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?
- 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.