Solar PV panel systems in a field for commercial applications
Solar PV panel systems for commercial and industrial applications

Frequently Asked Questions About Solar Panels

There’s a lot to consider when making the switch to cleaner, renewable energy, and Solera is here to help. Below is a list of some of the most common questions we get about going solar, for both residential and commercial properties.

General Solar FAQs

How long do solar panels last?

Solar panel technology has come a long way. Most panels can last for 40 to 50 years if properly maintained. Check out our blog discussing the lifespan of solar panels and the various factors that influence their longevity.

How will I know how well the solar panels are performing?

Solera Energy monitors solar panel production and efficiency at least monthly. We’ll give you access to our software so that you can personally monitor your system’s performance in real-time.

Will my solar panels work if it's cloudy or foggy?

Yes. All solar panels need is some level of ambient light to work. Solar projects will produce power at a slightly reduced rate (10% to 25% less) in inclement weather.

Can hail damage or break my solar panels?

Yes, but this is rare. To give you an idea of just how rare — the hail would have to be the size of golf balls. Solera solar panels are specially designed to withstand even the most extreme weather.

Will snow stop my solar panels from working?

Solar panels are tilted, meaning, in most cases, the snow will slide off on its own after a storm. However, if it’s a heavy storm, you may need to clean your solar panels off to allow the sun to enter the grid. Cleaning is easy, and a Solera Energy technician will walk you through the process. Read our blog on maximizing solar power energy during the winter

Is the Solera solar system covered by any warranties?

Yes, the two key parts of the system, the panels, and inverters are covered by the manufacturer’s warranties. We’ll walk you through all your coverage before installing your system.

Should I make sure my solar system is insured?

Yes. This is a newer technology and a valuable asset. We highly recommend contacting your insurance provider to make sure your coverage is in step with your property improvements.

How is power measured?

Solar power is measured using two main units — kilowatts or megawatts. A 1 MW power plant produces 1,000 kilowatts of power while operating at full capacity. When someone says “1 MW,” they usually mean the number of kilowatts or megawatts being transferred to the grid. This power “stream” will fluctuate occasionally, even under perfect conditions.

What is the difference between kilowatts (kW) and megawatts (MW)?

A kilowatt is equal to 1,000 watts. A megawatt is 1,000 kilowatts. Therefore, a megawatt is equal to 1 million watts.

What exactly is a degradation rate?

Much like cars, solar panels slowly lose their efficiency over time. The degradation rate is the calculated rate of this loss. The rate is around .5% per year, and most panels are still producing at 80% capacity 25 years after installation. (Name a car that can do that!)

What are the financial benefits of going solar?

Switching to solar energy not only saves money on your current energy bills, it protects you against rising electricity costs later on. Solar energy not only provides an efficient and affordable energy source for your home, but it can also increase the value of your home. The total amount of savings depends on your region’s utility rates, but all signs point to solar as a smart energy investment. 

How does solar energy help the environment?

Going solar means you’re contributing to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, which have been associated with the negative effects of climate change. Solar energy also produces fewer air pollutants that can harm human respiratory health.  

Is solar energy expensive? Can I afford it?

If you’re paying for electricity right now, you can likely afford to make the switch to solar energy. Solera Energy will go over financing options with you and be transparent with pricing every step of the way.

Will solar panels work on my roof?

Roofs that face south get sun all day and are big enough to fit at least one solar panel are ideal for installation. However, there are lots of ways we Solera Energy can make solar panels work for you, even if this doesn’t sound like your roof.

Residential Solar FAQs

How do solar panels impact my property values?

Solar panels can certainly increase your home’s value. Studies show that homes with solar energy go for more compared to homes without it. The return on investment can be even higher than a kitchen renovation!

How will my homeowners insurance be affected by installing solar panels?

Most roof-mounted solar panels are covered under most homeowners insurance policies, and installing them won’t necessarily cause your premiums to rise. There are exceptions for systems that are leased and non-roof-mounted systems, such as solar carports. Check with your insurance provider to find out exactly how your policy may change.

Can I install solar panels if I live in an HOA?

With the rising popularity of solar energy systems, many homeowners associations allow homes in their neighborhoods to have solar panels installed. However, you will need to check with your HOA and go through the necessary approval process.

Do I need to live in a sunny area to benefit from solar panels?

While living in a sunny area can certainly increase the amount of energy that your solar panels can produce, it’s not a requirement. Even in areas with less sunlight, solar panels can still generate a significant amount of electricity.

How do I know if my home is a good candidate for solar panels?

When it comes to installing solar panels, one of the first steps is having our experts evaluate your home to determine if it’s a good fit for solar. We will consider factors such as the orientation and pitch of your roof, the amount of shade on your property, and your energy usage to determine if solar panels will work for you.

How many solar panels will I need to install on my house?

The number of solar panels you will need for your house depends on a number of factors, including your energy usage, the size of your home, your energy independence goals, and the efficiency of the panels themselves. At Solera, we will discuss with you to determine the ideal number of panels and the right system design. Our goal is to size the system so that it generates enough energy to cover your household’s average electricity consumption but not so much that you end up with a surplus of unused energy.

Commercial Solar FAQs

What incentives are there for businesses to go solar?

Businesses can benefit from installing solar panels in many different ways. Solar panels will help you save significantly on energy costs, and they can even earn you money if you participate in a net metering program to sell unused energy back to the grid. Additionally, having solar panels can earn goodwill with customers that see you are making a dedicated effort for the environment. There are also federal and state programs to help you save on the cost of installation. 

Should I install solar at my rental properties?

Solar energy is a great option for rental properties, providing many benefits for landlords and renters alike. Solar energy can reduce your operating costs and even help you earn extra money when your rental properties are vacated through net energy metering programs.

What are solar carports?

Solar carports are a great option for businesses or commercial properties with large parking spaces. Solar carports essentially create a roof over your parking spaces. This provides protection and shade to the cars below while also allowing solar panels to be installed on top. It’s an ideal way to generate large amounts of solar energy in otherwise unused space.

Can solar panels be installed on a flat roof?

Many commercial properties have flat roofs. Here at Solera, we’re experts in designing the ideal solar panel layout for all types of roofs, including flat ones.

Don’t see your question? Call us at (866) 346-2009 or contact us online today. One of our technicians will be happy to assist you.

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