FAQs

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  • Which Installers are Part of Solarize Wellfleet

    We have picked our installer team. Solarize Wellfleet (SM) will be served by a team of three companies: Cotuit Solar (lead), E2 Solar and Blue Selenium Solar.

    Many residents are receiving solicitations from other solar companies.  At least one other company is implying that they are part of the Solarize Wellfleet program, which is not true.  There is no reason not to listen to what they say and compare their offerings to Solarize Wellfleet.  However, in order to ...

  • Why should I consider participating in Solarize Wellfleet?

    Solarize Wellfleet is the best opportunity for going solar at an affordable price. The program includes: a group purchase rate for a significantly lower installation cost; generous tax credits; and a Solarize Wellfleet rebate. But this program is a limited opportunity: contracts must be signed by June 30, 2014.  Waiting simply delays your savings and keeps you paying higher rates.

  • Does Solar Work in New England?

    There is plenty of sunlight to support solar energy. In fact, cooler Northeast temperatures make solar electric cells work more efficiently. Much more important than sunlight intensity are programs to make solar cost effective, which is why cool and cloudy Germany is actually the global leader in solar generated electricity. 

    Here are the production figures for a year for an 8.2 KW system, half of which is facing south and half facing west.  It produced 11,019 kWh in one year of operation.

  • What size solar system do I need?

    The size of your solar electric system depends on how much electricity you use. For maximum payback, you should generate enough electricity over the course of a year to cover the amount that you use in a year.

    Generally that means looking at your annual electric bill and sizing a system to generate that much electricity. The electricity you use is measured in megaWatt hours. The example we use assumes 6 megaWatt hours ( 6 mWh) of consumption per year.

    A typical ...

  • Do I need a battery backup system for night time electricity?

    No. Your house remains connected to the grid and you draw electricity from the grid when you need it. With net-metering in Massachusetts, the utility (NSTAR) essentially acts as a “virtual battery” for your system. That is, whenever your solar panels don’t produce enough electricity to meet your electrical demand, you can get the rest from the grid. When you produce more electricity than you consume, your meter will spin backwards and reduce your bill or create a credit on ...

  • Are solar panels fragile?

    Solar Electric systems are extremely rugged. They have no moving parts to wear out over time. Many solar installations have been producing energy for over thirty years, and all solar panels used by Solarize Wellfleet come with a warranty.  The baseline panels have a ten year product warranty, and the upgrades have a twenty-five year product warranty.  Today’s panels are designed to withstand lightning strikes, hail storms, and 100+ mile-an-hour wind.

  • Are the panels recyclable?

    Yes.  Solar panels are primarily composed of glass and aluminum, which can be recycled as such.  However, panels may someday also be recycled for reuse as panels.

    Solar panels have an expected life of 30 years.  So solar panel recycling is in its infancy.  Some research has been done into how panels could be recycled into new panels.  Here is a reference.  The article points out that recycling is cost effective, but that the infrastructure is not there.  We ...

  • Does my roof need to face south?

    An unshaded roof that slopes towards the south will produce the most electricity for a given set of panels.  However, even if your roof is more east or west facing, you can still get strong results.  A west facing roof might produce 82% of what the same array on a south facing roof would produce.  For this program, an array must produce more than 80% of what a south facing roof would produce, so an unshaded west facing roof is fine.

    And ...

  • Do I need a new roof?

    The solar panels you put on your roof are should last for 25 years.  You want your roof to outlast your panels, so that you don’t need a new roof during the lifetime of the panels.  In general, this means that your roof should be less than ten years old.

    That said, the portion of the roof under the panels has its aging process greatly reduced, since the array protects the roof.  An array that covers an entire roof will increase ...

  • Will I start receiving SREC payments as soon as I generate the electricity?

    No. There will be a delay (from six months to over a year) between electricity generation and payment for SRECS.
    SRECS are “minted” on the fifteenth day of the first month after the quarter in which they are generated. But they cannot be sold at auction for another quarter. So if you finish generating 1 MWh in the second quarter, they can not be auctioned until October, (perhaps even later if the market doesn’t clear). But once you ...

  • What pay back can I expect if my roof is suitable?

    Every array is different, but with this dramatically discounted pricing, we project a 4 to 6 year pay back.  This for an investment in solar panels that have a 20+ year performance warranty.

    We have worked at a detailed example you can view here.

  • What happens to the power my panels generate when I’m not in my vacation home?

    When you are not using your house, you presumably generate more electricity than you are using.  You get credit from NSTAR for any energy you generate but don’t use yourself.

    When you need more energy than you generate, you will take advantage of the credit you previously generated.

    You should size your system to generate all the electricity you use on an annual basis, so that over the course of a year it will all balance out.

  • Are Businesses Eligible for a Tax Credit?

    The Business Energy Investment Tax Credit (ITC) is available for businesses.

    In general, the following credits are available for eligible systems placed in service on or before December 31, 2016**:

    Solar. The credit is equal to 30% of expenditures, with no maximum credit. Eligible solar energy property includes equipment that uses solar energy to generate electricity, to heat or cool (or provide hot water for use in) a structure, or to provide solar process heat. Hybrid solar lighting systems, which use solar energy ...

  • Does the federal tax credit apply to second homes?

    Yes.  You can claim the credit for your primary residence, or a vacation home. 

    If you install Energy Star-approved solar-power systems before the end of 2016, you can claim 30 percent of the cost as a tax credit for the year you installed it.

    Continue reading »

  • What are the pricing tiers?

    The price that home and business owners will pay decreases as more people sign contracts.  The prices begin at tier 1, and as more and more people contract to install systems, the price for all is lowered.

     

    Tier 1 2 3 4 5
    Levels <25 kW 25-50 kW 50-100 kW 100-200 kW >200 kW
    Price $3.75 $3.70 $3.65 $3.60 $3.50
  • How much maintenance is required with solar panels?

    There is no preventive maintenance required. Snow and pollen are no problem; just let nature and rain do the cleaning work for you.

    The panels we selected have 10 to 25 year product warranties. Inverters have a 10 year warranty and will probably need to be replaced as some time.  Micro-inverters have 25 year warranties.

  • Will my property taxes go up because of Solar Panels?

    No.  Solar Water Heat, Solar Space Heat, Solar Thermal Electric, Photovoltaics, Wind, Hydroelectric systems have a 100% exemption from Property Taxes for 20 years undeer M.G.L. ch. 59 § 5 (45, 45A).  This applies to residential and commercial installations.

  • Will my property value go up because of Solar Panels?

    Yes, is the conclusion of three researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, who looked at home sales — both homes with photovoltaic systems and homes without — in California over an eight-and-a-half-year period ending in mid-2009. The abstract of their study states, “the analysis finds strong evidence that California homes with PV systems have sold for a premium over comparable homes without PV systems.”

    The premium ranged from $3.90 to $6.40 per watt of capacity, but tended most often to be about ...

  • Should I Wait for the Best Price?

    I want to make sure I get the lowest tier pricing possible. Should I wait until later in the summer to sign a contracgt? Everybody who signs a contract as part of Solarize Wellfleet will ultimately receive the same pricing tier, regardless of when they sign their contract.

    If, for example, you sign up when we are in Tier 2, but we eventually reach Tier 5, you will still receive Tier 5 pricing. If you have already paid based on Tier ...

  • What are the pros and cons of owning vs leasing?

    If you own the system, you are likely to achieve higher long-term cost savings, but it requires a relatively high initial investment — even after incentives. With leasing, you can start saving from day one with a lower electricity rate than grid power, but your long-term savings will likely be lower than with purchasing.

    Leasing also has the advantage that the leasing company is responsible for all repairs over the 20-year life of the lease, and since the lease includes a ...

  • What if I don’t have the cash on hand to install panels?

    You have the option of a power purchase agreement. You get to buy all the electricity produced on your site at about 13.5 cents per kilowatt hour (fixed rate for twenty years) which is well below the market rate. You also get a signing bonus of about $1000.

  • What happens at end of a power purchase agreement?

    There are three options:

    1)  You can renew the lease, usually in 5 year increments.
    2)  The leasing company will come and take system off roof at no charge.
    3)  The leasing company will sell you the system at fair market value. Realistically, that value will be low, not because the system is of low value in 20 years, but because it is more cost effective for the leasing company to sell the system to the customer at a dramatically discounted ...

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