Here are frequently asked questions concerning and terminology Solar Energy. RevoluSun’s solar energy leaders are excited to help home and business owners learn more about how high-performance solar panels work — and how they save you money in the long run.
Is my home eligible for solar electricity?
Some solar companies claim that only 15% of homes in Massachusetts are eligible for solar, but the truth is that the majority of homes in Massachusetts communities will qualify. Find out if your home meets the requirements for solar energy in Massachusetts by scheduling a Free Home Energy Analysis.
Do solar panels increase my home value?
Absolutely! According to the Appraisal Journal*, a home’s value is increased by $20 for every $1 reduction in annual energy savings — so for every $1,000 you save on electricity a year, your home value goes up by $20,000. Also, according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, a solar-equipped home is likely to sell twice as fast as a home without solar.
What is the best way to choose a solar provider?
Reputation is everything when selecting a company you can trust to install and maximize your solar system. At RevoluSun, Massachusetts homeowners equate our name with quality installation (our team does all our installs), a superior product (high-performance solar panels from SunPower and Panasonic) and excellent workmanship (we deliver the most efficient and aesthetically pleasing solar systems on the planet).
How does using a superior solar panel brand benefit me?
Going with a solar panel manufacturer at the top of their game like SunPower and Panasonic means you get insured warranties, advanced technology that’s been comprehensively tested, and a product that’s built for longevity. Essentially, a better solar panel means a more productive solar system and a very low cost of ownership.
Should I buy or lease my solar electric panels?
There are unique benefits to both leasing and purchasing solar panels in Massachusetts. Our Project Developers can review your situation and help you decide which option suits you best.
- Leasing solar offers lower upfront costs — you don’t pay for panels or installation, and your electric rates can be offset by a fixed-price agreement with your lease provider.
- Buying solar offers the quickest and highest return on investment — you own the system and directly benefit from the power it generates for 30 to 40 years or longer.
What are the solar incentives for Massachusetts homeowners?
Massachusetts is one of the nation’s leaders in solar incentives. A good portion of a purchased system can largely be covered by the Federal and State programs, but with the rules being scrutinized daily, it’s a wise move to start your solar plan as soon as possible. More about residential incentives for solar.
- 30% Federal tax credit
- 15% MA state tax credit – personal credit up to $1,000
- SRECs: These are almost gone, so hurry up and lock in your incentives!
Are RevoluSun’s PV systems covered under warranty?
Our two bestsellers, SunPower and Panasonic, offer unbeatable warranties — 25 years for both product, performance and labor! Add that to the RevoluSun production warranty that guarantees every job, and you’ve got a system that’s truly worry-free.
What if I need to replace my roof down the road?
In the event that you need to replace the roof on your home or business during the life your solar system, make sure you work with a reputable roofing company that can work around the system — and/or a certified electrician who can detach and reinstall the system. We can recommend contractors who are familiar with solar systems, or you can call us.
What are the long-term savings with purchased solar electric panels?
Depending on the size of your PV system, you can greatly reduce — or completely eliminate — your electric bill. The average solar investment payback is about six to seven years, and the savings will continue for many years after that.
What happens when there is snow on my roof, or no sun?
Fortunately, net energy metering allows you to accrue and leverage credits for electric power from the grid during times of low sun exposure. With a properly designed system, you should generate enough on sunny days to cover your energy use on days with lower production.
Can solar energy reduce my heating bills, too?
Yes, solar energy in your home can help reduce your electric heat bills. You may also be able to use more electric heat in place of oil and gas (such as space heaters in the colder months).
What makes RevoluSun’s solar installations a cut above the rest?
Our top solar panel installers understand that your home is your most important investment and approach each job with the utmost care and respect for your space. Every job we do is fully customized to fit your home or business’s unique layout and energy needs — which, as you can imagine, offers many benefits over the “one-size-fits-all” solar kits offered by some solar providers. All of our in-house solar installers are highly trained, and we are set on building relationships with our customers, so you don’t have to worry about us leaving you high and dry after your system is set up.
*Appraisal Journal, Appraisal Magazine Article
Alternating Current (AC) Power
AC power is the form of power that feeds all of our household appliances.
Direct Current (DC) Power
DC power is the form of power that is generated by photovoltaic modules and most battery sources. It’s also the kind of power consumed by electric vehicles.
The grid is the network of power lines created by your local utility company that carries and transmits electricity from centralized power plants to individual homes.
PV generates direct current (DC), but your appliances, lighting, and equipment require alternating current (AC). An inverter converts DC electricity produced by the solar modules into AC electricity, which is identical to the type of power you receive from your electric company.
A meter is an external device added to your home as a way for your electrical utility to measure your consumption and production. A standard meter only counts forward; a net meter counts forwards and backwards. If you want to go solar, you must also get a net meter installed.
A micro-inverter is a smaller inverter that fits behind each solar module allowing you to track energy production on a per-module basis.
Think of net metering as having your own personal energy bank. For every kilowatt hour you earn during sunny times, your meter actually spins backward as if it were banking those hours. On a cloudy day or at night, your meter will spin forward as it used to before solar. At the end of the month, if you have generated more power than you’ve used—or banked more hours than you’ve spent—you get a credit toward the coming month on your electricity bill. This is frequently referred to as Solar for Credit.
Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs)
Simply put, your utility has to buy the renewable energy credits your system produces. Every 1,000 kilowatt hours of production generates a Solar Renewable Energy Credit (SREC) – Your utility will currently buy your SRECs for a period of 10 years!
Photovoltaic cells, commonly referred to as PV, rely on semiconductors and light to produce direct current (DC) electricity. When sunlight falls on the surface of the photovoltaic cell, an electric field is created that drives electrons from negative to positive, forming a flow of electric current.
RevoluSun has one of the most organized and demanding training programs for our project developers (PDs) in the country. Our PDs work through an exacting course that teaches them the fundamentals of electricity and how to design a system from the ground up. They also handle and learn about everything from the bolts to the panels that go into your system. After their course, they do an apprenticeship with a senior developer, and once they are certified, undergo regular continuing education so that they are always on the cutting edge of solar.
Our Project Managers are certified by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) an official body with an extremely rigorous certification process. Of the 15 NABCEP-certified people in the state, RevoluSun employs four of them. This means the people managing your installation are highly trained and skilled professionals committed to giving you their full attention and their best work every day.
Racking is the equipment that holds the solar arrays onto your roof. Correct installation of racking is important to avoid a leaking roof. RevoluSun has a routine method that far exceeds industry standards to assure our customers well-installed arrays with no leaks.
Solar Modules, Strings, and Arrays
Solar modules are collections of individual photovoltaic cells. Solar modules are linked together to form “strings,” which are combined to form “arrays.” The arrays are ultimately connected to your electrical system to deliver solar power to your home.
Watts and Kilowatts
The power generation capacity of a PV panel is rated in watts, just as a light bulb’s power usage is rated. A typical PV panel has a power capacity of approximately 300 watts. When many panels are linked together to form an array, the power capacity is often referred to in units of kilowatts (kW) or 1,000 watts.
Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC)
The federal commercial tax for solar is equal to 30% of the installed cost of the project, with no cap. The credit was extended through 2016 in the Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008 (“the bailout bill”). Eligibility for this tax credit is determined by a customer’s individual tax liability and should be evaluated with the help of your accountant or tax advisor.
Federal and State Tax Depreciation Schedule (MACRS)
Under the Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System, businesses can depreciate solar PV as “five-year property.” The depreciable basis of a project is calculated as the installed cost less half the value of the federal investment tax credit. Under current rules, this works out to 85% of the installed cost.
Solar Renewable Energy Certificate (SREC)
RevolusSun works extensively with multiple aggregation partners to help customers navigate their options and maximize the value of the SREC while minimizing risk.
Net Energy Metering (NEM)
Net energy metering is an incentive that furthers the deployment of renewable energy systems by allowing solar system owners to produce extra power during the most optimal solar producing times to offset some or all of their electrical load required during non-solar producing periods.