FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

faq-home value with solar

Why should I go solar?

Many solar companies have advertised “free solar”, but you should know that nothing is free. If you see someone selling “no cost solar programs”, they are actually selling you a solar lease and you should avoid them. We do sell solar systems for no money down, but solar panels will always have a cost.

The cost depends on how much energy you need for everyday living. Prices can change depending on the size of the system you need, and any additional items added to the system, like batteries. Typically, 6kW solar systems without add-ons cost around $15,000 after incentives.

Yes! On average, solar is more than 1,000% cheaper than paying electric bills in California over the next 25 years.

The average electric bill is $200 per month and considering utility inflation rates of 10% per year, you will pay over $200,000 in 25 years.

$200,000 divided by $15,000 = 13.34.

That means solar can be 1334% cheaper than electric bills! You will save an average of $7,400 per year, and a grand total of $185,000!

On a national average, solar pays back 101% of its costs upon the sale of the home. Homes sell faster and up to a 15% premium with solar. Not only do you save money, but you also increase your home’s value.

How does solar work?

Solar panels are made up of smaller solar cells. In simple terms, when solar cells are hit by sunlight they are able to convert that light into DC electricity. Since we use AC electricity, the solar power system needs an inverter to change the electricity into the kind your house will use.

Depending on how many solar cells are on a panel, the size can be [3¼ ft. X 5½ ft.] or [3¼ ft. X 6½ ft.]. Solar panels typically weigh 40-60 lbs, depending on the type.
(Please note that the exact size and weight may vary)

Solar racking is the hardware that supports your solar panels from your roof or ground. To maximize the efficiency, the solar panels should face South at an angle between 30°-45°.
They do not. You will rely on power from the grid during the night, which the credits should cover you receive from the extra energy your solar panels generate during the daytime.

Solar panels do not work at night. You will rely on power from the grid during the night, which the credits should cover you receive from the extra energy your solar panels generate during the daytime.

What about rain or snow?

  • While solar panels won’t stop working on rainy days, they may not be as effective. Generally, the panels will operate at about 60-80% efficiency, depending on clouds. 
  • Rain can also help clean your panels, increasing performance right after rainy days. 
  • Snow is different. Solar panels cannot work with snow on them, and they need to be cleared off to start collecting energy again.

If your solar panels are grid-tied, they will not work during a blackout when the grid is down. If you have a battery backup attached to your system, you will still have energy during a blackout.

Certain situations may require a battery backup, like if your family needs medical equipment to keep working even without power. Everyone’s situation is unique, and it’s better to get a consultation about your specific situation.

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solar incentive 2022

What about government incentives for solar?

The most significant incentive to go solar is the Federal Solar Tax Credit, which lets you claim 26% of the cost of your solar installation against your owed federal taxes. A new bill coming soon will boost that to 30% and let you claim this credit as a refund.

For the Solar ITC (Federal Tax Credit), you will file for this credit when you file your taxes. Option One Solar will provide all documentation necessary and a list of instructions for proper filing. Contact a tax professional for more details.

The Solar ITC does not pay out money technically, but a credit to be used against owed taxes. You can use this credit as needed, and it will be rolled over to the next year if it’s not used.
The Solar ITC does not pay out money technically, but a credit to be used against owed taxes. You can use this credit as needed, and it will be rolled over to the next year if it’s not used.

No taxes are paid on the power that your system generates. Additionally, solar additions to homes do not raise property taxes.

Also, check out our blog for The True About Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC)

How will solar affect my electricity bill?

While you will stop paying for energy, you will still have a small bill from the utility company. This small bill will include connection fees and other charges, but it is usually smaller than $10.

This really depends on how much electricity you use. Option One Solar’s standard design is to offset 100% of your energy usage. But with Time Of Use electric rates, it can take anywhere from 100% to 120% to offset the energy costs. This is because the utility pays lower rates for Solar credits during the peak sun hours, and charges almost double during peak energy consumption periods from 4-9 PM. So if your family uses the most energy from 4-9 PM, you will require a bigger system.

This is easy to find out from your electricity bills. If you’d like a more detailed energy assessment, Option One Solar can download all of your utility data, every hour of your energy usage, and the time of use. We will also ask many questions about your energy consumption behavior and potential changes that may increase or decrease your energy usage and or bills, like adding an electric SPA or Electric Vehicle. We take all of this information and enter this into our system to generate a customer financial benefit analysis unique to your requirements.

In most cases, the solar panel system will still be connected to the electrical utility grid. This way, you can take advantage of NEM (Net Energy Metering) and other benefits from the electrical utility company.

The electricity your solar panels generate will feed directly into your home. Any excess energy you do not use will be sent to the utility company.

NEM or Net Energy Metering is what happens when excess energy your panels generate is sent through the electrical grid to the utility company. They will store that energy for future use and give you credits for the energy you send to them.

 

Yes. Credits you build-up can be carried over month-to-month. At the end of the year, if you still have credits, they will be reconciled with a payout at a discounted rate.

 

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solar quotes with customer

I’m ready to go solar, what’s next?

That’s easy! Just call us at (760) 374-3455 or chat with us online at optiononesolar.com

You already can! If you can afford your monthly electric bills, you can afford to go solar. You can divert the money you spend on electrical bills into a solar investment that provides ROI!

You can’t afford not to go solar! Solar payments typically cost less and provide more energy.

In most cases, even a smaller system has a high return on investment and is still far better than nothing at all. Option One Solar will work within your budget to provide the system you need.

Our partners can offer the lowest rates and cost financing available, as low as 0.99% for 12, 15, 20, and 25 years.

Option One stocks all the equipment we sell and we are almost never waiting for restocks, so depending on our workload and the building department workloads, we typically have you installed in under 6 weeks and sooner if necessary.

The typical roof-mounted installation takes about 2 business days. If you have Spanish clay tile it can add several days. The standard ground mounts and carports require trenching from the solar structure to the main service panel and drilling holes 4 feet into the ground to secure the structure. Also, these systems are typically larger and require more materials, labor, and inspections and will usually require several days.

All solar project plans are submitted to the county or city building departments to get plans approved in order to pull the required permits. Depending on the jurisdiction, there may be only a final inspection when completed, or there may be several inspections during different phases of the project. Once everything is certified, approved, and signed off by the inspectors, we can then submit to the utility for permission to operate.

 

If paying cash, we require a $1,000 or 10% deposit (whichever is lowest), and then you will make 3 progress payments at each time we reach a milestone. 

  • One at plan approval by the customer;
  • One more when we start the installation;
  • Final payment when the inspector signs off. 

Financing payments are determined by your financing agreement. The first payment is typically due 30 days after installation.

Once the project is completed, certified, approved, and signed off by the city or county we request permission to operate from the utility. Depending on their internal workloads, the utility can take from 1 day up to a couple of weeks. But on average, our customers see this happen in around 2 or 3 days.

What will day-to-day life be like with solar?

Your new solar power system should operate without any need for maintenance, and we will provide you with the details on how to monitor your system from your phone or PC. If you have an Energy Hub with smart home features, these devices will all be operated with the same app that you use for monitoring.

It should be unnoticeable, excluding appliances or devices that were not planned and set up to be on backup power.

Energy production is higher in the summer than in the winter due to the added number of sun hours. However, energy consumption may be higher in the summer due to the use of air conditioning. So your utility bill may also be higher in the summer than in the winter.

Your system should be designed to generate all the electricity you need throughout the year.

Yes! The panels protect your roof from direct sunlight (UV rays), direct rain, wind, and hail. The roof area beneath the panels will age at a much slower rate than the part that is not under the solar panels.

Of course, shading will affect the output of the panels. All shading issues are addressed and resolved prior to installation. Option One Solar Inverters and Microinverters have shade mitigation technology built-in and handle shading when necessary.

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solar installation process

How long will my solar energy system last?

Option One only offers modules and equipment with our 25 years, 6-point full coverage warranties that cover the panels, inverters, performance, labor, racking, and roof penetration. Not all manufacturers include labor, but we do. Your entire system is covered for 25 Years with Option One.

Solar panel systems usually don’t require maintenance. Dust from desert areas may make the panels look bad, but they generally aren’t affected by the dust. If you wish to clean your panels, only use water and NEVER USE SOAP! There are professional cleaning services available too. These services are useful if you find that your panels have attracted birds which has made your panels dirty.

If your panels break down because of a technical malfunction, they are usually covered by the warranty. 

Should panels be destroyed or damaged due to any natural causes, they may be covered by your homeowners’ insurance, depending on your policy. 

If your roof needs repair before we install solar panels, we can take care of that. Any home improvements included with your solar installation are also subject to the federal solar tax credit. You can save 26% on roof repairs if you go solar at the same time.

Option One Solar takes every precaution to prevent leaks and the best sealer is used for the various types of roofs. The solar panels protect your roof. 

If there are any problems around the solar panel installation, it will be covered by our 25 Year 6-point warranty.

A number of factors can change this time, including user behavior, utility rates, and use time. The average payback time in California is around 5 to 7 years.

The average lifetime returns from solar investments are 16% and many are over 20%, while a typical bank account returns around .5%; so easily 20 times or 2,000% greater. 

More importantly, there is zero return from paying utility bills, it’s just something we have become accustomed to paying to keep our lights on, but now we have a far better option. The average utility bills paid over time will be in excess of $100k, larger bills around $200k, but the average solar system cost is around $15k after incentives, thus solar is over 1,000% cheaper than remaining with the utility company. 

Take it further, invest the savings into a compound mutual fund. You can turn that $100k utility bill into a $400k investment account by diverting the money from the utility bills to yourself. 

Before You Go!

Did you know?

You could be saving hundreds per month on electricity and now is the best time to take advantage of the 26% federal tax credit. One of our solar energy consultants would be happy to explain how it all works.

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