1) How much does a solar system cost?

This is absolutely the most frequently asked solar FAQ on the planet. There are two factors that help determine this: 1) How many kWhs you consumed in the past 12 months, (call your electric utility company and ask them to send you a 12 month report – their number is on your monthly bill) and 2) How much roof or ground do you have that can accept the solar pv modules. Depending on these answers, your system could cost to OWN the system in the low $20,000s to over $50,000. BEFORE any Federal Tax Benefits.

If you lack the needed capital, or do not wish to borrow money to purchase a system, you may be eligible to LEASE the system from an investment company. In this case, there is NO deposit, NO hidden fee, NO out of pocket costs. (see #3 below)

Please contact us so that we can explain this in more detail with you.

2) Do I need batteries?

With the “net metering” laws in New Jersey, and the reliability of the grid, the use of battery storage is very expensive and uncommon in this area. The electric utility acts like a “battery” for you. The electric that your system generates during the day is sent back to the grid if not used by you at that time, and then is delivered back to you when you need it. A new bi-directional “net meter” will be installed on your building by the utility company to enable this to happen. This is commonly referred to as “spinning the meter backwards”.

3) What’s a solar lease or solar PPA?

A solar lease or solar PPA (Power Purchase Agreement) is a vehicle in which an investor/company owns the system and installs it on your property at no, or little, cost to you. They sell you the electric that is generated by the system at a rate that is less than what you currently pay the utility company. They reap a profit from ownership of the system, and you reap a savings on the cost of electricity. This is the least amount of “cash out of pocket” for you, there is NO cash required by you.

4) What happens when it’s cloudy or raining or at night?

When the solar pv system is not producing electricity, you will be purchasing the power that you need from the grid – utility company. It is no different than what you do today.

5) What’s an SREC?

SREC stands for Solar Renewable Energy Certificate. These are earned every time the solar system generates 1,000 kWhs of electricity. This is reported to an agency, and you receive a virtual certificate that is then able to be traded through a broker. These certificates have a market driven value. In New Jersey, the State B.P.U. has established that these are earned for 15 years. If you own the system, the SREC and the money received for them is yours, if an investor (leasing company or PPA) owns the systems, the SREC is normally kept by them. The value of these SRECs added to the savings off the retail cost of each kWh is what determines the ROI and pay off time for the cost of the system. These SRECs are what some people often get confused and say “I want the electric company to pay me for having solar.” We can discuss in more detail with you, once we meet.

6) How old can my roof be to go solar?

Most roofs have a life of 20, 25, or 30 years. In most cases it is recommended that if your roof has less than 10 years remaining life, that you should replace it before you install solar on it. The solar modules have a warranty of 25 years. Once the solar is installed, the area that is covered by the modules should have a slower aging process than before. In most cases they will also lessen the attic heat build-up during the Summer months and lessen the demand for air conditioning.

7) How does solar work?

Solar is commonly used for Solar PV and Solar Thermal. Solar PV is solar photovoltaic. This is the generation of electricity for use in the home or business. Solar Thermal is for the production of hot water for home or business use. [MORE]

8) Do you provide any type of financing?

If you have equity in your home, your bank can provide either a Home Equity Loan, or a Home Equity Line of Credit. The rate for these loans are at an all time low. Other solar pv owners have used either savings or retirement accounts to purchase the system since the return on investment (ROI) is much greater than what is currently earned by either a savings account or a certificate of deposit. In most cases it is above 11%. They feel that it is a better investment to lower their monthly electric bill while having a higher return than what they are currently earning with other financial vehicles.

9) How long does it take to install solar on my home?

The actual time to perform the installation on the roof usually takes 2 or 3 days, due to coordination with the township inspectors. However, the process that is required by the State Office of Clean Energy, the interconnection process with the utility company, the review by the town building department, and the installation of the net-meter after completion of the system, takes from 3 to 6 months. All the processing is completed by us, all you will have to do is sign several forms required at the start of the process.

10) What rebates and incentives are available if I buy a system?

The Federal Government allows a 30% Tax Credit on the total cost of a solar pv system. This along with the SRECs mentioned above, enables the pay-back on a home to be about 6-7 years. If you purchase a system for your business, or investment property, the same Federal 30% tax credit, plus 5 year MACRS depreciation is available,and additionally you earn SREC income for 15 years. The normal pay-off period, with depreciation, is between 5-6 years. Most R.O.I.s are over 11%, and often it is higher for businesses due to the ability to depreciate the system. Please contact us so that we may describe your particular situation.

Contact Jim McAleer or Gary Schaal today for a free analysis and see what solar energy can offer your family or business, for years to come.