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Frequently Asked Questions
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    How does it work?

    Solar Panels: Solar panels are made up of photovoltaic (PV) cells that convert sunlight into DC power.

    Inverter: The DC power is sent to an inverter, which converts the electricity into usable AC power – the power that we use every day.

    Electric Panel: The AC power travels from the inverter to the electrical panel, or breaker box. This energy is then available to power your lights, appliances, air conditioning and all of your electrical needs.

    Utility Grid: The utility meter records the net amount of energy generated through your solar energy system. When you create more power than you use, your meter will spin backward and the excess energy is sent to the electric grid. This offsets the cost of your electricity usage at night or on cloudy days when your system is not producing solar energy.

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    What if I produce more energy than I use?

    Each month you receive a statement from SDG&E. Solar is a balancing act, because your production depends on the sun. If you produce more energy than you use in a particular month, you will receive a credit for that month. If you use more than you produce, you will receive a small bill. At the end of the year you will have each month settled up. If you still maintain a credit to your account at the end of the year, it does roll over into the new year; you do not lose it.

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    Is there maintenance?

    There is virtually no maintenance required, but you may enhance production with optional cleaning of the solar panels a few times a year. Wiping off any accumulated dirt or leaves may increase production anywhere from 5-10%.

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    What happens if the power goes out?

    Since you are still attached to the SDG&E grid, if the power goes out your system will automatically shut-down as a safety measure to avoid any overload into the grid from your solar system.

    We do offer an SMA TL inverter that you are able to use in this event by plugging a device directly into this device.

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    How many panels do I need?

    It depends on your situation and regular usage as well as your energy goals. It is not the number of panels, necessarily, but the size of the system. Panels vary in wattage and efficiency, so please give us a call so we can determine what meets your needs. Some may want to eliminate their entire electric bill, others may simply want to drop to a lower tier rate – we have options for all clients.

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    What's better for me: own or lease?

    There are benefits to both and this question depends entirely upon your situation such as how long you plan to retain the residence, tax credits, etc.

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    What's better for me: a single inverter or micro inverters?

    Since we customize each system according to your needs, both systems have their benefits. When we do a detailed site inspection, we will determine which inverter will work better for your situation. A single inverter will have the extra plug-ins and is very dependable. Micro-inverters mean each panel has their own inverter and work best for roofs with varying azimuths and tilts, or shading issues. Give us a call so we can help determine what is the best value for your home.

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    What are the current rebates & incentives?

    Unfortunately, the California rebates are no longer available. They expired in 2013. However, there is still have a 30% federal tax credit that is available off the entire system cost. These tax credits will be expiring soon, so please give us a call to take advantage.

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    How long do panels last and what kinds of warranties are offered?

    The panels themselves have a 25 year warranty with a life expectancy of 40-50 years. The inverter warranty depends on the type of warranty but does range from 10-25 years.

    The panels are tested and able to withstand up to 110 mph winds and golf-ball sized hail, as well as corrosion for homeowners near a coastal area.

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    What is my return on investment?

    Solar prices have dropped significantly and now is a great time to buy a system. Typically, if you are purchasing the system, the system will pay for itself in approximately 5-6 years. What this means for you: if you had continued to pay your normal bills to SDG&E, you would equal the cost of your installation in 5-6 years. A typical system will return approximately 10-15 times your initial investment over a 25 year period.

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    What happens if I sell my home, and does solar increase the property value?

    Purchase: According to the National Appraisers Association, for every dollar you save in your annual operating costs you property value will increase by $20, they found in a recent study. If you save $1000 off your electric bill per year, it creases the value of your home by $20,000. Warranties on the system is transferable to the new home owner.

    Lease: The new homeowner will need to qualify to take over the lease, or the lease can be transferred to your new home. Even a leased system makes your home more marketable with the savings in the electric.

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    What to look for in an installer:

    • A solar contractor’s license
    • A licensed electrician
    • Experience in the field
    • What to watch out for:
    • Double flashings on tile roofs
    • Licensed contractors AND licensed electricians doing your electrical work
    • Quality of products


  • I can personally vouch for the professional and courteous service provided by the solar energy installers, Solar West Electric. They were always punctual, professional, and comprehensive to ascertain that the work was done correctly the first time. I possess no reservations and highly recommend their work to anyone who is interested in solar energy installation related home enterprises.

    Brian P.
  • After receiving three different bids on our solar installation project, we contracted with Solar West Electric. Solar West was able to obtain all equipment/panels and complete the installation within 2 weeks of our initial agreement with them. Our project site is in rural east county, yet our installation team was on-site promptly at 8am each day. They provided a very professional work ethic and completed the installation within 3 days. Solar West representatives dealt with county permits and inspections from both San Diego County and SDGE, and with filing for the state rebate. We are very pleased with having our solar project completed in such a timely and professional manner. The personnel from Solar West Electric were very attentive to ensuring customer satisfaction.

    David D.
  • I wish to extend my congratulations to you for an installation of my solar system including the hook up to house electrical panel. The attitude and professionalism of the entire 3 members of the installation team was outstanding, including the cleanup of the work site after the installation was complete. If asked, your company would get my recommendations for a company that can be trusted to do the job right and on time.

    Clifford Giesler
  • The employees from Solar West Electric are exceptional. Everything was accomplished in a very neat and expeditious manner. They worked very well together and didn‘t waste my or the inspectors time. This is a top notch installation. A job very well done.

    Barry Hunter
  • The installation of my solar power system by your crew was perfect. The workers were professional, personable and they were clearly very dedicated employees. The installation was completed in a timely fashion and was very well done. I am completely satisfied with the work your crew performed and will happily recommend your company to anyone who may inquire. The quality of the work performed by your crew is testimony to the high standards and expectations you obviously require of your people.

    Craig A. Short