FAQ

What is solar electricity?

Solar electric or photovoltaic technology converts sunlight directly into electricity. You may be more familiar with photovoltaic cells as solar cells that power watches and calculators. But photovoltaic can do much more. It can provide electricity for your home and provide the opportunity for you to take advantage of net metering.

How much should I expect to pay for Solar Energy?

J.C. Electric offers a truly unique experience for your solar needs.  We don’t believe in one size fits all price tags.  Instead we work with you to create a custom quote based on how you want to cut back your power bill, if you’re looking for an off grid solution,  home location, sun time, and goals.

How will Solar Power affect my home value?

According to the New York Times and the department of energy  “Buyers are willing to pay more for homes with rooftop solar panels — a finding that may strengthen the case for factoring the value of sustainable features into home appraisals.

The study, conducted by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California, examined sales data for almost 23,000 homes in eight states from 2002 to 2013. About 4,000 of the homes had solar photovoltaic systems, all of them owned (as opposed to being financed through a lease with the solar company).

Researchers found that buyers were willing to pay a premium of $15,000 for a home with the average-size solar photovoltaic system (3.6 kilowatts, or 3,600 watts), compared with a similar home without one. Put another way, that translates to about four additional dollars per watt of solar power.”

Do you offer financing options?

J.C. Electric doesn’t offer financing options, however we’re happy to recommend a loan provider that fits your needs and helps you soak up the sun.

WHAT INCENTIVES ARE AVAILABLE TO HELP REDUCE THE COST?

Current incentives are listed at www.dsire.org as well as your utility company may also offer some incentives.

HOW LONG WILL MY SYSTEM LAST?

The better care and maintenance you give your system, the longer it will last. A system that is well taken care of can last from 25-35 years. We can help you keep it running proficiently with regular inspections and service.

How do solar electricity or photovoltaic systems work?

Sunshine is converted into electricity by using solar panels (also called photovoltaic or photovoltaic panels). The solar modules produce DC, or direct current, when exposed to sunlight. Our home and workplaces use AC, or alternating current. A device called an inverter converts the DC electricity generated by the photovoltaic array to AC electricity that is usable in your home, as well as protects you from unsafe operating conditions that could damage equipment or be harmful. In addition, if your photovoltaic system produces more electricity than your home requires, you can “net meter” the excess solar energy back to your utility company and receive a credit on your electric bill.

Why use photovoltaic?

The sun generates an abundance of clean energy that is largely unused for residential and non-residential purposes. Why not tap into this plentiful resource of clean energy? Photovoltaic preserves the earth’s finite fossil-fuel resources – coal, oil and natural gas – which are used to generate electricity. Photovoltaic also reduces air and noise pollution associated with electricity generated from those sources. In addition, many people value the independence gained by producing the energy that their home and families will use and appreciate knowing that their efforts are also helping to preserve the environment. Recent technological breakthroughs, combined with our incentive program, have greatly reduced the cost of photovoltaic ownership. Photovoltaic system reliability and durability are outstanding – typical photovoltaic systems may last 40 years with minimal maintenance.

What happens if the sun doesn’t shine?

Your photovoltaic system will continue to produce electricity during cloudy weather, although the total amount produced will be less.

What does a typical photovoltaic system look like?

A typical photovoltaic panel consists of solar cells connected electrically to form a module that can measure two to four feet wide and four to six feet long. Some solar modules look just like traditional roof shingles. Many interconnected photovoltaic modules are called an array. Other typical features of a photovoltaic system are an inverter, which changes the electricity produced by the photovoltaic system from DC to AC, the type of electricity used in your home.

Is my home right for a photovoltaic system?

A photovoltaic system needs unobstructed access to the sun’s rays for most, or all of the day, throughout the year. Photovoltaic panels are relatively unaffected by changing weather. In fact, some photovoltaic cells actually work better at colder temperatures. Photovoltaic modules are angled to catch the sun, not snow, so any snow that does collect melts quickly. To maximize the energy production of photovoltaic electricity, photovoltaic systems are installed on a southern exposed roof and mounted parallel with the roof at a 30 or 40-degree roof pitch with no shading. However, roofs that face east or west may also be acceptable. Photovoltaic panels should have their surfaces exposed to the sun’s rays for most or all of the day, with minimal or no shadows from trees, chimneys and roofs between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. We will design a system based on your individual conditions that is right for you.

Can my home accommodate a photovoltaic system?

The amount of space needed by a photovoltaic system is based on the output of the photovoltaic system and the type of photovoltaic system installed. Most small systems require as little as 100 square feet (for a small “starter” system) and up to as much as 1,000 square feet for larger systems. A typical 1-kilowatt (kW) system should occupy approximately 100 square feet. If your location limits the physical size of your system, you may want to install a system that uses more efficient photovoltaic modules. Greater efficiency means that the module produces more electricity from a smaller area. Systems can also be mounted on a separate structure in your yard, on a pole or on a solar tracker.

Do I need to be concerned with the condition of my existing roof?

A photovoltaic system can be installed on any well-structured roof. Typically asphalt shingles are easiest to work with, while slate or tile is the most difficult. If your roof is older and needs to be replaced in the very near future, you may want to replace it at the time the photovoltaic system is installed to avoid the future cost of removing and reinstalling your photovoltaic system. Photovoltaic systems are also available that integrate photovoltaic cells into the roofing materials themselves. This allows the roof to act as the photovoltaic collecting device and serves as an option when replacing a roof or designing and/or building a new home. An additional benefit of an integrated photovoltaic system is its ability to offset the cost of roofing materials.

How much does a photovoltaic system cost?

How do I end up saving money? 

The total cost of a photovoltaic system includes the cost of the photovoltaic equipment and installation. Your photovoltaic system’s cost will depend on a number of factors, including system size and the energy efficiency of your home, whether the home is under construction and whether the photovoltaic is integrated into the roof or mounted on top of an existing roof. The cost also varies depending on the photovoltaic system rating, size, manufacturer, retailer and installer. Your costs will depend on your system’s configuration, your equipment options and other factors. However, as the cost of energy continues to increase, your system will produce energy while the cost stays level. It is insurance against future energy costs. If you already have service with a power company your system will actually return any excess energy it creates back to the power company’s grid. This actually turns your power meter backwards, which gives you a growing credit with the power company.

How much electricity does a photovoltaic system make?

A 1 kW system that is properly installed and positioned can typically generate approximately 2,000 kW hours (kWh) per year. Using a $.10 per kWh rate, that equates to $200 worth of electricity per year. A small breeze can actually generate a lot of power. Regular winds will get you to full power capacity.

WILL SOLAR POWER VOID MY ROOF WARRANTY?

Every case is different and solar may affect your policy. We’ll coordinate with you and your roofer to avoid any warranty issues.

Thank you to Rocky Mountain Power for some of the information included on this page.