Questions & Answers

What is Solarize Monadnock?

 

Solarize Monadnock is a community-based solar energy group purchasing campaign that makes solar more accessible and affordable in many cases for the residents of Peterborough, Hancock, Rindge, Sharon and Fitzwilliam.

 

The organizers of the campaign sought competitive bids from local solar businesses to ensure best-in-class materials are installed by qualified solar professionals for the lowest price. Solarize Monadnock makes it easy and affordable for residents and small business owners to go solar—that is, to convert sunlight into electricity that we can all use in our homes. Solarize Monadnock pre-selects a quality installer and offers a discount off the cost of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, in addition to incentives from the state and federal governments. The campaign is time-limited, beginning at the Kickoff Event, on March 13th/14th. Residents can then sign up for free site visits through June 30th. Installations will be completed by December 31, 2019.

 

2019 is also a great year to buy PVs for your home or business because it is the last year that homeowners and business owners can get a 30% federal tax credit. In 2020, the tax credit drops to 26% and will be gone by 2022.

 

Solarize Monadnock consists of a group of volunteers who administer the program, driving the growth of the solar industry and making solar technology more affordable for residents of Peterborough, Rindge, Hancock, Sharon and Fitzwilliam.

 

What can you expect from Solarize Monadnock?

 

Solarize Monadnock offers the following:

  • Savings: Savings through a discount on PV system wattage and a focus on a limited geographic area.

  • Simplicity: We do the  research on the best installers working locally, with the best materials, experience, and pricing, and on solar permits, on the government and state incentives and rebates,  and we provide you with information, education, and follow-up, so that your process is as easy and simple  as possible from start to finish.

  • Vetted Contractor and Materials: Through a competitive bid process, Solarize includes the selection of qualified solar contractors and best-in-class materials so you don’t have to.

  • Free Solar Evaluations: Sign up by June 30, 2019, and get a free solar evaluation including preliminary site design, energy usage profile, and financial analysis.

  • Education and Outreach: Several free workshop and education events that include discussions, home visits to solar houses,   and discussions

       with installers.

  • You will meet the contractors, learn about materials, pricing and payback, and get your questions answered.

  • The Solarize Monadnock team will follow up on all work to ensure timeliness and quality.

  • Limited Time Campaign:  Once the campaign ends, discount pricing goes away.

 

 

How much will this cost?

 

There will be a $0.20 discount per watt price from ReVision Energy. Federal tax incentives in 2019 are 30%. In 2020 the Federal incentives will decrease to 26%; by 2022, it will be gone - so the time to install solar is now.

 

What kind of financing is available?

 

Loan Financing: Solarize Monadnock promotes local financing options to provide low-cost loan financing specifically designed for energy efficient homes and solar. A local bank, Bar Harbor makes installing panels easy with financing specifically designed for your solar panel installation. Make sure to visit your local branch and ask questions about this financing option! ReVision energy has a relationship with Mosaic - when you have your site visit, ask ReVision about financing options - they will be happy to review Mosaic and more!.  You can also check with your local bank about a home equity line of credit loans.

 

 

What are the warranties attached to the solar installations?

 

Most tier-1 solar panel manufacturers carry a 10-year product warranty and a 25-year linear performance guarantee. Inverter warranties are from 10-25 years depending on the inverter type. Your community’s pre-selected solar provider will inform you of all product warranties and provide a workmanship warranty as well.

 

What kind of permits do I need?

 

You will need a solar permit from your local building and planning department. Solarize Monadnock can work with your community to ensure all permitting is in place. Your community’s pre-selected installer will take care of obtaining the necessary permits for you.

 

Why are towns in the Solarize Monadnock 2019 campaign working with specific solar installer/s?

 

The Solarize program works by giving the community the benefit of economies of scale. An installer can offer reduced prices during the time-limited Solarize campaign by concentrating its efforts in one area and working with the community to spread the word about the program. In this way, the growth of local solar businesses is also promoted. 

 

 

How were the designated solar installers selected for the 2019 Solarize Monadnock Campaign?

 

Each selected Solarize Community pre-selects one or more qualified solar contractors for residential installation systems. Prequalified contractors then respond to a Request for Proposals (RFP) in which they describe their company, their planned approach to implementing a Solarize campaign, their proposed equipment, and pricing.  Solarize Monadnock engaged technical consultants who reviewed all proposals and highlighted key attributes of each. The Solarize Monadnock team reviewed financial information, checked references and reviewed proposals in detail. Finally, a selection team from the Monadnock Energy Hub and  Solarize Monadnock chooses an installer[ or two] that is well-suited for that community following review of the proposals and an interview process. All solar contractors must be PV contractors eligible to provide state incentives, have demonstrated experience with installing solar in NH, provide references for their work and proof of insurance, and hold an NH license. In addition, contractors were selected based on the quality and value of their product offering and their capacity to serve the Solarize campaign.

 

Technical Questions

 

What size system should I install?

 

Your community’s pre-selected installer will provide a comprehensive assessment of your specific energy needs by taking a look at your utility bills and sizing a system appropriately. Every home is different. As such, your system size will be determined by your roof space [unless you choose to install ground solar] and electricity needs. If you use certain technologies that are highly dependent on electricity, such as an electric car or geothermal heating and cooling, you might require a larger system. Your installer will work with you to design a system with characteristics that will meet your specific needs.

 

How can I use the provided solar calculator to appropriately size my home solar installation?

 

The link to the solar calculator is here. Using this calculation know that results will vary. This calculator provides an estimate of energy production and costs saving under the most optimal circumstances. This calculator does not take into account specific site conditions such as shading, roof pitch, panel orientation, or amount of excess energy exported to the grid. Our installer will be able to help calculate that information.. Participants are strongly urged to consult with a tax professional to determine how tax incentives apply.

 

How do I know if my home is suitable for a solar installation?

 

The most suitable location for a roof-mounted solar PV system is a south-facing roof with little to no shading from nearby trees, chimneys or other obstructions. Any shading on the system can reduce energy output, so it is important to assess the locations of current trees and buildings around your home as well as that of other obstructions that may exist around your home in the future. Advances in panel and inverter technologies can allow homes with east or west-facing roofs and moderate shading to benefit from solar PV as well.

For ground-mounted systems: If your roof is not suitable for solar panels, you may also consider a ground-mounted solar electric system. It doesn’t have to be placed right next to your premises but rather can be situated in the sunniest part of your property.

 

Will the system produce energy on cloudy days?

 

Yes, just not as much. Under an overcast sky, panels will produce less electricity that they produce on a clear, sunny day.

 

Will my system produce power if there is a blackout?

 

Without a battery backup, grid-tied solar PV systems will not operate when the power grid is down. This safety requirement, called “anti-islanding” allows utility linemen to safely repair power lines during a power outage. You may choose to add a battery backup to your solar system to keep the lights on during a blackout, though they cost between $5,000 and $15,000.

 

What happens if I have a fire on my roof?

 

Solar PV systems come with automatic safety disconnects located according to local permitting ordinances. Fire safety professionals have developed procedures and best practices for dealing with rooftop solar panels. It is important that your local fire department knows the location of your electrical disconnects.

 

Will the solar panels become damaged during a hailstorm?

 

Solar cells are protected with a hail-resistant tempered glass surface. Testing includes a half-inch ball- bearing shot at a 90-degree angle at 60 mph. Solar panels are usually mounted on a tilt so hail will ricochet off the panel surface at an angle. Nevertheless, a severe storm with golf-ball size hail could cause damage to solar panels, your roof, house, cars, etc. In this case, your property insurance will cover the damage.

 

How long will the installation process take?

 

From the day you sign a contract with an installer, it can take up to several months before your solar PV system will be turned on. The physical installation of the solar system typically takes anywhere from two to three days, but the time it takes to order and receive equipment, secure permits or schedule your installation can vary.  Once installed, systems typically will need to be inspected by the municipal building department and utility.

 

What sort of maintenance is required after installation of solar panels?

 

Solar PV systems require very little maintenance. Rain showers will generally take care of pollen and dust that falls on your solar panels. If your system is shaded by trees, you may have to trim and maintain branches to protect your system from falling limbs and to minimize shading and maximize production. It is important to note that snow will melt off of a tilted system except when there is extremely heavy snow or prolonged freezing temperatures.
 

How much will I save by installing a solar system on my roof or land?

 

Your savings depend on the size of the system you choose, your annual electrical usage, electricity rates, and any financing option that you choose from your Solarize installer. To start, ask your solar installer how much electricity your new system is expected to produce on an annual basis and then compare that number to how much electricity your household uses to get an idea of how much you could save. Installers can also help you determine how much money you could save if electricity prices escalate over time.

 

I am confused about my electricity charges; can you explain my service rates?

 

Typically, a residential electricity bill is comprised of charges from a variety of supplier services, mainly: generation services, delivery services, transmission charge, and distribution charge. For further reference, please go to your local utility provider, Eversource:  and search for “average bill” in the “Rates” section.

 

Will I still receive a monthly electric bill after installing a PV solar system?

 

Yes. You will receive a monthly bill from your utility company as you always have, but the amount owed will differ depending on your monthly electrical usage, and also depending on whether you install storage batteries along with the PVs. It will be much less because your PVs will be producing much of your electricity supply, but you’ll still pay for some of the delivery, transmission and distribution charges.

 

Net Metering in NH: What is net metering (aka bi-directional metering)?

 

If your system generates more electricity than you use during daylight hours, the meter will “spin backward” and the utility will provide a credit on your bill. This means you are able to sell excess energy produced by your PV array back to the grid.

In NH currently,  Eversource offers 75% of the supply rate. This changes often.

Depending on how your system is sized, you may accrue credits in the more productive summer months which through net metering can be carried over and used in the less productive winter months.

See more about Eversource’s  net metering program here:

 

Can I benefit from the federal tax incentive?

 

A taxpayer may claim a credit of 30% of the price of the system until 2020, 26% in 2020,  and the tax credit goes away in 2022. If the federal tax credit exceeds your tax liability, the excess amount may be carried forward to the succeeding taxable years.

Note: Individual circumstances vary and not everyone is able to take full advantage of the tax credits. Solarize Monadnock strongly recommends you consult a tax professional to learn how tax credits apply in your situation.

 

Why is solar good for the economy?

 

Solar provides net benefits to the utility company and can help reduce the overall cost of energy: Generating electricity at the point of consumption helps reduce operating costs for property owners but also provides downstream net benefits to the utility. Often referred to as the “value of solar”, solar reduces the amount of electricity the utilities must generate, especially at peak demand such as in the summer. This reduces the need to power up expensive and inefficient reserves that transmit energy over long distances, and/or purchase expensive wholesale power at peak demand. Introducing solar to the cycle helps reduce the overall cost of electricity.

Additionally, installing solar benefits local installation businesses.