Frequently Asked Questions

What is the life expectancy of a solar system?

Every panel that we use has a 25 year manufacturer’s performance warranty. The inverters carry a 10 year standard manufacturer’s warranty, extendable to 20 years. In addition to the manufacturers’ warranties, Sunriver provides a system level performance warranty which guarantees the panels and inverters are properly integrated and will produce the promised amount of electricity. Despite the warranties, PV systems should last much longer than 25 years. There are many panels manufactured in the 1960s that are still producing electricity. Solar systems are incredibly reliable primarily because there are no moving parts.

What kind of maintenance am I required to perform on my system?

Normal maintenance is little more that rinsing the accumulated dust from the panels when they become dirty. Clean water from a hose is all that is needed. There are no moving parts.

Do you offer financing for solar PV systems or do I need to go to a bank?

You may use your own lender or one of ours. There are lenders that specialize in lending on PV systems.

Do consumers recognize business establishments that are going solar?

More than ever you see businesses touting their greenness. Solar PV systems are recognized as a genuine reflection of a business’s sincere dedication to social responsibility. Customers are aware, and they do take notice. We can install monitoring systems viewable by the public so they can see the positive impact you are making in the community and beyond.

O.K. What is the bottom line?

If you have good sun and a location to place the panels, solar electricity is always cheaper than PG&E’s standard residential rates. If you have good sun, you owe it to yourself to get a proposal. Otherwise you’re are simply throwing your money away.

I produce electricity during the day while I am at work and am not there to consume it. When I get home in the evening I run appliances and lights. Am I generating electricity that I never get to use?

The simple answer is no. While you were at work your solar PV system was busy creating electricity that you didn’t consume, but it was not wasted. It was being fed back into the electrical grid and running your electric meter backwards. You received credit for every kilowatt-hour that you produced during the day whether you were there to use it or not.

What if I produce more electricity than I consume over the course of a year. Will I receive a check in the mail from the utility company?

If you are served by a municipally owned utility you may get a check for your excess production or in some cases you may be able to offset other utilities provided by the municipality. For example you may be able to offset your garbage bill if you produce more electricity than you use.

The larger investor owned utilities like PG&E will not compensate you for anything above and beyond what you consume or they will compensate you at a very low rate. This is why it is critical to design your system based upon your usage and specifically tailor it to the rules that apply in your service area. Many factors are taken into consideration when arriving at the optimal design and size of your system. A representative from Sunriver Solar will provide you with a comprehensive analysis in determining the appropriate system for your needs.

Are rebates and other government incentives available to assist me in the expense of installing a system?

Yes, and they are substantial. Please refer to our government rebate page. If you are served by a municipal utility, contact us and we will be happy to tell you what the incentives are in your area.

I have heard that Solar PV systems are costly. Do they actually make sound economic sense to me as a business or commercial property owner?

Yes. Today you are witnessing more businesses and homeowners installing solar PV systems than ever before, and the reason is simple. They make financial and economic sense. The cost of electricity generated from solar is less than the cost of electricty purchased from PG&E. The Federal government offers an investment tax credit and, for commercial applications, accelerated depreciation. The impact of these incentives on the final cost of the system is significant.

These financial incentives are very enticing on their own but should not distract a prospective customer from recognizing the inherent benefits of a Solar PV system: You will be reducing your monthly utility expenditures for the life of the system. It is clear that we are living in times of very uncertain energy supplies as has been evidenced by fluctuating gasoline prices. Electricity rates historically are impacted by oil prices along with every other form of energy we consume in this country. Rates will only rise in the future and a solar PV system is one way that you can shield yourself from their impact. An appropriately designed system from SunRiver Solar will save you thousands of dollars over the life of the system. It is truly a sound and wise business move, today more than ever.

I’m not sure how long I will live in my house. If I move will solar still be a good investment?

Yes! Solar is becoming so mainstream that realtors, appraisers, and buyers now recognize the added value of a home with solar compared to one without. Imagine two identical homes, one with solar and one without. The home without solar has average utility bills of $300 per month. The one with solar has no utility bill because it has solar. Which one would you buy? On top of this practical example there are a number of studies that show solar increases the value of your home by more than the amount of your investment. The most prominent of these is a study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory which surveyed more than 22,000 homes. You can find this study at: https://emp.lbl.gov/sites/all/files/lbnl-6942e- newhomes-factsheet.pdf. So if you’re worried about recouping your investment, don’t. Start saving now and if you do move, you will get your money back and probably more.

How does a Grid-Tied Solar Photovoltaic (PV) System Work?

Whether your solar energy system is being installed for residential, commercial, government, or agricultural use, the principles behind the system are fundamentally the same. There are three basic components, the array of PV panels along with their mounting structure, the ac-dc inverter, and the electric grid. The grid is a fancy way of saying the electrical service provided by the utility company.

The PV panels are the components that actually generate the electrical current. Photons from the sun hit the panels and excite electrons in the PV material. The electrons begin to flow and this creates an electric current. The panels are most often mounted on an existing structure to form a rectangular array or grid pattern. The structure is usually the roof of the building, covered parking area, or garage, but it may also be a freestanding structure with the specific purpose of supporting the panel array. Sometimes people use PV arrays as shade structures over their patios and decks. The critical design feature is to select a location that receives minimal shading.

The DC current generated by the PV array next flows to the inverter where it is converted into AC current. Alternating current is the kind used in your home or business.

The final component of the system is the grid itself. The grid acts like a battery storing the excess electricity generated by your system. The energy you generate (but do not use) is pumped back into the grid for future use just as if the grid were a big battery.

The actual consumption for which you are billed is calculated by taking the total kilowatt-hours you consume minus the total kilowatt-hours you produce. You only pay for the net amount that you consume. This is the origin of the term "Net Metering" that you may have heard of.

Is it better to buy or lease?

It is better to buy because YOU keep the 30% Federal Tax Credit, your payments are fixed, there is no escalator clause, and once it’s paid for…your electricity is FREE!!!

If I get a loan to buy solar are my payments tax deductible?

Yes!, But double check with your CPA.

What are other reasons to install solar?

Not only will you be taking control of your energy costs, you will be decreasing your carbon footprint.  And the planet thanks you for that.  It’s a win/win – Go Green and Save some Green!