Frequently Asked Questions

Goingsolar.com has all the answers! We provide all the most frequently asked questions when it comes to solar energy. If you have a different question that is not listed in our FAQ, feel free to contact us.

How does solar impact my property values?2018-11-05T18:03:36-06:00

It’s a fact that homes with solar energy systems sell for more than homes without them. However, it is important to understand that your property value will only increase if you pay for your system outright, rather than leasing it. Studies have shown that going solar will actually increase your property value more than a kitchen renovation.

What are my solar financing options?2018-11-05T18:04:26-06:00

There are three main options for solar financing: take out a solar loan to buy your system, sign a solar lease/power purchase agreement (PPA), or purchase your system in cash. GoingSolar’s Solar Calculator can help you assess the cost of your solar system, based off of the average cost of your electricity bill each month and the area you live in.

Should I buy or lease my solar panel system?2018-11-05T18:05:05-06:00

The choice to buy or lease your solar energy system depends largely on your reasons for going solar in the first place. If you are looking to maximize the financial returns of your solar energy system, buying it outright is more than likely a better choice for you. However, if your primary concern is to find an easy, maintenance-free way to reduce your energy bills and help the environment, a solar lease would be a better option for you.

Which is better – solar leases or solar loans?2018-11-05T18:05:41-06:00

Both solar leases and solar loans have advantages and disadvantages. Since both options reduce the cost of your monthly electricity bills and your impact on the environment. When deciding between a solar lease or solar loan, make sure to educate yourself on the terms and conditions of each type of agreement.

What solar energy rebates and incentives are available?2018-11-05T18:07:27-06:00

Solar incentives and rebates vary significantly depending on where you live. However, one of the most substantial incentives in the 30 percent federal investment tax credit (ITC). This allows homeowners to deduct 30 percent of the total cost of a solar energy system from their taxes. Everyone who invests in a solar energy system on their property is eligible for this incentive. In addition, most states offer additional tax credits, and certain utilities and municipalities also offer cash rebates or other incentives.

If I receive a rebate for my system from my local or state government, will that reduce the basis on which I can claim the federal 30% ITC?2018-11-05T18:08:53-06:00

Grants from local or state governments must be reported as taxable income. That said, they do not reduce the tax basis for calculating the 30% tax credit for the equipment paid in part with the grant.

If I receive a rebate for my system from my utility, does that reduce the basis on which I can claim the federal 30% ITC?2018-11-05T18:10:08-06:00

Rebates received from a utility in a commercial context, must be reported as taxable income by the recipient. Any recipient who reports a rebate as income, claims the gross amount paid for solar equipment as his “tax basis”, for the purpose of calculating the commercial solar tax credit or Treasury cash grant.

A rebate that is received by a homeowner in a residential context, generally does not have to be reported as income once the rebate is received from the local utility. If a homeowner does not report the rebate as income, they take a “tax basis” in solar equipment equal to the net amount he paid. In other words, if the total cost of the solar equipment has a gross of $20,000, but a rebate from the local utility pays $2,000, then his tax basis in the equipment is $18,000 (for the purpose of calculating the residential tax credit).

Can I take the 30% federal grant instead of the 30% tax credit?2018-11-05T18:11:04-06:00

The federal grant option only applies to commercial systems, not residential ones.

If I build a new home, and put it up for sale, can I take the residential credit of the commercial credit?2018-11-05T18:12:10-06:00

A homebuilder is not entitled to the tax credit.

Does the 30% credit cover the cost of installation or labor?

The cost of labor to install solar equipment goes into the calculation of the total cost of your solar installation. Thus, solar installation is considered part of the 30% ITC. However, only the solar installation can be counted for part of your 30% ITC. For example, if you need something fixed on your roof in addition to the panel installation, that portion of the cost of the installation would not count.

How does residential solar power work?2018-11-07T11:26:33-06:00

Firstly, the sun’s rays hit your solar panel on the roof. From there, the panels convert the energy into DC current, which then flows to an inverter. The inverter’s job is to convert the electricity from DC to AC, which is the type of electricity you can use to run appliances in your home. It’s simple and clean electricity, and it’s getting more affordable and efficient all the time.

How big are residential solar panels?2018-11-07T11:27:25-06:00

The average size for residential solar panels is 65 inches by 39 inches. Although some solar companies sell panels of a slightly varied size, this is the standard for residential panels.

Are residential solar panels worth it?2018-11-07T11:28:54-06:00

In short – absolutely! Not only will your electric bill decrease significantly, but with a solar panel system installed on your property, you are also helping save the environment by generating natural, renewable energy.

Residential Solar vs Utility2018-11-07T11:29:44-06:00

When homeowners are deciding whether or not to go solar, some locations offer utility-solar (also known as community solar) as an option. Community solar power is a good option for renters, primarily those who have unsuitable roofs for solar panels to be placed on. The biggest difference to consider, is if you (as the homeowner) would like to own your solar system – which, in the long run – will add value to your home.

Residential Solar Incentives2018-11-07T11:37:41-06:00

Residents in every state of the U.S. are eligible for the Federal Solar Tax Credit, which grants homeowners the right to deduct 30% of the total cost of installing a solar energy system from their federal taxes. In addition to the Federal ITC, most states offer additional tax breaks, solar incentives and rebates. Since solar incentives vary significantly from state to state, it is important to do your research in order to get the most out of your state’s solar incentives.

How many watts of energy does a solar panel produce?2018-11-07T11:38:20-06:00

An average solar panel will produce anywhere from 3kW to 10kW (kilowatts). 10kW residential solar systems are among the most popular system sizes in the country. This amount produces enough electricity to power a home with slightly above-average electricity consumption.

How much does a 10kW solar panel system cost?2018-11-07T11:43:57-06:00

A 10kW solar energy system is one of the most common system sizes in the U.S.. As such, many people would like to know what the average cost of installing a solar system this size would run. See below for the average total cost of all equipment and installation for a solar energy system for homes who consume slightly above-average electricity amounts.

It is important to keep in mind, you have several great options when it comes to investing in a residential solar system. You can pay outright, get a solar lease or loan, Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), Home Equity Loan, or Energy Efficient Mortgage.

How big are commercial solar panels?2018-11-07T11:44:22-06:00

In general, commercial solar panels are 77 inches by 39 inches.

Where to buy commercial solar panels?2018-11-07T11:45:14-06:00

There are hundreds of companies who successfully sell commercial solar panels. When you are shopping around for commercial solar panels, it is important to consider the quality, durability, and warranty terms around the solar panels for sale. In addition, it would be smart to learn about the track record of successful solar projects the company has. The power output capabilities the commercial solar panels will produce is another factor to look into, and consider, when shopping for panels.

What are commercial solar panels output levels?2018-11-07T11:46:04-06:00

There are several factors that affect solar panel efficiency, such as temperature, shade levels, front surface soiling and more.

How do I pick the best solar loan?2018-11-07T12:09:18-06:00

There are several different institutions that offer solar loans, including national and local banks, specialty financing companies, credit unions and manufacturers. In order to choose the best solar loan for you, compare options from a few different financing providers. Always review equipment types, installers and financing options.

What is Net Metering?2018-11-05T18:02:43-06:00

Net metering is the system set in place, used by utilities to determine how much electricity your solar energy system produced in the month. With net metering, utilities will only charge you for the electricity that you use beyond what your solar panels generate. Since net metering policies differ from state to state – make sure to do your homework ahead of time.

How can I find out how much I pay for electricity?2018-11-05T18:01:59-06:00

The easiest, and quickest, way to figure out how much you pay for electricity (and, how much electricity your household uses per month), is by taking a look at your utility electric bill. If you cannot find a copy of it, you can always call your utility company and ask.

What are the financial benefits of solar energy?2018-11-05T18:00:47-06:00

You will save a lot of money on your electricity bills when you install a solar energy system on your property. Another thing to consider, electricity rates are expected to increase in the future. By going solar, you’d be able to avoid these rising costs. Now, the exact amount of money you would save by going solar entirely depends on the utility rates and solar policies in your area. However, going solar is always a smart investment, regardless of where you live.

What are the environmental benefits of solar energy?2018-11-05T17:59:53-06:00

Like many other renewable energy resources, solar power has a great deal of environmental and health benefits. By going solar, you’ll reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which contribute to climate change. In addition, you’d be releasing fewer air pollutants such as particulate matter and sulfur dioxide, both of which can cause serious health problems.

How big are commercial solar panels?2018-11-05T17:58:31-06:00

In general, commercial solar panels are 65 inches by 39 inches.

What is commercial solar energy?2018-11-05T17:57:22-06:00

Commercial solar systems are custom solar panel grid-tie power systems, made specifically for commercial buildings.

How efficient are commercial solar panels?2018-11-05T17:57:58-06:00

Solar panels revolve around the use of silicon cells. These silicon cells are typically 10 to 20% efficient at converting sunlight into electricity. However, there are newer models coming out all the time, some of them converting at over 22%.

Solar Savings

Each state is different when it comes to solar energy. See how much you can save in your state.