Solar Energy FAQ’s

What size system do I need?

On average, it takes 20 to 25 solar panels to power a whole house. This means a 5 to 6 kilowatt (kW) system may be sufficient for your needs. However, this will vary depending on several factors:

  • How much electricity you use
  • The weather/climate of where you live and how much sun exposure you receive
  • Size of your roof

Talk with a licensed contractor to determine your exact needs.

How long do the solar panels last?

Solar panels most often come with a 25-year warranty but can last for much longer. Different components of the system may need to be replaced prior such as inverters or batteries.

How much will I pay?

The average cost range of residential solar systems is anywhere from $10,000 to $25,000 for a 5 to 10 kW system (before any incentives). This will vary depending on where you live and your energy usage.

What incentives are there?

The Investment Tax Credit (ITC) offers a 26% tax credit from federal taxes on installation costs (as of 2021). This will cover the cost of solar panels, installation, and equipment.

There are state level incentives offered as well. Find out if your cooperative offers any rebate or incentives that will help lower the cost.

How long until my solar panels pay for themselves?

The average payback time will be between 5 to 10 years. There are many factors that will determine how long it will take for your solar panels to pay back for themselves.

Some of these factors are:

  • Cost of the system
  • Financial incentives received
  • Cost of your electricity
  • Electricity usage
  • Weather/climate

However, there are additional benefits to rooftop solar. The value of your home will increase along with environmental benefits.

What are the best conditions for installing?

South-facing roofs with little to no shade will maximize the exposure to the sun. Roofs that have too many corners or obstructions such as chimneys are not ideal for rooftop solar. Weather conditions, depending on where you live, also impact the efficiency of the system.

If your roof isn’t suitable for rooftop solar, a ground-mounted system may be installed. Or consider looking into if your cooperative participates in community solar.

Should I get a new roof?

Your solar energy system can last 25 years or more. It will be expensive to remove and reinstall the solar panels, so make sure to provide maintenance to your roof before installing your panels.

What happens during an outage?

In the case of a power outage, your solar energy system will shut off if connected to the utility grid. This is for safety, as the system could backfeed and cause injuries to linemen working to repair the outage. If you want to continue producing energy during a blackout, you can look into purchasing a solar battery. Having a battery means you will continue to have power even during an outage. Check pricing to determine if this is a cost-effective option for your needs