Straight answers to frequently asked questions (that many solar companies won’t give you).
How do we know which components to choose? The terms are all new to us.
This is one of the hardest things you will encounter in the purchase process. There are literally dozens of solar module companies selling product in the US. Some are good, some are really good, and some are not very good at all. It’s the same with inverters. Many companies are now installing string inverters of questionable quality to save a few cents per watt on cost. A residential system based on cheap string inverters and cheap, foreign-made modules cannot be compared to a system based on leading-edge micro inverters (25 year warranty) and Made in USA, high performance modules,
We recently published a blog post on this topic. This is a purchase decision that’s expected to last 30 or more years, so it pays to do the research and to understand what you are buying.
Are solar modules durable?
They’re UL® certified and tested to withstand hail, hurricane-force winds, rainstorms and other kinds of severe weather.
What about the rest of my solar system?
There are no moving parts to wear out. Solar modules are warranted by the manufacturer for 25 years, most inverters for 10 to 15. In addition, modules are warranted to perform at at least 80% of original output after 25 years. Batteries for off-grid systems last 7 to 10 years if properly maintained. One recent development is that Enphase microinverters now come with a 25-year warranty which is very attractive to buyers.
Do I have to maintain my solar panels?
Just keep them relatively clean. In most areas, rain does that.
If I sell my house, can I take my solar system?
You can, but you’d do better leaving it in place, where it’ll increase your home’s resale value.
How big a system do I need?
That depends on how much unshaded area there is for your array, by how big a percentage you want to cut your electric bill, and what your budget is – all of which Milestone Solar covers with you in our initial contact and free site survey.
Should I lease or buy my system?
There are tradeoffs either way.
When you lease, your initial outlay may be lower, but you’ll give up federal tax credits and state incentives and grants that could put tens of thousands of dollars in your pocket. You could also be giving up hundreds or thousands of dollars a year in Solar Renewable Energy Credits (which also vary from state to state) that solar system owners earn by selling credits for power produced to the electric utilities.
If you own your solar system, it adds substantially to your home’s value and potential selling price. But if you sell your home before a solar lease is up, the added monthly payments could deter potential buyers.
Overall, with the low interest bank financing available, we encourage customers to carefully review all options before committing to a lease agreement. In almost all cases, we feel that buying and owning is a much better deal than leasing.
How do I pay the initial purchase cost?
As a Milestone Solar customer, you can get quick, easy financing at low, fixed bank rates on your choice of terms with no down payment.
How big a roof do I need?
The size of your solar array depends on your site’s orientation and shading and your energy needs. But don’t worry about the size of your roof. We can also use empty ground space; setting the poles, digging trenches and laying conduit back to the grid connection point will add a little installation time.
How long does installation take?
One to three days for a typical roof-mounted residential system. Ground installations take a little longer. Large commercial systems obviously require much more time. Either way, as a Milestone Solar customer, you receive a specific detailed schedule – one that we live up to.