What incentives do you qualify for?
In the United States, homeowners are eligible to receive a federal tax credit for 30% of the total cost of their solar system’s installation. Other incentives and rebates vary from state to state, and New York offers great support for solar, including a state tax credit and a rebate administered by the state energy authority. In New York City, there is a property tax abatement that also helps pay for the system. Our staff at American Solar Partners has extensive experience working with solar grant and incentive programs throughout the country. Contact us to find out what incentives are available in your area, or take our free solar estimate.
Own or Lease – Which is Best?
American Solar Partners only offers solar system ownership because ownership saves 3 times as much as leasing and increases a home’s value by up to $30,000. Leasing is simply replacing one utility with another and is subject to inevitable rate increases.
Comparison of Leasing to Owning
A Solar Power System
|IF YOU LEASE||IF YOU OWN|
|Federal Tax Credit||X|
|State Tax Credit||X|
|Savings||20 – 30%||100%|
|Average Savings Over 30 Years||$20,000||$50,000|
|American Made Modules||X|
|IBEW Installed System||X|
|The right to sell the system when you sell your house||X|
|Zero out of pocket||X||X|
Bottom Line: a solar leasing company is just another utility – except they are getting you to buy free energy from the sun.
The sun is an enormous source of energy: the amount of light that hits a square meter — about 11 square feet — of the earth’s surface in just one day contains roughly 1000 watts. That’s enough to power your washing machine, dryer, fridge, computer, and TV simultaneously.
So how does solar power work?
When sunlight hits the panel, known as a solar photovoltaic (PV) module, it is converted into an electrical current by silicon cells. This current is originally DC power, so an inverter then converts it to AC power, and then it’s ready to use in your home, office, or factory.
A PV system creates energy during the day and feeds any electricity that you don’t use onto the grid. Many homeowners can actually watch their meters running backwards! It’s called net metering (NEM).
When the sun is set, you pull power off of the grid instead, and the meter runs forward again. It is not uncommon to have a surplus of electricity produced by the end of the month. Your utility will often pay you for this surplus in credits, which you can then exchange for electricity from the grid in the future, instead of buying it at the retail price.
Solar Power Monitoring
American Solar Partners offers internet-based solar power monitoring so that our customers can check how much power their panels are producing whenever they want. Below is an example of an installation that American Solar Partners is currently monitoring. Contact American Solar Partners if you are interested in solar web monitoring.
Solar power is feasible anywhere, even in the Arctic Circle. However, some sites will produce more power than others and thus save more money.
The best way to figure out the solar potential of your home or yard is to sign up for a free estimate from us. With expert eyes, we will be able to give you a good estimate of your potential electricity savings with solar.
Here are some questions to consider for your
solar power installations:
- Does your roof get exposure to the sun?
- Is there an area on the ground nearby that gets exposure to the sun?
- How much shade do you get on your roof?
- Can trees be pruned to allow more sunlight to the solar installation site?
A system’s size can vary based on the needs of the customer. You can choose to displace all of your electricity needs with solar power, or only a part. To gauge how large of a solar power system may be appropriate for your home, sign up for a free solar estimate, or call us at 914-699-3366.
In addition to helping you save money, using solar power helps you mitigate climate change. The electricity that you buy from your utility usually comes from fossil fuels like coal and natural gas. These energy sources emit harmful greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide that trap heat inside our atmosphere, causing our planet to become warmer. With solar panels, you can instead harness clean, renewable energy directly from the sun and convert it to electricity. Switching to renewable energy sources like solar is the one of the best ways we’ll be able to get all the power we need while keeping the planet safe for future generations.
Check out our Solar Environmental Benefits Calculator if you’re curious about what a solar installation of a given capacity can do to fight climate change!
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about going solar.
We hope these help, but feel free to also contact us at anytime at 914-699-3366 or at [email protected].
Why should I install solar?
It’s simple: to save money. We save our customers on average $1,000-3,000 per year in electricity costs. Furthermore, electrical rates are increasing at an average rate of 5% per year. By installing a solar electric system you are fixing in your electrical rate for the next 25 years. Why rent electricity from the utility company when you can own it yourself?
Plus, a solar system has been proven to add $15,000-30,000 in value to your home. This is a home improvement like no other — it immediately saves you money, increases the value of your home, and the government will contribute significantly to the cost of the project.
Get started here.
How much does a system cost?
The #1 question! We’d like to give you a simple answer right here but honestly, the cost of your solar system depends on the optimal system size for your home — which in turn depends on how much electricity you use, how much sun your home gets, how large your roof is, and how high your utility rates are. However, we can give you a free estimate if you call us at 914-699-3366 or submit our free estimate form.
How much solar power do I need for my home?
The amount of solar power you need — and the number of panels — depends on how much electricity you use. How much electricity you use, in turn, depends on your lifestyle, your appliances, and the energy efficiency of your home. To see how many panels you need, get your free estimate or call us at 914-699-3366.
How long does it take to install a solar electric system?
Typical residential systems can be installed within 2-4 days. Commercial systems, depending on their size, can take anywhere from several weeks to a month or more.
How can I get financing?
There are multiple ways to finance a solar system. For example, you can use a HELOC (Home Equity Line of Credit) program and SRECs (Solar Renewable Energy Credits) to help finance projects in Massachusetts and New Jersey. We will walk you through all the paperwork to get you the best financing possible.
Also, we offer a no money out of pocket option. Our experts can easily explain all of the options available to you. Call us anytime at 914-699-3366.
What rebates or incentives are available to me?
In every state, the federal government will pay for 30% of the cost of installation. Other incentives and rebates vary state-to-state. In New York and Massachusetts, the incentives are very good — state and federal tax credit can cover much of the cost of installation. To see which incentives are available in your state, contact us at 914-699-3366 or email us at [email protected].
What is net metering?
Net metering allows any utility customer to send excess power back to the grid and gain credit for it. This allows you to generate excess solar power during the day and then exchange the credits for power from the grid at night. In this way, the grid can be thought of as a sort of battery. We will install a bi-directional meter free of charge to enable net metering.
Can I go off the grid?
We do have options for storing power, but we do not install off-the-grid systems because the technology is not there yet. Getting off the grid currently requires expensive and inefficient battery systems, and off-the-grid systems are often ineligible for many credits and incentives.
How long will the system last?
The system is expected to last at least 30 years, and the solar panels have a 25-year warranty from the manufacturer. In addition, the inverter also comes complete with a 20 year warranty.
What kind of maintenance does the system require?
Very little maintenance is required, as there are no moving parts and the panels are tilted with the roof so that they shed the weather. They are made of sleek glass and aluminum, and snow will melt off of them with any exposure to light.
What happens if the panels stops producing electricity?
The panels are warranted for 25 years, which covers most of their normal life span. In the event of a malfunction, the manufacturer would replace them per warranty, just like any other household appliance.
How much space do I need to install a system?
Rule of thumb, 100 square feet (conservative estimate: 120 square feet) of usable roof space can facilitate 1kW of solar power.
Can I angle the panels to face south to maximize my output?
No. The mounting system must be mounted flush to the roof portrait style (meaning the longest edge of the panel is vertical).
Can I still get solar if my roof faces east?
Yes. South-facing roofs produce the most power, but roofs facing most other directions are also completely viable for solar. We have many customers with roofs that do not face south. Fill out this form for a free assessment that will let you know whether solar is right for you.
What happens to panels when they are shaded?
Even the smallest amounts of shading on the solar modules can significantly reduce the output. Shading can be reduced by trimming nearby trees or shrubs.
What if my panels need to be cleaned?
Rainfall will have a self-cleaning effect. In case of heavy soiling, we recommend cleaning the modules with plenty of water from a hose and a gentle cleaning implement such as a sponge. Avoid using cleaning agents — these can be too harsh on the panels.
What happens if the panels are covered with snow?
The panels will operate with lower efficiency when covered with snow. The panels will melt some snow with the heat that they generate, but heavy snow fall will need to be swept off in order to produce power. Because the roof is usually tilted and the panels are made of glass, the snow often slides off as well.
What if my roof is need of repair?
Many of our customers have roofs that need repair. This does not stop you from getting solar — we take care of it before the panels go up. Also, we are happy to direct you to roofers who do a great job. In many cases, the cost of the roof repair can be bundled into the total cost of the solar system so that the same federal and state discounts that apply to solar will also apply to your roof re-do.
Do the panels add extra weight to my roof?
Yes, but the added weight is equivalent to another layer of shingles on your roof. Our solar systems are designed and installed within compliance of all structural and safety codes by experienced engineers and licensed contractors.
Are you going to punch holes in my roof?
If you’re doing a roof mount, to secure the panels, we bolt them to the roof. We mount them flush with the shingles with steel flashing and seal them with layers of roof tar and sealant that shed water and actually add another layer of protection.
I can’t put solar on my roof. What do I need to do to install a ground-mounted system? Is there an additional cost?
The additional costs for a ground mounted system are the structure needed for the ground-mount (basically, what your roof provides as a structure), and the conduit run if necessary.
Where should I put the inverter?
Wherever it is convenient as long as it is in a cool, dry location. Excessive heat will reduce the lifespan of the inverter.
What happens if the panels are damaged by something like an errant baseball or a meteor?
The panels become part of the house once installed, so they are covered under homeowners insurance.
Additional Solar Resources
American Solar Partners has put together a list of solar resources for you to review. Be sure to check back as we will be updating the list periodically.
- DSIRE – http://www.dsireusa.org/
- Solar Module Ratings – http://www.gosolarcalifornia.ca.gov/equipment/pv_modules.php
- Inverter Weighted Efficiency – http://www.gosolarcalifornia.com/equipment/inverters.php
- PV Watts – http://rredc.nrel.gov/solar/calculators/PVWATTS/version1/