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Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to commonly asked questions about Solar Photovoltaic Power Systems

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?

Going solar is one of the best investments you can make for your home or business — and the planet. A solar photovoltaic (PV) power system is an investment that will yield tangible payback for many years to come. To start, through the end of 2022, you can take advantage of a 26% Federal Tax Credit when filing your taxes the following April. Installing a solar PV system will allow you to produce your own clean energy, reduce your electric bill, and increase the value of your home.

Factors to Consider:
1) South-Facing, East or West Orientation:
For solar installations in northern Florida along the Gulf Coast, a south-facing roof surface is always preferred. This will optimize the energy produced by a solar power system. East and west-facing rooftops are also suitable, provided they have a bias/tilt towards the south.

2) 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 solar power system?

3) 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 power system can be mounted to any type of roofing material, and it will not impact the integrity of the roof.

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

1) 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, which will give you how many kWh you purchased the previous month, previous year, and across the current year. Knowing the kWh used will allow a SunFarm Energy to calculate how big your system should be and provide a more accurate quote. Are you a Gulf Power customer? Check out our step-by-step guide on how to find your consumption.

2) Think About a Budget
Once you determine your usage, it’s important to understand that a solar power system is an investment and could cost several thousands of dollars. For a typical home, this could range from $5,000 to over $30,000. A commercial property solar power system will also vary based on energy usage and your specific goals to offset the energy that you purchase from your electric utility supplier. However, keep in mind that the investment will be offset and paid back over many years in the form of cheaper monthly power bills, as well as the 26% Federal Tax Credit.

3) Do Your Homework
Make sure you do your homework on solar contractors in your area. We suggest that you work with a local company with an excellent reputation like SunFarm Energy. 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, your first step will be contacting a local solar contractor like SunFarm Energy. We will 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 to four weeks, from signing the contract to completion. For the average residential installation, once on site the job 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 power company must sign off in order for you to start producing your own energy.

I have a 2,500 sq. ft. home. How much will my solar PV system cost?

When it comes to solar, the size of the home isn’t as important as its electric consumption. For example, a 1,000 sq. ft. home with no insulation, single pane windows, old appliances, inefficient lighting, and a 20 year old AC compressor will peak the electricity consumption. On the flip side, a 3,000 sq. ft. home with energy-efficient appliances, LED lighting, and a new AC compressor will consume much less power comparatively. Consequently, the bigger home will need a smaller solar panel array on the roof than the smaller home.

However, the square-footage of the home is not entirely irrelevant — available roof area is another big factor when designing a solar system. There needs to be enough space to place the right number of panels on your roofing surface. Most solar systems are limited to the amount of appropriate space for the solar panels. With current technology, each square foot can yield 15 watts of power, meaning a 500 square-foot rooftop area can produce 7.5kW (7,500 kilowatts) of power, which is enough to provide the majority of the power needed for most homes in Florida.

What factors make a home or business ideal for solar?

Solar panels should be facing south and must be free from any shadows or shades. Ideally, a solar power system should be away from trees or other obstructions that might block sunlight from reaching the panels. The same is true for ground-mounted systems.
Many homes can also choose to install a solar power system facing east or west. Consulting with a solar professional can help you see the options for these circumstances.

How do I choose a solar contractor/installer?

Do your homework. SunFarm Energy is a State of Florida Certified Solar Installer, and our Lead Technician, Murphy Allen, is a NABCEP Accredited Solar PV Installer. While making an investment in solar is a smart choice, it’s important to trust your solar installer.

Your contractor should be clear and transparent with their quotes and communications and be willing to answer all of your questions in a timely manner. It’s also important to know their work history, references, and reviews. SunFarm Energy has consistently earned 5 Star Reviews from our clients.

You may also want to take the time to check on their quality standards. We are a proud partner of GuildQuality, which takes the time to contact each of our clients upon project completion in order to get specific feedback on our work. Check out our reviews on Guild Quality.

What happens to my system if the power goes out?

Unless you are in a remote location, most residential and commercial solar installations are grid-tied. This means that you are always connected to your local utility company. If the power goes out, your solar system automatically shuts off. This feature is designed to protect the servicemen who come and repair the service line. When power is restored, your solar power system will automatically begin working again.

However, by adding a battery backup storage system, you can help keep the lights on even when the power goes out. Battery backup stores any excess solar energy produced for use at a later time. SunFarm Energy offers battery storage with Tesla Powerwall – the premier solution in solar + storage.

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 panels have a 25-year linear power production warranty, and inverters are covered for 12-25 years with extended warranty options available.

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

What is the status of the Federal Tax Credit?

The 26% Federal Investment Tax Credit is still available through December 31, 2022 with no maximum credit limit. In 2023 the Federal Investment Tax Credit will drop to 22%. There is no sales tax on a Solar PV System or thermal upgrade. Plus, thanks to Florida Amendment 4, the value of an upgrade cannot be added to your annual property taxes.

Will my television or appliances work differently after a solar upgrade?

The power optimized string inverter that we install will 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!

How do I find my kWh consumption with Gulf Power?

We utilize your kWh information to build your system to suit your needs. Not sure how to find your annual consumption? Check out our step-by-step guide

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!