Solar Power FAQs for Homeowners (2023)

Frequently Asked Questions

How do home solar systems work?

A photovoltaic (PV) solar energy system is composed of solar panels, racking for mounting the panels on the roof, electrical wiring, and an inverter. From sunrise to sunset, the solar panels generate direct current electricity (DC) which is sent to the inverter. The inverter converts the DC into alternating current (AC), the type of electricity required for household use. (SunPower also offers AC solar panels which do not require a central inverter because they feature a microinverter that’s factory integrated into each panel.) The AC power is delivered directly to your home’s main electrical service panel for use by you and your family.


Learn how solar panels turn sunlight into energy on our blog in addition to more information about solar inverters and a simple explanation about how net metering works.

How does shade affect a solar system’s performance?

It’s important to minimize shading because solar panels operate at optimal output when their entire surface is fully exposed to direct sunlight. The system will still produce energy if it is shaded but its output will lessen.

SunPower will evaluate your particular situation and provide solar options for you. You can also read whether your home is a good candidate for solar to help when making the decision whether going solar is right for you.

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How long will a solar system last?

Our systems are designed to have a useful life of 40 years or more.* For more information about solar panel durability and performance, check out this report on solar system useful life field tests performed on SunPower® systems vs. conventional panels.

How much will I save with a solar system?

Your current monthly energy use and the size of your system will determine your actual savings amount. And with little or no startup costs*, systems can start paying for themselves immediately. Savings will vary based on several factors, including system size, performance, your household's average energy usage as well as any applicable solar credits, tax incentives, and current solar energy buyback (net metering) rates offered by your utility company. A detailed calculation of your potential return on investment (ROI) will be provided by SunPower during your solar evaluation. Get more information about what goes into calculating home solar panel system costs and other important solar energy questions to ask your installer.

Will a home solar system increase my property taxes?

Having a solar system typically adds value to your home.* Depending on where you live, there is often no increase in your property taxes.

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How much will a SunPower solar system for my home cost?

SunPower has a wide variety of financing options, including some that don't require you to pay any upfront costs if you qualify. The cost of your solar system depends on several factors, including your current energy usage, your available amount of unshaded roof space, your local utility’s net metering policy, and other factors. Learn more about how to calculate solar costs and how many solar panels you may need to power your home.

Are SunPower solar panels better?

Despite the generalities you may hear in solar advertising, not all solar systems are created equal! Of all the solar panels on the market, SunPower panels have the highest efficiency* and convert the highest amount of sunlight into electricity. This means our solar panels generate more power than conventional panels within the same amount of space, and you’ll need fewer panels to produce the energy you need. You can maximize your available roof space to choose the best, unobstructed location for electricity production. Our world-record panel efficiency* means you'll save more money over time by choosing SunPower panels. Check out why thousands of homeowners and businesses going solar chose SunPower as their solar company for high-efficiency solar technology solutions.

  • *. “SunPower Module 40-Year Useful Life,” SunPower white paper. 2013. Useful life is 99 out of 100 panels.
  • *. For qualified customers.
  • *. Hoen, B., Adomatis, S. Jackson, T., Graff-Zivin, J., Thayer, M., Klise, G., & Wiser, R. (2015). Selling Into the Sun: Price Premium Analysis of a Multi-State Dataset of Solar Homes. Based on analysis of home sales with & without solar energy systems in CA, CT, FL, MA, MD, NC, NY and PA from 1999 to 2013. Actual impact on home values will vary.
  • *. Highest of over 3,200 silicon solar panels, Photon Module Survey, Feb 2014.
  • *. Green, M.A., et. al. “Solar Cell Efficiency Tables (version 48),” Progress in Photovoltaics, 2016.
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(Video) Solar Power System For Home: Ultimate Beginners Guide


What are the 2 major drawbacks to solar power? ›

Solar panels are dependent on sunlight

They won't produce electricity at night when you need it for light and they can be inefficient during storms and gloomy days. Your solar energy system needs batteries if you plan to fully depend on solar energy to power your home.

What are 4 main problems associated with installing solar in your home? ›

Nine Common Problems with Solar Panels
  • Delamination and internal corrosion. If moisture finds its way into the panel, it can cause internal corrosion. ...
  • Electrical issues. Faulty wiring prevents your solar panels from performing well. ...
  • Micro-cracks. ...
  • Hot spots. ...
  • PID effect. ...
  • Birds. ...
  • Snail trails. ...
  • Roof issues.
May 16, 2019

What are some good questions about solar energy? ›

10 Questions to Ask Before Going Solar
  • Going solar should never be an impulse buy. ...
  • Why should I go solar? ...
  • Is my house right for solar? ...
  • Is my electricity bill high enough to justify going solar? ...
  • How should I finance my panels? ...
  • How much does solar cost? ...
  • How much money will I save with solar?
Sep 9, 2022

What I wish I knew before getting solar panels? ›

15 Things to Consider Before Installing Rooftop Solar Panels
  • Does your roof need repairs? ...
  • What is the shape of your roof? ...
  • Which direction do the slopes of your roof face? ...
  • How much weight can your roof handle? ...
  • Where will the water go? ...
  • What about nature's other surprises? ...
  • How do you connect to the grid?

Do solar panels affect home insurance? ›

You may not see an increase in your homeowners insurance premium after installing solar panels on your roof. However, you'll likely need to raise your coverage limits to account for the replacement cost of your solar panels, which will likely result in some increase to your premium.

What are 3 negatives about solar energy? ›

Pros and Cons of Solar Energy
Advantages of Solar EnergyDisadvantages of Solar Energy
Energy independenceSpace constraints
Long-term savingsEnvironmental impact of manufacturing
Low-maintenanceDifficulty with relocation
Benefits the communityScarcity of materials
5 more rows
Jan 5, 2023

What solar companies don t tell you? ›

Solar Panels Don't Require Maintenance

Despite what solar panel makers may tell you, maintenance of the panels is not a problem once you have them installed. Solar panel manufacturers try to get people to lease solar panels, insisting that then the homeowner won't have to worry about maintenance.

What is the downside of getting solar panels? ›

Solar isn't perfect – here are some disadvantages of solar energy to keep in mind when considering installing solar panels: Solar doesn't work for every roof type. Solar isn't ideal if you're about to move. Low electricity costs = low savings.

What are 5 questions about the solar system? ›

Important Solar System Questions with Answers
  • 1) How many planets are there in the Solar System? ...
  • 2) Which planet is the closest to the Sun? ...
  • 3) Match the following. ...
  • 4) Solar System is located in _____ galaxy. ...
  • 5) Why is it called the Solar System? ...
  • Q6) Where do most comets arrive from? ...
  • 7) How did the Solar system originate?

What are the 5 benefits of solar for your home? ›

How Solar Panels Work?
  • Solar energy is clean & green energy. ...
  • Not dependent on other sources of Energy. ...
  • Non-maintenance. ...
  • Safer than Other. ...
  • Renewable Energy. ...
  • Electricity Bill Reduction. ...
  • Maximum Usage. ...
  • Technology Development.

What questions to ask when buying a house with solar panels? ›

Five questions to ask before you buy a property with solar panels
  • Are the panels subject to a rooftop lease? ...
  • What are the terms of the lease? ...
  • Is the rooftop lease acceptable to my mortgage lender? ...
  • Would the panels prohibit me from extending my new home?
Nov 19, 2021

What is the biggest downside to solar electricity? ›

Disadvantages of Solar Energy
  1. Cost. The initial cost of purchasing a solar system is fairly high. ...
  2. Weather-Dependent. Although solar energy can still be collected during cloudy and rainy days, the efficiency of the solar system drops. ...
  3. Solar Energy Storage Is Expensive. ...
  4. Uses a Lot of Space. ...
  5. Associated with Pollution.
Oct 7, 2022

Do solar panels hurt the resale value of your home? ›

According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, every dollar that a solar panel saves you on your electrical bills increases the value of your home by $20. And according to Zillow, homes with solar panels sell for four percent higher than those without them.

Will solar panels cause my roof to leak? ›

“Will my roof leak with solar panels?” This is one of the most common questions homeowners have when it comes time to go solar. In virtually all cases, the answer is no. Roof leaks after solar panels are extremely rare.

How many years can I claim solar tax credit? ›

How Many Times Can You Claim The Solar Tax Credit? You can only claim the solar tax credit one time for your solar power installation. If you have any unused amount remaining on your tax credit that you are unable to claim in a single tax year, you may be able to carry over that tax credit value for up to five years.

Is it harder to sell a house with solar panels? ›

Is It Harder To Sell Your House With Solar Panels? It's possible to sell your house with solar panels. Rocket HomesSM data for the full year 2021 showed that homes with solar panels spent 13.3% less time on the market and were 24.7% more likely to receive an offer over asking.

Are solar panels 100% deductible? ›

As mentioned, you can claim up to 100% of the solar panel's purchasing and installation costs. However, you must deduct half of the federal tax credit. The federal tax credit was $5,200, which means that you must deduct $2,600.

How effective are solar panels in winter? ›

According to the Energy Saving Trust, solar panels will generate around a 5th of their usual energy production in the winter months. During the depths of a wintery month, on average you will get around one hour of full power output.

Will solar panels reduce my electric bill? ›

Benefits of solar electricity

Sunlight is free, so once you've paid for the initial installation, your electricity costs will be reduced. Find out how much you could save by using the Solar Energy Calculator.

Are solar panels worth it for seniors? ›

Solar panels are definitely worth it for seniors. If you can purchase your system outright, you see the biggest savings overall. However, with a $0-down, low-interest solar loan, your monthly payments will typically be lower than your electricity bill, allowing you to see savings on day one.

Who is the most reputable solar company? ›

  • The Best Solar Panel Installation Companies of 2023.
  • SunPower.
  • Sunpro Solar.
  • Blue Raven Solar.
  • Momentum Solar.
  • Palmetto Solar.
  • Trinity Solar.
  • Tesla.
3 days ago

How can I avoid getting scammed out of solar power? ›

How to avoid solar panel scams:
  1. Do your research. Genuine incentive programs and reputable solar energy contractors do exist. ...
  2. Don't give in to high-pressure sales tactics. ...
  3. Get competing bids. ...
  4. Ask plenty of questions and consider the answers.
Sep 23, 2022

Do I need to tell my energy supplier I have solar panels? ›

If you install generation equipment like solar panels at your home, and the equipment is connected to the grid, your DNO must be notified. This is because they need to know if you're putting electricity onto the grid, so they can manage their networks efficiently. Most installations are connected to the grid.

What are the 2 advantages and 2 limitations of solar energy? ›

The energy generated by the sun throughout the manner of heat as well as light energy. Advantages: Solar energy somehow does not pollute the environment. It is possible to generate power using solar energy sometimes in distant as well as unreachable regions.

What are 3 pros and 3 cons to solar power? ›

Pros and Cons of Solar Panels
Pros of Solar PowerCons of Solar Power
Improve your home valueNot viable for all roofs or homes
Energy independent from the gridFewer savings when electricity costs are low
Earn money back from SRECsInstallation can be difficult
Take advantage of incentive programsFinancial liability
2 more rows

What are 4 cons of solar energy? ›

Solar Cons
  • Standard home solar does not “work” at night.
  • Home solar panels are not attractive.
  • DIY solar installation is difficult (if not impossible) for most homeowners.
  • Not every roof configuration is ideal for maximum solar power generation.
  • Solar manufacturing is not good for the environment.

Can you name 2 pros and 2 cons of solar? ›

Yes, there are many advantages to solar power, such as its ability to lower your carbon footprint and lessen the strain on the electrical grid. But, admittedly, solar also has its limitations, such as the inability to generate electricity at night and the difficulty of relocating solar panels once they're installed.


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