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Will a solar project save more energy and money than insulation and air sealing?

Experts agree that insulation and air sealing are almost always the most effective means of reducing your energy use and saving money on your electric bill. It is best to first reduce your energy needs before considering going solar.

How much energy does my home use each year?

At least one year of usage history should be reviewed if available. You or your contractor can contact your co-op to get this data.

How much energy will the solar produce each year?

Your contractor should be able to calculate this number easily. Your co-op can also help confirm the estimate. The best bang for your buck typically occurs when the solar will produce 60-80% of your home’s annual energy needs.

How much will the solar cost me?

Ask your contractor for an up-front cost, even if it will be financed. Compare the total cost per the size of system being installed (measured in kW-DC). As of 2020, residential solar systems should average about $3.00 per kW-DC.

Do I pay upfront, or over time?

Be very certain of your contractor’s payment terms, as these can vary widely.

How much money will I save on my electric bill?

Your contractor should be able to produce a good estimate of your bill savings if they
understand how your bill works.

Have you asked my co-op to review your estimate of my electric bill savings?

You or your contractor should always ask your co-op to review an estimate of bill savings. Mistakes are common and it is much better to find them before the system is built rather than after.

What is the name and contact info for the co-op employee who can verify that your savings estimate is reasonable?

Plan to spend at least a few minutes talking to your co-op directly. This is the best way to ensure that your expectations are reasonable and that there won’t be any surprises.

What happens if the solar needs repairs? Who pays for that?

A solar project is expected to last a long time. Who fixes the system in one year? In ten years? In twenty?

How do I track the performance of the solar to make sure that it is working properly?

A solar project has no moving parts and it can be hard to tell if something is broken. Ask your contractor how to monitor the system so you know it is running well.