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Frequently Asked Questions

General FAQs

1. How long does a solar installation take?
An average sized solar install (20-28 panels) will take approximately 3 days. However, each install is unique and certain activities may take more or less time. We will always let you know upfront.

2. Do I need to know anything to do it?
You need no technical knowledge, just a desire to go solar. We’ll be there to lead you through every step.

3. Who owns the panels? Can I lease them?
We never own or lease the panels. Ideally, you own your panels – owning your PV system provides the greatest benefits and return on investment. We do not sell or install PV systems via power purchase agreements (PPAs) or leases.

4. Will it work on my house, barn, or property?
That depends. Where do you live? The best way to get an answer to this question is to reach out talk directly to one of our team members. You can do that here.

5. Do you install on slate roofs?
No. Slate is very easy to accidentally damage; slate is essentially rock and is therefore difficult to drill through without cracking. But that doesn’t mean you are out of luck. Ground mounts might be a solar option available to you.

6. Is it going to be ugly?
Uglier than smog? Or uglier than a power plant? Solar is beautiful (or at least the solar we install is).

7. Do I need to go down to Town Hall?
Not with Valley Solar. Our team takes care of everything in the design and installation process. We secure the permits and other paperwork that you will need to authorize your installation and use of a solar power system. To ensure that your solar panels receive enough light, we can also remove and replant any trees that might be blocking sunlight from reaching the panels. We are proud of the level of customer service we provide, and we are more than happy to serve you.

8. Can you provide references?
Of course. We have a stellar track record. Take a look at our testimonial page to learn what real customers had to say, or just ask around.

Solar FAQs

1. What kind of maintenance is needed? Do I need to clean them?
Roof & ground mounts:
Most systems need very little maintenance. They have no moving parts and rain tends to keep solar panel surfaces clean. The electronics for both are closed, self-contained systems. Snow typically slides off ground mounts and steeper roof pitches. Snow on lower-pitched roofs can be cleared manually, but it’s best to let the sun melt it off.

Despite the added mechanics, trackers need very little maintenance. The one expected task is changing the hydraulic fluid every 10 years – beyond that it’s been designed and programmed to live a long, productive life.

2. When is solar not a good choice?
When we find out, we’ll let you know.

3. Do you install off-the-grid solar solutions?
No. Not typically.

4. Can you install solar in the winter?
Depending on the weather, we install roof mounts through the winter. Ground mounts and trackers require excavating and trenching which can be impractical in frozen ground.

5. What if it breaks?
We will closely monitor production and functionality for the first year after the initial installation. If there’s an issue, we’ll know before you do. We get email notifications if there is an error on any system that’s installed – we’ll show you how to do that too.

6. Do they produce energy in the winter?
As long as the sun is shining, you will produce energy. However, because there is less sunlight in the winter, you will produce less.

Affordability FAQs

1. How much does solar cost?
This depends. How much electricity do you currently use or, more importantly, how much do you anticipate using in the future? Your electric bill likely shows your use for the past 12 months – this helps establish your baseline usage. Other considerations include where you plan to install the system, e.g. roof mounts, ground mounts and trackers all have different equipment. With more specific information about your home and energy usage, our team can give you an informed quote.

2. What are SRECs?
Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) represent the environmental benefits of producing solar power. One SREC is generated for every megawatt hour (1MWh = 1,000 kWh) of energy production. SRECs are usually purchased by distribution companies and competitive suppliers to comply with Massachusetts’ Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards. Organizations subject to renewable portfolio standards have the option of either generating the renewable power themselves or purchasing the equivalent amount of SRECs; they will typically elect to do whichever is cheaper.

3. What tax incentives are available?
Currently there is a 30% federal tax credit and a $1,000 Massachusetts tax credit. You must have sufficient tax liability in order to take advantage of these solar tax credits.

4. How long does it take to earn back my investment?
Considering current tax incentives, utility rates, and SREC sales, we find most buyers break even within 4-6 years. Roof mounts that face true south at ideal angles take the least time; as your roof moves further from this ideal, the payback takes longer as it takes more panels to produce an equivalent amount of energy. Ground mounts and trackers tend to cost more upfront than roof mounts, but your ability to maximize solar radiation per square foot delivers an optimum return.

5. Will I qualify for a loan?
The MA Solar Loan program is no longer processing new applicants. But there are still loan resources. Check out their website or give us a call to learn more.

Do you have additional questions?
We’re here to help.

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