We had a great experience. No bumps in the road. Gave us an entire break down of the plan. Made us aware of all the steps that we needed to take and what we should expect. Highly recommend them. Thanks! - Gina S. in Hazlet, NJ | Review Source: Angie's List
PV Solar Panel FAQs
Q: How Do I Go Solar In New Jersey?
Going solar in NJ is a simple as 1-2-3.
- Solar Evaluation of your Home. Schedule your phone or in person appointment through our website. Our Solar Site Assessment specialists will ask you a few simple questions and survey your home (via satellite roof evaluation) – to evaluate your home’s solar potential. Based on your Solar Site Assessment and your financial goals our team will determine which solar financing options and esign make the most sense for you.
- Solar Design, Permitting and Installation. Once you feel comfortable with the solar program designed for you, we'll handle all of the permitting to install the solar panel system – typically installing your system in just one day!
- Utility Approval (PTO) and Activation. Once permission to operate is received from your utility provider, your solar energy system can be turned on to power your home – saving your family money while saving the environment.
Q: Will a solar panel system in New Jersey require additional insurance?
Typically, homeowners will be required by the utility company to provide proof of insurance coverage for their system. However, most standard homeowner insurance policies provide adequate insurance protection and meet the minimum requirements stated in your utility interconnection agreement.
Q: Can PV Solar Panels Increse the Value of my Home in New jersey?
Yes, according to a report produced by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory entitled "A New Market Paradigm for Zero-Energy Homes: December 2006 The Comparative San Diego Case Study"
"The greatest single gain in value was $446,410 for a home in the SheaHomes communities with a PV system owned for 26.9 months (a 79% increase in value). In comparison, the single largest gain for a home in the comparison community was $378,769 for a home owned for 40.2 months (a 61% increase)."
When you lease your system, things are going to be different. "FannieMae, B2-3-04: Special Property Eligibility Considerations (12/16/2014)", indicates that: If the solar panels are leased from or owned by a third party under a power purchase agreement or other similar arrangement, the following are some of the requirements that apply: The solar panels may not be included in the appraised value of the property. The lease payment must be included in the debt-to-income (DTI) ratio calculation. This requirement does not apply in the case of a power purchase agreement if the payment goes entirely to pay for the energy. Any portion of the payment that does not go toward the purchase of the energy must be included in the DTI ratio.
Q: What’s a solar renewable energy credit (SREC)?
Solar renewable energy credits or SRECs show that a certain amount of electricity was produced using solar energy. They are typically used in conjunction with New Jersey's renewable energy standards (also called renewable portfolio standards) to show that regulated entities are meeting their solar energy goals.
Q: Are solar renewable energy credits (SRECs) Taxable in NJ??
We are not in a position to provide tax advice and we always recommend that clients should consult their tax advisors when it comes to making tax related decisions, but you can click here to see some information provided by a New Jersey CPA along with the supporting IRS documention thating the following "You can exclude from gross income any subsidy provided, either directly or indirectly, by public utilities for the purchase or installation of an energy conservation measure for a dwelling unit.”
Q: Can I get credit for producing my own electricity in New Jersey?
Yes. The energy that is produced by a solar panel system will first serve a home's electrical load. Then, if the solar panel system produces more electricity than the home needs at any given time, your utility credits the excess electricity at the same price you would pay for electricity from the utility - in effect turning the electrical meter backwards. This is called "Net Metering," and the credit will appear on the monthly utility bill. Should the home need more energy than the solar panel system is producing at any given time, the customer can be assured that the utility will provide the electricity that the home needs. Often, homeowners find that they receive credits during expensive peak daytime hours, and then use more utility power during less expensive evening hours.
Q: Will my New Jersey property taxes go up if I install solar?
No, in October of 2008, New Jersey enacted legislation exempting renewable energy systems used to meet on-site electricity, heating, cooling, or general energy needs from local property taxes. Please see Property Tax Exemption for Renewable Energy Systems for more information.
Q: What is the lifespan of a solar panel system?
Solar panel systems last a long time depending on the amount of active use, or the amount of sunshine converted into electricity by the solar panels. Most systems are only in use for 6 to 8 hours per day. Manufacturers will usually provide from 10 to 20 year materials warranties (and 25 year production warranies) for the solar panels, and a 5 to 10-year warranty on the balance of system components. EnPhase provides a 25 year warranty on their micro-inverters. Solar panels have been reported to last 30 to 40 years.
Q: Can I install solar in a gated community or adult community in New Jersey?
According to the ACT (C.45:22A-48.2) approved August 21, 2007, an association cannot restrict you from installing solar on your roof, so long as you own and are responsible for maintaining the roof. Please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org to request a copy of this ACT.
Q: What is the environmental impact if I use solar power at my NJ home?
As a general rule of thumb, studies indicate that the typical New Jersey home using solar power has an environmental impact of removing two cars from the road. Over 25 years, you will have avoided producing more than 500 tons of greenhouse gas emissions. Using solar electricity to power a million homes would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 4.3 million tons per year, the equivalent of removing 850,000 cars from the road (Source: EPA).
Solar panels have received attention from researchers, businesses and homeowners because, unlike traditional power generation sources, these technologies produce electricity using a renewable source, the sun, without creating noise, emitting pollutants that cause climate change such as greenhouse gases, smog, acid rain, or water resource pollution. Even when the emissions related to solar cell manufacturing are counted, solar panels produce less than 15% of the carbon dioxide from a conventional coal-fired power plant.
Q: What are the benefits of having a solar panel system in New Jersey?
- Reduce your utility bill - Solar panel systems can significantly reduce your utility bill. Any energy produced for free by the sun and your solar panel system is energy that you don't have to purchase from your utility. This translates into direct savings on your monthly utility bill. In addition to the direct savings, the solar panel arrays also act as a sunshade for your roof, reflecting heat from the sun that would otherwise be absorbed by your house. A shaded roof area can reduce the air temperature of your house, reducing the energy required by your air-conditioner to keep a comfortable temperature in your home.
- Increase the resale value of your home - Like any home improvement, a solar panel system should increase your home resale value by the amount of the installation. So even if you move from your present home, your solar panel system will have reduced your monthly utility bill and increased the value of your home if you do decide to sell.
- Healthy Environment - By using a renewable power source, you're helping reduce the impact of global warming and climate change. You will avoid producing hundreds of tons of greenhouse gases during the solar panel system lifetime.
- Energy Independence - You will also decrease your use of foreign oil and minimize utility company price increases.
Q: Does solar replace an electric utility in New Jersey?
Solar panel systems are typically used as either stand-alone systems or grid-connected systems. The role of solar panels in these two types of systems is very different, and the design decisions and performance requirements are very different as well. Stand-alone solar panel systems generate all of the on-site electricity needs of a home. Therefore, they are not connected to any electric utility. Stand-alone systems can provide AC or DC electricity, and typically include batteries to store electricity for use when the sun is not shining. Stand-alone systems are often cost-effective when installed in remote areas where access by electric utilities is difficult and expensive. Grid-connected solar panel systems are typically sized to meet at least 50% of a home's electrical load. These systems are not always sized to meet all of the electricity loads of a house because of the higher up-front costs associated with purchasing a larger system. Solar panel systems can be easily integrated with a utility's electrical grid to provide clean, renewable electricity for homeowners, while still ensuring continuous power supply from your regular utility.
Q: Does solar work if the power goes out?
Solar panel systems cannot power your house during a power outage unless you install some form of energy storage (an expensive battery back up system). There are two reasons that ordinary grid-tied solar will not work during a grid failure. The first is a technical reason and the second is a safety and regulatory issue.
The electronics that control a solar electric system constantly adjust voltage and current in order to keep the panels operating at their most efficient and powerful operating point through a range of varying sunlight conditions. To do this, the system needs to be able to produce quantities of power that are not dependent on how much your house is actually using at the time.
The second reason that solar shuts down during a blackout is safety. During a power outage, the power utility sends out repair crews to find and fix the points of failure. The linemen and women can be jeopardized if there is a solar array leaking power onto the grid lines. Therefore, utility rules mandate that in the event of a power outage, solar arrays must automatically shut down. Solar systems have detectors that sense whether power is coming across the grid, and whenever grid power is down, they automatically shut down too, to protect utility workers.
Q: What is involved in maintaining and operating a solar panel system in New Jersey?
Minimal maintenance is required of the homeowner. But don't worry, Green Sun Energy Services does all the work! We even clean the panels of any debris such as fallen leaves and pollen.
Q: How much does a solar panel system cost? What Rebates and Incentives are available in New Jersey?
The actual cost of a solar panel system will depend on equipment options, installation costs, and the solar panel manufacturer. Please click on Get an Estimate for details on how much "going solar" can save you.
To see solar power state rebate information, please visit http://www.dsireusa.org/
Q: What happens to solar panels when it’s cloudy or raining in New Jersey?
Photovoltaic panels can use direct or indirect sunlight to generate power, though they are most effective in direct sunlight. Solar panels will still work even when the light is reflected or partially blocked by clouds.
Q: What is a solar panel system?
Solar panel systems (or solar energy systems) use Photovoltaic (PV) cells to convert sunlight into direct current (DC) electricity. Solar panel cells are made from silicon and were originally developed to power spacecraft and space stations. The cells are wired together in panels that typically measure about 4 feet by 2 ft by 1.5 inches deep. A group of solar panels mounted on a frame is called a solar panel array.
To provide electricity reliably and safely, solar panel system components typically include an inverter, wiring and optional battery storage and charge controller. Most solar panel systems convert the DC electricity that is produced by the solar panels into the common household form of electricity, alternating current (AC), by using an inverter. AC electricity can then be used to power your appliances directly, or feed back to an electric utility's grid. The DC electricity can also be stored directly in batteries for later use. In this case, to prevent overcharging or discharging of the batteries, a charge controller is used.
Q: What is “free solar” all about?
Free Solar" = “free installation (sometimes)” PLUS 15 - 20 years of lease payments. Keep in mind that only a small portion of residential homes qualify for this program; which mostly dependent on the position of your roof – relative to “Solar South.” If you are one of the lucky few whose roof faces 180 degrees from North, you may qualify for the “free solar” installation, but you will still get locked into a 20-year lease.
If you don’t qualify for the “free installation” program, you will probably have to fork over about $3,500 as a down payment and then get locked into a 20-year lease.
Beware of a few other things:
1. Ask what brand panels and inverters they will be using (because the “free installation” generally includes lower quality materials).
2. Make sure that you understand the details of your lease agreement. Regardless of the up-front costs, you will be required to pay the leasing company between $0.15 and $0.17 for every kilowatt hour of solar electricity that your installation produces. While this has the potential to save you money in the long run, check the installers financial assumptions before you sign up. Many installers are estimating that electric prices will increase by 6.5% a year, when the historical average has only been about 3.8% per year in New Jersey.
3. Understand what you will be “giving up” to the leasing company. Typically, you will lose your federal tax credit, any available rebates, and all of your potential SREC income.
4. Remember that you don’t own the solar panels on your house, the leasing company does. Ask what could happen to your solar panels if the leasing company goes out of business. Since the panels are considered to be an asset of the leasing company, can they be liquidated in the event of bankruptcy? Will their creditors remove them from your house?
Q: What happens when I sell my house in New Jersey?
When you purchase and own your system, your solar investment should increase the value of your house. The Appraisal Journal (October 1999), suggests that appraisers should increase the property value of a home with energy improvements by $20 for every $1 of annual energy savings.
When you sell your home, the Solar Installation is seen as a fixture on your house and is typically sold with the house. If you have an outstanding Home Equity Loan or Line of Credit, this will be closed out when you close on the sale of your home. SRECs if any are normally transferred to the new homeowner, but you can negotiate an assignment agreement with the buyer, whereby you retain ownership of the SRECs.
Q: What if my house isn't right for Solar?
Even if your house doesn't qualify for a solar system, there are still a lot of things that you can do to reduce your energy bill. Click here to see the Energy Savings Guide published by the US Department of Energy for some great tips.
Q: Is EnPhase monitoring secure
The Envoy (network gateway device) is a purpose-built appliance with a minimal attack surface. It uses a hardened, Linux-variant operating system.
Its only firewall impact is outbound HTTPS/SSL (tcp:443) to communicate with the ENLIGHTEN web servers.
There are no requirements for inbound tcp or udp connections. The Envoy has it's own rudimentary HTTP interface running on standard tcp:80, used to display instantaneous power and lifetime energy, along with event messages. This HTTP interface also contains links to a few other, administrative configuration settings. It uses DHCP by default, but can be set for static-IP via the administrative HTTP interface.
Q: Why should i read the SMALL PRINT if I am going to lease solar?
"...A solar power station is customized for your home, so pricing and savings vary based on location, system size, government rebates and local utility rates. Savings on your total electricity costs is not guaranteed. Financing terms vary by location and are not available in all areas. $0 due upon contract signing. No security deposit required. A 3 kW system starts at $25-$100 per month with an annual increase of 0-4% each year for 15-20 years, on approved credit. First payment is due after your system is turned on." - SunCity/Home Depot
"Lease payments will be subject to an annual increase of 2.5% each year for 15 years, based on approved credit." - Sungevity Solar
"Financing terms vary by location and are not available in all areas. $0 due upon contract signing. No security deposit required. A 3.91 kW system starts at $55 per month with an annual increase of 3.9% each year for 20 years, on approved credit. First payment is due after your system is turned on" - Solar City