Does my Solar Array Have to Face South?
No, a solar array doesn’t have to be south facing, west or east facing will work. In some cases even north facing produces electricity at a lower cost than what the utility charges.
How Much Money Can I Save Going Solar?
How much money you save switching to solar depends entirely on which solar company you choose! This is because not all solar companies charge the same amount to install the solar system you’ll need. In fact the spread on pricing can be quite dramatic. Choose a solar company that offers a high quality, high performance solar system at a relatively low cost, and your savings can be dramatic!
Our average customer’s cost of electricity from solar is $0.07 per kW-hr
Compare that to the average cost from the Utilities of $0.22 per kW-hr
Is it Better to Bount the Array on the Roof or on the Ground?
Roof mounted arrays are less expensive than an array mounted on a metal structure constructed specifically for solar on the ground. This is because of the cost of the structure for a ground mounted array, but they are easier to clean and service.
What if I Have Shade on my Property?
Wherever the solar array is located will need to be relatively free of shade for at least 6 hours per day. Shade is of course a killer for solar. We use the most sophisticated tools in the business to measure the percentage of shading on your particular roof and feed that information into our production calculator.
Do I Have to be a Homeowner to Go Solar?
The short answer to this question is yes. Your name needs to be on the deed if you are purchasing or leasing a system.
If you are renting pass our name along to your landlord. Your landlord could have solar installed with your encouragement and just bill you for the electricity, hopefully at a lower rate. You’d have to negotiate that with the Landlord.
What Size of System Should I Get?
This is a fun one. We’ve found a lot of our competitors try and differentiate themselves by telling customers they have proprietary software that will right-size your system saving you money.
They say things like, “We’re the best value because we won’t sell you a bigger system than you need”. Which typically means they’re selling you a smaller system at a higher cost per panel (cost per Watt). Or they’ll say “we size your solar system to optimize the financial return”. Which is another way of saying, we size your system to take care of only tier 3 and 4 electricity (the most expensive). That is great for this year but what happens in 2 or 3 years when the utility gets rid of the tiered rate structure because so many people have gone solar that they’re losing money? Somebody needs to be asking the right questions.
We size systems by listening to you, the customer, and asking the right questions. How much power do you use now? What are your plans for the future? Are you going to buy an electric car? Are you going to start working at home soon? Do you have a baby on the way? Is your daughter leaving to go to college soon? We need to get to know you so we can help you make the right decision.
Will my Roof Leak?
This is major concern for many people thinking about solar. To this we can answer an emphatic NO! Solar Symphony has never had a roof leak. The products, engineered systems, and methodology that we use to attach the solar system to your roof make the possibility of a roof leak extremely unlikely. We always have at least two layers of protection (a flashing and a counter flashing). We go to extraordinary lengths to ensure everything is water tight. In the very unlikely event of a roof leak we have the longest warranty in the business, 20 years. We will repair the leak, and as long as notice of the leak is provided in a timely manner we will repair or replace other damage caused by the leak.
Can I Get a Production Guarantee?
Yes, Solar Symphony guarantees the production of every solar system we build. We calculate your estimated production using some of the most sophisticated software and tools in the business, and only after we have performed a thorough site evaluation. Our production estimates are conservative and factor in losses from soiling (dirt and dust), weather, shading, aging/corrosion, outages, and other factors. It is this conservative production estimate that we use to calculate the financial benefit of going solar. If your system does not produce as promised will pay you the difference or add additional panels.
How Long Does it Take to Get Solar Installed?
The actual installation only takes a few days, but the entire process can take months. The industry average is 75 days. Solar Symphony does a little better average. The activities that stretch out the process include application, processing and approval of financing and/or leasing, design and engineering, permit processing (waiting for approvals), HOA application and approvals, material procurement, inspections (scheduling & waiting), Utility interconnection application and waiting for permission to operate (PTO). The utility has by law up to one month to give PTO so you can throw the switch and turn on your system.
If I Go Solar do I Have Power When the Grid Goes Down?
98% of the solar systems being built and installed in the U.S. today are grid tied systems with no battery back-up. If there is a power outage most solar customers will also lose power. The reason for this is laws that were put in place to protect the safety of line workers. There are a couple ways to build a system that give you some or all of your power when the grid is down. Solar Symphony builds these types of solar systems on a regular basis. So if you want back-up power call us.
Do I Need to Clean my Solar Panels?
Solar Symphony designs all of our systems factoring in some loss of production due to soiling (dust and dirt on the surface of the solar panels). We typically figure a loss of about 5%, which works fine if it rains once per month. A good, hard rain does a good job of washing off your solar panels. Problem is in Southern California sometimes we go months without rain. During those months, without rain, you’ll need to wash dust and dirt off the panels by simply spraying them down with a clear stream of water. No need to get on the roof, just use your garden hose and make it rain. In addition, a thorough cleaning and maintenance check is advisable once or twice per year depending on the environmental conditions (where you live). Solar Symphony is one of few companies that offers a solar maintenance program. We’ll maintain your solar system even if we didn’t install it.
What if the Solar Installers Break Something on my House?
Solar Symphony is in the business of creating customers for life. We’ll treat your house as if it were our own. In the unlikely event that we do damage something our contract includes a “If we broke it, we’ll fix it” clause, and our General Liability insurance includes an endorsement that covers completed operations.
What are the Best Solar Panels?
We only recommend solar panels made by tier one manufacturers. Tier 1 manufacturers are the top 2% of solar manufacturers. They are typically large companies, with market capitalization in the billions. They set aside funds to cover warranty claims and have significant financial resources. They invest heavily in R&D, advanced robotic processes, and are often vertically integrated. That said, we aren’t married to any one brand, if you’ve found a particular make or model that you like we’ll install it for you.