Skip to content
How Much Roof Space Is Needed For Home Solar Panels. Residential solar rooftop system

How Much Roof Space Is Needed For Home Solar Panels. Residential solar rooftop system

    Going Solar in Fairfax County

    Fairfax County encourages residents to invest in solar energy. By using renewable energy like solar instead of fossil fuels, you help reduce pollution and planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions. And solar power can pay for itself in 10 to 20 years, so you’ll enjoy reduced energy bills, tax credits and other incentives, including extra protection from power loss during extreme weather when you invest in storage solutions.

    This webpage provides resources for residents interested in installing solar panels in Fairfax County. For more information about the basics of solar energy, your solar options, and questions to ask solar professionals, refer to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Homeowner’s Guide to Going Solar.

    Solar Benefits

    Fairfax County residents are opting to install solar panels on their homes. Press play to hear from them how they made the switch and how it changed their lives for the better!

    Solar energy uses a renewable energy source – the sun! In addition to reducing your electricity bill, using solar energy reduces your environmental impact and Fairfax County’s carbon footprint. You will also help reduce demand on the electricity grid during peak, sunny hours. Plus, installing solar panels can increase the value of your home. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, every dollar that a solar panel saves you on your electrical bills increases the value of your home by 20.

    Solar Potential

    The first step in getting solar is assessing whether your home or building is a good candidate. A few questions to ask when considering going solar:

    • Is your roof shaded by trees or other obstacles? Direct sunlight for six or more hours a day is ideal.
    • Is your roof relatively new? Solar installations can last 20-25 years, so your roof should be less than five years old.
    • What direction does your roof primarily face? Solar arrays can be configured in many different ways to allow for maximum exposure to sunlight throughout the day but ideally your roof should face south or west for the most exposure.

    You can investigate your property’s solar potential by visiting the Northern Virginia Regional Commission’s NOVA Solar Map. You can also estimate the performance of potential solar projects using the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s PVWatts Calculator.

    Finding a Contractor

    Certified solar installers can be found through the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners®. Visit the county’s Consumer Services webpage for general tips about hiring a contractor.

    By going through a solar co-op purchasing program, homeowners are granted access to a pre-qualified solar installer for a no-cost evaluation of their property and can take advantage of cost savings should they decide to pursue a solar installation. information on solar co-op purchasing programs can be found below.

    BEWARE OF DOOR-TO-DOOR SALESMEN AND SCAMS

    Fairfax County residents should be aware of their rights and the regulations surrounding door-to-door solicitation in the county. If a salesperson comes to your door with information about solar panels or installation, please ask to see their county-issued license before engaging with them. Never provide your personal information (birthdate, social security number, etc.) to a solicitor.

    If you encounter an unlicensed solicitor, please contact the Fairfax County Police non-emergency line at 703-691-2131. information on door-to-door solicitation can be found here.

    Cost and Financing

    Your electricity bill is based on how many kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity you use. Most homes use between 800 kWh and 1,500 kWh each month depending on weather, home size, energy efficiency and how many electric appliances are used.

    The price of solar electricity is typically expressed in terms of dollars per watt of installed power. Typical pricing for residential systems is in the range of 2.50 to 4.00 per watt, depending on the size and market economics. A 5 kilowatt (5 kW) solar system will produce about 8,000 kWh of electricity per year. At 3 per watt, that system would cost about 15,000 to install.

    By reducing electricity costs and taking advantage of tax incentives, the 15,000 investment can pay for itself in about 10-15 years.

    Residential solar panels can be purchased outright or financed with a loan from a solar installer, bank, or other financial institution.

    Solar Co-Op Purchasing Programs

    Solar group purchasing programs make getting solar easier and less expensive by providing information and benefits to participants. These programs typically offer:

    • A free assessment to find out whether your home is a good candidate for solar installation
    • Bulk discounts on solar systems, ranging from 10 to 15 percent off
    • Access to a qualified solar installer
    • Discounted opportunities to bundle your solar system with electric vehicle charging stations and solar battery storage
    much, roof, space, needed

    Additionally, some programs offer participants a complimentary, virtual home energy assessment to help improve their home energy performance holistically. Those who decide to pursue solar through a co-op purchasing program typically receive a 10 to 15 percent discount off current consumer rates for solar arrays and systems.

    Incentives

    County Incentives

    Fairfax County offers a number of incentives to encourage residents and businesses to install solar panels. The county’s Land Development Services waives the permit fee for solar permit applications, and the county’s Department of Tax Administration provides a 5-year solar energy equipment tax exemption. To learn about the permitting and inspection process, refer to Land Development Services’ page about Residential Solar Permits.

    Federal Tax Credits

    The federal government currently offers a tax credit for solar PV system installation, to include the costs of the solar panels, contractor labor costs, balance-of-system equipment, and energy storage devices. Systems installed between 2022 and 2032 are eligible for a 30 percent tax credit. The credit will decrease to 26 percent for systems installed in 2033, to 22 percent for systems installed in 2034, and the credit will expire in 2035 unless renewed by Congress. The installation of the system must be complete during the tax year, and there is no maximum amount that can be claimed.

    Solar Rights

    Under Virginia state law (§56-594), residential customers may install systems up to 20 kilowatts and non-residential customers may install systems up to 500 kilowatts. Electric utilities must credit solar panel owners for excess electricity generated through something called net metering. Your solar contractor should coordinate with your electric utility to replace your standard meter with a net meter after your panels are installed. The net meter is bi-directional, tracking electrons flowing both out of and into the grid.

    Under Virginia state law (§67-701), homeowner associations (HOAs) typically cannot prohibit solar installations. However, the law allows reasonable restrictions concerning the size, place, and manner of placement. For more information refer to this Solarize webpage or talk to your solar installer.

    Under Virginia state law (§55-353), property owners can form solar easements with their neighbors. A solar easement enables you and a neighbor to voluntarily form an agreement under which the neighbor will not shade your property. The easement then applies to later owners of the neighboring property.

    County Solar Policies and Processes

    Solar panels are permitted accessory structures on all developed properties in Fairfax County provided that they serve the property and are subordinate in purpose, area and extent to the building or use served. For more information, refer to the last entry on the Department of Planning and Zoning’s FAQ page.

    How Much Roof Space Is Needed For Home Solar Panels?

    When it comes to residential solar panels, your home’s roof is the most obvious place to put them. But it’s easy to get confused about how much roof space is needed for solar panels in order to install a home solar power system. Not all roofs are constructed to the same size or specifications, and some homes have roofs with steeper pitches, while others have roofs with more faces or odd shapes.

    We’d love to tell you a simple formula for the exact amount of square footage that is required for a certain number of panels, but it’s not quite that simple. Each residential solar panel array is custom designed to match the homeowner’s needs and the unique size, shape, and dimensions of their roof, so the square footage that’s needed is going to depend on a number of factors.

    If you’re wondering, “How many solar panels will fit on my roof?” then here are a few things to consider.

    How To Calculate The Solar Potential Of Your Roof

    There are a few rules of thumb you can follow that can offer a general idea of how much roof space is needed for solar panel installation. These guidelines can also help determine how much roof space you have available to put solar panels on.

    Generally, every square foot of roof space has the potential to generate about 15 watts of solar energy. Thus, a solar panel installation on a small home might only need around 200 square feet of roof space, while a larger home can require more than 1,000 square feet of roof space to properly offset electricity usage.

    To offset an average amount of energy usage by the average American home, you’ll typically need around 18 to 24 panels to be effective. That is, of course, if everything about those panels is ideal, where the positioning is optimal, the panels are of a standard rating, and the location gets adequate sunlight year-round. If you change any of those variables, the number of panels you need is going to change as well.

    If you want to get a sense of how many panels a roof can support, you don’t need a fancy solar panel square footage calculator. Here’s an easy calculation you can do: Multiply the square footage of your roof by.75 to account for the required solar setback. ( on that below.) Take that number, and divide it by 17.5, which is the average square footage of the standard solar panel size. The resulting number is the maximum number of solar panels you can fit on your home’s roof.

    If you’re not sure of the square footage of your roof, there’s another relatively easy calculation you can do: First you need to know the dimensions of your roof from ground level. You can measure two sides of your roof from the ground, and then multiply those numbers together to get the square footage. If your roof isn’t flat, you need to account for the angle of your roof as well, so measure the angle from the ground (most smartphones have angle measurement apps that you can use) or just use 35 degrees to get a rough estimate if you don’t have an unusually steep or shallow roof. Then take the square footage that you measured from the ground and divide it by the cosine of your roof’s angle to get the total square footage. If you need a solar panel square footage calculator, you can click this link to get a sample calculation for a roof that measures 400 square feet from the ground, and has a 35 degree angle, and then just change those values to match the measurements that you take.

    How Close Can Solar Panels Be To The Edge Of The Roof?

    Most roof-mounted solar installations will need a “solar panel setback” for safety. This is one of the most common roof requirements for solar panels in local and state building codes. This setback is the open space between the edge of the solar array and the edge of the roof, and it provides an unobstructed pathway around your rooftop for emergency responders like firefighters to get better access to your home in case of an emergency.

    The minimum solar panel setback varies from state to state, but generally, the setback will take up about 25 percent of your roof’s usable space. This accounts for two roughly 36-inch wide pathways that run along the edge of your roof, on a roof with just two basic faces. If your roof is more complicated than that, with multiple faces, or different shapes that come together at odd angles, your setback requirements may be different, which is why it’s important to work with solar professionals when designing your home solar power system. Palmetto’s team of solar designers not only make sure your roof space is optimized for power production but that it also meets the requirements of all jurisdictions as well.

    Factors to Consider When Determining How Many Solar Panels You Need

    When determining how many solar panels you need, it’s important to start by thinking about what your goals are and why you want to go solar in the first place. Do you want to maximize your return on investment? Do you want to save as much money as possible? Do you want to reduce your upfront costs? Do you want to have the biggest environmental impact and reduce your carbon footprint as much as possible? Most people want a balance of these goals, and may have other priorities as well, so it’s helpful to get a clear idea of what your specific end goals are before you start designing a solar power system.

    Once you have your goals in mind, then you can determine how many solar panels you need to get there. This calculation is going to depend on how much energy your family uses, how much roof area you have available for solar panels, the location of your home and the angle of your roof, how much sunlight shines in your part of the country, the efficiency of the solar panels you’re using, and if your local utility offers net metering. Plus, you also need to consider your budget, because a large solar power system might produce more energy, but it’s going to cost more for the initial installation as well.

    Here are a few things you should think about when determining how many solar panels you need for your roof.

    Energy Usage

    How many solar panels you’ll need, and thus how much roof area for solar panels you’ll need, starts with an estimate of how much power you use in a given year. There are plenty of ways to determine your annual energy usage, but the easiest is to simply take a look at your current monthly energy bill. It should tell you how many kilowatt-hours of energy you use in a given month, then just multiply that number by 12 to get an annual estimate. If you don’t know your own estimated energy usage, a good starting number is that the average American home uses about 11,000 kWh of energy every year.

    You should also consider any potential changes to your family’s energy usage in the future that you might want to account for. For example, if you buy a new electric vehicle that you plan to charge at home, or if you start working from home more often, or if you expand your family with a new child, your energy needs might change pretty significantly from the previous year.

    Location (How Much Sunlight You Get)

    Different parts of the country get different amounts of sunlight. For instance, Arizona is famous for intensely sunny days. On average, Arizona gets 300 days of sunshine every year. Conversely, Juneau, Alaska, spends more than two-thirds of the year in darkness.

    This impacts how much roof space is needed for solar panels, because depending on where you live, you’ll need more or fewer solar panels. So if you live somewhere with lots of sun, you might only need enough roof space for a few solar panels. But if you live in Juneau, you’ll need lots of solar panels on your roof to harness the available energy.

    The direction of your roof also determines how many solar panels you need, as southern-facing roofs in the northern hemisphere are ideal, as they receive more direct sunlight and can use that sunlight to create more energy. If your roof does not face south, you may either need a more complicated installation to get your panels facing the right direction, or you may need more panels to make up for the difference in energy-creating potential.

    Size and Rating of Your Solar Panels

    Solar panels can vary in size and rating, leading to different sized systems for the same amount of energy output. Some panels might be smaller but have a higher watt rating, which means they’re more efficient than a larger panel with a lower rating. That’s why you must consider the efficiency of the panels when determining the total solar panel system size for your roof.

    While the efficiency of solar panels might vary, solar panel sizes typically don’t, as most companies have a standard solar panel square footage to make installation easier. The standard solar panel size dimensions are about 65 inches by 39 inches, which is roughly 17.5 square feet.

    Your Solar Budget

    Generally, larger systems are a great way to quickly offset your current electrical and fossil fuel energy usage. However, larger systems are naturally more expensive. While you may have the roof real estate for a large array, you might not have the financial budget for it, and vice versa.

    Another thing to consider when figuring out your budget is whether your local utility offers net metering, and what rate they offer for that net metering. If you’re not familiar, net metering is when your utility company offers you credits for the extra energy that your system produces and feeds back into the grid. These credits can then be used to offset the cost of power that you might need to draw back from the grid, such as at night or during storms if you don’t have a battery storage system. If your local utility offers a generous net metering policy, it may allow you to expand your initial budget and then make up that difference over time.

    Is It Possible To Install Too Many Solar Panels?

    Believe it or not, it’s not always beneficial to install as many solar panels as you can possibly fit on your roof. Adding extra panels that aren’t needed just increases the cost of your initial investment, and if you don’t have a way of capturing or getting credit for the extra energy that you’re generating but not using, then you’re not getting a good return on that investment.

    A good solar installation should offset as close to the exact amount of energy that you use as possible. That’s why we typically ask for samples of previous power bills when designing a system. These power bills help us estimate your power requirements, and design a system that matches your specific needs. Some months you might use more energy than your system produces, and some months you might use less energy than you produce, but at the end of the year, the goal is to generate about the same amount of energy as you use.

    That said, there are some instances where it makes sense to install more solar panels to generate more energy than you plan on using. The first is if you plan on installing an energy storage system to capture that excess energy. Solar battery storage lets you use the energy you generated during the day to power your home at night, and also gives you a backup source of power in case you have a blackout or other issue.

    Another time that you might want to generate more power than you plan to use is if your utility offers a strong net metering benefit. Net metering is when the utility gives you credit for the extra electricity that your solar power system produces and then feeds back into the grid, and this can help offset the cost of any electricity that you pull from the utility when your system isn’t generating electricity, like nighttime or during large storms.

    In general it’s not possible to install too many solar panels (as long as your roof has space for them) but there just might not be a significant advantage to doing so.

    How To Put Solar Panels On Your Roof

    Your home’s roof space is just one of the factors that determines the optimum solar power system for your family’s needs. The arrangement of panels and the difficulty of the installation is determined by your roof, but you also need to consider your family’s energy needs, any future changes that your family might expect, your local incentives and net-metering programs, and a variety of other factors. Fortunately, Palmetto can help figure out the precise number and type of panels that will work best for your roof, and make it easy to get a system that’s perfectly matched to your family’s needs.

    To find out how many panels you can put on your roof, get started with a free solar estimate, and a Palmetto solar expert will help design a system that’s just the right size to meet your energy goals.

    Interested in Solar Panels? Here Is Some Advice.

    Buying a solar energy system can be expensive and confusing. Here are some things to think about if you are in the market for solar panels.

    Give this article Share full article

    Thanks to technological and manufacturing advances, costs for solar panels have tumbled in the last decade, making solar energy more popular for homeowners. But figuring out how to add a solar energy system to your roof can be daunting.

    Workers installed a solar and battery system this winter at my home in a New York City suburb. It was a major investment but has already begun paying off in lower utility bills and providing peace of mind that we will have at least some electricity during power outages, which are common here because storms often knock down power lines.

    Interest in rooftop solar systems is high and growing as energy rise and concerns about climate change mount. Many people are also worried about blackouts caused by extreme weather linked to climate change. A Pew Charitable Trust survey in 2019 found that 6 percent of Americans had already installed solar panels and that another 46 percent were considering it.

    “The biggest thing is that solar is a lot cheaper than it used to be even in places like New York City and Boston, where it tends to be more expensive than in the suburbs,” said Anika Wistar-Jones, director of affordable solar at Solar One, an environmental education nonprofit in New York City that helps affordable housing and low-income communities adopt solar energy.

    If you are interested in solar, here are some things to consider.

    Can you add solar panels to your roof?

    This question might seem simple, but finding the answer can be surprisingly complicated. One installer told me that my roof was so shaded by trees that solar panels would not generate enough electricity to make the investment worthwhile. Hearing another opinion was worth it: The installer I hired allayed those concerns and recommended some tree trimming. On sunny days my system often generates more power than my family uses.

    It can also be difficult to find out what your local government and utility will permit because the information is usually not readily available in plain language. I learned that lesson at my previous home.

    When I lived in New York City, it took months of research to learn that I couldn’t install panels on my roof. The city requires a large clear area on flat roofs like mine for firefighters to walk on, it turns out. And I couldn’t install solar panels on a canopy — a rooftop framework that elevates the panels — because it would violate a city height restriction for homes on my block.

    The best approach is to cast a wide net and talk to as many solar installers as you can. You might also consult neighbors who have put solar panels on their roofs: People in many parts of the country have banded together in what are known as solarize campaigns to jointly purchase solar panels to secure lower from installers.

    “That has been really successful in neighborhoods and communities all across the country,” said Gretchen Bradley, community solar manager at Solar One.

    Can I afford a solar installer?

    You should seek proposals from several installers. Comparison shopping services like EnergySage and SolarReviews make it easy to contact multiple installers.

    When reviewing proposals, pay attention to how much the system will cost per watt. This tells you how much you are paying for the system’s electricity-generating capacity and allows you to compare offers.

    The median quote for new rooftop solar systems is 2.75 per watt, according to EnergySage. That works out to about 26,125 for an average system of 9,500 watts before taking into account a federal tax credit. For the 2022 tax year, the credit stands at 26 percent of the cost of solar system; it is slated to drop to 22 percent in 2023 and end in 2024. Many states, including Arizona, California, New York and Massachusetts, also offer residents incentives to install solar systems, such as rebates and tax breaks.

    can vary greatly because of location, local labor costs and other factors, like what kind of home you live in and whether other work is needed before installation. If your roof is old or damaged, for example, it might need to be replaced before a solar system can be installed.

    Rooftop solar systems can reduce monthly utility bills, depending on electricity rates, how much energy a home uses and state policies. Systems that save more money will help buyers recoup their investment faster. Vikram Aggarwal, the chief executive and founder of EnergySage, said solar systems should ideally pay for themselves within 10 years.

    The excess electricity that rooftop systems produce is sent to the electric grid, and utilities typically compensate homeowners for that energy through credits on their monthly bills. The value of those credits varies by state.

    How should I pay for it?

    If you can afford to buy a solar system outright, you will get the best deal by paying cash. Systems purchased with loans or through leases tend to cost more, especially over the life of the contract. Shopping around is your best hedge against falling prey to dubious or predatory agreements.

    The main advantage of leasing a solar energy system is that your costs are typically fixed for the duration of the contract. But experts caution that leases can be hard to get out of and could become a burden when you sell your home, because buyers might not want to take on your contract.

    Mr. Aggarwal noted that leases “make sense” for some people who may not earn enough to claim the federal tax credit. He suggested that people interested in solar leases get three or four quotes from different installers.

    Should I buy a battery?

    Adding a battery to your solar system will allow you to store some of the excess electricity it generates to use during a blackout or in the evening and night. A solar system without a battery will not keep you supplied with power during an outage because most residential systems are automatically turned off when the grid goes down.

    Batteries can be expensive, especially if you want to run large appliances and provide power for many hours or days. A 10- to 12-kilowatt-hour battery, which can store roughly a third of a home’s typical daily electricity use, costs about 13,000, according to EnergySage.

    The federal tax credit for rooftop solar systems applies to the costs of batteries that are purchased with solar panels or if they are added in a following tax year. About 28 percent of residential solar systems installed in 2021 included batteries, up from 20 percent in 2020, according to a survey by EnergySage.

    The Wirecutter, a product recommendation service from The New York Times, has a detailed guide for buying solar and battery systems.

    Can I use my electric car as a backup battery?

    Most electric cars cannot provide power to homes. Only a few models, like the Ford F-150 Lightning and the Hyundai Ioniq 5, have that ability, and they are in incredibly short supply.

    But many energy experts believe that it will eventually be common for car batteries to send power back to homes and the electric grid.

    In many parts of the United States, extended power outages may happen just once or twice a year. As a result, Mr. Aggarwal said, it may not make sense to invest in an expensive home battery, which usually holds much less energy than electric-car batteries. “Everybody is starting to talk about using your car to run your home.”

    If I can’t install solar panels, can I still buy solar energy?

    You might be able to join a community solar project, which are usually installed on open land or on the roofs of warehouses and other large buildings.

    While the rules vary by state, community solar programs generally work in similar ways. Members get two bills a month: one from the community solar project and one from their utility. The projects sell electricity at a discount to the rate charged by your utility, and each kilowatt-hour of power you buy shows up as a credit for a kilowatt-hour of energy on your utility bill.

    New Yorkers who join a community solar project, for example, can save about 10 percent on their monthly electricity bill, Ms. Bradley said. “It doesn’t cost anything to sign up or leave a project,” she added.

    much, roof, space, needed

    While most states allow community solar, a majority of such projects are in just four states — Florida, Minnesota, New York and Massachusetts — according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

    You can search for projects in your area on websites including EnergySage and PowerMarket or through state agencies, like the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.

    `An earlier version of this article referred incorrectly to the timing of a tax credit for the cost of batteries on a home solar energy system. Taxpayers can claim the credit for the batteries in a tax year after the year in which they installed the solar panels; it is not the case that solar panels and batteries must be purchased in the same year to qualify for the credit.

    How we handle corrections

    much, roof, space, needed

    Vikas Bajaj, an assistant editor in the Business section, was previously a member of the editorial board and a correspondent based in Mumbai, India. Before that, he covered housing and financial markets from New York. @ vikasbajaj

    A version of this article appears in print on. Section B. Page 1 of the New York edition with the headline: Going Solar? Here’s What You Need Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe

    Give this article Share full article

    Thinking of going solar?

    Try our solar system estimator tool to help evaluate your solar options.

    Solar for your home

    Thinking of going solar?

    Learn what you should consider and explore the many ways to finance a solar system.

    Solar customers

    Your rate depends on when your solar or battery system was approved for installation.

    Battery storage

    Store solar energy and use more of what you produce.

    much, roof, space, needed

    Is solar right for me?

    The Solar System Estimator is an online tool that you can use to help determine the benefits of installing a rooftop solar system on your home.

    Use the tool to find your solar savings potential based on your rooftop characteristics, your electricity use, SMUD electricity rates and available tax credits and rebates.

    Learn from our experts

    Installing a solar system on the roof of your home is a big decision. Not only is it important to understand how solar works, but it’s likely you have questions about cost, maintenance, repairs or even selecting a contractor to work with.

    Our experts on rooftop solar want to help you make an informed choice.

    Get real answers about solar. Watch this informative video to the right and start exploring your options today.

    Frequently asked questions

    Maintenance and repairs

    Do I need to do any maintenance? Little maintenance is required with a solar electric system other than washing the panels a few times a year to help keep the system operating at its best.

    Does having solar on my roof mean I am off the grid and not connected to electricity from SMUD? No. Having solar on your roof does not mean you are off the grid. While it is possible to design a system to produce all your power and enable your home to be off the grid, we do not recommend that you install a system that large.

    What happens at night when the sun is down? Do I still get electricity? At night, or on very stormy days, a conventional solar electric system goes dormant. During these dormant times, you will get power from the electricity grid. When the sun comes back out, the system resumes producing energy. If you don’t use all the electricity that you are producing at that moment, you can sell the excess electricity generated back to SMUD.

    What happens at the end of my contract if I’m in a lease or PPA ? Contact your solar provider to discuss the terms and conditions of your lease or PPA.

    Site and product selection

    How can I tell if my house will be a good fit for solar? The typical home will need to have a southern-facing roof with little or no shade. East and west facing roofs also are viable, but their output is decreased by 12%-15% or more over the course of a year. A perfect slope for your roof would be 25% to 30%. While a solar electric system will produce power at a wide variety of slopes and orientations, it is important to try to maximize your output in relation to the size of the system. The best orientation is usually south, then west, then east. Of course, shading can impact all of those decisions.

    How can I calculate the size of the solar electricity system I would need? The size of your system should be based upon your electricity usage patterns, not the size of your roof. There are many variables that determine your system’s production, for example slope, orientation and shading. For more information, click here for the solar estimator.

    Besides the basic warranty, price service questions, what are the other questions I should ask? Always try to get an idea of what is going to be produced by the system. While it is impossible to predict the weather and its impact on the output of your system, there are formulas to determine expected output.

    Will my roof leak or do I need to re-roof my home? It’s not often that your roof leaks. Newer mounting systems have improved resistance to leaks. Your solar electric system will be on your roof for at least 20 years so your roof should be in a condition to last that long.

    Can I put it someplace else on my property other than my roof? Yes, many properties have large lots or acreage to accommodate ground-based systems or carports with solar installed.

    I am buying a new home and solar is an option. Should I buy the solar? Purchasing solar when you buy a new home can be one of the most cost effective ways to invest in solar. The cost that solar would add to your mortgage payment is almost always less than the savings you would get on your monthly SMUD bill.

    Does SMUD require a building permit if I install my own system? Yes. SMUD requires a building permit for all installations, whether installed by a homeowner or contractor.

    I am re-roofing my house, can I install integrated solar tiles? Integrated solar tiles made to blend in with concrete tiles are mostly used in new construction. For more information regarding solar tiles, contact your contractor.

    Will having a solar system help in the sale of my home ? There are many factors that go into a solar system. Contact your realtor for more information.

    Cost

    Will a rooftop solar electric system lower my bill? Yes, solar electricity lowers your bill, but you must still factor in the upfront cost of the system.

    Who benefits most from solar power? The most cost-effective installations are in homes with very large electric bills. However, we have found that many people are installing solar for environmental benefits. The payback is fastest for customers with larger bills, yet many solar users value environmental responsibility as much as they value cost benefits.

    Does SMUD offer Net Energy Metering Aggregation? No. Net Energy Metering Aggregation was a pilot rate that closed to all new applications on December 31, 2016.

    Is there a cost to connect to SMUD? Yes, there is a one-time fee to connect new solar systems to SMUD’s grid to recover the cost of providing interconnection service. The interconnection fee will be applied to all new systems starting March 1, 2022. The interconnection fee applies when adding a new solar system, a solar system with battery storage or a battery storage system only.

    Do I get credit if I make more electricity than I use? Effective March 1, 2022, excess electricity generated on the Solar and Storage Rate for power you don’t use or store in your battery can be sold back to SMUD at a rate of 7.4¢/kWh, no matter the time of day or season.

    Are there any tax credits available? Tax incentives may vary over time. Consult with your tax consultant before making a purchase decision. They’ll let you know the latest federal tax incentives and their possible benefit to you.

    Does SMUD finance solar electric systems? No. SMUD does not currently have financing options available.

    How much do systems cost? System vary by size and technology. The more expensive systems are ones that integrate with concrete tile roofs. The least expensive ones are traditional framed modules mounted on the roof. in the SMUD service area generally range between 3.50 and 4.50 per watt before tax credits and rebates.

    What is the likely payback on my investment, in terms of years? Payback time is determined by many factors, most importantly the amount of your current electricity bill. Customers with lower bill amounts typically have a 20-plus year payback period. Customers who have larger bills may see a return on their investment in as little as 7 to 10 years.

    Does SMUD sell solar electric systems? No. SMUD does not sell solar electric systems. SMUD offers clean energy programs for your home.

    Does SMUD offer solar incentives or rebates? SMUD does not offer rebates for solar installations. Production meter stipends for interconnection projects were discontinued effective June 1, 2023.

    How do I apply? If you are buying a system from a contractor, the contractor will take care of the paperwork. If you are installing the system yourself, you can submit the application here for through SMUD’s PowerClerk online portal.

    How does an escalator in the PPA affect my negotiated contract? The escalator in your PPA should be less than or equal to SMUD’s average annual historic escalation rate of 2-2.5%. You may save in the long-term with a 0% escalator and a PPA rate slightly above SMUD’s average cost of energy. If the PPA rate is lower than SMUD’s average cost of energy, you may save in the short term but with a 3% or greater escalator, you may lose money in the long-term.

    Finding a contractor

    How do I find a contractor? Use web resources like Angie’s List and the BBB to find and talk to as many contractors as possible. The contractor you select will place an interconnection application with SMUD through the PowerClerk portal, https://smudinterconnect.powerclerk.com/Account/Login. This will start the SMUD interconnection procedure.

    Do contractors need to be certified or licensed to install solar? A contractor should have a C-10 electrician’s license or a C-46 solar installer license. We also recommend you use a NABCEP certified installer.

    Interconnection process

    When can I use SMUD’s online interconnection application system?

    SMUD’s online interconnection application system can be used for any on-site generating facility (renewable or non-renewable) operated by or for a customer and/or facility owner to supplement or serve the customer’s electric service requirements that would otherwise be served by SMUD. The application may not be used for interconnection to SMUD’s Transmission System.

    What are the steps in the interconnection process?

    • Visit SMUD’s online interconnection application system to apply. Submit system details including single line diagram, site plans, diagrams or layout drawings and copy of your SMUD Bill. An interconnection fee is collected at the time of application.
    • SMUD conducts initial review of the application and contacts applicant if needed.
    • SMUD approves application and applicant receives email notification. Email includes SMUD prescribed inverter settings (if applicable) and any Designer or Engineer Комментарии и мнения владельцев.
    • System is installed. Installer obtains local agency permits and inspections and configures Advanced Inverter Functions (AIF) settings if applicable.
    • If applicable, proof of AIF settings are required to be submitted
    • Meter install is scheduled and performed; PTO (permission to operate) issued. I mportant meter installation video: 3 common mistakes that solar installers make.
    • Billing is set up and project completed.

    ​Billing

    Why do I have charges each month on my SMUD bill when I produce more electricity than I use? Those charges are SMUD service charges which include the System Infrastructure Fixed charge, any fees for programs you might be enrolled in, surcharges and taxes, all of which must be paid monthly.

    Why do I receive a monthly bill from SMUD when I have solar? At night, or on very stormy days, a conventional solar electric system goes dormant. During those dormant times, you will get power from the electricity grid.

    What happens if I produce more electricity than I use? Effective March 1, 2022, excess electricity generated on the Solar and Storage Rate for power you don’t use or store in your battery can be sold back to SMUD at a rate of 7.4¢/kWh, no matter the time of day or season.

    I am enrolled in Budget Billing. Can I remain on this program as a solar customer? Yes, as a Solar and Storage Rate customer, you can remain on SMUD’s Budget Billing program.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *