You have questions? We have answers.

So you want to learn about solar energy...

  • Is switching to solar energy worth the expense?

    Absolutely! Solar systems are probably one of the safest investments you can choose these days - and one that redeems itself very quickly. Given all the federal, state and local incentives you can take advantage of today, your personal contribution to the cost and installation of your own solar system is likely to be around 40%. It is also an investment that pays off very quickly: sunshine will be flowing in and power you in year round in Massachusetts, and your electricity bills will only be a portion of what you might be paying right now. In fact, if you happen to produce more energy than you need, your utility company might just be the one sending you a monthly check for the electricity that you are not using and that you throw back into the grid. Statistically, most residential system owners break-even in a little more than five years - and keep on making money on their systems for a solid twenty years after that. Learn more about the cost of a solar system.

    Back to Top

  •  How much will I need to transform my home or business to run on solar energy?

    describe the imageYou will not have to do anything at all. We integrate all solar power electric systems into your existing home or building so that they fit your house like a glove. No need to switch to new appliances or power outlets: everything will work exactly as it did before, except that the source of energy will flow in from your roof to power you in year round. Learn more about how a solar system works.

    Back to Top

  • Is solar energy available and reliable year-round? 

    Absolutely, solar energy is very reliable and will power you in 366 days/year. Large companies such as FedEx, Whole Foods, EBay, WalMart, and the US Air Force already have buildings that completely operate on solar power year-round, and solar power technology has been around for decades in Europe and Japan. Although the initial investment might seem high, solar energy systems have proven to be dependable and quasi maintenance-free. You will be generating your own solar power and sending back into the grid whatever portion of your production you are not using immediately. Electricity usage varies widely from one house to the next: for some residential system owners, a 3-4 kW solar electrical system will accomodate their needs year-round, even on rainy days, while others will need an 8-10 kW system. Your initial site analysis will determine your needs and how many panels you might need to get off the grid. Learn more about how you can choose a solar system adequate to your needs here.

    Back to Top
  • How about when it rains?

    Obviously, sun energy production is higher when rays are stronger and hit the panels directly but as long as there is daylight, photovoltaic cells will catch enough luminosity to transmit energy through the system. As surprising as it might sound, your system will keep producing energy even on rainy or cloudy days. Your washing machine can still be solar powered when it is raining outside!
  • How much maintenance do solar systems require?

    There really isn't much maintenance required to keep your solar energy system up and running. A once a year cleaning and inspection is generally sufficient to ensure that the system performs to the best of its abilities. The biggest maintenance will be for you to make sure that trees do not grow to obstruct the panels' view on the sky. Other than that, you should be good to go for a hassle-free decade or two... 

    Back to Top
  • What happens during black outs?

    For safety purposes, your electric solar system will automatically turn off when a black out is detected to prevent your solar sourced energy from flowing back into the grid, and thefore allow technicians to do any required repair or maintenance on the line. 

    Back to Top

  • How long can I expect my solar system to last?

    Most components of your solar system are warrantied for 25 years: this is the case of solar panels themselves. Inverters are warrantied for 10 years. Installation and labor are warrantied for 10 years as well. 

    Back to Top

Choosing and installing your new solar system

  • How can I choose the adequate system size for my electrical needs?

    describe the imageBoston Solar technicians will help guide your choice based on your energy profile. They will evaluate your available roof space, and discuss your expected returns and budget with you to determine what size best fits your interests. You can decide to become totally energy independent and rely exclusively on solar power, or just minimize your dependency on fossil fuels and use solar energy as a first step towards sustainable and environment-friendly commitment. If you end up consuming more energy that you produce at any given time, your system will revert to the utility grid to meet your needs. Unless there is a black out, you will never experience any power interruptions—and will not even notice whenever you switch back and forth between solar system power and the utility grid. Different options will be offered to you, along with an explanation of the federal, state and local incentives that you are entitled to, in order to help keep your decisions easy, straightforward and informed. Learn more about solar energy incentives here.

    Back to Top

  • How long will the installation take?

    Solar residential MassachusettsYour new solar installation will start shortly after Boston Solar has obtained all the required building permits. Once our technicians have arrived on site, the installation takes between 1 and 2 days for residential systems. And don't worry: there will be no messy construction debris to clean up after we left, no dust to vacuum. The installation of a solar electric system is a smooth and seamless process.

    Back to Top

  • How will the solar panels be attached to the roof? Should I be worried about potential leaks?

    Commercial Solar InstallationSolar panels most often sit on a standoff mounting system that is attached by brackets to the frame of the roof, centered and square with rooflines and edges and parallel to the roof surface. That mount will often consist of long rails that hold the array together as a rigid structure and allow for airflow between the solar panels and the roof. Standoff-mounted structures are by far the most common, preferred, and least-expensive method for installing solar panels as a retrofit to existing rooftops, as well as for new construction. If your roof is flat, the system will be installed on a tilted triangular structure in order to provide a more ideal degree angle to the sun. describe the imageThere is therefore no risk of leaks since the panels will be attached directly to your roof trusses or rafters, never to decking. Some super thin solar shingles are also available on the market today, that allow for a completely seamless installation and blend in with your existing roof.

    Back to Top

  • What if I need to repair my roof after the panels have been installed?

    In case you anticipate roof work in the near future, it would be better indeed to schedule it before the solar panels are installed. The diagnostic you will get during the first consultation will determine whether your roof is a good platform for installation. If your roof is in good condition, solar panels will actually help protect your roof against rain, snow and sun, and prevent some wear and tear. If any damage occurs on your roof after the panels have been installed, they can be removed and re-installed by a solar technician. 

    Back to Top

Planning your investment

  • Will I be eligible for solar incentives and rebates?

    Absolutely! The majority of incentives and rebates are applicable to any one. Some rebates are immediate to help you offset the cost of installation, while others are deferred until you fill in your tax return the following year (you will therefore benefit from the latter the year following installation). Let's start with the state incentives: the Commonwealth Solar II Program provides grants to all system owners connected to a Massachusetts electric distribution utility. This is the case of most solar customers. This grant is capped at $2,000, calculated as $0.40 per watt for the first 5kW of any size residential system. Additionally, some residential owners with moderate income or home value (as determined by state standards) will receive an additional grant of $.85 per watt (up to a maximum grant of $8,500 from the Commonwealth Solar II Program). Commercial solar systems smaller than 10kW are eligible for that grant. Then comes the federal government 30% tax credit which any one is entitled to, regardless of their tax bracket. Solar Rebate Calculation MassachusettsThis tax credit is computed on the tax return you fill in for the year your system was installed, and will allow you to deduct 30% of the installation price. This tax rebate carries over for three consecutive years. The state of Massachusetts also offers a 15% personal income tax credit, that one based on the cost of installation and labor. On top of that, all the electricity you produce and do not use flows back into the grid in the form of SRECs, for which the utility company reimburses you in monthly payments (there is an initial 4-5 month delay until the first SREC is set up). As a result, even after your solar system is up and running, the more energy efficient you are, the more money you receive from the utility company. Learn more about solar incentives for Massachusetts residents here.

    Back to Top

  • How long does it take for a solar system to pay for itself?

    The answer to this question depends on the cost of the system itself, and how you use it. Depending on the capacity of the system you install and the rebates you qualify for, your personal financial contribution to the cost of your solar system will range between 50 and 35%. Afterwards, your personal electric consumption will still play a part: the volume of energy you produce and sell back to the utility company will turn into monthly reimbursement checks. Let's just say that, on average, residential owners can expect to break-even within 4 to 7 years. Your Boston Solar technician will help you map out this cost and payback when you call us for a site analysis.

    Back to Top

  • What financing options are available?

    Several options are available to you: you can finance your system through a loan from a financial institution, or apply for a home equity line of credit in order to amortize your capital investment or equipment purchase over a few years.

    Back to Top