Will I qualify to get solar on my home?

Possibly! The two main factors are the amount sunlight you get throughout the day and the amount of available roof space. What solar companies do is look at your home through 3D satellite imagery. This will give them enough information on your home to see if solar will work for you. If your roof gets the okay, they will schedule a free solar consultation where a skilled solar advisor will analyze your site to gauge which solar power system will fit with your homes design and go over your energy needs. Some solar companies work with utility companies to help customers lower their electricity at no cost to them. Usually this information will be given in a free solar consultation and they will check for you to see if you qualify for federal and state rebates and any other free incentives.

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Will I need to change anything on my home to run on solar power?

No. Solar power electric systems just replace your electricity. Instead of electricity coming from utility power lines it just comes from the panels on your roof. So there will be no need to change or buy new appliances or electrical outlets; everything will work just the same as usual. The only changes homeowners experience is a lower electricity bill and with utility prices on the rise you will no longer have to pay those big electrical bills!

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I don't have a big electrical bill, can I still go solar?

Yes! But you want to see what your usage is and schedule a free solar consultation if your bill is already low your savings may not be as significant. Each and every home is different and depending on your usage, shading, and roof direction should be enough information to determine which system or solar plan will work best for you. Even if you do have a low electrical bill when you start to generate your own solar power, your electricity bill will drop. But, how much you will actually save depends on the size of your solar system and your electrical usage. When your solar system generates more electricity than you actually use, the extra electricity goes back to the utility grid and your meter spins backwards because you are feeding excess electricity to the grid. Learn more about your utility bill and "net metering".

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What size solar system should I get?

Every home is different, so the size of your system will depend on your energy needs, roof space, and solar goals. Residential solar systems are typically 3-10 kW and your solar provider will custom design a system to meet your specific needs and get you out of those high electrical rates as much as you desire.

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Are solar panels reliable?

Solar panels that are built today are extremely reliable. They have demonstrated to be a dependable source of energy for large buildings, mass retailers, and governmental agencies supplying megawatts of energy. Some of the leading companies in the world have buildings powered by solar energy, including Whole Foods, Microsoft, eBay, FedEx, WalMart, FedEx, Kaiser and the United States Air Force.

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Do the panels work on a cloudy day? What happens at night?

Since solar power system results are directly related to how much sunlight is hitting the panels, it will produce slightly less energy when the weather is cloudy. At night there is no sunlight so your system will not produce any energy at night. But, your power system will be connected to your local utility grid, so at any time you can automatically begin to draw power from the grid whenever you have to. There will be no power interruptions-the switch between solar system power and the utility grid happens without a glitch, with no effort on your part.

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How long do solar panels last?

Solar panels have manufacturer's warranty of 25 years and other parts, such as inverters, have a 10-year warranty. In addition, most companies offer a warranty and a million-dollar worth of insurance for at least 18 years on the system, this also includes installation. Solar systems usually outlast their warranties; many of the first solar systems installed more than 30 years ago are still up and running perfectly.

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A public service of the California Solar Initiative

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Solar Guide works with the CSI-Solar Program which is funded by California investor-owned utility customers and is administered by regional Program Administrators under the California Public Utilities Commission. 2012 Pacific Gas and Electric Company, San Diego Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison and Southern California Gas Company. Copyright and trademarks belong to their respective owners. All rights reserved.

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