HOW DOES SOLAR WORK?
Sunlight hits your solar panels, producing DC electricity (direct current, like your car runs on). A component called an inverter converts the DC into AC (alternating current, what your home runs on) and it feeds into your breaker box to power your home. Think of voltage as pressure. The inverter sets the voltage on a solar system SLIGHTLY higher than the grid voltage, ensuring your home uses solar first, and the grid second. Excess solar energy is fed onto the grid, generating a credit on your monthly bill.
I HAVE A 2,500 SQ FT HOME. HOW MANY SOLAR PANELS DO I NEED?
We get this question a lot. The truth is, the size of your home has very little to do with how much energy you consume. Lifestyle, family size and your home’s overall efficiency all affect how much energy you end up buying from your utility. We design Solar PV Systems around your annual energy consumption, which is readily available on your utility bills.
Don’t worry. We’re going to walk you through all the calculations and help you understand exactly what size solar system works best for your goals and budget. A reputable contractor is never going to pressure you to buy. We’re no different.
Our process is very consultative. Whether you buy from us or not, you are going to gain a full understanding of how solar works. This is a major purchase involving a technology most people don’t understand. We’ll take the time to inform you exactly how everything comes together so you can make an informed buying decision. That’s the Longhorn Way.
WHAT HAPPENS IF A HAIL STORM HITS?
Solar panels are incredibly resistant to hail damage. While hail could, and has, damaged solar panels, it’s extremely rare for it to happen. We have over 50,000 solar panels deployed across all our installations today, and less than 100 have been damaged by hail. When it occurs, hail damage to your solar panels is covered under the claim you will already be filing for your damaged roof.
As always, check with your insurance provider before signing anything. While it’s rare that a home owner’s policy to go up when solar is added, every provider is different. The best time to contact your insurance company is when you have a bid and know how much the system costs.
WHAT ABOUT MY HOA? WILL THEY ALLOW SOLAR PANELS?
Yes. We’re at a point now where most neighborhoods have at least one solar installation in them. If you’re going to be the first one in your neighborhood, we’ll gladly help you navigate the process…we do it all the time. There is a law on the books in Texas to help us out if your HOA gives any pushback.
In 2011, the State of Texas passed HB362, which serves as a set of legal guidelines about solar panels for HOAs, Property Managers and Developers. We always design systems to meet those guidelines, ensuring your HOA will green light the project.
ARE THERE INCENTIVES FOR GOING SOLAR?
Yes. The Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) allows you to deduct 30% of the out-of-pocket cost of your new solar system from your income tax liability for the year you install solar. The State of Texas has also exempted the value of Solar panel installations from your property tax appraisal (Texas Tax Code Section 11.27).
There are also rebates available from many utilities in Texas. Don’t worry, we’ll walk you through it all, making sure you take advantage of all the savings out there right now.
DOES SOLAR ADD VALUE TO MY HOME?
YES! A few years ago the DOE funded the creation and implementation of a standardized tool for appraisers to use when appraising homes with solar. It’s called PV Value, and there is an actual link right to it on the digital copy of all appraisal forms right now.
In almost every case, the added resale value of a new Solar PV System is higher than the customers net cost after rebates and incentives. If you’re interested, here’s a video all about PV Value:
HOW LONG DO SOLAR PANELS LAST?
What you’re probably wondering is how long your system will produce energy. We warranty our installations for 25 years, but most solar installations will last well into the 40+ year range if properly maintained.
WILL MY SOLAR PANELS WORK DURING A POWER OUTAGE?
Not without a fully-charged backup battery. Grid-tied solar systems are required to shut down in the event of a power outage. This is a safety precaution put in place (UL 1741) to protect utility workers from the threat of electrocution. Your home’s solar system produces a lot of electricity – electricity that will travel onto the grid if your home doesn’t consume it. That same electricity poses a substantial threat.
Outages are usually short, meaning you don’t miss out on much in the way of lost savings, and your system will start producing automatically once power is restored. If you’re interested in seeing the cost of adding a backup battery backup to your new (or existing) solar system, let your account manager know. We’re well versed in the benefits of battery backup.
SOLAR PANELS CAN BE EXPENSIVE. CAN I FINANCE?
Yes. There are lots of options out there including traditional products like Home Equity Loans, HELOCS, and personal credit lines. We also offer industry-specific finance products that are designed around the solar model to save you money right out of the gate. Most people are looking to be cashflow positive on Day 1 and, in most instances, the products offered inside the solar industry accomplish that goal…which is a big part of why you see SO MANY people going solar right now.
WHAT IF MY SOLAR SYSTEM DOESN’T PRODUCE WHAT I WAS PROMISED?
First, make sure you select a reputable contractor that will stand behind the projections in their proposal. Longhorn Solar provides a 20-Year Performance Guarantee. We monitor your system remotely, and do proactive on-site system checks annually to make sure your system is working as promised- and it’s all free of charge to you.
If your system is not performing as promised, we will fix the problem and reimburse you for the difference. Our Performance Guarantee is one of the reasons so many people choose Longhorn Solar to be their solar installer.