliable estimate on not just the number of solar panels you need, but their cost and the savings they provide as well.
The number of panels it will recommend will be tailored for your needs, based on the following factors: your energy usage, the size of your home, the climate conditions in your area, and even your utility’s feed-in laws.
Will I need solar maintenance?
One of the best things about solar panels is that they are extremely durable. Odds are, you won't need any solar maintenance at all once they've been installed. You may have to clean your panels if debris starts to collect or it snows a lot. But other than that, you won't have to do much of anything to keep your solar panels functioning for the years to come.
Read more: How long do solar panels last?
What solar financing options do I have?
Many people can't afford to dish out thousands of dollars up front to have solar panels installed. Luckily, there are solar financing options so you can still have them installed on your home. You have two main options to pay for solar panels (other than paying upfront): solar loans and signing a solar lease.
Taking out a solar loan is exactly what it sounds like: you'll get a loan to pay for the panels and then pay the loan back — plus interest — over time. With a solar lease or power purchase agreement (PPA), you won't have to pay upfront for your panels. Instead, you'll be paying a monthly bill for the amount of solar energy you use. This is an option for people who want to go solar to help the environment, but don't want to pay upfront or pay back a loan.
See how the different financing options compare: Pros and cons of buying solar vs leasing solar vs PPA agreements
The most important of all energy questions: Should I go solar?
Now that you know the answers to frequently asked solar energy questions, it's time to ask yourself: Should make the switch and finally go solar? The answer is yes! Going solar is the right answer for the majority of homeowners in the United States.
Have more solar energy-related questions? Contact us today, and we'd be glad to answer them for you!