Frequently Asked Questions
What is a likely return on investment I can expect from my solar installation?
The payback of a commercial solar installation varies depending on the utility provider, type of equipment used, and local weather patterns. Typically, Midwestern commercial solar installations pay for themselves within 4-6 years with a 19-24% Return On Investment.
An uncompromising, sophisticated solar installation will generate quality returns for decades to come. While the payback period is important, it’s also necessary to consider the system components including panels, inverters, and the quality of electrical work supporting the installation. These factors determine how much power the system produces going forward after the system stated payback period has been achieved.
How durable are solar panels? Will hail damage my panels?
Solar panels are engineered to be highly resistant. Damage from hail and other debris is extremely rare. At a minimum, solar panels are engineered to international standards, which should withstand impact from a one-inch diameter hailstone traveling at 50 mph. Additionally, most panels are installed at an angle, which reduces direct impact and minimizes the risk of damage.
If there is a utility grid outage, will I continue to have energy?
As a safety precaution, inverters and panels automatically power down during a grid outage to protect utility line workers. When power is restored through the gridlines, your solar system will automatically power on. If having access to continuous power during an outage is important, our team can design an inverter system with backup battery capability. There are several ways to accommodate backup depending on electrical loads, whether power is required for longer or shorter times, and battery bank capacity.
Will my property insurance cover my solar installation?
Typically, damage to your solar equipment should be covered by your property insurance policy. However, it’s wise to advise your insurance agent of your solar installation and review your policy’s coverage in case a special endorsement is needed.
Can I completely eliminate my utility bill with solar?
Solar installations can help reduce or nearly eliminate your electricity bill, however, utility interconnected installations will always maintain a base monthly meter fee for interconnection service. Zero dollar utility bills are achievable primarily though off-grid systems with integrated battery energy storage.
Typically, utility interconnected solar installations have the greatest financial return and can benefit from net metering, a billing mechanism which allows solar producers to earn credit from the utility for excess solar production to apply for future use when the sun’s not shining.
Should I wait for better technology to come out?
No doubt solar technology will continue to improve. However, improvements in engineering and efficiency are minute and take years to be properly tested before being brought to market. We install the latest solar technology with a track record of reliability and demonstrated performance. With current pricing on solar components and significant tax incentives slated to end in 2019, there is no better time to invest in solar. Once you start generating your own clean electricity with solar, the savings start immediately.
How long will my solar installation take?
Once we have the necessary paperwork and permitting construction can take a matter of weeks or months to complete, depending on the job size and complexity of the project. State electrical inspections and each level of utility approval can take up to 45 days.
Battery Energy Storage Systems
How safe are battery energy storage systems?
Our batteries are accredited to international safety standards and will operate even in extreme conditions. They are touch-safe with no exposed wires or hot vents and feature an internal liquid cooling and heating system that allows for precise, automatic temperature control in all climates.
Additionally, our batteries are water-resistant, dustproof, and designed to tolerate extreme temperatures either indoors or outdoors. They require no additional covering structures.
Can I use battery storage and solar to be energy independent?
Using a combination of solar energy with battery energy storage, we can create turnkey microgrids to provide large electric users and communities with clean, reliable, and affordable power. An in-depth engineering study will help determine if your project can obtain complete grid independence.
Can battery storage replace my emergency backup generator?
Battery energy storage systems can replace costly emergency generators and help keep your operations running during power outages. An in-depth engineering study will help determine the custom features of your emergency backup power needs.
Can I use battery storage without solar?
As an independent technology, battery energy storage systems can help large electric users reduce costly demand charges through load shifting. Shift energy usage by charging batteries with solar or when electricity is cheapest and discharging batteries when electricity is more expensive.
Can battery storage effectively help with my demand charges?
Battery Energy Storage Systems allow large electric users to draw stored energy during peak times to reduce or eliminate demand charges. Energy loads can be spread out by charging batteries with solar or when electricity is cheapest and discharging batteries when electricity is more expensive. Using batteries for this application can have massive energy cost reduction benefits through peak shaving.
What federal tax credits are available?
The Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) allows you to deduct 30 percent of the cost of a solar investment from federal taxes and is available for both residential and commercial solar projects.
How long will the federal tax credits be available?
The ITC remains at 30 percent of the basis that is invested in eligible property that commenced construction through 2019. After 2019, the ITC begins a phase-out by stepping down to 26 percent in 2020 and 22 percent in 2021. After 2021, the commercial and utility credit will drop to a permanent 10 percent, and tax credits will end for residential solar.
Can I carry my solar tax credits forward?
The Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) can roll forward 20 years, allowing you to use the tax credit in the future. Additionally, if you have unclaimed taxes from the previous year, you can roll the ITC back by one year.
What state solar tax incentives are available in Iowa?
Iowa has a solar energy system tax credit, which follows the federal investment tax credit. Qualifying installations must meet the federal energy efficient property credit related to solar energy provided in sections 48(a)(3)(A)(i) and 48(a)(3)(A)(ii) of the Internal Revenue Code. Commercial installations that occur after January 1, 2016 are equal to 50% of the value of the ITC, up to $20,000. There is also a residential credit available, equal to 50% of the value of the ITC, up to $5,000.
Operations & Maintenance
How do I maintain my solar array?
Solar technology is simple, elegant, and efficient. As a solid-state technology, there are no moving parts and requires very little maintenance. Annual service includes cleaning panels and physically checking connections. Ideal Energy conducts Operations & Maintenance (O&M) services and can remotely monitor your system and perform annual or corrective maintenance as required.
In winter months, do I need to remove snow from my solar panels?
There’s no need to remove snow from your solar panels in the winter. When we design your solar installation, we model your solar production based on longitude and latitude, and our annual energy production estimates take into account loss of production from snow on average annual snow loads for your installation location. Additionally, panels are constructed of dark materials and will usually gather enough sun within a few days to melt the snow, which will easily shed off the slick glass surface.
How can I monitor the energy being produced by my solar installation?
All Ideal Energy solar installations are outfitted with live monitoring that gives real-time output, accessible from any web-enabled device. Additionally, our customer service team is standing by ready to help with any additional needs.
What is Ideal Energy's solar installation warranty?
Ideal Solar installations are engineered and constructed to the highest industry standard. We stand by our construction, which is why we offer an in-house, five-year service warranty on your solar installation. Our solar components carry warranty options up to 25 years, and silicon-based solar technology and has been shown to perform reliably for 40+ years. All of our installations also come with two-years of live monitoring. Our solar technicians will monitor your system to ensure that everything is performing as designed.
What is the warranty on solar components?
Solar panels carry warranties up to 25 years. Inverters typically carry 10-25 year warranties with options to extend to 25 years. Our financial modeling includes warranties and product lifecycles into your payback analysis. Silicon-based solar panels are a tried and true technology and have been shown to perform reliably for 40+ years.
WHAT CAN SOLAR DO FOR YOU?
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*Estimated 25 year utility savings are above and beyond the installed system cost with incentives, and are based on current utility electrical rates and predicted future utility rates. Production data is based on NREL and PV Watts.