Solar FAQ 2017-05-24T15:17:00+00:00

Solar FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions – Solar FAQ

Solar electricity works exactly the same as the electricity you buy from the utility company. You turn on lights, plug in lamps and power appliances the same way you do right now. In fact, if you didn’t see solar modules on the roof, you’d never notice any difference, except a lower electric bill. While the science of converting sunshine into electricity is complex, the idea is pretty simple. Solar electricity is generated by a group of solar modules called an array that’s installed on your roof or in your yard. When sunlight falls on the solar modules, a DC electrical current is created instantly. The DC electricity is fed into an inverter that changes it to standard AC electricity, the same kind your home already uses.

You know that meter in your yard that tracks your electricity usage? The dial spins forward as you use electricity. How long and how fast it spins ultimately determines your bill. But did you know that it can spin in either direction? Whenever your solar electric system produces more electricity than you use, the surplus is channeled back to your utility’s power grid, making your electric meter spin backwards. It’s called net metering, and it means you’re earning credits on your bill. Best of all, it means your electricity at that moment is free.

According to the American Solar Energy Society, the amount of sunlight hitting the earth in just one hour is enough to provide the world’s energy needs for an entire year.

With that much potential, why isn’t everyone using solar electricity?

SouthFace Solar Electric offers more than one way to go solar. With so many options to choose from, we will help you to decide what’s right for your home, family, and business. Much of the decision is based on the amount of roof space you have and which direction your home faces. South-facing roofs produce the highest annual output; however, east- and west-facing roofs can also harvest good results. It is important that your system will not be shaded by trees, buildings or other obstacles for long periods throughout the day.

SouthFace Solar Electric will design a custom solar racking system to meet your electricity requirements and the specifications of your roof. The racking system will create a seamless appearance that integrates well on asphalt-shingle, flat-concrete tile, flat roof and curved Spanish tile roofs.

Yes, solar modules produce electricity on cloudy days, it is just less electricity. As a rule of thumb, if there is enough sunlight to cast a shadow, then solar panels can produce electricity. Of course, in areas where there is abundant sunshine “like Arizona” a smaller solar electricity system will provide as much power as a larger system located in Maine or Washington.

The cost of a system depends on a wide variety of factors including the type of roof, system complexity, mounting structure, system size and more. The federal government and state of Arizona offer rebates for purchasers of solar systems.

Solar modules are warranted to produce energy for 20-25 years. Over that time period, the cost of electricity from the utility continues to increase, while the solar system produces energy for free. Additionally, a solar electric system can increase a home’s value by $20,000 for every $1,000 in reduced annual operating costs.

All modules are UL 1703 certified and hold a Fire Rating of Class C. SouthFace Solar Electric also installs all modules according to every industry safety standard. Additionally, as an Arizona licensed contractor all systems will be inspected in accordance with any all applicable N.E.C. codes by city or county inspectors along with an inspection by the utility company before being activated to ensure safety.

It only takes 3-5 days for the average residential rooftop system to be installed. One should expect 6-10 weeks for the entire process, which includes everything from a site evaluation to the switch being turned on.

Occasionally, a solar array should be cleaned with distilled water to clear the dust or debris that blocks sunlight and reduces efficiency. That is about all that’s required. There are no moving parts to wear out and solar modules are covered under limited warranty for power output for 20-25 years. In fact, there are solar modules that have been installed 50 years ago that are still producing energy today. With a scheduled yearly service check and quarterly cleaning the life of your inverter and modules can be prolonged.

SouthFace Solar Electric will listen to you the customer and answer any questions to help you understand your PV options by educating you about available products. We will then design and build the most functional solar system for your needs. This means you have an experienced solar partner you can trust.

The knowledge and experience of SouthFace Solar Electric will make converting your home to solar power more feasible and easier than you may have imagined. We are determined to continue on the path for improvement and made a commitment to setting new standards.

While sunlight is required for solar modules to create electricity, your home will draw power from the utility grid during night time hours. You can install a battery backup system for your home to use at night. This is known as “off-grid”. While batteries are helpful during blackouts, this option is really only necessary for remote homes and cabins that are not connected to the utility grid.

SouthFace Solar Electric takes pride in designing and installing solar systems that are sleek and streamline. This ensures that the systems are fully aesthetic and reliable. It’s clean, elegant appearance will blend beautifully with roof lines. We use Polyurethane caulking to ensure all roof penetrations will provide superior water protection.

Please click on the Contact link for more information. We are always ready to come to your home to determine your solar electric needs with a free consultation. All you have to do is contact us, we’ll do the rest.

The federal government is supporting solar by offering great incentives for homeowners to switch to solar. Homeowners may claim a federal tax credit that is equal to 30% of their system cost. Here in Arizona our state offers a 10% tax credit capped at $1,000. Also there are Utility rebates: Arizona Public Service (APS) is offering $.10 a DC watt installed capped at 50% of installed price. Salt River Project (SRP) is offering $.30 per DC watt installed capped at $1,500.

Coal-fired electrical power plants are responsible for 72% of all sulfur dioxide emissions in the U.S. On the other hand, solar electricity produces absolutely no pollution. One million homes going solar would result in a carbon dioxide emissions reduction of 4.3 million tons per year! That’s the equivalent of removing 850,000 cars from the road. By using more solar electricity, fewer greenhouse gas-producing power plants need to be built. This is one major step to reducing climate change.

If you have a typical residential system, then you will lose power during a black out. This is due to safety precautions. Electrical workers need to know if electricity is running through power lines when working. If they believe there isn’t electricity in the lines, because of the blackout, but your system is adding electricity to the grid, this could cause safety issues.

You can still produce electricity when there is a black out if you have a battery back up system. Batteries add a significant cost of the overall system. Installing a battery back up system is not necessary unless you are in an area with severe black out issues, or intend not to connect to the utility.

The size of your system depends on how much electricity your household uses on a regular basis. You can figure this out by looking at the last 12 months of electric usage in kilowatt hours (kWh) on your utility bills.

The most efficient use of your money is to offset your highest rates if you pay based on a tiered rate schedule. Instead of attempting to offset 100% your use, you may consider offsetting a portion of your consumption.

One of the main constraints for a system size is roof space. On average 10 watts take up 1 square foot. Therefore, a 4kW system would require approximately 400 square feet of roof space. You can also try a solar calculator.

SouthFace Solar Electric takes pride in designing and installing solar systems that are sleek and streamline. This ensures that the systems are fully aesthetic and reliable. It’s clean, elegant appearance will blend beautifully with roof lines. We use Polyurethane caulking to ensure all roof penetrations will provide superior water protection.

The federal government is supporting solar by offering great incentives for homeowners to switch to solar. Homeowners may claim a federal tax credit that is equal to 30% of their system cost. Here in Arizona our state offers a 10% tax credit capped at $1,000. Also there are Utility rebates: Arizona Public Service (APS) is offering $1.95 a DC watt installed capped at 50% of installed price. Salt River Project (SRP) is offering $2.15 per DC watt installed capped at $10,750.
The size of your system depends on how much electricity your household uses on a regular basis. You can figure this out by looking at the last 12 months of electric usage in kilowatt hours (kWh) on your utility bills.

The most efficient use of your money is to offset your highest rates if you pay based on a tiered rate schedule. Instead of attempting to offset 100% your use, you may consider offsetting a portion of your consumption.

One of the main constraints for a system size is roof space. On average 10 watts take up 1 square foot. Therefore, a 4kW system would require approximately 400 square feet of roof space. You can also try a solar calculator.

I recently noticed that my electric bill has been soaring recently—closing in on $600 to $700 a month. With the summer heat about to hit its peak, I decided to do some investigating to find ways to bring down my bill. I discovered that a solar system can bring down my bill considerably and after crunching the numbers, I learned the return on investment (ROI) also made it a worthwhile idea.

If you purchase a solar system between now and Dec. 31, 2016 you will be eligible for a tax credit equal to 30% of the cost of your solar system, including installation. Please note that this tax credit is not available if you lease the system or participate in a Solar Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).

“Currently politics is subsidizing renewable energy in much the same way nonrenewable energy has been subsidized for decades,” says Wayne Wilson of Solarcraft in Sonoma, Calif.

The credit applies to your main home, as well as a second home, but not to rental properties you own.
This is a tax credit, not merely a deduction. So if you owe $10,000 in taxes and your solar system costs $18,000 (after rebates and other incentives) the tax credit would be $5,400–reducing your tax liability to $4,600.

Here are some basics you should know when considering a solar system:
Basis reduction. You must reduce the basis of your home by the amount of any credit allowed, but you can add the cost of the system to the basis of your home. Using the example above, your net increase in basis would be $12,600 ($18,000-$5,400). Make sure you track this addition and all other capital improvements to your home because they will come in handy in reducing your taxable profit when selling your home.

If you must reroof your house or upgrade your electric service to accommodate a new solar system, you may add those costs to the basis of your home, but you cannot take the solar credit against those costs.

Any rebates you receive reduce the basis; do not declare them as taxable income. Rebates and other cash incentives must be subtracted from the cost before taking the 30% tax credit.

Loan Interest. If you finance the installation, you may deduct the interest if the loan is secured by your principal residence, e.g. home equity loan or other mortgage.

Home Office. If you deduct expenses for a home office, you may depreciate the proportionate cost of the solar system, electric service upgrades, and reroofing as part of your home office expense. The IRS allows 100% bonus depreciation for systems placed into service by Dec. 31, 2011 and 50% bonus depreciation is allowed for systems placed into service by Dec. 31, 2012.

For example, if your home office is equal to 20% of your total home area, you may depreciate 20% of the cost of the system. Multiply the cost of the solar system (less rebates and other cash incentives) by 20% and depreciate the result over 5 years.

How to take the credit. Complete Form 5695 and attach it to your Form 1040. Enter the credit on Form 1040, line 52. For more information on this credit, see the instructions for Form 5695.

Did the Southface Solar FAQ answer your questions? Contact us at (480) 636-1800 so we can answer your questions and offer a no-hassle free solar quote on how to go solar.

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