Have a question about solar panels or the solar panel installation process? We’ve got you covered!
How does electricity buyback (Net-Metering) work and what are SRECs?
Since today’s solar systems are all tied to the grid, if you generate more electricity than you use, the excess goes back to your utility company, spinning the meter backward and giving you a credit for the electricity your solar panel system generated. In simple terms, net metering allows residential and commercial customers who generate their own electricity from solar power to feed electricity they do not use back into the grid.
Net metering’s billing mechanism then credits solar energy system owners for the electricity they add to the grid. For example, if a residential customer has a PV system on the home’s rooftop, it may generate more electricity than the home uses during daylight hours. If the home is net-metered, the electricity meter will run backwards to provide a credit against what electricity is consumed at night or other periods where the home’s electricity use exceeds the system’s output. Customers are only billed for their “net” energy use. Exported solar electricity also serves nearby customers’ loads.
- “My husband saw our meter run backwards for the first time, and got all excited. We love our solar panels!” Candice Stankus, Rockville MD, Solar Energy World Customer
- “Each year we get a check from BGE for the excess energy we produce – can’t beat that!” Robyn Knopf Needel, Reisterstown MD, Solar Energy World Customer
What are SRECs?
In addition to individual state Solar Energy Grant Programs and the Solar Federal Income Tax Credit, Maryland residents who have installed a solar system can also earn and sell SRECs (Solar Renewable Energy Credits) to help offset the cost of their system. An SREC is a trade-able instrument that represents the environmental benefits of electricity generated from renewable energy sources. One SREC represents 1 megawatt hour of electricity.
Is a PPA (Power Purchase Agreement) transferable?
If you sell your house, you may transfer the PPA to the new homeowner or purchase the system. You may prepay the remainder of the payments due under the PPA to make the transfer even more attractive to the new homeowner. Whichever option you choose, Solar Energy World will guide you through the process.
How much does a solar energy system cost?
Other than our $0 Down options (explained below), providing an exact price on our website is not possible because every homeowner’s situation is different. We need to take a look at your roof, which direction your home is facing, current electricity usage, the type of PV products you are interested in (different pricing for different brands), the type of financial options you are interested in (purchase, PPA or lease) and other factors. After we have all this information, we present you with a detailed cost-benefit analysis during your free solar evaluation so you can see all your options and determine if going solar is right for you.
There are two ways you can go solar for $0 Down right now:
1- Power Purchase Agreement: We offer the RateGuardian(TM) PPA that allows you to pay $0 for solar system and installation to lock in a lower electricity rate than your utility. Homeowners typically pay 20-30% less for electricity costs once their system is installed. Some call our PPA the “no-brainer” option because homeowners literally pay nothing to start saving on their utility bills.
2- Ownership: We offer a financing option where you can purchase a solar system for $0 down. Plus the cost for equipment has gone down dramatically in recent years, and there are also many tax breaks, electricity buy-back programs, and incentives available to those who wish to own their solar system that end up reducing purchase price by 30-50%. With all of our purchase options your monthly loan payment COMBINED with your new post-solar utility bill can be lower than what you paid to your utility alone prior to going solar. When you own your solar system you can also earn revenue from the electricity your system produces through net metering and SRECs which is why ROI from purchase is so high.
Solar Panel and Installation Questions
Do solar panels only work on warm and sunny days?
Only shade can stop the Solar panels from working. Solar panels work even when it’s cloudy. For instance, Germany isn’t known for being a warm and sunny place but its solar power plants produce between 20-30% of all its energy daily. New Jersey and Massachusetts aren’t nearly as sunny as California or Arizona yet New Jersey now ranks 3rd in the country for solar capacity and Massachusetts ranks 4th. Clouds don’t stop the solar UV rays from getting through and power production from Photovoltaic solar panels actually works most efficiently in colder temperatures. Optimum temperature for power production is around 43 degrees Fahrenheit.
What regular maintenance do solar panels require?
With systems that we recommend, very little. PV systems are inherently very low-maintenance, requiring the system owner only to wash the solar panels down with water when they get dirty so light can get through.
How long will my solar energy system last?
If properly installed, it should last 30-40 years. Systems that were installed in the 1970’s are still fully operational today. Technology has evolved so the systems from the 1970’s may not be as efficient as today’s technology.
If there is a power outage, will my solar system keep making energy?
For safety reasons your grid-tied solar system automatically switches off when there is a power outage. But the good news is that when you have your solar panel system installed with us, if you also wish to add on our battery storage system, you can keep generating and consuming energy when the grid goes down. In addition, including a solar battery with your system helps you pursue the goal of energy self-consumption and ultimately energy-independence.
How much does it cost to add solar battery back-up to a solar system?
Our solar battery storage system pricing varies depending upon how much power you would like available to you when the grid goes down, the type of solar panel brand you purchase or lease, the size of your solar system and several other factors.
When you schedule a free solar evaluation with us, it includes a detailed cost benefit analysis so you can decide if adding storage to your installation would make economic sense for you.
Can my homeowners association stop me from installing solar panels?
No it cannot. According to DSIRE (Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency):”HOAs are barred from restricting a homeowner’s right to install solar panels. States which have laws that override any HOA contracts seeking to deny the right to install solar PV systems include: Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin.”
What is solar energy?
A solar energy system creates usable power from sunshine. There are two basic kinds of systems: Photovoltaic or PV uses sunlight to generate electricity. It’s the same technology found on pocket calculators, just on a larger scale. PV systems can be designed to generate the majority of the electricity used in your home, or just a portion of it.
How do solar panels benefit the environment?
Fossil fuels are a leading cause of global warming and air pollution. Solar energy reduces the amount of fossil fuel that is burned, thus reducing the pollutants and CO² that get into the atmosphere. Solar panel systems that are recommended by Solar Energy World have the added benefits of very high efficiency, durability, and service life – they’re engineered for sustainability. This means fewer replacements and repairs, saving even more energy and precious resources.
How does a solar energy system benefit me personally?
In many ways:
- It reduces your energy bill and the utility will buy back any extra electricity you generate.
- Federal, state, and utility financial incentives are also available.
- It adds to the value of your home.
- You gain energy independence.
- It’s a good investment in a sustainable future for yourself and your loved ones.
How can solar energy improve national security?
Currently, the US depends on fossil fuels, especially oil, from potentially unstable or unfriendly countries. These supplies are vulnerable to political upheaval, trade disputes, embargoes, and other disruptions. In 1973 we imported only about 34% of our oil, and yet the 1973 oil embargo was a serious blow to the economy. Today we import over 53%, and are more vulnerable every year. Solar energy can help reduce this dependency, making our economy, our nation, and your family more secure.
How can solar energy help the economy?
Solar energy is generated locally. The energy dollars stay at home, creating economic growth and benefiting your community. In addition, solar jobs are growing at more than 20 times the national average. Every 4 minutes, another American home or business goes solar and every solar panel is installed by a worker whose job can’t be outsourced.
What is a kilowatt hour?
This is what you pay for when you buy energy from the local utility company. A kilowatt-hour (kWh) is a unit for measuring energy. It is, as its name suggests, one kilowatt of power used over a period of one hour.