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Solar FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

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Why should I go solar?

Yes, we believe that solar panels are a valuable investment, providing long-term energy savings and environmental benefits. Our experience shows that customers often find the initial cost offset by the substantial reduction in their electricity bills in their first year of production based on our design.

Typically, 8kW solar & battery backup systems costs around $40,000. 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 solar energy storage batteries. 

With the average electric bill at $200 per month and utility inflation rates as high as 30% per year, you will pay over $200,000 in 25 years.

$200,000 divided by $40,000 = 5 Times!

That means solar can be 5 times cheaper than electric bills!

On a national average, solar pays back 100% of the system cost upon the sale of the home. According to a recent study by Zillow, homes with solar panels are worth an average of 4.1% more than those without.

There is no such thing as truly “free” solar energy; offers labeled as “no cost solar programs” usually involve solar leases or PACE programs. While Option One Solar offers solar systems with no upfront payment, it's important to understand that solar panels inherently have a cost.

You can learn more details about how expensive is for a solar energy system.

How does solar work?

Solar panels are made up of smaller solar cells. In simple terms, when solar cells are hit by sunlight they 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 range from [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°.

Solar panels can’t work at night because they need sunlight to generate electricity. A battery backup is important because it stores excess solar energy during the day, allowing homeowners to use that stored energy to power their homes at night.

Solar panels will not stop working on cloudy days, but they will not be nearly as effective. According to NASA, high clouds won’t be a problem, but low clouds and rain block the sunlight from reaching
your panels.

  • Solar panels may only produce 10-20% of the normal energy output on cloudy and overcast days.
  • Rain can also help clean your panels, increasing performance right after rainy days
  • Snow will block all light from hitting your solar panels. Bifacial panels can take advantage of reflected light, otherwise they won’t work.

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 for your essential appliances.

To have higher ROI and shorter payback period, a battery backup is the best solution. Also, emergency such as your family needs medical equipment to keep working even without power. Everyone’s situation is unique, and we always recommended to get a consultation about your specific situation.

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solar incentive 2022

What about government incentives for solar?

Update 08/16/2022, The Inflation Reduction Act signed into law. Solar Tax Credit goes back up to 30% for 10-year extension of the cost of the installed equipment, which will then step down to 26% in 2033 and 22% in 2034.

For 2023, All installations after January 2022 can claim a 30% tax credit for going solar.

The biggest incentive to go solar is the Federal Solar Tax Credit, which lets you claim 30% of the cost of your solar installation against your owed federal taxes. 

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 is a credit that can be used for any liability or against any taxes paid.This tax credit can be used to replace the taxes you currently owe, which will result in a much bigger tax refund.

The Solar ITC will roll-over year by year until it is used up. Again, we recommend that you contact a tax professional for more details on your specific situation.

Currently, 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)

Will solar work for my home?

We have a number of options on where to install your solar panels. They can be installed on your roof, garage, carport, on the ground, or anywhere else. It is best to let us survey your property and prepare a customized design to maximize your solar power generation potential.

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 is using the most energy from 4-9 PM, you may 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 help you with all the questions about your energy consumption behavior and potential changes that may increase or decrease your energy usage and or bills, like adding a swimming pool or Electric Vehicle. Using all of this data, our proprietary system will generate a detailed financial cost/benefit analysis unique to your requirements.

At Option One Solar, our use of highly efficient panels means you may need fewer panels than with other systems. However, the exact number depends on your specific roof layout, local building codes, and unique features like vents and chimneys; a site survey is the best way to determine the precise count for your home.

At Option One Solar, we understand that the appearance of solar panels on your roof is important. We present all available solar panel options to our clients, allowing them to choose the style that best complements their home's aesthetics.

Usually it will not, because solar has a very low risk factor for theft or fire. Based on feedback from 1000’s of customers, insurance may go up around $100 per year only for very large systems.

Yes. We install solar panels on mobile homes as a common practice, as long as they have a permanent foundation. Just like any residential property, engineering is required for snow and wind loads. We have not found a home that did not satisfy our engineering as of yet. However, we do not install solar on RV/motorhomes.

Solar Home Install
Longterm energy bill saving Bill After Solar

How will solar affect my electricity bill?

While you will stop paying for energy, you will still have connection fees from the utility company.

You may still have a small bill that includes different charges, but it is usually smaller than $10.

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 surplus energy generated by your panels is sent through the electrical grid to the utility company. They will store that energy for give you credit that can be used later.

NEM is going though significant changes in 2022, and these changes may effect all solar owners.

Learn more here: NEM 3.0 Update 2023

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.

Solar Credit Update

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

The simple way to check is go to your utility providers. In your billing, you are able to view monthly/daily usage. The usage chart will show your solar production and how much (on average) it produce. 

Most of the solar energy system comes with free app that can connect to your solar panels and see their power productions.

Beware that the 3G network is sunsetting and be sure update your monitoring connection module.

New solar power systems 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 computer.

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 longer sun peak hours. However, energy consumption may be higher in the summer due to the use of air conditioning. So your energy usage 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.

Shading will affect the output of the panels. All shading issues are addressed and resolved prior to installation (based on recommendations). Option One Solar Inverters and Microinverters have shade mitigation technology built-in and will handle shading issues when necessary.

Nothing operates at 100%. Solar panel power ratings are determined by their output in optimal testing conditions.

Solar panels typically operate at around 85% of their power rating. This is because small bits of energy are lost in normal operation during the energy transfer.

Option One Solar systems are expertly designed to take all of these factors into account, and we can guarantee our solar panel installations will produce exactly what they are supposed to with 24/7 solar support team.

Yes, if you have a system that install from Option One Solar, and there is room for them, you can add solar panels to your existing system. You can also add home backup batteries if you want to bank your power in case of black out or emergency converge.

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Ground mounted solar panels system

How long do solar panel systems last?

Solar panels typically last longer than 30 years with the right maintenance.

There are some panels that have been in operation since the 2000's that are still going strong to this day.

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.

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. Roof improvements can be included with your solar installation at Option One Solar.

We take every precaution to prevent leaks and the best sealer is used for the various types of roofs. Solar panels will 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 6 to 9 years.

This “payback period” may change because of local solar incentive changes.

The average lifetime returns from solar investments are 16% and many are above 20%, while a typical bank account returns around .5%; so easily 1,000% 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 $20k after incentives.

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

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

Solar payments typically cost less and provide more energy.

Option One Solar partners can offer the lowest rates and cost financing available. We will provide the best finance options.

Typically,  solar panels will be installed in under 4 weeks and sooner. We stock all the equipment, and we are ready for all installation from panels to battery system.

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 local 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 city 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: 

  • First payment at plan approval by the customer
  • Second payment 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.

On average, our customers see this happen in around 2 or 3 days.

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. For more information, you can view our Solar Session for additional information about what happen after the installation.

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Net Energy Metering

Current Net Energy Metering program is NEM 3.0, which passed by CPUC on Dec. 15th, 2022.

If you submit a complete interconnection application by the end of the day
on April 14, don’t make any material modifications to the application after April 14, and install the system within three years, the system will be on NEM-2 for twenty years for grandfathering.

A NEM-1 or NEM-2 customer can add a battery without altering their NEM-1 or NEM-2 status. There is a special exception for storage because the CPUC doesn’t want to discourage existing NEM customers from installing batteries

If you add a battery to a NEM-1 solar system before April, you are not moved to NEM-2. If you add a battery to a NEM-1 or NEM-2 system after
April, you will not be moved to NEM-3.

The system will be on NEM-2 for 20 years. So if you get all your necessary documents submitted by the dead line (end of the Apr. 14th, 2023), you will be in NEM 2 for the next 20 years.

No. The interconnection application does not include information about financing.

You can submit a solar application for a property under construction
without a permanent meter. Each of the IOUs handles that differently.

  • For SCE, you can apply based on street address without an account number or meter number.
  • SDGE requires you to use the service account number on the solar application. If you cannot obtain that from the construction company, email [email protected].
  • PGE requires you to submit an interconnection application within the service application. This means you need to figure out who at the construction company submitted the application for service and get them to link you to that application. If you don’t know who submitted the application from your contacts at the builder, you can use a lookup tool that is described at its document.

What is the solar battery storage for home solar?

  • A home solar battery system is a storage unit for solar energy, allowing you to deposit excess energy generated by your solar panels and withdraw it when needed, such as during power outages or at night.
  • The duration a solar battery can power a house depends on the battery's size and capacity, your home's energy consumption, and the amount of sunlight your solar panels receive. Typically, it ranges from 7-12 hours, with more advanced and larger systems providing power for 24 hours or more.

When adding a battery to a grid-tied solar system, consider your home's energy consumption, the solar system's size, and the potential benefits of increased self-consumption and decreased reliance on the grid.

To determine the necessary number of battery backups, assess your average daily energy consumption and decide on the desired duration of backup power. Consultation with a professional solar installer can help determine the right battery size.

California offers incentives through the SGIP program and Federal Solar ITC, which can help offset the initial costs of installing solar panels and battery storage systems.

The charging speed of a solar battery depends on the power rating of the solar panel system and the battery's capacity. Energy is either used immediately or directed towards the battery for storage, managed by a charge controller for safe and efficient charging.

Investing in a home solar battery system offers long-term savings on electricity and fuel costs and decreases reliance on the grid. These systems are long-term investments that can pay for themselves over time.

In anticipation of power disruptions, a battery storage system can store energy in advance, securing essential functions of a home through the outage or other emergency usage such as medical devices.

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