How does a solar electric system work?
Sunlight stimulates the electrons in solar panels, and the electricity flows to an inverter where it is converted from direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC). Solar systems are connected to the grid through the local utility to reduce and sometimes eliminate your electric bills, and solar systems can also charge batteries to provide backup power during grid outages.
What size system do I need?
Solar is not a “one size fits all” solution, and system size is dependent upon several factors including your energy bills, roof space, and budget. Seal Solar offers free custom quotes for any property!
How much does solar cost?
Like system size, the cost of solar depends on several factors including energy usage and location of the system. Solar energy used to be pricy, but as technology has advanced and the industry has grown, prices have decreased significantly. Solar pays for itself through savings and additional income your system will create for you. We like to say if you can afford your electric bill, you can afford solar!
What are my financing options?
Commercial projects: We partner with state banks to finance capital projects for businesses.
Residential projects: We use national partners that specialize in solar financing and offer reasonable rates for terms ranging from 5 years to 25 years.
What are the available incentives?
• There is a 30% Investment Tax Credit available for commercial and residential systems placed in service by 12/31/2020. The credit amount does not have a cap and is equal to 26% of the total system cost. For commercial solar systems, businesses can claim the 26% tax credit if construction begins in 2020. Contact us for more details.
• For businesses: Solar is eligible for accelerated depreciation. A business’s investments in solar property can be recovered through tax deductions. Under the 2018 tax plan, benefits can be taken all in the 1st year and equal about 20% of solar project costs. Taken together, tax benefits for commercial solar projects reduce costs by about 50%.
• For eligible rural businesses, the USDA offers a 25% grant for solar systems. Seal Solar will assist you with the grant writing process. The next deadline for a USDA REAP Grant is March 31, 2020.
What happens during power outages?
• A grid-tied solar system must shut down until utility power returns so that it doesn’t back-feed the grid and cause dangerous conditions for utility workers. When grid power goes out, the inverter will automatically shut off. When the grid power is re-established, the inverter will automatically turn back on after it has synchronized with the utility grid.
• If you would like to have solar power during a grid outage, you will need battery storage. You can learn about our solar + storage systems here.
Will my system work on cloudy days?
Yes, but it will be less productive. This is where net metering comes into play.
What is net metering?
When your solar array is installed, your utility company installs a net meter. Net metering is the system that utility companies use to credit you for the electricity produced by your solar panels. Any excess power you produce will be sent back to your utility company and your meter will run backwards. You will feed excess energy to the utility company during the day when it is sunny, then receive it back during the nighttime or on cloudy days at no cost. Arkansas has very favorable net metering laws – we have a 1:1 ratio, meaning for every kilowatt hour you produce, you get credited 1 kilowatt hour.
How will I know if my system is producing what it should?
An inverter’s faceplate shows production data. You can compare your actual production to our estimates to ensure your system is on track. You can also view your usage in the Seal Solar app. Every month on your electric bill, you will be able to see your monthly solar generation, both in kilowatt-hours and dollar amount.
How long will it take to get my solar up and running?
From the time you sign your contract to the time your system starts producing power is typically only a few weeks. Seal Solar offers turnkey solutions – we do all the installation and electrical work ourselves; we do not use subcontractors. Depending on the size and complexity of your system, the installation process could take a few days. Seal Solar handles all the details from design, permits, inspections, and monitoring.
Can I add more panels at a later date?
Yes. Sometimes it is more feasible to start small with solar system. We can easily add more panels at a later date if you want to increase the size of your system.
What warranties are available for the solar system?
Warranties vary by brand and type of equipment, but generally panels have a 25-30 year power production guarantee and a 10-15 year product warranty. Inverters have a 10-25 year product warranty, Optimizers have a 20-25 year product warranty, Racking has a 20-25 year product warranty, and Seal Solar offers a 1 year warranty on workmanship.
Can solar panels withstand hail and strong winds?
Absolutely! All panels are capable of withstanding 1-inch hailstones at 51 mph minimum – here’s a video of our team testing it out! The panels can also withstand 110mph straight line wind. We have removed solar panels so the roof underneath could be fixed then replaced the undamaged panels several times.
What if I am building a house or need a new roof?
We want your roof to be in the best condition possible because the average working life of a solar system is 30-40 years and beyond. Solar panels will not affect the structural integrity of your roof. We install a racking system first so the weight of the panels is distributed over a wide range.
Does solar increase the value of my home?
Yes! A solar system reduces electric bills which can make it an asset to any homeowner. According to a 2015 Berkeley Lab report, solar adds at least $15,000 to the value of a home.
Do I need approval from my homeowner’s association?
Some homeowners associations have rules regarding the installation of anything on your roof or grounds. If you belong to a homeowners association, contact them and ask about neighborhood guidelines. In our experience, most homeowners associations decide in favor of solar system installations. If there is any confusion or questions, Seal Solar would be more than happy to speak to the HOA.