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  • Advantages of going solar
    • What are the economic benefits of solar energy?

      Installing a solar energy system on your home or business allows you to save money on your electricity bill. Calculating your savings is simple and transparent – energy produced by your solar system is energy that you will not need to purchase from the utility. Through our online monitoring app, you can see in real time exactly how energy you are producing, and thus how much money you are saving, during each billing cycle.

      Another good reason to go solar is to protect yourself against rising electricity rates. Global energy markets can be complex and volatile, but with solar on your roof, you are in total control of your electricity bill.

      In addition to energy savings, there are numerous other national, state, and local financial incentives – including tax credits and rebates – that make solar energy even more affordable.
    • What are the environmental benefits of solar energy?

      Solar power is a clean and renewable source of energy. Solar panels do not use any water to generate electricity, they do not release harmful gases into the environment, and the source of energy is abundant and free.

      Use less water

      Water is one of our most precious natural resources. Traditional electricity production uses tens of millions of gallons of water each year. Water is used for cooling generators, processing and refining fuel, and transporting fuel through pipes. Generating power through solar panels, however, uses no water at all.

      Reduce air pollution

      Electricity generated from fossil fuels can produce harmful carbon dioxide and methane gases that lower the quality of the air we breathe. Breathing poor quality air can have negative consequences for our health, having been linked to asthma, allergies, bronchitis, pneumonia, headaches, anxiety, heart attacks, and some cancers. Using the sun to generate more power means less harmful emissions from fossil fuels.

      Reduce reliance on fossil fuels

      Fossil fuels are finite, dirty, and subject to extreme pricing volatilities as a result of global events. Enough solar energy hits the earth every minute to power the entire world for a whole year. Switching to solar gives you a dependable, stable, infinite, and clean source of power for your home.

    • Is my home suitable for solar energy?

      While exceptions exist, you will get the most benefit from a solar energy system if you are a homeowner who lives in a single-family home that has available roof space or adjacent land that is not shaded from trees, nearby buildings, or other obstructions.

      South facing roof surfaces will generate the most solar energy, but you can utilize solar energy regardless of which direction your roof is facing. And although sunny climates produce the most electricity, even in the cloudiest parts of the country solar energy is a great option that will save you money.

      U.S. Solar Energy uses advanced solar modeling software to help you understand exactly how much energy your solar system will produce, and thus how much money you will save, regardless of where you live. Give us a call.
    • How do I find out how much I pay for electricity?

      The easiest way to find out how much you pay for electricity is to review your electric bill. There can be a number of different charges on your bill, but overall, the two main components relate to supply and delivery.

      Supply, or generation, includes the cost of generating the electricity you use. This relates to your consumption, which is measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh). The delivery, also known as transmission and distribution, relates to the costs required to get the electricity to your home or business.

      If you have any questions about your specific bill, feel free to give us a call.
    • How does solar impact property values?

      Studies have shown that homes with solar energy systems sell for more than homes without them. However, your property value will typically only increase if you own, rather than lease, your solar panel system. In most parts of the country, going solar will increases your property value more than a kitchen renovation.
    • What payment options do I have for my solar system?

      You have two broad payment options with U.S. Solar Energy:

      - Buy your system
      - Buy your electricity

      If you buy your system, you have the option to pay upfront or to get started with a loan for no money down. Either way, by owning your system, you can get the most overall savings and increase the value of your home if you ever decide to sell. Customers who buy their systems qualify for local and federal incentives like the 26% federal tax credit.

      If you decide to buy electricity, then a third party like U.S. Solar Energy or one of our partners will own your system. In return, you will make one low monthly payment for the life of the contract. Depending on where you live, we can structure this payment option as a lease or a power purchase agreement (PPA).
  • Financial Incentives for solar energy
    • What financial incentives are available for solar energy systems?

      There are a number of different financial incentives that help homeowners and businesses adopt onsite solar and storage systems. The most prominent program is the federal residential solar tax credit (ITC). The ITC is a tax credit that can be claimed on federal income taxes for a percentage of the cost of a solar system. The system must be placed in service during the tax year and generate electricity for a home located in the United States.

      In December 2020, Congress passed an extension of the ITC, which provides a 26% tax credit for systems installed in 2020-2022, and 22% for systems installed in 2023. The tax credit expires starting in 2024 unless Congress renews it.

      In addition to the federal ITC, many states, counties, municipalities and utilities offer rebates or other incentives for solar energy technologies. Some utilities offer performance-based incentives (PBIs). PBI’s mean that a customer is paid a specific amount for all kWhs of solar generation regardless of whether it is consumed in the household or exported to the utility.
    • How do I know if I am eligible for the Federal Residential Solar Tax Credit?

      You might be eligible for this tax credit if you meet all of the following criteria:

      • Your solar PV system was installed between January 1, 2006, and December 31, 2023.
      • The solar PV system is located at your primary or secondary residence in the United States.
      • You own the solar PV system (i.e., you purchased it with cash or through financing but you are neither leasing nor are in an arrangement to purchase electricity generated by a system you do not own).
      • The solar PV system is new or being used for the first time. The credit can only be claimed on the “original installation” of the solar equipment.
    • If the federal tax credit exceeds my tax liability, will I get a refund?

      This is a nonrefundable tax credit, which means you will not get a tax refund for the amount of the tax credit that exceeds your tax liability. Homeowners may get a tax refund at the end of the year due to the tax credit, if the reduction in tax liability means there was overpayment during the year. This can often occur when employers deduct taxes for employees over the course of the year. However, such refund is still limited by the taxpayer’s total tax liability. However, you can carry over any unused amount of tax credit to the next tax year.
  • How Energy Storage Systems (ESS) work
    • Why should I consider an energy storage system?

      Energy storage systems are increasingly becoming incorporated into home solar systems. The term often used for such systems is “solar+storage”. Energy resilience and independence is probably the number one driver for homeowners who decide to incorporate energy storage into their solar energy system. This is because without storage, a grid-connected solar system will shut down if there is a blackout, leaving you without power.
    • How large should my energy storage system be?

      The two most important factors in determining how large your storage system should be are 1.) what is going to be powered by the batteries during a blackout and 2.) for how long are they going to be powered.

      To do this, appliances and devices need to be grouped into critical loads, those that you want operational during a blackout, and non-critical loads, those that you do not need in an emergency. Give us a call and we can help you determine the appropriate size for your needs.
  • How solar panels work on your home
    • How do solar panels work?

      Solar panels absorb the sun's energy throughout the day and convert it into direct current (DC) electricity. Most homes and businesses run on alternating current (AC) electricity, so the DC electricity is then passed through an inverter to convert it to usable AC electricity. At that point, you either use the electricity in your house or send it back to the electric grid.
    • Do my solar panels produce power when the sun isn’t shining?

      Your solar energy system depends on sunlight to produce electricity. As a result, your solar panels will produce slightly less energy when the weather is cloudy and, at night, without electricity. That said, because of rising electricity costs and financial incentives, solar is a smart decision even if you live in a cloudy city.
    • Will I still receive an electric bill if I have solar panels?

      In the majority of use cases, solar energy systems are designed to reduce your electric bill, not completely eliminate it. Unless you are completely off-grid, you will continue to receive service, and thus a bill, from your local utility company.
    • How much will solar panel maintenance cost?

      Solar energy systems require little to no maintenance for the 25 to 35 years that they will generate power. In most cases, you don’t even need to clean your solar panels regularly. All U.S. Solar Energy systems come with a 25-year warranty that covers all parts and services.
    • Do solar panels work during blackouts?

      All grid-connected solar systems without battery storage are designed to shut off in the event of a black out. This is to prevent emergency responders and utility repair technicians from getting injured by solar panels sending electricity into the grid.
    • What are solar shingles or solar tiles?

      Solar shingles or tiles, popularized by Tesla’s Solar Roof, is an emerging technology – it is still difficult to run a cost-benefit analysis or calculate your return on investment. According to Garret Nilsen, acting director for the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office,“it’s definitely a more nascent and very minor part of the residential solar installation space today.”
    • What is net metering?

      Net metering is the system that utilities use to credit solar energy system owners for the electricity produced by their solar panels. With net metering, you only pay for the electricity that you use beyond what your solar panels generate. Net metering policies differ from state to state, and our solar energy advisors can help you understand the policies in your area.