Why I Installed Solar
Updated: Sep 26, 2019
I wasn't planning on installing solar energy, but I had interest in learning more about it and how much it would cost to be installed on my home. I always had an interest in how solar energy was gaining national traction and some of the large installers where growing fast in other states, like Tesla, Sunrun and others that are traded on the stock market.
I liked the idea of using electricity I generated for my current usage and a potential electric vehicle. I had read an article on how the utilities may become the new oil companies of our future vehicle energy needs. I was considering in the coming years of buying an electric vehicle and if I had my own solar energy system, I could theoretically drive around for free.
After talking to Faraday Solar i was able to identify what my costs would be and the overall financial benefits of a system installed on my house. Using some satellite imagery, they determined part of my house roof was not a suitable site for a system but, my East facing roof provided an excellent resource for the solar as well as my garage.
I had some initial solar questions-
How long will the system last? Faraday- The system is designed in 3 sections, 1. the panels which are warrantied for 25-30 years by the manufacturer to still be producing 80-85% of their original power at the end of the warranty. 2. The inverter is warrantied for 10 years and have a typical life of 15-20 years. 3. The electrical system, is just as your wiring in your home is and will last a lifetime.
What about all the snow we get in the winter in NW Montana? Faraday- All of the snow is accounted for in the production as local weather stations, like the airport, is where we derive the irradiance over the year. We use the 10 year averages for each hour of the day of production. Removing snow off the panels is not necessary for good energy production for the year, as spring, summer, and fall makeup for the lack of good production in the winter. Systems are designed to produce a certain amount of electricity over the year based on each sites needs.
What will the system produce for electricity? Faraday- Each location is different, but in general 3 solar panels can produce around 1,200-1,300 kWh's a year.
How do the panels handle hail? Faraday- During the process of testing the solar panels for their rating approval from an independent rating company (like UL) each module must survive, without damage, a 1" hailstone shot at 60MPH and at a 90º angle.
How is the system attached to my roof and can it leak? Faraday- Depending on the type of installation, asphalt shingles, metal roof, or flat TPO/EDPM, each has solutions. For a shingle roof metal flashing is used to ensure no leaks can happen. For a metal roof each brand and type of roof has its own certified product. Check out the video to see how a entry point flashing is installed.
How long will it take to earn back my investment? Faraday- There are two ways to look at payback. 1. There is just the energy produced and how that offsets your expenses, and in this case its 7 years. 2. Then there is the whole picture, its energy production plus what it does for your homes value, in that case it is an immediate positive payback. Zillow has done an extensive study on how solar on a home increases that homes value by 4.1%!
Faraday did a good job of showing what the system could produce and how it related to what a study Zillow did on home value. All the numbers for the "investment equivalent", "payback period", "free energy", and "monthly production" was based on only the solar energy produced by the system and not any home value increases.
Another benefit of the system installed was a monitoring system from SolarEdge that allowed me to see exactly what each solar panel produced for electricity as well as an ability for me to see what I was using for electricity. I really like this function, I can login through an app on my phone that keeps me informed up to the minute on what I am using and what I am generating from the solar.
I was able to finance my system through one of the partners of Faraday that made my purchase pretty simple as well as convenient, allowing me to re-amortize my loan after receiving my 30% federal tax credit. My payment is very similar to the energy the system is saving me, which means I was able to install solar for only a few extra dollars a month I was paying before. Plus I increased my homes value and I feel good about producing solar energy for our environment.
If your interested in getting a free solar analysis from Faraday, just click here. Or you can fill out a form below. 2019 is the last year to receive the full 30% Federal Tax Credit, and in 2020 it gets reduced to 26%.