FAQs2019-06-28T17:51:09+00:00

Switch is committed to not only ensuring you get the best system for your home but that you and your family thoroughly understand how solar fits into your lives. Do you still have questions? We’d be happy to answer them for you! Simply, fill out the form provided here or call us at 509-731-9234

What rebates/incentives are available?2019-06-26T21:15:04+00:00

Local solar rebates
Homeowners have access to rebate programs in many areas of the Golden State. These rebates can pay solar shoppers anywhere from $500 total to $0.95 per watt of installed capacity.

PACE solar financing: a leading CA solar tax credit
California has a great Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) offering in many cities and counties known as the Home Energy Renovation Opportunity (HERO) Financing Program. PACE financing allows homeowners to finance their PV installation and pay it back through their property taxes.

Net metering in CA
Though there have been some recent state battles involving net metering, this incentive is still available and is undoubtedly one of the biggest reason to go solar in California. In the Golden State, any solar homeowner will receive bill credits for their extra solar power at the retail rate from his or her utility. The capacity limit is 5 percent of aggregate customer peak demand for California’s net metering program – a statewide incentive.

DAC-SASH
The Disadvantaged Communities – Single-family Solar Homes (DAC-SASH) program provides upfront rebates to income-eligible, single-family homeowners installing solar panels. Homeowners must be customers of Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), Southern California Edison (SCE) or San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) to take advantage of the incentive.

The Federal ITC (solar tax credit)
When focusing on state-specific benefits of going solar, it’s easy to forget about the federal solar incentive that is making solar so appealing to homeowners across the country: the Investment Tax Credit, also known as the ITC. Now that the ITC has been extended through 2021, every homeowner who buys a solar panel system will benefit from a 30 percent discount on top of all additional state rebates and incentives.

How much does solar power cost?2019-06-26T20:53:29+00:00

Compared to the power you are buying right now from the electric utility, solar power can cost half as much per kWh. Example: Today you are buying electricity from the utility at an average of $.13/kWh and over time, you could be paying up to $.20/kWh as the cost of electricity increases over time (FACT: 4% annual increase in electricity costs based on historical data). When you produce your own power with solar, you could be paying $.08/kWh and you would NOT be subject to any inflation. You can lock in your electricity rate forever! Solar energy is not stored unless you have an energy storage component such as batteries. During the day, you will use solar energy in your home. If you produce more than you are using, you will sell that power back to the grid in the form of “store credit.” Then you buy it back at night or on days when you use a lot of energy. If you produce more than you use on average for the month, the extra amount carries over to the next month.

Will my homeowner’s policy cover damage to my solar power system?2019-06-26T20:46:27+00:00

Homeowner’s policies typically cover damage to your solar power system for normal causes just as they would for any other item attached to your home. Please check with your homeowner’s insurance carrier about your plans to install a solar power system and be sure you are covered.

How long will my solar power system continue to produce electricity?2019-06-26T20:45:24+00:00

Manufacturers typically warranty their panels to produce at least 80% of their rated capacity for 25 years. There are many cases of panels installed for 30 or more years that are still producing at high efficiencies.

I have lots of shade trees in my yard; can I still have a solar power system?2019-06-26T20:44:48+00:00

Shading can significantly reduce the efficiency of your solar array. Ideally, your site should allow full sun exposure to the system from at least 10am until 3pm, longer if possible. Though Switch never advocates the cutting of trees, sometimes minor pruning or thinning may be necessary. Some sites simply aren’t appropriate for solar.

How can I find out if my house is a good candidate for a solar power system?2019-06-26T20:43:45+00:00

When you contact Switch, our first step will be to look up a satellite photo of your property while we have you on the phone. Sometimes satellite photos are not up to date, but we can usually tell if your location is a good site for solar. If everything looks good, we’ll visit your home and conduct a thorough Site Audit using special equipment that allows us to project the amount of electricity a given system will produce on your site. We’ll discuss the actual location of the system, orientation, and any shading issues we find while there. When we’re done, you can be sure that your solar power system will perform as projected in the Site Audit.

How will I know if my system is functioning properly from day to day?2019-06-26T20:41:53+00:00

The microinverters used in most of our systems allow for online monitoring of the system for customers with internet access. For customers without internet access, simple monitoring equipment is available. Most inverter manufacturers these days offer internet connectivity features that allow ongoing monitoring.

How durable are solar panels?2019-06-26T20:41:03+00:00

Just like your home, solar panels are designed to handle a variety of environmental and weather conditions and continue operating at their designed capacity. Manufacturers subject their panels to industry standard minimum tests for loading, temperature cycling, and even hail impact to ensure their products will meet those standards. Some manufacturers take that standard minimum testing to an extreme to ensure their panels exceed industry minimums so that your system will function properly for decades to come.

How is the solar energy stored?2019-06-26T20:37:09+00:00

Solar energy is not stored unless you have an energy storage component such as batteries. During the day, you will use solar energy in your home. If you produce more than you are using, you will sell that power back to the grid in the form of “store credit.” Then you buy it back at night or on days when you use a lot of energy. If you produce more than you use on average for the month, the extra amount carries over to the next month.

What equipment does Switch use?2019-06-26T20:36:15+00:00

We’ve hand-picked the highest quality equipment after combing through dozens of manufacturers. When we choose a panel or inverter manufacturer, we look for things like warranty terms, financial backing, years in business, technology, R&D, and of course cost. We have dozens of customers who are more than satisfied and we know you will be too.

Will the solar panels last in strong winds?2019-06-26T20:14:56+00:00

Every solar power installation we do is engineered to withstand 170+ mph winds. This is not only for our own insurance, but it is a California Building Code requirement. We attach directly to the roof trusses to ensure a secure, long-term attachment of your solar.

How does an inverter work?2019-06-26T20:09:48+00:00

Solar power inverters convert DC power to AC power. All of the appliances in your home use AC power and most all of the world is powered by AC power (unless you live on an island). Without inverters, your solar panels will only produce DC power, which your home cannot use.

What maintenance is required?2019-06-26T20:09:21+00:00

Not much at all. You should rinse off dust and grime twice a year, but if you just let the rain do the work you might not even notice. Clean the solar panels regularly if that area of your home or business is known to collect lots of big debris or is a popular bird hangout.

Should I reroof before installing solar panels?2019-06-26T20:08:30+00:00

If you add solar to your roof today and then a few years later wanted to reroof, it’s not that expensive to quickly remove the panels from the roof, re-roof, and put them back on. In most cases, the amount of power that you would have saved by installing solar is greater than the cost to remove and reinstall the panels, so it would actually cost you more to wait.

If you plan on re-roofing this year, we suggest you go ahead and do it at the same time as the solar installation. This way, our installation team can work with your roofer and we can make sure that your roof warranty is preserved. It’s extremely common for roofers and solar installers to work together on projects.

What happens if the power goes out? Will I still have power from my solar panels?2019-06-26T20:07:30+00:00

Most solar power systems are connected directly to your home or business and the electrical grid. Some solar power systems have an energy storage component which provides backup power during a power outage. If you have ever been without power, you may feel that adding energy storage is critical to your home or business. Fortunately, there are many options we can provide for backup power such as the Tesla Powerwall.

How do solar hot water systems work?2019-06-26T19:46:14+00:00

Today, it’s likely that you have a traditional water heater/storage tank (big white, cylindrical tank) in your home or business. This tank uses a heating element to heat water for use in the shower, sink, washing machine, and other appliances. This heating element uses a LOT of electricity to heat water for you.

A solar hot water system uses the sun to heat water, reducing the costs of running the heating element. This saves you a ton of money and these systems last for a very long time.

I don’t think my HOA will let me install solar.2019-06-26T18:18:20+00:00

Incorrect! California has several laws designed to encourage solar access and prevent restrictions on the installation of solar energy systems. Specifically, the Solar Rights Act. It states that no HOA can restrict you from installing solar panels on your roof based on where they’re installed or how they look. Basically, you have the right to install solar panels and your HOA can’t tell you otherwise.

Most of the time an HOA will only ask for a layout of the panels on the roof.

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