Top Solar Questions and Answers

  • Lea Goodsell
  • Vice President of Business Development & Branding

Are technological innovations in panels going to make my system obsolete before it’s even paid for?

We are seeing billions of dollars being invested by the major panel or module manufacturers into conventional silicon technology. These billions would not be spent on upgrading of the current technology if it was going to be obsolete in a decade. Most systems will pay for themselves in that period of time and after they are paid off your electricity is essentially free.

How much of my system cost will be covered by incentives?

If purchasing a solar system is your best option, you will be eligible for a 30% Federal Tax Credit and should see a 100% return on your investment in 8 years or less. If you decide to go solar with a SunPower lease, there is zero out-of-pocket expense in most cases and the 30% Federal Tax Credit will be used to lower your monthly payment. However, your system must be operating before December 31, 2019 in order to qualify.

How long does the solar system take to install?

After the paper work is begun and all permits are secured by Renova, the average residential solar system takes 2-4 days to install.

Can I get a solar system to cover my pool costs only?

Your pool uses electricity for its pool pump only. The cost to warm the water is in the natural gas used to heat it. While you can install a solar thermal system to help in the heating process and lower your natural gas costs, we suggest you install a variable speed pool pump to lower the electric cost to operate your pool pump, and then a solar electric system for the kilowatts required to operate the pump and all of your other appliances.

Will the Utility credit me when I produce more power than I need?

The simple answer is “Yes” if it's Southern California Edison. However, at the end of the year SCE will pay you at a wholesale rate if you have overproduced so there is no real financial benefit to oversize your system. SCE won’t normally allow you to oversize and require a load justification in the event you wish to have a system that produces more than your usage shows, although Renova can generally get a larger system approved if you are planning to purchase an electric car. The net metering program in Imperial Irrigation District means that solar no longer makes sense in their jurisdiction.


What panel is the BEST to use and do I have a choice?

The best panel or module is whichever will absorb the most sunlight to produce the most amount of kilowatt hours for your application in the most efficient manner possible – bringing your cost per kilowatt hour to the lowest point that it can be. We work exclusively with SunPower panels – up to 44% more efficient than conventional panels. That means fewer arrays on your roof and a more attractive system that produces more electricity.

Will I have difficulty getting a system installed since I am in an HOA?

The Solar Rights Act of 1978 prohibits any Homeowner’s Association from not allowing any resident of that association interested in installing a solar system on their roof. It also keeps them from requiring you to move your system if it drops production by more than 10%, or requiring you to spend more than $1000 on a facade to help keep the system from public view. 

Is there a “best” orientation for solar?

South is best followed in order by west, then east and finally north.

What kinds of warranties cover the system?

The warranty is 10 years for our labor in the installation of the system, 25 years for parts and labor for SunPower modules and 10 years for most inverters (if applicable), although a longer 25-year warranty can be purchased. Roofers also provide a warranty for their portion of the installation.

What kind of maintenance is required?

Solar system modules require a once quarterly cleaning to remove dust build up and keep solar collection capabilities at their most efficient. A module left dirty for three months can lose up to 10% of its efficiency. Renova has a solar system maintenance division called RenovaPLUS, where for a small monthly fee we monitor your system online and maintain the efficiency of the panels as well as check the wiring and inverter performance to ensure maximum savings. As an added benefit, 24/7 monitoring under a RenovaPLUS program will ensure peace-of-mind in the unlikely event that your system is damaged by theft or natural causes.


Related Renova Energy Insights:

Should I Trust Solar Companies That Knock on My Door to Sell?

read more

Renova Energy's Response to the Coronavirus News

read more

3 Thanksgiving Energy Saving Tips

read more

What Are Solar Batteries and How Do They Work?

read more