Q: How does solar work?
1. Solar panels, typically on your roof, convert sunlight into direct current (DC) power.
2. This DC power is sent through an inverter that converts the power to the standard electrical current used in your home, or alternating current (AC).
3. The AC power is fed through your electric (breaker) box and powers your home.
4. The utility meter, which measures your electric usage, is bi-directional and will measure any over-production from your solar system. The meter will spin backwards and credit you for this output current – this is called net-metering. Yes: believe it or not – some people actually receive negative balance invoices from their utility companies, because the solar system they've installed generates MORE power than they use!
5. The utility grid remains connected to your home, ensuring you will always have power when your panels aren't producing enough to power your home, such as at night.
Q: How can I save money by having solar panels installed?
A: Solar makes sense for the environment and helps you save money. With solar, you can eliminate your electric bill by buying a system outright. By doing that you'll save the equivalent of your would-be electric bill each month while adding value to your house. With a zero-down loan, you'll have lower payments on your solar than you would on your current electric bill. Eventually, you'll own the system with no monthly payments or electric bill. Your house will be worth more; you'll pay less for payments during the loan terms, and eventually, you'll have no payments at all. If you don't want to take out a loan, a lease will cover the majority of your electric bill. You'll pay less than you're paying now, and you'll be locked in at a fixed rate.
Q: How is Pick My Solar different from other solar installers?
A: Other solar companies send a salesman to your home to sit and talk to you about solar for hours. They create a high-pressure environment and want you to sign on the spot. Pick My Solar eliminates this situation and lets you decide alone, from the comfort of your home. PMS gives you the best bids and non-biased advice.
Q: How much does solar cost/save?
A: The Answer will depend on how much electricity you use. The more you consume, the more you'll save, but the more the system will cost more. Your exact costs and savings will depend on which you chose: a Lease, a PPA, or Purchase. The bottom line is that solar costs are going down; they're a fraction of what they used to be. With lots of different financing options available, solar has become affordable for everyone. A solar system on your roof can return 2-5 times its value in saved electricity costs!
Q: What happens after I create an account at Pick My Solar and upload info to the Bid Generator?
A: PMS will study the supplied information and give you an idea of how much an installation will cost. If you like the general numbers, Pick My Solar will schedule a phone call to get more information about your home, utility usage and metering capabilities. Then they'll put together three highly accurate price projections. After you sign the Pick My Solar Estimate Agreement, PMS will post your job on their bid board. After obtaining a minimum of seven bids, PMS will carefully evaluate each bid and send you the top three to review. They'll explain each one with you and provide experienced input on which one they think would work best for you.
Q: What happens after I choose an installer from Pick My Solar?
A: After choosing an installer, you sign their contract, which is hosted on your secure Pick My Solar account page, comply with the payment terms and schedule the installation. Pick My Solar will remain available in an advocate capacity for questions and troubleshooting until your system is up and running.
Q: Can I go solar if I'm renting a home?
A: Yes, it can be done. Your landlord would purchase the system and you'd have an arrangement with him/her to make the payments, which would be way less than what you're paying now for electricity. It's a win for everyone. If you move out, the next renter would take over the payments. It makes sense for everyone. To make this happen, PMS would need to talk to your landlord and explain the project in detail.
Q: Can I go solar if I live in a condo?
A: Living in a condo doesn't stop you from being able to get solar. It just makes things a little more complicated. The roof would need to be divvied up between different owners. The installer you choose will be aware of your situation and be ready to help.
Q: Can I go solar if I'm part of a HOA?
A: This shouldn't be an issue. You will need to get approval from the HOA, but your installer will take care of most of that paperwork. It wouldn't look good for an HOA to say no to solar, and some states, including California, have laws against HOA's turning down solar for aesthetic reasons.
Q: How long will my system last?
A: Solar panels use pretty basic technology. There are no moving parts and a good rain is typically all they need to keep clean and working their best. All systems are warranted for 20 years. For 25 years, notwithstanding any unforeseen complications, you can expect them to produce at least 80% or more of their predicted energy output. After that, their output declines incrementally, but on average, the lifespan of a system is 35 to 40 years.
Q: How long does solar take to pay for itself?
A: Solar typically takes between 7-10 years to recoup the costs of purchasing it, but it could take as little as three years or as much as 15 years. This depends on how much your utility company's rates are and how good of a deal you get – we'll help you out with that. In other words, if you didn't go solar, you would have paid your utility company the purchase price of the system in this time period. After these costs are recouped, check out your ROI!
Q: I'm going to need to finance my system. Can Pick My Solar help me with that?
A: Yes. Pick My Solar works with respected third-party finance providers. The typical finance plan for a solar purchase is 160 months with a 2.99% interest rate and zero down. Depending on your credit score and down payment, these terms can change. Popular Finance Options Include:
1.) Cash-out refinance – You'll get a new 1st mortgage on your home, and pull out some equity.
2.) HEIL (Home Equity Installment Loan) – a secured loan against your home.
3.) HELOC (Home Equity Line of Credit) – Your house is like a bank account.
4.) Unsecured loans – There are many out there designed specifically for solar, some up to 12 years.
5.) 0% interest – Some installers will offer you 0% interest, no payments for one year. That way you have a chance to get the money together, and it won't cost you a dime in the meantime.