Solar FAQ


  1. Can I afford the upfront cost of a solar system?
  2. How much will the solar energy generated be worth?
  3. Andrew, Solar San AntonioHow much space is required for a solar system?
  4. Do the solar panels need to be mounted on my roof?
  5. Do the panels need to face south?
  6. How much power does the system produce?
  7. Do I need to install a new roof before the solar panels are installed?
  8. What happens if the panels are shaded?
  9. What are some of the choices I have to make?

Can I afford the upfront cost of a solar system?

Our office is working closely with lending institutions to create affordable solar loans.  Using your CPS Energy rebate and the federal tax credit, you can have a reasonable size solar system on your home and end up with payments as low as $100 per month on a solar loan. The reduction in your energy bill will contribute substantially to making your loan payments.  For more information on how to finance solar, please call us at 210-354-0236.

The example below assumes that the initial loan will be a no money down loan for the entire cost of the installation, including equipment and labor.  In the model, there would be one payment on the initial loan before the CPS rebate is received.  The loan would then be reduced by the amount of the rebate.

The federal tax credit could be paid to the bank at any time during the tax year. The example assumes that the federal tax credit amount would be paid to the bank one year after the rebate, so the payments on the rebate-reduced loan would continue for 12 months.  At the end of the 13 month process, the payments for the remaining life of the loan would be reduced by the federal tax credit. If the federal tax credit amount is paid on the loan earlier, the reduced payments would begin earlier.

Below is an example of a loan for a 5 kilowatt system costing $5.00 per watt to install.  The actual cost per installed watt will vary based on the solar product selected, the characteristics of the site, and other factors.  This model is solely meant to demonstrate how the process would work.

 

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How much will the solar energy generated be worth?

At today’s rates, your generated solar energy replaces energy purchased from CPS Energy for approximately $.09 per kilowatt hour.  In the loan example above, a five kilowatt system will generate approximately $73 per month. Your net costs per month would range from approximately $4 per month to $43 per month.  CPS rates will almost certainly go up in the years ahead.  When those rates do go up, your solar generated electricity is more valuable and your net costs will be even less.

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How much space does the system need?

The space required for a solar electric or solar thermal systems will vary depending on your energy usage and needs. The installer will be able to customize a plan that is suitable for the space available.

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Do the solar panels need to be mounted on my roof?

Panels are often mounted on the roof, but can also be mounted on the ground if the space is available. Keep in mind, wherever the panels are located needs to be free of shade. Roof mount systems are most common in residential installations.

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Do the panels need to face south?

PV modules should be oriented geographically to maximize the amount of daily and seasonal solar energy that they receive. In general, the optimum orientation for a PV module in the northern hemisphere is true south. However, your modules can face up to 45º east or west of true south without significantly decreasing its performance.

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How much power does the system produce?

Systems come in many sizes. The solar installer will review your current and average energy usage to design a system that will produce the correct amount of power to suit your needs.

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Do I need to install a new roof before the solar panels are installed?

If your roof is older and needs to be replaced in the near future, you will want to replace it at the time that the PV system is installed to avoid the cost of removing and reinstalling your PV system.

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What happens if the panels are shaded?

It is very important that your array is properly mounted to maximize output. Shade free panels will produce the most electricity. Partial shading of a panel will significantly reduce that panel’s output.

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What are some of the choices I have to make?

ROOF MOUNTED SOLAR PANELS
This system fits onto an existing roof and does not act as part of the building envelope. This type of mounting is often used when the system is installed after the building is completed. Roof mounted solar is the most popular for residential systems. It can also be mounted on a flat roof using a rack mount.

GROUND MOUNTED
Ground mounts have been the mainstay for many years, especially for off grid systems. They are less popular with grid tied systems in cities due to theamount of land needed and lack of land that isnt shaded.

SOLAR HOT WATER
Flat-plate collector – insulated, weatherproofed boxes that contain a dark absorber plate under one or more glass or plastic (polymer) covers. Integral collector-storage systems – Also known as ICS or batch systems, they feature one or more black tanks or tubes in an insulated, glazed box. Evacuated-tube solar collectors – feature parallel rows of transparent glass tubes. The coating absorbs solar energy but inhibits radiative heat loss.

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