Frequently Asked Questions About Solar Power

Educating the Consumer is the First Step! Additional Questions? Contact Us! 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is Solar Power?

Solar Power is the process of converting energy from sunlight into electricity by exciting the electrons around synthetic materials (typically silicone).  This produces an electric current. 

Can I disconnect from the power grid?

No. You really do not want to either. "Offgrid Solar" is not legal in most states and you want to remain connected to the grid so you can take advantage of Net Metering and have a backup source of power. If you are concerned about storms and power outages we recommend connecting a standard gas-powered generator.  Battery storage, although popular, can not power your entire home during the event of an extended power outage. We'll be happy to help you make the right decision for your home or business. 

What is the Best Type of Solar Panel?

We only install premium equipment from major manufacturers.  We only install highly efficient monocrystalline solar panels. Cheaper pollycrystalline panels are less efficient and you need more of them to meet your energy needs.

What is an Inverter?

Solar Power is generated in direct current or DC. Our homes run on alternating current or AC.  The inverter is a critical part of your solar system. Think of it as the brain of your system. It converts DC into AC. There are two types of inverters in common use: string inverters and micro-inverters. String inverters tie all your solar panels into a circuit or circuits. The average string inverter warranty from the manufacturer is 10 years. Micro inverters operate independently of each other and they typically come with a 25 year warranty. We typically use string inverters because Florida is very sunny so the shade does not affect the circuit. String inverters are also cheaper.  Every job is different so we will examine your site and help you make the best choice. 

Can't I Just Install Solar Panels Myself?

Solar projects are complex.  From material selection, roof load, direction, and pitch of the panels, electrical requirements, permitting, and inspections it is not an easy task.  Load calculation is complex. There is a significant risk of fire, electrical surges, or even death. High voltage wiring is something you really want to be careful with.  You could cause significant damage to your home! Incorrectly installed panels can cause water penetration on your roof or add so much weight you cause a structural issue. The calculations are complex. We look at your home's current efficiency (and make improvements), your roof's size, alignment with the sun, grid interconnection, and equipment selection are all major factors. Experience in these factors really matters. When The Solar Elite installs your system you know that the permitting will happen quickly, the manufacturer's warranty will apply, and your insurance requirements will be met. This is not like changing the oil in your car or installing a new internet router. TRUST THE PROFESSIONALS!

Does Solar Power Really Save Money?

YES! You can start saving money almost immediately. There is an upfront cost to installing your solar power system. The local and federal solar incentives are quickly realized. The cost of energy from the grid goes up every single year. The average cost of grid energy per person in a US household is $4,000 per year when you include transportation and household energy. Your solar power system can completely replace that costs when it is correctly sized and designed. Solar power also increases your home's value. Most homeowners see a large increase in home value per kilowatt of solar power installed. Solar panels also extend the life of your roof by protecting your roof from the elements, keeping your home cooler, and keeping storm damage at bay. Thanks to net metering, when you are generating more power than you need the utility company will pay you the market rate for your excess power. This alone can eliminate your power bill almost entirely when your solar system is correctly sized. 

What is Net Metering?

In Florida, Texas, Georgia and many other states you must keep your home connected to the electrical grid. You want to do this for a lot of reasons. It means you have a backup source of power in the event your solar system requires maintenance or repair. You know your home will remain fully powered in the event of a weather event or a spike in energy consumption. But the best part is that when you are producing more energy than your home needs you sell the power back to the utility provider at the current market rate for energy. This means that when you do require grid energy usage is offset by the energy you sent back to the grid. 

What is the Current Federal Incentive?

As of 2021, the U.S. Federal Government offers a 30 percent tax credit towards the total cost of your solar system and other efficiency improvements. 

Can I Install Solar if I have a HOA?

YES! Florida Statute 163.04 forbids any binding agreement to prohibit a property owner from installing solar. Your HOA may restrict where you place your solar panels but not if it would mean your solar system's performance is degraded. Florida House Bill 697 allowed condominium boards to install solar on condo units to benefit unit owners without their permission. It also allows condo unit owners to install solar within their own condos. Florida Statute 704.07 allows for the negotiation of easements for the installation of solar to ensure that a property owner's solar panels get enough exposure to the sun to be efficient and produce the needed energy. We know a number of lawyers who would be happy to help if your HOA or COA have problems with your solar plans. 

Are Solar Lease Programs a Good Idea?

NO! Nope! NO! Solar lease programs are not designed with the consumer in mind. This means you are renting your solar system. You DO NOT get the Federal Task credit. The Solar Installer does. You may pay less for power but you do not get the full financial benefit. We strongly recommend everyone purchase their Solar PV system either directly or through one of our approved lenders to fully realize the benefit of solar. Additionally, these lease programs typically have a 20-year term. This could cause significant issues if you do not plan to remain in your home. 

What about a Power Purchase Agreement or PPA for Solar?

Power Purchase Agreements are like a lease. You can save money by letting a 3rd party install a solar system on your roof but you do not own that solar power system. Again, The Solar Elite does not recommend these to our customers. 

How Efficient are Solar Panels?

As of 2021, the majority of solar panels on the market produce electricity from 14 to 24 percent of the sunlight that they capture. We recommend producing the most efficient panels necessary for your roof. We'll help you make a decision based on the size of your roof and your average KwH usage. The Solar Elite starts every project with an efficiency audit. We will make recommendations on ways to decrease your energy usage by increasing your home's efficiency. This will reduce the number of panels that you need. 

Can My Solar PV System be Expanded?

Yes! As long as there is additional roof space on your home that is correct for solar installation or you have a place for a ground mount expansion your solar system can be expanded. 

Do Solar Systems Work When it is Cloudy or Rainy?

Yes! They work in all weather conditions. They are not as efficient but they will still produce power. If the output during a cloudy period decreases too much you will draw energy from the grid. It is likely that you will make up for this on the next sunny day. 

What about Solar Pool Heaters?

Although many companies will offer to install a solar pool heating system, we do not believe they work very well. We normally advise installing additional solar panels to power a traditional electric pool heater. It usually provides a more consistent and reliable system. 

How Long Will My Solar Power System Last?

As of 2021, all solar systems installed by The Solar Elite are warrantied for production for 25 years. It is highly likely that your system will continue to produce electricity for 35-40 years. We'll provide you with additional information after we help you pick a solar panel vendor. 

How does Solar Effect my Home's Value?

Many realtor's still think that solar systems detract from home value. This is old thinking based on the idea of old clunky solar panels that are not visually appealing and the idea that they do not greatly reduce or eliminate your home's energy bill. Nothing could be further from the truth. People want a home that has a low cost of energy. The National Association of Realtors found that home value is 10 to 15 percent higher when solar power systems are installed. It should be noted that this increase is when solar systems are purchased with cash or a loan, not through a lease or purchase power agreement. We've written about this more here. 

How Does Solar Affect My Roof?

When we do your solar evaluation we'll take a look at the age and condition of your roof. Our sister company, The Roofing Elite, would be happy to do a thorough inspection and provide you with an estimate. If we find that your roof needs to be repaired, strengthened, or replaced before the solar installation begins you can work with The Roofing Elite or another contractor to make improvements. In the event your roof needs repair or replacement in the future we will help you remove and reinstall your solar power system. Our sister company, The Roofing Elite, does provide a discount when it is combined with a Solar project from The Solar Elite. We also recommend replacing your attic insulation and a radiant barrier on all jobs to increase your home's efficiency. 

What Kind of Maintenance Does my Solar Power System Require?

Solar Power has very few maintenance requirements. You'll be saving money every single month on your utility bill and getting strong federal tax incentives.  We do recommend an annual inspection of your system and an annual cleaning of your panels.  If you live in a particularly dusty area you may need to clean twice a year. 

Is Battery Backup Required?

No. You do not have to have a battery backup system. You can have one if you want one. Every situation is different. Your Solar Elite Advisor will help you determine what is best for your needs based on our comprehensive inspection and evaluation of your home. 

Can I Install Solar if I'm a Renter?

No. We only install solar for homeowners and commercial property owners. 

Do I Need a Downpayment?

No. We offer a variety of financing for different situations. Your Solar Elite Advisor will help you work with our preferred financing companies and evaluate the options you have to pay for your solar system. Read more about our financing options here. 

What about Permitting?

We consider ourselves to be the fastest company in the Florida market for city and county permitting. We hear horror stories about permitting all the time. Our priority is to get you permitted and active as fast as possible. It's a Solar Elite Promise. 

How Long does it take to get Interconnection?

Just like permitting, we consider ourselves to be aggressive and fast at getting our client's interconnection to the grid processed as fast as possible. We often hear that our competition drops the ball after the system is installed. We promise that your interconnection to the grid is our top priority! 

Let's Get You Started with Solar!

We Promise to Give You Expert Advice, Honest Information, and Answer Questions with Honesty and Integrity.
We're Building a Green Energy Future - One Roof at a Time.