Frequently Asked Questions About Solar

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  • How do home solar systems work?
    A photovoltaic (PV) solar energy system is composed of solar panels, racking for mounting the panels on the roof, electrical wiring, and an inverter. From sunrise to sunset, the solar panels generate direct current electricity (DC) which is sent to the inverter. The inverter converts the DC into alternating current (AC), the type of electricity required for household use. (SunPower also offers AC solar panels which do not require a central inverter because they feature a microinverter that’s factory integrated into each panel.) The AC power is delivered directly to your home’s main electrical service panel for use by you and your family.
  • How does shade affect a solar system’s performance?
    It’s important to minimize shading because solar panels operate at optimal output when their entire surface is fully exposed to direct sunlight. The system will still produce energy if it is shaded but its output will lessen.

    Your installer will evaluate your particular situation and provide solar options for you. You can also read whether your home is a good candidate for solar to help when making the decision whether going solar is right for you.

  • How long will a solar system last?
    Most systems are designed to have a useful life of 40 years or more.
  • How much will I save with a solar system?
    Your current monthly energy use and the size of your system will determine your actual savings amount. And with little or no startup costs, systems can start paying for themselves immediately. Savings will vary based on several factors, including system size, performance, your household’s average energy usage as well as any applicable solar credits, tax incentives, and current solar energy buyback (net metering) rates offered by your utility company. A detailed calculation of your potential return on investment (ROI) will be provided by your solar company during your solar evaluation.
  • Will a home solar system increase my property taxes?
    Having a solar system typically adds value to your home. Depending on where you live, there is often no increase in your property taxes.
  • How much will a SunPower solar system for my home cost?
    Solar installers have a wide variety of financing options, including some that don’t require you to pay any upfront costs if you qualify. The cost of your solar system depends on several factors, including your current energy usage, your available amount of unshaded roof space, your local utility’s net metering policy, and other factors.

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