Solar Energy Questions and Answers | Blog | 123SolarPower

Solar Energy Questions and Answers

Common questions about home solar power and what you need to know.

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Before making any big decision, such as home improvement investments, it’s critical to do as much research as possible. This is the type of situation where there is no such thing as a stupid question, because it’s better to know the answer now than regret the decision later. As home solar power is becoming a more affordable and popular option across the country, we receive a lot of specific questions about solar power systems and how to get the best price. As a consumer marketplace, 123SolarPower is here to educate homeowners about solar energy and connect them with professional installers in their local area. If you’re considering a home solar power system, see below for a list of some of the most common solar energy questions and answers.

How do solar panels work? The technology to harness the power of the sun has actually been around since the late 1800’s. Solar panels are built to utilize sunlight, or solar radiation, to generate electricity. The high-energy protons in sunlight facilitate an electric current as they hit the solar panels on a roof, producing power. This power is then encouraged by conductive plates to leave the solar panel in the form of a DC electrical current and then run through an inverter to be converted into usable electricity. This electricity can be used in your household by appliances and powered outlets.

Will solar panels work if I live in a cloudy area? Short answer: yes. You can generate solar energy pretty much anywhere. Obviously, you’ll generate more power in a shorter amount of time in sunny places like California and Hawaii. But solar panels are perfectly capable of capitalizing on diffused solar rays that are come through cloud formations. (Think about how you can still get a sunburn when its overcast.) Take Germany for example! Germany gets only about as much sunshine as the state of Alaska, but Germans have successfully installed about 35 gigawatts of solar power, and is on track to hit 52 GW in the near future, representing about 7 percent of the nation’s wholesale generation. 

What incentives and tax breaks are available? A portion of this answer depends on what state you’re located in. Residential solar panel installation in Charleston SC, for examples, is privy to a credit of 25 percent of your total installation costs. Even if your state does not have a competitive state tax credit, you’ll be happy to know that the federal solar investment tax credit (ITC) was recently extended through 2023 for participants anywhere in the country. The ITC is a 30 percent federal tax credit claimed against the tax liability of residential and commercial and utility investors in solar energy property. The residential ITC allows the homeowner to apply the credit to his/her personal income taxes. This credit is used when homeowners purchase solar systems outright and have them installed on their homes. So if you’re lucky enough to live in a state like South Carolina or California, you can get up to 55% of your solar costs covered through tax credits. #paystogosolar By calling 800-294-2397 to speak with one of our solar consultants, you can find out the exact tax incentives you qualify.

How much can solar panels save? The varying incentives stated above, along with your local utility costs and net metering policies, can help save you lots of money with solar panels. Again, it depends on your location because of local regulations and how you chose to buy your system, but research has shown that the average long-term savings ranges from $20,960 - $64,769.

You can always calculate your personal savings with our solar power calculator. Or get instant, free quotes by filling out the short form below. Visit us on Facebook or Twitter for more solar power tips and information, and leave us any comments or questions! 

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