Do solar systems require maintenance?
You’re busy. I get it.
You don’t need to add more complexity to your life and you don’t need more headaches.
Well the nice thing about solar is there are no moving parts.
Solar panels just sit on your roof and make electricity.
Just put 'em up there and leave them alone.
You don’t even have to clean them.
The dust, pollen and dirt will wash away with the rain.
Solar owners basically do nothing.
Does it make sense to go solar in Florida?
The answer is Maybe
It depends on
where you live
how much power you use
How much your utility charges for electricity
The average homeowner in Florida pays $1600 a year on electricity.
That money goes straight to your utility.
But, solar panels could help you eliminate that cost.
Plus, there are a few solar incentives
No sales tax on solar in Florida
Your home value increases with solar, but your property taxes stay the same
26% federal tax credit
And some utilities offer energy rebates
Do solar panels ever stop working?
All solar panels will lose a little efficiency over time.
About ½% every year.
So the panel you buy in 2021 will still produce at 90% capacity in 20 years.
Every once in a while a panel will go bad.
It’s rare, but it happens.
A more likely scenario is that an inverter will go bad
Some inverters will need to be replaced at some point 10-15-20 years down the road... hard to say.
Although some of the new microinverters have 25 year warranties.
So, before you decide on a solar company, look at their warranties and guarantees.
Don’t sign a contract until you know what is covered.
Is solar better than the stock market?
When you put solar panels on your roof, you’re making an investment with a pretty good ROI.
Just like when you invest in stocks.
Most people think of solar as a cost.
But it’s not
Solar is an investment.
Let’s say you pay $20,000 for a solar system.
Every year that system produces $2,000 in electricity.
So your annual ROI is 10%.
And your solar investment is safe and risk free!
Unlike the stock market where high returns often come with a great deal of risk,
A great reason to go solar!
How do I Choose the right solar installer?
Yeah you want to think about this one
Go online and look at the company’s values and mission.
Make sure their values align with yours.
Check out their reviews on google, Facebook, and Solarreviews.com
Choose a solar company that’s
Been in business longer than 5 years
Employs their own installation crews
Do you use top notch panels and inverters?
Do you warranty the hardware?
Do you guarantee your production estimates?
What certifications do your installers hold?
Solar panels last for many years. So hire a company that will stay in business in case something needs to be fixed.
Do I need batteries for my solar system?
Yes, If you want to store energy.
If you want power when the grid goes down and you’re willing to pay a little more, then add batteries to your solar system.
The good thing is!
You can add battery backup to your solar array whenever you like.
It doesn’t have to happen during the initial installation.
Solar systems and batteries are always compatible.
There is a cost.
Backing up a lot of electricity, like your air conditioning can be costly.
Backing up critical loads like lights, fans, refrigerators and other small appliances is much cheaper.
Although battery technology is constantly developing, they need to be replaced every 10 years or so and require upkeep.
Batteries can give you peace of mind when the lights go out, but there's an added expense and they won’t last as long as your solar system will.
Should I go solar if I’m selling my home?
People often ask
"Is solar a good investment if I plan on selling my home?"
Putting solar on your roof adds value to your home
But if you’re planning on selling your home in the next 2-3 years then solar might not be a good fit
Unless you’re only interested in saving the planet!
But if you’re going to live in your home longer, then solar probably makes sense.
And when you do sell, you can advertise a home with a solar system that is eco friendly with no electric bill.
Also, you’ll sell your home for more money and 17% faster than homes without solar.
This is how it would work.
Let's say your solar system produces $200 worth of electricity per month, and your home is worth $400,000 with a $1,700 mortgage payment.
You sell your home for $425,000 and the new mortgage payment is $1,800.
For an extra $100 the new owner will get $200 of free electricity every month.
That's a great deal!
Today, more and more homes in FL have solar, and realtors know how to market solar properties.
Buying a home with solar has become very appealing.
What direction should my solar panels face?
Well in the U.S. and anywhere north of the equator solar panels should face south for optimal power generation.
But east and west facing roofs will work too.
However, panels facing east or west will produce about 15% less electricity than south facing panels.
If you have 20 solar panels on your south facing roof, you will need to add 3 more panels on an east or west facing roof to produce the same output.
What about the pitch of the roof?
Your solar array will produce less power if your roof is very flat or very steep.
The optimal roof pitch in Florida is around 28 degrees since this is the latitude at which the state sits.
In other words, the angle of your solar panels should be equal to the latitude of the location.
But as a general rule 30 - 45 degrees is sufficient.
And the angle of the roof has less impact on solar panel performance than the direction of your panels.
South is the optimal direction.
So for maximum efficiency, make sure your solar installer does the proper engineering, so your system is the right size to meet your energy needs.
Is solar energy worth it?
The initial sticker price of a solar installation can be a shock.
But when you use the renting vs. owning mindset, solar makes sense.
There’s no end date to the cost of electricity when you buy electricity from the utility.
And you have no control over electricity rates, which usually go up, not down.
That’s like renting.
When you put solar panels on your roof, there’s an upfront cost
But in the long run it’s much cheaper to make your own power than rent it from a utility.
Plus a solar array increases the value of your property. You have an asset when you sell your home.
Is Solar Safe?
Make sure your solar array is safe.
Install a rapid shutdown switch!
In the old days of solar nobody was required to put in a rapid shutdown switch.
But since 2014 it’s a requirement in Florida for roof mounted systems.
Cause if the sun is shining, your solar system is producing electricity with live electricity running through it.
Now, keep in mind, this is almost always safe.
But if there is an exposed wire and a firefighter has to go on your roof, it could be dangerous.
A rapid shutdown switch will cut off power fast so everyone is safe.
So pick a good installer who is aware of electric codes and will design your system with a rapid shutdown requirements.
Lies someone told me about solar!
Some information about solar on the internet is misleading
Other information is just flat out wrong.
Solar critics make solar look bad.
And solar advocates exaggerate it’s benefits.
Now, I’m an advocate, but I don’t lie about the value of solar.
Many solar ads will say that solar is free.
Hmm. Not really.
A solar system will produce enough electricity to pay for the initial cost. That’s true.
But there is still an initial cost. So it’s not free.
In the case of a solar lease, you won’t pay to install the solar system, because you won’t own it.
The solar company will.
The installer will put solar on your house at no cost and then sell the electricity back to you.
So you’ll have a smaller electric bill, and instead of paying the utility you’ll be paying the solar company.
So it’s not really free.
Are Solar Panels Toxic?
Let me set the record straight
Putting solar panels on your roof will not harm the environment.
Most solar panels today are made with silicon cells sandwiched between glass in a metal frame.
And silicon cells are used in many things like cement blocks, computers and cell phones.
Now, solar panels do have a little lead.
But a well constructed panel will never leak.
Other forms of energy are much more dangerous.
Burning coal, for example, releases toxic chemicals into the air
Like arsenic, lead and mercury
Some folks are concerned that solar panels give off electromagnetic radiation.
Well they do.
But according to the World Health Organization there is no evidence that electromagnetic radiation affects your health.
And by the way, televisions, cell phones, laptops and light bulbs give off electromagnetic radiation too.
Subject: Should I care about my electric rates?
Some folks say that electricity rates aren’t changing
And in some years that’s true
In fact, sometimes rates go down.
But overall electric rates go up over time. Just like everything else.
Inflation is one cause of price increases and the other is demand.
When people want more electricity, utilities build more infrastructure and this cost is passed on to you, the consumer.
So when electric rates are high, you’ll save more money producing your own electricity with solar.
Now some solar advocates exaggerate rate increases.
They say electric rates go up 8% every year.
Hmm. I don’t think so.
A more realistic average is 2-3%. Like the rate of inflation.
But don’t take my word for it.
Check out Florida Electric Rates Here to see how your rates have changed