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Magic Valley EC News

Interested in Solar? Let’s Talk!

Questions to ask when considering an installation

Magic Valley Electric Cooperative is committed to helping our members find affordable, reliable, and safe energy options. Here are some tips to help you evaluate a rooftop solar array.

Q: Is rooftop solar a good option for me?
A: Maybe. Whether and how much you will benefit from a residential solar array depends on:

  • How much you pay for electricity and how much you use.
  • Your roof.
  • Federal, state and local incentives for solar development.
  • Your rooftop solar provider.

Q: Is my house suitable for a rooftop solar array?
A: Maybe.

  • What is the orientation and slope of your roof? Is it shaded?
  • Will you need to replace your roof sometime in the near future? If so, you should replace your roof first.
  • Have you explored all your energy efficiency options?

Q: Will solar panels provide electricity during an outage?
A: No. Without a battery system and a smart inverter, rooftop arrays will not provide power during outages.

Q: What should I know before I sign a contract?
A: It depends on whether you purchase or lease an array. If you are purchasing a rooftop solar array, be sure to ask:

  • What is the total installed (turnkey) cost of the system?
  • What is the payback period? What are the assumptions underlying that estimate? Are those assumptions consistent with my situation?
  • Are tax credits available? If so, how much and who gets them?
  • Does the company offer warranties on panels and inverters?
  • What are the details of the service contract?
  • What type of maintenance do the solar panels need? Who is responsible for that?
  • What are MVEC’s interconnection requirements? Will I still get an electric bill?

If you are leasing panels in a rooftop array, be sure to ask:

  • What is the upfront cost of the system?
  • Are there other customers in the vicinity with comparable systems? How much electricity do their systems produce?
  • Can the lease be transferred if I sell the house?
  • What are MVEC’s interconnection requirements, and who is responsible for meeting them?

Q: How can I protect myself and my investment?
A: Do your research.

  • Are the installers certified by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners to install photovoltaic systems?
  • When was the company established? How many residential solar arrays has it installed since then? Can the company provide a list of its projects and references for them?
  • Ask for all details, promises and claims in writing and take time to review them before signing any contact.