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For more information on whether solar might work for you, check our
Is Solar Right for Your Home page.
There are a couple of factors that go into whether or not solar is a good fit for your home.
We have a checklist you can use to check if your home is right for solar. Find out now!
Sunlight is important for solar, but even cloudy areas are great for solar energy. It doesn't matter as much where you live, whether it's the Northeast or Southwest. What matters more is your roof (or property, if you're thinking of a ground system). As long as your roof is free of shade and faces either the South, East, or West, you'll get plenty of sunshine for panels. If you think your roof might be a good candidate for solar, get a free solar quote.
On average, for every kilowatt (kW) installed, a home solar system takes up about 100 square feet. Most residential solar systems are between 3 and 6 kW, so an average solar system takes between 300 and 600 square feet.
4. What is the best type of roof for solar panels?
The perfect roof for solar could be described as made of composite and not too steep, with unobstructed space for the solar panels. That said, solar works on many kinds of roofs, with the exceptions of slate and clay tile roofs. Wood shake roofs, flat roofs, and concrete tiles are a little more difficult to install on, but can be done. Check if your roof works with solar.
Going solar can be a very smart financial choice, depending on your home and how much you're currently paying for power. If your average monthly electric bill (gas not included) is $45, or $100 in California, then you're paying too much. Adding solar panels can help you cut your electric bill by locking in low solar electric rates.
Then solar may be a really good option for you. Get a free solar quote and find out how much you can save.
The size of your solar system depends on a number of factors:
In general, your solar system will not be designed to offset 100% of your electricity needs. This is because it makes more financial sense to get some of your electricity from solar energy and the rest from your utility company (i.e. in the daytime, solar electricity is bountiful but utility electric rates may be at their peak; at night, your system won't produce any solar energy, but you can use cheaper, off-peak electricity from the utility company).
A typical system size can range anywhere between 10 to 20 panels, though many systems are smaller or larger. The easiest and most accurate way to figure out how many panels your home will need is to get a free solar consultation.
If your roof isn’t optimal for solar and you have ground space, you might choose a ground mounted solar system. People commonly choose ground mounted systems if the roof doesn’t work (faces the wrong direction, made of the wrong materials, etc.) or if they have a lot of space on their property.
Read about some customers with ground-mount systems:
In general, we recommend that your roof be less than 15 years old if you decide to go solar. Your home solar system will last for twenty years or more, so you'll need to have at least twenty good years left on your roof. If your roof needs to be replaced or repaired, it's best to do so before you get solar, so you don't have to remove and re-install the panels later on.
However, it is possible to do a roof replacement or repairs once you have solar. But it can be time consuming and your solar company won't cover all the expenses involved. However, we will help you coordinate the removeal and re-installation if you decided to do so.
If your roof is relatively new or structurally sound, solar mght be a great option for you. Get started with a free solar quote.
Usually not. An HOA may try, but in many states, this is not allowed. In California specifically, the California Solar Rights Act says that homeowners associations (HOAs), governments, and other organizations can't stop you from installing a home solar power system. Similar rights exist in other states, including Oregon, Maryland, Arizona, Colorado, New Jersey, Hawaii and Massachusetts However, HOAs may ask you to modify the design and/or location for aesthetic reasons as long as the changes don't significantly impact solar electricity production (a decrease greater than 10%) or cost more than $2,000.
1. How do I get power at night with home solar? (click to see video)
Although your system doesn't produce any electricity at night, a process called net metering allows you to benefit from the day's production. In the morning, your system is producing a little bit of electricity. It's probably enough to power your hair dryer or make toast for breakfast. You use it as you produce it.
During the day, when the sun is at the highest point in the sky, your system produces a lot of electricity, and you're probably not using all the power being produced. The additional electricity your system produces flows back into the grid and runs your meter backwards, earning you credits.
At night, when your system is not producing any electricity, the credit you earned during the day carries over, and you take electricity back from the grid.
Most home solar power systems are predicted to last between 25 and 35 years. Sunrun’s agreements last for 20 years. The inverter will need to be replaced in about ten years. If you go solar with Sunrun, we'll take care of all repairs and inverter replacements for the lifetime of your agreement. Get started now.
The solar electricity your panels produce will naturally vary depending mostly on the season and number of daylight hours. Most dust and debris that gets on your panels won't significantly impact solar production, and average wind and rainfall will keep your solar panels producing at near optimum. In certain situations, dust and debris can decrease your solar production by 5% to 15%, but this would most likely occur in special situations, such as a forest fire near your home. It's best to clean your panels only if you notice a significant drop in electricity production.
It doesn’t have to be completely sunny for your panels to produce electricity. In bad weather, your panel production won’t be 100%, but your panels will still be producing power. On a cloudy day, your panels might produce 30% of what they normally would. The exception is a snowstorm. If it snows enough for there to be a significant accumulation on your panels, your panels will not produce electricity. However, snow slides easily off of panels, and your panels tend to be located where your roof gets the most sun, so the snow on your panels will melt first, and your panels will resume producing electricity. If you live in an area that gets snow in the winter, snow days are likely, snow days will be factored into your system’s projected production.
Solar panels can handle some pretty tough weather. Sunrun homes made it through the recent Hurricane Irene with minimal damage. Most solar panels are guaranteed to withstand 3/4 inch hail balls at 120 miles per hour, and they are also built to withstand direct lightning strikes. Of course if nature does damage your panels, Sunrun will fix them for free.
No. For safety reasons, your home solar power system will automatically shut off if the power goes out. This is to protect utility workers who might be working on power lines in an outage from being exposed to live electricity.
For more information on how Sunrun can save you money, check out How Sunrun Works.
1. How does Sunrun work? (click to see video)
Sunrun makes solar easy and affordable by allowing you to go solar for as low as $0 down. Sunrun buys the system and has it installed. You pay little or nothing upfront, and then pay monthly for your electricity. And Sunrun actively monitors your panels, provides insurance, and makes any necessary repairs. Learn more about How Sunrun Works.
2. How much money will I save with Sunrun? (click to see video)
How much money you'll save with Sunrun depends on how much you're currently paying your utility company for electricity. In the beginning, your solar electricity rate will be lower or similar to the rate you're paying your utility company, so your savings may be modest. However, your solar electricity rate is fixed and will rise very gradually. This means as your utility increases its rates over time, the amount of money you'll save with Sunrun will also increase over the life of your agreement. This can amount to tens of thousands of dollars in savings.
We can get more specific about your savings once we know more about your home's energy needs. Get a free solar quote to find out how much you'll save with solar.
3. How much does Sunrun cost? (click to see video)
Sunrun offers a new kind of home solar, where you don't have to pay for solar panels. Instead, you get started for as low as $0 down and simply pay for the electricity your system produces - just like you pay your utility company. The rate you'll pay Sunrun is less than or similar to what you pay your utility company today. And while your utility rates may rise unpredictably, Sunrun's solar rates will remain low and fixed.
If you want to find out how much you can save by going solar, get a free solar quote or give us a call at 1.855.4SUNRUN.
4. What happens after I sign up with Sunrun? (click to see video)
After you sign up with Sunrun, we'll get started on working with you to have your panels installed and up and running.
We'll help you throughout the entire process. Get started with Sunrun.
5. Will my home be connected to the grid? (click to see video)
Yes, all Sunrun homes stay connected to the grid. The benefit of staying connected is to take advantage of a process called net metering. In the simplest of terms, net metering is what allows you to earn credit for excess solar electricity that's produced by your system. When your solar system produces electricity that you don’t use right away, it’s sent back to the grid, and you get a positive credit. At night time when your system isn't producing electricity and you need to turn on the lights, your TV, or any other electrical device, you can use the credits you earned.
The only way to be off the grid is to get a battery back-up. But typically a battery back-up costs a lot of money and there's also a lot of maintenance involved as well.
6. How will I pay for electricity after I switch to Sunrun? (click to see video)
After you go solar with Sunrun, you'll still receive an electric bill from your utility. However, it will be much smaller than before. When we design your Sunrun system, we make sure that it produces just enough solar electricity for it to make financial sense for you. This means your system will probably not offset 100% or more of your needs.
For example, in California, electricity is priced by tiers - the more power you use, the more expensive your utility power rate. However, by going solar, you can cut how much power you need from your utility company and thus, pay lower rates. You'll pay Sunrun for the solar electricity your panels produce and if you need any additional electricity from your utility company, you'll pay them either monthly or at the end of the year. Going solar is a great way to take control of rising utility electric rates. To learn more, get a free solar quote.
7. What if I sell my home? (click to see video)
You might not end up living in your home for the next twenty years. Sunrun agreements are set up so that it’s easy to transfer your agreement to a new homeowner. The new homeowner will take over the Sunrun agreement and pay the same low rate for solar power. In most cases, new buyers see lower electricity rates, system maintenance, and monitoring as advantages, and it can help you get a higher selling price for your home.
You may also choose to purchase the solar equipment from Sunrun and sell it with your home. What we've learned is that solar enhances the value of your home. In fact, home sellers and realtors have confirmed that with us. So during the transition, Sunrun will continue to own the solar system, and we'll work really closely with the home buyer to transfer the Sunrun agreement over to them. It's a fairly straight-forward process and you'll have a dedicated Service Transfer Coordinator who will be with you every step of the way.
Adding solar panels is possible but can be complicated. Inverters and solar panels are designed to fit together like puzzle pieces. Because there's an ideal number of solar panels that should be hooked up to a specific inverter, a whole mini system - solar panels and inverter - would most likely need to be added if you want to add panels.
It’s better to size your system correctly the first time, which is why your solar installer will make sure they understand your current usage and any reasons that your usage might change in the near future.
Your Sunrun agreement lasts 20 years. At the end of the agreement, we will make it easy for you to continue with solar, or opt to take it off. You can:
Sunrun selects the best solar panel installers in each local market to do all our system installations. Our solar panel installers have local knowledge and extensive experience, and we maintain a high bar for quality control so that you can be assured your installation will be managed smoothly. Get started with Sunrun.
Find out if solar is right for you in our 3 minute review.