FAQs about Residential Solar Power Systems

As solar energy is growing in popularity, you may be wondering if all the hype is true. If you are considering switching to solar power but still have some doubts, take a look at some of our most frequently asked questions!

Is solar energy affordable?

Most major solar companies provide financing options to best suit customers needs. The Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), Solar Leases, and Solar Loans are just a few ways homeowners can choose from in order to pay for their systems. There are also many federal and state incentives that customers can take advantage of in order to cover the price of their solar panels.

Residential solar panel installations can be a great investment for anyone looking to lower their utility bill while reducing their carbon emissions. Federal and state incentives will be decreasing at the end of 2020, making today the best time to invest in solar energy!

What are tax credits? Do I qualify?

The federal solar tax credit, also known as the investment tax credit (ITC), allows solar energy owners to deduct 26% of the cost of installing the solar system from their federal taxes. It is one of the most critical incentives for home solar power in the United States implemented by the federal government today.

The federal solar tax applies to both residential and commercial systems – every user that owns their systems, as opposed to renting them, qualifies for this deduction. This credit can be applied to personal income taxes that would otherwise be payed to the federal government.

Does solar power really help the environment?

Yes! Sunlight is the cleanest source of energy due to its natural abundance. Solar energy has virtually no environmental impact and reduces carbon emissions, ultimately improving air pollution. Solar power is also more self-sufficient than fossil fuel since it’s is generated nearly everywhere, while fossil fuels are finite resources that need to be imported from other countries.

Can I use solar energy during a power outage?

Without a battery back-up system, solar energy systems will shut down along with the rest of the electricity sources in the neighborhood. This utility regulation is for the protection of the workers fixing the power outage. Repair crews are directly working on the points of failure across the grid, so to have a local power generator such as a solar source leaking power onto the grid lines would put these linemen and women in jeopardy. Solar energy systems can detect when grid power is down, which automatically shuts the system down as a precaution.

I’m planning on moving. Is solar still worth it?

If you sell your home, you can transfer your solar agreement to the new homeowner. The process is simple and offers electricity savings, which is a great selling point when your home is on the market. The Momentum Solar Customer Experience team will walk you through the entire process, but it’s important that you contact us by email at MyInstall@momentumsolar.com or by phone at 732.902.6224 as soon as you decide to sell your home.

Our mission at Momentum Solar is to enable our customers to take control over their rising electricity costs and start generating cleaner, price-protected power. Visit our website at www.momentumsolar.com or call 1-888-MOMENTUM for more information.

 

How Do Solar Panels Work?

Solar power works by taking the sun’s energy and turning it into electricity. It’s the cleanest and most abundant resource in the world because sunlight is natural and replenishable. Here’s a breakdown of the process!

What are solar panels?

Solar panels are devices that collect sunlight for a solar energy system to use as electricity for a home or business. Sometimes they are referred to as photovoltaic (PV) panels, which simply means “light-electricity.”

What are solar panels made of?

Solar energy systems have quite a few working parts to help produce and use renewable energy, but there are two main components that are responsible for generating solar power:

Solar panels: Most important of all the solar components, panels are what collect sunlight to generate usable electricity. Panels are made up of many smaller units called solar cells, which convert the sun’s energy into electrical energy.

Microinverters: Since most homes use Alternating Current (AC) electricity and solar power systems generate Direct Current (DC) electricity, microinverters are necessary to be able to apply solar energy to your home. Microinverters convert the DC electricity produced by each panel into usable AC electricity.

How is sunlight converted into electricity?

Solar panels contain many solar cells, which are made of layers of silicon, phosphorus and boron. The phosphorus provides the negative electrical charge while the boron provides the positive electrical charge. These layers absorb photons from the sun’s energy and convert them into an electric current using these positive and negative charges. This process is known as the Photovoltaic Effect.

In most cases the average solar-powered home generates more than enough energy to meet its needs, so any excess electricity is sent back into the main power grid.

What are the benefits of switching to solar?

It’s environmentally friendly: Sunlight is the cleanest source of energy due to its natural abundance, so solar energy has virtually no environmental impact and reduces carbon emissions. It is also more self-sufficient than fossil fuel – solar energy is generated nearly everywhere, whereas fossil fuels are scarce and mainly imported from other countries.

It’s a good investment: Switching to solar energy helps homeowners save thousands on their energy bills in the long run, and these systems end up paying for themselves in 8-10 years. Studies have also found that solar panels can increase the value of your home by up to $15,000 [1].

You’ll receive tax credit: The federal solar tax credit allows owners of solar energy systems to deduct 26% of the cost of installation from their federal taxes. Since solar panels generate excess energy, homeowners are credited for the electricity that is sent back to the grid and shared throughout their neighborhood. This tax incentive will start to decrease at the end of 2020, so now is the best time to make the switch!

Our mission at Momentum Solar is to enable our customers to take control over their rising electricity costs and start generating cleaner, price-protected power. Visit our website momentumsolar.com or call 1-888-MOMENTUM for more information.

How To Apply For Federal Tax Credit

There has never been a better time to switch to solar!

Due to federal and state incentives, qualified homeowners can lower their monthly electric bills with solar energy for no money out-of-pocket. Your tax credit may qualify for up to 26% of the cost of your solar equipment when you install solar panels or solar water heating system. This opportunity is only available through the end of 2022 – after that, the percentage will decrease periodically through the end of 2023.

How Solar Tax Credits Work

A solar tax credit is the amount of money that taxpayers can subtract from the taxes they owe to the government from the previous year. If you made a solar investment that was approved by the government during that last year, you would be able to deduct that amount when you file your taxes with the government. All products that are eligible for tax credits for residential energy efficiency are labeled with an Energy Star certification.

How To Apply For Federal Tax Credit

When you file your taxes, make sure to fill out form 5695. This form can be applied only to residential properties.

Download form 5695
Instructions for Form 5695

How Solar Rebate Works

Solar rebates work differently than tax credits. In fact, rebates can help you can get cash back into your hands sooner! While there are no federal rebates for energy-efficient purchases at this time, many state governments, local governments and utility companies offer cash rebates for the purchase of energy-efficient products. Some manufacturers offer specials and sales that make it easier to power your home with renewable energy.

How to Apply For Solar Rebates

The solar rebates vary from state to state, and the actual offer updates frequently. To find out what discounts available to you, please reach out to one of our representatives at 1-888-666-3699 or complete the inquiry form.

How Much Do Solar Panels Cost?

If you are considering switching to a solar energy system, it can be overwhelming to navigate through your options. At Momentum Solar, we believe in offering our customers all available information so they can make an educated decision on whether a home installation is right for them. Here’s a breakdown of what goes into the cost of going solar!

Can I Purchase One Solar Panel At A Time?

An average photovoltaic panel typically costs between $200 and $300 depending on how many watts it has. This cost is only for the panel itself and does not include the cost of installation. Purchasing one solar panel at a time is usually more expensive than purchasing the whole system – most professional installers purchase panels in bulk, making them significantly cheaper.

What Goes Into The Price Of Solar Panels?

There are a few factors to consider when estimating how much your residential solar panel system will cost:

System Size and Quantity: In most cases, larger solar panel systems cost more than smaller ones. However, large solar panels do not automatically translate to more savings on your energy bill! The quality of the panels is just as important when trying to reduce energy costs because higher quality equipment leads to better performance from the system. Homeowners must consider factors such as total energy usage, the design of the home and geographic location to reach optimal efficiency and reduce energy costs.

Labor Costs: When using a professional installer, customers also have labor and transportation costs. These can vary depending on how far away you are from the installer you choose. Momentum Solar includes these fees in your free quote to ensure that you are receiving an honest deal before committing.

Home Type: The complexity of each installation can affect the cost of your solar panels. Roofs with an average pitch that are facing south or west will likely be cheaper than steeper roofs. Solar panels can still be installed on complicated roofs, but homeowners should be aware of the potential system’s estimated efficiency before making any decisions to ensure that the cost of solar installation is worth the price.

Location: Solar panels are available nationwide, but some locations are better than others due to several factors. Panels are relatively affordable everywhere – the average cost per watt varies throughout each state, but typically these prices vary within the 50-cent range. Differing climates call for different kinds of equipment for your solar systems which influences total costs and can also affect the efficiency of your system. Each state also has different rebate and tax incentive programs, making solar panels cheaper in some states than others.

Are Solar Panels Worth it?

All things considered, residential solar systems can be a great investment for anyone looking to lower their utility bill while reducing their carbon emissions. Federal and state incentives will be decreasing at the end of 2020, making today the best time to invest in solar energy. Visit our website momentumsolar.com or call 1-888-MOMENTUM for a free quote!

Stop Overpaying for Utilities!

Daily habits that seem so small can be costing us on our monthly utility bill. Our devices that we leave plugged in, our thermostats and even our water usage can hike up our bills if we aren’t careful! Here are some tips to help cut the costs of your utilities while making your home eco-friendlier in the process.

Use cold water when you can.

Since it takes more energy to generate warm water, try using cold water whenever possible. You should try washing your clothes with cold water as often as you can. Also try taking cold or lukewarm showers as opposed to hot ones. The more you can use cold water, the more you can save on your utility bill every day!

Replace your light bulbs.

LED light bulbs take less energy to use and last much longer than traditional incandescent bulbs, so they can lower your electricity costs. Every dollar saved counts! As a bonus, LED light bulbs are easy to install, free of UV rays and eco-friendly.

Check for drafts.

Add a layer of insulation to your windows and doors to prevent drafts. This will help keep your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, so you don’t have to drastically change your thermostat. Running your ceiling fans can also help to increase circulation and bring your utility costs down.

Get a programmable thermostat.

These thermostats allow users to adjust temperatures according to a pre-set schedule. This ensures that temperatures are kept lower when possible, like during the day when your working or at night when your sleeping.

You can also monitor your thermostat manually – the optimal temperature to keep your house warm enough while keeping your bill low is 68 degrees.

Unplug your devices.

Even though you might think your devices are turned off, they can still be using electricity if they’re constantly plugged in. Pull the plug on your “energy vampires” like your laptop or tv when they aren’t in use. You can make this easier by using power strips that you can turn on or off.

Check your bill.

Sometimes your utility company gets it wrong! Make sure to thoroughly check your bill each month to see if you are getting charged the correct amount. You can also ask your provider about any discounts – some providers give discounts for those who opt for online statements rather than mailed bills.

Switch to solar.

Solar energy is a great way to lower your electricity costs! Once installed, owners can potentially lower their energy costs to $0 a month. You can also receive tax credit for shared energy produced by your panels. Taxpayers will receive the most out of their tax credit if they invest in solar energy today!

If you want to reduce your monthly bills, reduce your annual taxes and help improve the environment then solar energy may be right for you. Visit our website at www.momentumsolar.com or call 1-888-MOMENTUM for more information.

 

5 Common Myths About Solar Energy

At Momentum Solar, we hear a lot of solar myths – so we’re here to set the record straight! Read on to find out if what you know about solar energy is true or false.

1. It’s too expensive

Contrary to popular belief, solar energy can save you money on your electric bill in the long run! The average American family spends around $1,856 on electricity alone [1], but households with solar energy can potentially pay as low as $0 monthly.

If

Is Solar Energy Reliable?

Solar energy is more reliable today than ever before thanks to improving technologies and growth in the industry. Utility experts can use new tools to maintain a consistent flow of energy, even during times when sunlight is not its strongest. With these advancements in technology, we can achieve a stable amount of electricity while reducing our carbon emissions.

How Does It Work?

Solar power is harnessed energy from the sun that is converted into thermal or electrical energy. It’s the cleanest and most abundant resource in the world because sunlight is natural and replenishable. Fossil fuels, like coal and oil, are finite and harmful to the atmosphere due to their contribution to the greenhouse effect.

What if There’s No Sunlight?

Since sunlight levels vary, solar energy systems typically are connected to the grid to ensure that there are steady levels of power. When sunlight is low, grid professionals can accommodate using a variety of tools in order to provide a consistent amount of electricity. The following improvements allow operators to ensure a constant flow of energy in solar homes:

Accurate Forecasts: Grid operators can adjust electricity sources when necessary thanks to detailed weather reports. These professionals can accurately forecast solar outputs, therefore modifying the grid as needed on days when sunlight is low. This ensures that homes with solar energy maintain a consistent amount of power throughout the day, no matter what the weather is like.

A Dynamic Grid: No energy source is perfectly reliable – even fossil fuels like coal and natural gas are susceptible to interruption. Therefore, electricity grids are made to handle these disruptions by using reserve power sources when necessary. Most solar panels still work through the community’s grid system even though the panels produce their own energy.  If solar power does diminish, grids will use other sources to fill the gap.

Integrating Other Renewable Sources: Renewable sources could collectively generate the majority of U.S. electricity by 2050. If we make smart investments and policy changes now, we can integrate these technologies to move towards a cleaner and more sustainable future. New transmission lines, smarter grids, improved storage technologies and progressive policies can allow us to utilize wind, solar, geothermal, biomass and hydropower together more efficiently. Integrating these renewable sources may be a more complex challenge but does not implicate impossible technical problems or significant costs.

Why Should I Invest in Solar?

Solar power is the cleanest energy resource that can save you money in the long run. It has the highest environmental benefit because it reduces carbon emissions and greenhouse gasses, which ultimately improves air pollution. This energy is produced with practically no environmental impact, unlike fossil fuels. Owners of solar systems also receive tax credit for their electricity shared through the grid while reducing their energy bills significantly.

About Momentum

Momentum Solar is committed to delivering a first-class experience to our customers through their journey to cleaner, price-protected electricity generated by the sun. If you have questions about the reliability of solar systems and wish to learn more, visit www.momentumsolar.com or call 1-888-MOMENTUM for more information.

 

How Much Maintenance is Required for Solar Panels?

Solar panels require little maintenance, but there are a few steps that owners should be aware of to ensure proper management of their systems. In order to guarantee peak performance of your solar panels, check out the maintenance tips below.

Cleaning

For the system to absorb as much energy from the sun as they can, owners should annually clean their panels. Sometimes obstructions such as growing tree branches and fallen leaves block the sunlight, which keeps you from getting optimal results. Buildup on the panels such as pollen and other debris can block sunlight as well.

Some of the cleaning process can be done by the owner themselves, but it is recommended to call a professional for the safety of the owner and preservation of the system. An expert can safely remove debris from the glass panels with the proper tools and can assess any potential damage in the process, that way they can guide you through the next steps.

An annual cleaning should be enough for most systems. There are a few factors that can affect the cost of cleaning or the frequency that they need to be done. System location, amount of build-up and size of the system are a few things that could increase the cost of cleaning your system.

Inclement Weather

In the event of inclement weather such as a snowstorm, it is highly recommended to seek a professional to take care of the aftermath. Even a careful sweeping of snow with the wrong equipment can scratch the panels, cause serious damage and compromise your warranty.

Snow will melt off the panels on its own, but if you feel you must clean them there are a few options. You can invest in a proper snow roof rake for anywhere from $30-$150, but you need to use extreme caution when cleaning. You can also install an automatic cleaning system to avoid the problem altogether.

Similarly, you should not power wash your roof, as the water pressure can damage the panels.

Inspections

Usually solar panel systems come with a monitor which allows homeowners to measure the performance of the system. If your monitor notifies you of a failure in the system or a sudden dip in energy output, you should have it inspected by a professional as soon as possible in order to solve the problem correctly.

Even if you are not notified of any issues, you should still have an annual inspection. Professionals may be able to find small cracks in the panels, which could leak moisture into the system and do extensive damage if not handled in a timely manner. An annual inspection can catch small problems before they become significant.

Be Proactive

At the end of the day, owners of solar panels are responsible for repairs and maintenance. Make sure to read the warranties of your purchase and check your home insurance to see if solar panel repairs are covered.

Solar energy is a low-maintenance option that gives homeowners peace of mind about their environmental impact – and it can certainly make a dent in monthly utility bills. For more information, call us today at (888) 666-3588 or visit our website www.momentumsolar.com.