Westhaven Solar - FAQ


Why should I go solar?


1. What are the financial benefits of solar energy?


Going solar means that you’ll save money on your monthly electricity bills, and protect yourself from any rate increment in future. Any solar power you produce is the power that you don’t have to purchase from the utility. How much you can save will depend on your utility provider and rates in your area, but going solar is a great investment for the future, no matter where you live.


2. How do I find out how much I pay for electricity?


The easiest way to find out how much you pay for electricity and how much electricity you use is to view your electricity bills from your utility provider. Typically, this information can be found on your utility provider's website, through your customer account.


3. What incentives are available to me?


California residents are eligible for federal tax incentives for the purchase and installation of eligible solar systems. The solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) is available through December 31, 2019, and allows you to deduct 30% of the cost of your solar energy system from your taxes.


4. How will going solar impact my property value?


Solar is one of the few home improvement projects that not only increases your home’s value by at least the cost of the system,  but can actually increase your home’s value more than a kitchen renovation. According to Forbes, homeowners typically recover approximately 97% of their investment costs, in addition to the savings associated with reduced energy bills.


5. What are the environmental benefits of solar energy?


While many people choose to go solar for financial reasons, solar power also has many environmental benefits. Solar energy produces no greenhouse gasses (such as those produced by fossil fuels), which contribute to climate change and air pollution. Solar is also a renewable energy source, which means it will never run out, unlike traditional energy sources. Also, important in this day and age is the conservation of water - solar panels require no water for electricity generation, leaving less strain on this valuable natural resource.


How do solar panels work for my home?


1. How do solar panels work?


Solar panels absorb the sun’s energy throughout the day and convert it from direct current (DC) into alternating current (AC) electricity, which your home uses. The DC electricity is 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 utility company, where they store it for your future use during overcast conditions and at night.


2. Do solar panels work in a blackout?


Because your solar panel system is connected to the utility grid, it will shut off in the event of a blackout, to protect the people working on the electrical lines. However, adding a battery storage system will provide backup power during a blackout.


3. Will I still receive an electric bill if I have solar panels?


Unless your solar energy system includes battery storage and you are fully off the grid, you will still receive a bill from your utility. If your solar system produces more electricity than is used each month, your electricity costs will be $0, however, there is still a minimum grid connection fee (typically around $10 per month).

4. What is net energy metering?


Net energy metering (NEM) is the platform that utility providers use to credit solar owners for the electricity produced by their solar system. With net metering, you only pay for the electricity that you use beyond what your solar panels can generate. Your utility provider will automatically supply additional power to your home when your electricity consumption surpasses your solar energy generation. Your annual true-up statement is sent at the end of 12 months, and will show your net surplus or charges.


5. Can I also benefit from battery storage?


Battery storage increases your energy independence from the utility company. When you add a battery to your solar system, your home can run off of solar energy during the day, and the battery-stored energy at night. In the event of a blackout, your stored energy can also help power your home until the electrical grid is restored. Also, due to utility companies’ time-of-use (TOU) rates, solar batteries make a smart investment for homeowners by allowing them to give electricity back to the utility company during peak hours when rates are the highest.


Am I ready for solar?


1. Can I afford to go solar?


If you can afford to pay your electricity bill you can afford to go solar. If you can't afford your electricity bill, you can't afford not to go solar. There are $0-down financing options, including both solar loans and solar leases, that cost less per month than your current electricity bill. This makes it easy for homeowners to start saving on their electricity bills by going solar.


2. Is my home suitable for solar panels?


Many people believe that only southerly-facing roofs are compatible with solar installations. However, even when solar panels aren’t facing directly south, they can still produce significant amounts of electricity, even in locations that don’t receive abundant sunlight. If you are worried about shading conditions, the good news is that most homeowners can usually get away with trimming just a few branches in order to maximize their solar benefits. Our solar consultants can evaluate your property and provide you with the most beneficial system design for your specific circumstances.


3. What size solar energy system should I get?


The size of your system will depend on how much electricity you use on a monthly basis, your usable roof space, and the regulations in your area. Our experienced team can evaluate your situation and design the ideal system for your needs.


4. Do I need to replace my roof before installing solar?


Solar energy systems are designed to last 25 to 35, sometimes even 50 years, and it can be costly to remove and reinstall them if you need to replace your roof. We suggest replacing your roof prior to solar installation, if possible. If your roof needs replacement in the future, we will remove and reinstall your solar system at no cost, when purchasing a new roof through Westhaven Roofing.


5. What happens if I sell my house?


If you own your solar energy system, your property value will likely increase. A purchased solar system will be included with your home, as you choose to sell. However, if your system is leased, you can either buy out your lease before you sell your home, or transfer the lease agreement to the new homeowner. For more information on transferring a lease, contact the lease provider.


6. What happens during the solar power installation process?


Once your contract is signed, we’ll conduct a site audit to assess your property and home. Once we have the necessary measurements and calculations, our engineering team will design a solar system most suited for your home. We will then submit the design plans and necessary paperwork to your local building department and await your permit. After your solar project is approved, we will call you to schedule a date and time for installation. The actual installation typically takes a day or two to complete. For a detailed look at the process from start to finish, click here


7. Will I be able to monitor how much solar energy I’m producing?


Yes. Each solar system Westhaven installs comes with a monitoring portal. We recommend checking your production weekly, to ensure your system is in order. If you notice your system is not operating correctly, please contact our service & maintenance department.


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