Questions About Costs and Financing
The cost of a solar energy system varies from home to home. It depends on many factors, and the most influential are:
- Your energy usage and how much you want to replace or offset.
- The degree of shading and obstacles. Where shading plays a role, and extra panel or two may be added to overcome the losses.
- The design and condition of your roof and the suitability to add solar to your home’s existing electrical system.
For estimating, here is one example — An average system in our geographic location is designed with approximately 30 panels. Such a system will generate around 11,000 kwh/year and will cost between $24-$29,000 before the 30% federal tax credit is applied, or between $17-$20,000 after the tax credit. Please visit our more detailed explanation of solar electric costs.
This is difficult to calculate until later in the process. When helping you estimate your time to pay, we consider the following:
- The initial system cost including all fees and applications.
- Any additional costs due to financing.
- Your specific electricity costs.
- Estimated savings on your utility bill and the value of all incentives up front and over the life of the system.
Please visit our calculating solar savings page to learn in more detail and through examples.
There are two primary incentives in Pennsylvania and New Jersey — The Investment Tax Credit (ITC) and SRECs.
The 30 percent federal ITC has been renewed through 2019, with a slow decline in the following years. By filing an additional form with your federal taxes the year following completion of the installation, you will receive a tax credit equal to 30% of the total cost of your solar energy system. For example, if you’re system is completed in 2016, you will file for your return in 2017.
SRECs are a financial device allowing utilities and electricity suppliers to buy “credit” for renewable and solar energy in lieu of investing in and generating the same power. There is a process to apply for and be granted these credits that are issued over 10 years or longer, depending on your state. Exact Solar assists every customer as needed.
The value of each SREC varies from New Jersey to Pennsylvania. While more valuable in New Jersey by a large degree, the credit value in Pennsylvania is increasing. Please visit our SRECs page for more information about the certificates and the results in each state.
Net metering is the most important policy allowing a homeowner compensation for the power the solar energy system generates. This mechanism provides the following:
- The physical means to track what you produce at the same time you track what you buy from the supplier.
- The ability to accumulate the solar energy amount at any moment it is in excess of what you need.
- The ability to carry excess totals over into subsequent months.
- A clearly defined monetary value for your self-produced solar energy.
Please visit our calculating solar savings page to learn more about the net metering specifics for your state and how they lead to your savings.
Exact Solar does not lease solar energy systems. We feel that purchasing a solar energy system is in the best financial interest of most people. For a detailed explanation of the pros of purchasing, check out our blog and our video.
Questions About Performance
Solar panels are most effective in direct sunlight. However, if sunlight is reflected or partially blocked by clouds, the efficiency of the solar panels will decrease, but electricity will continue to be generated. Rain keeps panels running efficiently by cleaning off dirt and debris—so a rainy day once in a while isn’t all bad.
Solar PV systems have no moving parts. Systems can continue to produce clean energy for 40+ years.
Panels and optimizers are covered under a manufacturer’s warranty for 25 years. Inverters are covered for 12 years, with an option to extend to 25 years at an additional cost. Panels are guaranteed to produce at least 80% of their original production for 25 years.
In Pennsylvania and New Jersey we get a great benefit from the periodic rains as well as the snowfalls, as they melt. They act as “cleaners” and for the most part are good enough to keep contaminants from collecting on the surfaces of solar panels. And by selecting only panels and power management hardware that have great service records, there is little need for inspections or other upkeep.
Yes. Except in the rare circumstance where you decide to buy solar plus energy storage and become 100% “off-grid”.
Because of the way you generate most of your solar energy between approximately 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. most days, you will always need to buy some energy to power your home every moment of the 24 hour day. The principle of net metering was established as means to address this timing offset and establish value for you generated power. Please visit our calculating solar savings page to learn more about what to expect in your monthly bills.
Your savings are estimated based on our experience in the region. Weather changes throughout the seasons in ways that vary the amount of solar energy available. And nearly every family’s energy needs and usage fluctuate constantly. Because of that, we typically offer examples and a range of expected savings.
Learn more about calculating solar savings and the factors involved by visiting this page.
Questions About the Design & Installation Process
At Exact Solar, we take pride in our years of servicing Pennsylvania and New Jersey homeowners and businesses. The resulting refined process gives us the ability to make accurate preliminary proposals that at most may need only minor adjustments. The basic steps are:
- We request minimum information – your specific address and thoughts on energy usage. (Typically we ask you to review a bill with us.)
- Using proven satellite imagery technology and our experience with solar energy design, we produce a proposal taking into account common factors. For example, we do consider roofing design and environmental concerns such as adjacent tall trees or forests.
- After review, and with your approval, we meet and make a quick survey of your home in real time. This way we ensure there are absolutely no surprises once a contract is signed all the way through commissioning your new solar energy system.
In our experience, most homeowners in the area are ready. Here is our test:
- Are you tired of paying hundreds of dollars for electricity? Fatigued by surprise cost increases?
- Do you own your home?
- Do you have the federal tax liability over a one or two year period to be able to credit yourself anywhere from $6,000 to $10,000 or more?
We think you are likely ready to investigate your solar savings potential. Many people are pleasantly surprised to discover how the process is not intimidating, and even more pleased to find out how quickly they can save while increasing the value of their home. See more about how solar improves home value.
We are currently about 10-12 weeks out for installations in Pennsylvania. This time is used to complete and submit all necessary paperwork with the state and the utility company. Weather conditions may affect this timeline. Installation averages three days, depending on the complexity of the system.
The condition of your roof does not necessarily depend on its age. If debris from trees constantly falls on to your roof, it may be much more damaged than a roof that is free of debris. Typically, roofs that are not impacted by considerable falling debris are suitable for solar energy systems for up to 20 years. Exact Solar evaluates the condition of all roofs and makes any necessary recommendations.
Exact Solar uses flashings to cover penetrations in sloped roofs. The use of these flashings does not typically negate warranties on roofs. We can verify that your warranty will not be voided with the roof manufacturer.
Yes. In addition to a solar PV system, a battery backup system can be installed. Battery backup systems are used to power a home’s critical loads during a power outage. Critical loads may include sump pumps, wells, refrigerators, etc. Please take time to explore our solar plus storage product offering to learn more.