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Frequently Asked Questions
Site Suitability & Installation
Is my home eligible for solar?
A common misconception is that only a small amount of homes are eligible for solar, but the majority of homes do qualify. To receive the quickest return on investment (ROI), we recommend solar to customers who have an average monthly electric bill of $100 or higher. How well-suited your home or business is for solar depends on your roof’s durability, style, and access to the sun. Find out if solar makes sense for your home.
Are only south-facing roofs good for solar?
While south facing roofs are ideal, solar can be installed on east and west facing structures as well.
How many panels do I need to power my house?
Your solar system size depends on your electrical usage, roof, shading, local zoning codes, and other variables. If you plan to charge an electric vehicle or connect a water heater to your solar system, your electrical usage might increase and in turn increase the number of panels needed to offset your energy use. Rather than a flimsy “free quote” offered by impersonal online vendors, a proper home energy assessment is necessary to look at your site, roof, and electric bill to know exactly how many solar panels are optimal.
What is a typical residential solar system size?
Depending on the size of your roof, location, and energy needs, the typical residential solar system requires 5 to 10 kilowatts (kW) of power to reduce or eliminate electric bills. However, every installation is a unique experience, allowing us to custom design a solar system that fulfills your energy needs.
What if my yard has several trees?
Having both trees and solar panels sounds like an impossibility, but the two can coexist. A shaded solar panel reduces energy production, but energy productivity shouldn’t be impacted much if trees are far enough away or situated to the north. Even if your roof is partially shaded, solar can still produce enough energy to offset your energy consumption. High performance solar panels allow for cells to pick up sunlight even in partially shaded circumstances.
Make sure to contact us about solar access before cutting down any trees. If trees do need to be removed for better solar access, the price of tree removal can be wrapped into the 30% Federal Income Tax Credit.
Does tree removal negate the environmental benefits of solar?
Trees have many ecological benefits, but solar is more beneficial for the environment. In fact, an acre of solar panels offsets about eight times more carbon dioxide than an acre of trees.
Can solar panels be installed on any roof or surface?
We install solar on any roof that isn’t made of slate, clay, or stone. That means metal, shingle, and rubber roofs qualify! Solar is most optimal at an angle, relatively clear of any shade. However, solar can still be installed on flat roof surfaces or in partially shaded areas with a tilt kit to maximize power generation.
If you have a large amount of clear space, solar trackers or ground-mounted systems could be the best option for your site. Alternatively, solar mounted on car ports or backyard canopy features can be an appealing option.
Do I need a new roof to install solar panels?
Unless your roof is old or in poor condition, you do not need to replace it to install solar, as most installations do not require a new one. If you are unsure of the condition of your roof, we will be able to tell you its remaining life during an in-home assessment.
If you will need a new roof soon, you can save money on it by going solar. Through the ITC, the cost of a new roof can be claimed with the installation of a new solar project, saving you 30% of the roof’s expense.
What if I need to replace my roof after installing solar panels?
Solar panels are able to be detached and reattached to your roof. In the event that you need to replace your roof and therefore remove your solar panels to do so, contact us and we’ll give you the proper next steps. To make the process easier, our certified electricians will detach and reinstall the system for you before and after you install your new roof.
How long does a solar installation take?
It depends on the size of the system, but an average installation takes about one to three days.
Do solar projects require permits?
Cities and towns require proper electrical and building permits for you to begin any solar project. A full-service solar company like us has the personnel to take care of all permitting for you.
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Financing & Incentives
Why is my electric bill so high?
Massachusetts has the fourth highest electricity prices in the nation. Your electric bill reflects all costs associated with non-local energy generation, transmission, and distribution, as well as the lack of rate caps for utilities. At first, rate caps set the industry standard for electricity pricing. Once those rate caps expired, utility companies had the option to raise rates, and they did. In 2015, National Grid rates rose 37% while Eversource climbed 29%. While rates typically increase around 5% each year, without a cap there’s really no way to predict how high prices could skyrocket.
Should I buy or lease my solar panels?
There are unique benefits to both leasing and purchasing solar panels. Our Project Developers can review your unique situation and help you select the most optimal option.
- Leasing solar offers lower upfront costs — get locked into a fixed rate that’s lower than your current utility bill. Your electric rates are offset by a fixed-price agreement with your lease provider, like RevoluSun. Additionally, you have the option to own the solar system after the end of the lease.
- Buying solar offers the quickest and highest return on investment — you own the system and directly benefit from the power (and incentives) it generates for 30 to 40 years or longer.
What are the long-term savings with solar?
A solar system is an investment that comes with a generous return. Massachusetts is ranked third in the U.S. for savings from solar energy. As of 2018, the average total lifetime savings of a solar system is over $140,000.
Depending on the size of your solar system, you can greatly reduce – or completely eliminate – your electric bill. The average payback in Massachusetts is four to six years, and the savings continue for many years after that.
What are the solar incentives available in Massachusetts?
Federal and State incentives cover a large portion of your system’s cost, but policies are quickly changing. Here are the solar incentives currently available in Massachusetts:
- 30% Federal tax credit until December 2019
- SMART Program
- 15% state tax credit up to $1,000
- Property tax qualifies property for a 20-year tax increase exclusion. This means that your property taxes will not go up for 20 years despite your increased home value.
Do solar panels increase my home value?
According to the U.S. Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, a home’s value increases by $4 for every watt of installed solar capacity. For example, a 6kW solar system can add $24,000 to your home’s resale value.
Also, a solar-equipped home is likely to sell twice as fast as a home without solar. When searching for a new home, 80% of buyers say energy-efficient features are important to them, giving solar homes a definite edge in the market. If you are leasing your panels, you can pay the remainder of the price and add the value of the solar system to your home’s sale price.
Why is solar considered an investment?
Compared to other home improvement projects that do not show a return until the home is sold, solar will begin saving and making money the day it is turned on. Solar’s quick return on investment is primarily due to electricity savings as well as money earned from incentives.
What is my return on investment with solar?
Solar has a monetary return on investment similar to any other investment such as a stock or 401K. Generally, the return on investment is between four to six years. Many of our customers receive a complete return on investment within five years or sooner.
Is solar expensive?
From 2009 to 2019, solar costs have fallen more than 60% due to subsidies, technological advancements, and reduced equipment costs. A variety of incentives make solar affordable and profitable for homeowners and businesses.
If you can afford your current electric bill, you can afford to go solar. Within 10 years or sooner, you will have spent nearly the same amount on electricity from the grid as it would cost to install solar.
Is a battery storage system expensive?
Though batteries seem costly, prices have fallen in recent years. Unlike generators, battery storage systems like Powerwall give customers a return on investment, making energy independence economically sound.
Are there financial incentives for energy storage?
As long as a battery system is connected to solar, it qualifies for incentives. Some incentive programs available in Massachusetts include the Federal Solar Tax Credit, SMART, and National Grid’s ConnectedSolutions. However, 2019 is the last year to take full advantage of the 30% Federal Tax Credit, as the tax credit is diminishing annually, ending completely in 2022.
What is the Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC)?
The Federal Solar Tax Credit, or the Investment Tax Credit (ITC), is a solar incentive that gives a 30% tax credit off the project’s total cost. In 2020, the tax credit will reduce to 26%, then 22% in 2021, and collapse to 0% in 2022 for residential solar installations.
How do I calculate the Federal Solar Tax Credit?
Subtract 30% from the total cost of going solar. For example, if the total system cost is $30,000, the tax credit will save you $9,000. It can also be applied to additional costs, such as tree removal or roof updates prior to install.
How and when do I receive incentives?
Net metering credits are shown every month on your electric bill. SMART payments are sent out monthly in the form of a check. Additionally, you will receive the Federal Solar Tax Credit during the next tax season.
In order to claim the Federal Solar Tax Credit, you must complete the IRS Form 5965 and add your renewable energy credit to your 1040 form. You can claim the following when filing your tax returns to the IRS:
- Solar consulting fees
- Solar equipment
- Shipping costs
- Professional installer fees
- Engineer and electrician fees
- Permit service costs
- Tree removal
- New roof
We recommend that solar customers seek a professional Accountant for expertise on claiming tax credits.
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Warranties & Support
Are RevoluSun's systems covered under warranty?
Robust warranties are the core of our ethos. We offer comprehensive 25-year protection on every project and we’re confident that your system will last for decades more. We cover the following:
- Panel Warranty covers labor, shipping, and materials through the manufacturer.
- 25-Year Inverter Warranty includes labor, shipping, and materials.
- 25-Year Production Guarantee guarantees 90% of estimated production each year. If we do not meet 90% of your estimate, we will reimburse you for each kWh we missed.
- Roof Warranty covering 20 years or the remaining lifetime of your shingles
Does installing solar panels void my roof warranty?
All RevoluSun solar projects come with a 20-year roof warranty, ensuring that your roof will be completely covered. However, not all solar companies grant their customers the same luxury. Make sure you know the fate of your roof warranty before choosing a solar installer.
Our proven installation methodology, approved by the American Roofers Association (ARA), currently exists on thousands of roofs without a single leak.
Who should I contact about an issue with my system?
We’re committed to our community of solar advocates beyond installation and throughout their solar journey. Give our office a call if you are experiencing any issues with your system. There’s no 1-800 number or automated response – just our team in Burlington ready to troubleshoot any issues on the spot.
Can you help me with my non-RevoluSun solar system?
We do our best to support systems from other companies, as well as install additional solar panels to existing systems. If the solar company you worked with is no longer operating, contact us and we can assist.
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What is the best way to choose a solar company?
For a smooth project, installers should understand local building codes, provide reliable warranties, and offer premium equipment. It’ll also be imperative to search for a full-service team near you with plenty of references and superb reviews. For more tips on choosing the best solar company check out our guide.
Do solar panels harm my roof?
Solar panels actually protect your roof from wear and tear associated with snow, rain, hail, and ultraviolet (UV) rays. Because solar panels also work as a barrier against your roof, they even keep your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. Our superior roof warranty and non-invasive installation methods assist in preventing damages.
What are the benefits of a superior solar brand?
Choosing a Tier-1 solar panel manufacturer, such as SunPower or Panasonic, offers industry-leading warranties, advanced technology, and a strong product that’s built for decades. These panels are highly efficient and often more aesthetically pleasing on your roof compared to standard solar panels.
What happens when there is snow on my roof or on cloudy days?
High-efficiency panels allow you to still generate some power on days with bad weather. Like most electronics, solar panels actually function more efficiently in cooler temperatures. However, inclement weather does impact energy production, but net metering allows you to still zero-out your bill for most of the year.
We also suggest snow brushes to wipe light snow off the roof to maintain energy production. Snow does naturally slide off, but we recommend snow guards to prevent damage to any patio furniture below the roof.
Additionally, a properly designed system ensures ample water sealing, leak protection, and fewer roof penetrations, helping to protect it from damaging elements in nature.
Can solar panels withstand hurricane conditions?
A robust solar system can withstand high winds, hail, and other inclement weather. Shared railing and mounting systems are applied to secure and lock in your panels with a waterproofing seal. The durability of the panels we install allow them to withstand 125mph hurricane winds and golf-ball sized hail falling down at 50mph.
Can wildlife damage my solar system?
Yes, but only marginally. We offer critter guards to help protect any wiring or materials that could be affected by squirrels, birds, or other wildlife. These guards prevent nesting or debris build up under solar arrays without reducing solar production.
What does it mean to be 'off-the-grid'
Going off the grid refers to living without a connection to major electrical grids that power the country. Homes that are off-the-grid have no ties to big utilities, like National Grid or Eversource, and in turn have no electric bills. Through a renewable resource, like solar, an off-the-grid home or business is responsible for creating all its own energy.
Can I have solar and still remain connected to the grid?
To get the most out of a solar system, we recommend customers stay connected to the grid. Most systems are grid-tied, meaning that they are designed to be connected to utility power. Grid-tied homes are eligible for solar incentives, like net metering, and can fall back on the utility for support when solar production is low. A grid-tied home can also take advantage of solar warranties otherwise voided if the home goes off-the-grid.
Can solar energy reduce my heating bills?
Yes, solar energy in your home can help reduce your electric heat bills significantly. Solar can even heat water stored in your home’s water tank.
Is there maintenance required for solar panels?
Because there are no moving parts, minimal maintenance is required. Snow, leaves, and natural debris generally slide off on their own. On occasion, brushing or washing panels to remove dirt, pollen, or other buildup is needed for panels to perform at their highest potential.
How do I monitor my solar system?
You can monitor your solar system through the RevoluSun app. Our app’s Monitoring platform shows your solar system’s real-time energy production.
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What is energy storage?
An energy storage system, also known as a battery system, enables energy independence. Batteries give customers on-demand energy access at all times as well as allowing homeowners to go off the grid. As a Certified Tesla Powerwall Installer, we have the knowledge and experience to bring energy storage to your home.
What are the components of a battery storage system?
Powerwall has a Gateway, which either connects the utility meter to the main electrical panel in order to send energy to the grid (whole home backup), or between two electrical panels in the home to manage both the backup loads and the home loads (partial home backup). The Gateway also has internet connectivity used to monitor electricity rates, changing energy policy, and weather to further optimize a home’s energy independence and ROI.
What are the benefits of battery storage?
Batteries store back-up power from the grid or your solar system to be used during power outages or when electricity rates are at their highest. From Nor’easters and blizzards to random utility blackouts, energy storage is your best tool when the grid goes down. Energy storage also fosters and advances energy independence from the grid.
On the utility side, battery storage systems enable stronger grid resiliency.
How much energy can I store?
Energy storage needs are based on a home’s daily energy use. If you produce more solar energy than you consume, you can store the energy for when your system isn’t producing as much or during a power outage. Tesla Powerwall can store up to 13.5 kWh of usable electricity.
Should I go off the grid?
Going off-grid means increasing energy independence and control over your electric bills. With battery storage, you’ll have no problem avoiding power outages, whether you’re on the grid or off it. However, solar and storage must be connected to the grid to earn financial incentives. Since storage incentives in Massachusetts are so compelling, we recommend staying connected to the grid. Additionally, solar warranties are voided if your home is not connected to utility power.
How does battery storage work during power outages?
Should your home lose power, your battery system will take over seamlessly. Unlike when using a generator, lights and appliances won’t shut off for even a moment.
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Home Energy Monitoring
What is home energy monitoring?
The home energy consumption monitor reports how much energy each appliance in your home uses. This is different from monitoring the production of your solar system via the RevoluSun mobile app. Sense Energy is our chosen partner for home energy consumption monitoring.
How does Sense work?
Sense provides insight on how much energy you use in your home by measuring currents and voltage over 1 million times every second. By doing so, Sense can find electrical data for each device in your home.
Will Sense work with my RevoluSun solar system?
Yes! Should you decide Sense is right for you, our team can connect Sense to our solar system through your home’s main electrical panel.
When will Sense detect my household devices?
Once Sense is installed, it will begin collecting data and recognizing the devices in your home. Most users see detections within the first one to two weeks. Frequently used devices with greater energy consumption (refrigerators, washing machines, etc.) are often identified first. Devices used less often, require less energy, or are more complex in nature (coffee makers, electric vehicles, and televisions) can take longer to fully recognize.
Do solar panels require energy monitoring?
No, solar panels do not require an energy consumption monitor. However, they make a great addition to your smart home!
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What services beyond solar does RevoluSun provide?
RevoluSun goes above and beyond solar with
- Energy storage with Tesla Powerwall
- Home energy consumption monitoring with Sense
- Solar production monitoring
- Critter guards and snow guards
- Solar system maintenance
Is RevoluSun insured?
Yes, all of our projects are insured and covered by an extensive warranty. Upon request, we can provide you with a Certificate of Insurance (COI) listing your address under our insurance policy.
Beyond our Home Improvement Contractor license (HIC 178137), our team of electricians and technicians are licensed in their respective positions.
Is there more than one RevoluSun branch?
In 2009, we began our solar journey in Hawaii as RevoluSun Smart Home. In 2012, we expanded operations to Massachusetts to serve both Massachusetts and New Hampshire. In 2018, we spread to the Midwest and opened an office in Boise, Idaho.
How many solar installations has RevoluSun done?
We have over 10,000 solar installations under our belt, with 1,300 of those homes and businesses in Massachusetts alone.
What makes RevoluSun's installations different from the rest?
Our solar installers understand that your home is your most important investment, so we approach each job with the utmost care and respect. We install premium panels, execute expert wiring management, and top it off with superior warranties that far surpass our competitors.
In most cases, our shared-rail installations create 30-50% fewer roof penetrations. We customize each job to fit any layout or lifestyle, differing from the “one-size-fits-all” solar kits offered by other solar providers.
We even have you covered after installation. Our local Burlington team is there for you with real-time support and troubleshooting if you ever experience any complications.
Does RevoluSun have an app?
We do! The RevoluSun app allows you to monitor your solar system’s real-time energy production, refer friends to go solar, contact our team, and more. You can find the RevoluSun app in the Apple App Store or in the Google Play Store.
What is the RevoluSun referral program?
You can receive money for referring your friends, family, or neighbors to us through our Referral Program. Provide us with names of those interested in solar, and we’ll contact them to schedule a free home energy analysis. You’ll receive $500 when your referral joins our community.
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