Solar panels capture light and turn it into electricity for use in your home.
Your Local Solar Experts

Frequently Asked Questions

Have questions about solar? We're here to help.

Our Solar FAQs answer some of the most common questions we hear about residential solar power systems, commercial solar power solutions, and battery backup systems.

How do I know if solar will work for my home or business?

If you’re considering a solar PV upgrade there are a few factors to consider.

Roof Orientation
Which direction does your roof face? For solar installations in northern Florida along the Gulf Coast, a south facing roof surface is always preferred. East and west facing rooftops are also suitable as long as they have a bias/tilt towards the south. 

Minimal Shading/Foliage
Is there significant shading from nearby trees or buildings that may block your rooftop area? Consider anything that might obstruct the sun’s full power from hitting your roof. If there is tree shading would you be willing to remove the foliage in order to accommodate a new system?

Minimal Obstructions & Surface Area
How suitable is your rooftop area for a solar PV power system? Do you have dormers, peaks and valleys or any other obstructions? The more open area the better. However, we can still work around your immovable vent pipes, chimneys, and skylights. A solar PV system can be mounted to any type of roofing material including traditional asphalt shingle, clay tile, and metal.

I want to put solar on my home, where should I start?

Understand Your Consumption
Understanding your overall electricity consumption is a good place to start. This is measured in kilowatt-hours, or kWh. Refer to your most recent electricity bill. This will give you how many kWh you purchased the previous month, previous year, and across the current year. Knowing the amount of kWh you’re consuming allows us to build a customized solution just for you.

If you’re interested in receiving a quote, you can send us a copy of your power bill directly. If you’re a Gulf Power customer, you can also check out our step-by-step guide on where to find your consumption on your most recent power bill.

Think About a Budget
It’s important to understand that a solar PV system is an investment and could cost several thousands of dollars. The price tag on residential and commercial installations varies based on energy usage and goals. However, keep in mind that the investment will be offset and paid back over many years in the form of cheaper power bills, net metering credits, and the 26% Federal Tax Credit.

Do Your Homework
Make sure you do your homework on solar contractors in your area. Look for references and NABCEP (North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners) Credentials. SunFarm Energy is a NABCEP Certified Installer (PV Installation Professional – Murphy Allen # PV-042217-015332).

How long does it take to complete a solar upgrade?

Once you make the smart decision to install solar, the first step is finding a contractor. At SunFarm Energy, we walk you through the custom design and engineering of your system and assist you with signing all the necessary forms and contracts. The entire process should take between two and four weeks from the moment you sign the contact to the completion of the job.

For the average residential installation, your project will be complete within the week barring inclement weather. SunFarm Energy provides a turn-key service from permitting to installation to completion. The final step for installation is utility approval of an “interconnection agreement.” We help to expedite this process, but the individual utility company must sign off. The timing on this last step can sometimes be unpredictable, but is usually resolved within a few weeks of the completed install.

How much does a solar PV system cost?

Installing a solar PV system can seem like a big investment. However, we like to say that if you can afford to pay your current power bill you can afford to make the switch to solar. Plus, you’re locking in your energy cost at today’s rates and protecting yourself against inevitable rate hikes in the future. Switching to solar today means more money in your pocket tomorrow and in the decades to come.

Every solar PV system is different because every customer is different. Overall cost can depend on your current consumption, power goals, and other factors like equipment and the age of your roof. SunFarm Energy also offers a variety of financing options including zero-down and 0.99% interest rates. Plus, we offer military and other customer discounts.

What incentives are available?

The biggest incentive to make the switch to solar is the Federal Investment Tax Credit or ITC. This program is a true credit on your taxes the following year and currently stands at 26% of the cost of installing your system. The 26% rate is available until December 31st 2022. In 2023 the ITC will drop to 22%. There is no maximum credit limit and customers can pull from the credit for up to 5 years.

In addition, there is no sales tax on a solar PV or thermal upgrade. Plus, thanks to Florida Amendment 4, the value of an upgrade cannot be added to your annual property taxes.

What is net metering?

Net metering is a policy that requires your utility to compensate you for the excess energy you send back to the grid.

Most solar PV systems generate more energy than a home can use. When this happens, excess energy is returned to the grid and you receive a credit on your next utility bill. Once your meter is re-programmed, you will be able to see how much energy you are receiving from the grid and how much energy you are returning.

Net metering is an important incentive for installing solar and these policies help expand the use of solar energy in the Sunshine State.

How reliable is a solar PV system?

Solar energy reliably powers hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses each day across the United States. Our solar PV systems come with a 30-year warranty backed by an A-rated third-party insurance company.

SunFarm Energy monitors our installed systems weekly and provides a real time monitoring platform by computer or smart phone app. Our clients can also keep tabs on their hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly power production.

Will my solar PV system be able to withstand a storm?

We’re no strangers to extreme weather on the Gulf Coast. The good news is, solar panels hold up very well in extreme weather situations – including hurricanes.

Manufacturers constantly test modules to make sure they can tolerate an extreme weather event and most panels are certified to withstand up to 2,400 pascals, or the equivalent of 140mph winds.

Part of our installation process includes attaching racking pieces to the trusses of the roof to ensure maximum stability and strength. The added layer of PV modules not only keeps your traditional asphalt shingles from flying off, the system can also help keep your roof intact.

Learn more about solar PV systems and storms.

What happens if the power goes out?

Most solar PV systems are grid-tied, which means that you are always connected to your local utility company. If the power goes out, your solar PV system automatically shuts off. When power is restored, your solar power system will automatically begin working again. However, by adding battery storage you can help keep the lights on even when the grid is down.

Most solar PV systems generate more energy than a home can use. With a traditional PV system, that excess energy is sent back to the grid and the customer receives a credit. By adding a battery storage system, you can store that excess energy that would normally return for to the grid. Use your battery during evening hours when the sun isn’t shining, or during a power outage. As long as you monitor your consumption, your battery can keep your house functioning for an unlimited amount of time.

Will solar impact how my appliances function?

SunFarm Energy installs microinverters underneath each panel. Microinverters help convert DC electricity produced from the solar panels into the AC electricity used in your home. All of your home appliances will work and operate as they always have, you just won’t be paying as much to use them!

In addition, the microinverter system allows you to monitor your system’s production in real time 24/7 via your smartphone.

Don’t see the answer you’re looking for?

Call us at 850.472.0341 to speak to a solar power specialist at SunFarm Energy!