FAQs - Eagle Point Solar

FAQs

General

The utility will notify the client and Eagle Point Solar. When Eagle Point Solar is notified, we will reach out to the client to tell them how to turn the array on or schedule a staff member to come turn it on. Eagle Point Solar will monitor the array to ensure it is producing optimally and establish online monitoring access for the client.

Capturing the power of the sun using solar technology helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions (https://nature.berkeley.edu/classes/es196/projects/2013final/ArifM_2013.pdf), which contributes to climate change, and also results in fewer air pollutants like sulfur dioxide and particulate matter, which can cause health problems.

A solar system will reduce your electric bill and start to pay it’s self off immediately. Even if you move before your solar investment is completely paid off studies show the remaining value will likely be returned upon the sale of your property. In addition, it can potentially help your property sell faster offering a guaranteed lower electric bill. Warranties are transferable one time to a new owner. Read about it here: New York Times article (https://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/22/realestate/solar-panels-and-home-values.html?_r=0) or (https://news.energysage.com/home-solar-power-increase-property-values-across-us/)

Eagle Point Solar offers an innovative, turn-key solar energy solution offered through a comprehensive process which takes your system purchase from concept to commissioning. There is no faster, easier way to obtain a cost-saving, environmentally friendly solar energy system for your home or facility. Learn more about the Eagle Point Solar Journey process.

From day one, solar power offsets some or all of your electricity purchases from your utility and therefore reduces your electric bills. Since there are very few, if any, on-going costs, you also lock in the solar portion of your electricity costs which is a great hedge against inflation and makes budgeting your utility costs a breeze.

You will fully recoup the cost of the solar system long before the end of its useful life. Since most components are warranted for up to 25-years and last for 40+ years, you will be reaping the financial awards for decades to come.

Additionally, solar will improve public perception as you, and/or your business, are demonstrating your commitment to a healthier planet. Environmentally conscious residents and businesses are viewed as good neighbors in any community and that can be priceless.

The solar panel contains several individual cells which are made largely of two layers of silicon. By design, there is an electronic imbalance between the two layers and when the sun’s photons bombard the cell it knocks the electrons loose. The electrons then “bounce” from the top layer to the bottom layer creating energy. These bouncing electrons are captured as electricity by metal contacts in the panel.

Since the electricity created inside the panel is direct current (DC), it is necessary to push the current through an inverter which creates alternating current (AC). Once converted, this electricity is then routed to your electrical outlets for your use. Watch this short video to learn more about the specifics of a solar cell: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xKxrkht7CpY

While the equipment does have workmanship and production warranties, they do not cover theft or damage from external sources. However, most homeowner insurance policies will cover your solar system. Check with your insurance provider for more information on your policy.

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Solar Terms

An Interconnection Agreement is a contract with a utility for distributed generated systems, including solar photovoltaics. The agreement is a written notice to a utility company of plans to construct, install and operate any system which will be connected to the grid and must be submitted prior to the start of construction. After the utility receives the required documentation, the application is reviewed for approval.

“Net Metering” is an industry term used to describe how a utility company compensates you for any overproduction from your solar array which is sent back to the utility. Net metering simply means the utility gives the customer full retail credit for all energy the solar array produces but is not consumed by the owner and sent to the utility for them to sell to other customers.

If a utility does not “net meter” it generally means they do not give you full retail credit for any overproduction, but rather a lower “avoided cost” payment. Understanding your utilities policy is essential to anyone considering a solar project since it has a dramatic affect on the economics of the project.

The system is synchronized with the electric grid so the power the solar array generates is used first. If necessary, additional power flows through the meter just like it has in the past. If your solar array is generating excess power, this power flows back through your utility meter and back to the utility for them to sell to another customer. The utility company will generally compensate you for this electricity (over production) either through “net-metering” or by paying you an “avoided cost” for your excess power. You can call your local utility company to find out what their policy is regarding over production or simply contact Eagle Point Solar and we can provide you with this information.

An off-grid system is a solar array which is not connected to the power grid. In most cases, power is generated by the solar panels and energy is sent to a storage receptacle like a battery. The property then consumes the power from the battery. The capacity or size of the battery bank determines how often the battery needs to be charged by the solar array in order to provide you with an uninterrupted source of power.

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Weather

Weather plays a role in the amount of power a solar energy system will generate. Bright sun is obviously the most productive scenario, but power is still produced on overcast days. Unless the panel is completely covered by something, it will continue to produce power. Overall production of energy will be the greatest in the summer months only because the number of hours of sunlight are greater than the winter months. Cold winter days actually allow the equipment to operate very efficiently.

The likelihood of solar panels incurring damage from hail, strong winds, or snow loads is very small. In fact, they are tested and rated to withstand the impact of a 1” hailstone traveling in excess of 200mph and to remain firmly mounted to the ground or roof at wind-speeds in excess of 100mph. Check out this video of a hail impact test: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2RGZzAw3_c

It’s true that when your solar panels are completely snow/ice covered, they will only be able to generate a portion of their typical energy output because less sunlight is able to pass thru the snow/ice cover. Don’t worry, this is more than taken care of by the long, sunny summer days. We recommend not trying to clear the solar modules. Getting onto a roof in inclement weather is dangerous and using any type of tool or chemical on the modules themselves can damage the modules, wiring and possibly void any manufacture warranty.

That being said, this is nothing to be concerned about because:

  • Solar creates more efficient energy at cooler temperatures.
  • Light can still penetrate a thin layer of snow/ice and allow for energy production. 
  • The angle of the solar modules and their ability to produce some heat allows for the snow to slide directly off your modules faster than snow would fall off your roof, quickly returning your system to its full potential.
  • Snow sliding off panels, as it melts, simultaneously cleans them.
  • Eagle Point Solar’s design and engineering team factor in shorter days, winter weather, and less direct sunlight into account to optimize your system based on decades of weather data from your local weather station. Therefore, as a percentage of overall yearly production the loss from snow/ice is very minimal.

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Financials

Solar incentives change regularly depending on which state you reside in. The most significant incentive is the federal investment tax credit (ITC) (https://www.energy.gov/savings/residential-renewable-energy-tax-credit), which allows you to deduct a percentage of the cost of your solar energy system from your taxes. Some states offer additional tax credits, and certain municipalities and utilities also offer cash rebates or other incentives. Additionally, commercial solar is eligible for a 5-year Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System (MACRS) (https://www.seia.org/initiatives/depreciation-solar-energy-property-macrs) depreciation schedule. Click here for a complete listing of solar incentives for Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin.

The cost of your solar investment will vary greatly depending on the size of your system, your location and available incentives. In the past several years, solar prices have decreased as much as 70%, making solar a financially sound investment. Economies of scale also can decrease the cost of larger systems when compared to smaller systems on a per kW basis.

By simply collecting some basic information from you, a Eagle Point Solar Energy Consultant can help you analyze how solar can help you reduce and manage your electricity costs with a Free Solar Analysis.

Solar power usually costs less than traditional power that is sold by the utility company. The increasing cost of traditional power, direct to consumers and indirect to our planet that is driving consumers to search for alternative clean and renewable energy.

The amount of money a consumer will save on a monthly basis will depend not only on the size of your solar energy system, but your household electricity usage. That’s why a professional consultation is so important in getting the right solar system for your home that will be the most cost effective for you.

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Performance

A grid-tied solar array is synchronized with the existing utility fed into your building. You use the power generated by the solar system first and then if additional energy is needed, the system is intelligent enough to simply pull power through your meter and therefore your equipment will have a full supply of uninterrupted power. There are cases where solar energy is actually “cleaner” than power purchased from the utility, so equipment may run more efficiently.

However, in most cases, your equipment will not know where the electricity is coming from, so there will be no difference in its operation.

Grid-tied solar systems are required by utility regulations to have a built-in shut down mechanism in the event of a power outage for the safety of workers attempting to fix power outages. If blackouts occur regularly in your area a battery backup could be a good solution. Ask a battery certified installer for more information on how a battery solution could benefit you.

The percentage of the power which your solar system generates is often up to you. As long as you have enough space available to properly mount the solar panels and inverters it is possible to generate most, or all, of the electricity you need.

Eagle Point Solar staff will analyze your site and energy profile to determine how much of your power can be generated by a solar array and design, engineer and build a system which best fits your needs.

During the winter the sun is lower, so it doesn’t hit the panels at an optimal angle. Cold weather and fewer daylight hours during the winter can cause your energy usage to be higher and solar production to be lower, making the gap between what you can produce and what you use seem even larger.

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Equipment

When quality components are installed properly, solar panels are designed to withstand extreme weather conditions including wind, rain and even hail. The glass that covers the panels is highly engineered and designed to resist breakage, even from 1″ hail stones impacting the glass at over 200mph. Check out this video of a hail impact test: Solar World: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M6v2lDa8Hos and JA Solar: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2RGZzAw3_c

The size of the solar system you may need should be based on a Solar Analysis created by a licensed and certified solar energy professional. There are many things to consider like available space, electrical usage, current electric utility policy and shading. Working with an experienced solar company to evaluate these factors is critical so you accurately build a system which meets your goals and objectives.

Yes, as long as your roof or ground has the room for additional panels. Simply contact Eagle Point Solar to begin the design and engineering process.

Solar panel brands are classified in categories, such as Premium (Tier 1), Standard (Tier 2), and Economy (Tier 3). Tier 1 panels often perform the best and are manufactured and warrantied by financially strong solar panel manufacturers. These panels have a higher price tag, while Tier 3 panels are inexpensive but often less durable over time. To maintain the highest level of quality and energy production, Eagle Point Solar is committed to only installing/purchasing Tier 1 solar panels.

Although most solar components have a 25-year warranty, they are expected to continue to produce power for 40+ years. There are no moving parts and virtually no maintenance which means longevity also comes with reliability. Major solar module (panel) manufacturers have modules which were installed over 40 years ago and the panels are still producing clean, renewable energy today!

Contact a licensed Eagle Point Solar Energy Consultant for extended warranty options.

The innovative design of solar panels take on an integrated look on your roof, ultimately becoming part of the overall design. Panels come in a variety of options including a sleek all black design. The panels functionality to power your home more efficiently will quickly become a look and feel that never goes out of date.

The multicolored lights on the SolarEdge inverter tell us different information about the production and communications on your array. Follow this link to learn what they mean: https://www.solaredge.com/us/leds

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Installation

We know the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, but in the Midwest, the sun is always to the south. So ideally, the more we can point panels facing due south, the better. However, in some cases we are not able to have panels facing directly south. No worries, you can still capture power from the sun with east and west solar panel placement. Our licensed and certified Eagle Point Solar design and engineering team is uniquely qualified to supply you with the necessary energy production designs and reports for your particular solar project to help answer these questions.

Roof mounted solar systems are common but there are other options in most cases. Systems can be mounted on a frame which is built on the ground or in some cases single poles can be used as a mounting mechanism. Which solar mounting or racking system is right for you greatly depends on your home or business location, local building codes, covenants etc.

It is not recommended to install your own system. The process requires qualified electrical and roofing expertise to ensure the system is safe and optimally designed for maximum possible production.

When the best design and installation practices are followed your roof will maintain its integrity. With many roof types there are no additional attachments to the roof facing.

Most often, the answer is no. More than 40 states have Solar Access Laws providing varying degrees of protection against restrictions anyone can place on your solar system. Work with a certified installer to learn more about the laws and policies in your area.

There are several factors that determine whether your home is a candidate for solar power.

Your roof design matters, the best roofs for solar are those south-facing with enough space for solar panels. The solar panels need to retrieve the sun;s ray;s most of the day and not be shaded by trees or other obstructions. Our team conducts an assessment of your property in order to provide you with the best possible solar energy system.

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New Home Construction

When designing your new home, a 7/12 roof pitch with a larger portion of southern exposure is optimal for a roof-mounted solar array. Systems can be installed on various roof pitches as well as east or west-facing roofs. In doing so, more panels are often required to achieve the best performance to reach your energy production goals.

Planning the placement of conduit during the new home construction process is a great idea and can save you money on the installation of your solar array. Installing a 2″ metallic conduit from the attic to the location of your electrical load center will allow for DC wiring to be easily installed from your roof-mounted solar array to your load center. If you plan to build a ground-mounted solar array, place conduit underneath any cement, patio, landscaping etc. where the wires will enter the home or meet with the existing utility meter.

If you plan to install a ground-mounted solar array once your new home is complete, try to keep all public and private utility lines out of the trench path from the array location to the utility meter. This will help reduce labor cost and ensure a safe work area.

If you plan to build a ground-mounted solar array after your new home is complete, prepare a section of your property to be flat (if possible) with an approximate pad of 50′ x 20′ for a typical residential array. This will help save money on installation time and ensure your array is installed to achieve maximum production.

To ensure a simple connection in the load center, we recommend installing a 225A Square D Homeline load center, with a 200A main breaker. The solar breaker is a two pole breaker and will need two free slots on the opposite end of the bus bar from the main breaker. Approximately 90% of all standard-sized residential installations will be able to be made in this size of load center.

Leave about 4′ of wall space inside the home on either side of the electrical load center for placement of the solar array inverter. Additionally, leave about 3′ of exterior wall space on either side of the utility meter for placement of the utility disconnect required for your solar array.

The solar array inverter will be connected to your home internet service for online monitoring. We recommend placing your internet router adjacent to your load center to ease the communications install and connectivity.

If you are considering solar+storage or simply adding a battery at a later date, you will want to leave 5′ of extra wall space on either side of the load center. Don’t forget to take into account space for the inverter next to the load center which requires an additional recommended 4′ of wall space.

When building your new home, planting a tree in the yard or adding smaller trees along your landscaping helps to quickly beautify your property. When adding trees to your property (or choosing to keep existing trees), consider the size of the tree in 25-30 years. Could it potentially shade your roof or ground solar array causing loss of production in the future? Our designers and engineers can typically work around minor shading issues and build an array which meets your production goals. Keep in mind you can always contact us before planting to walk the site with you and provide our recommendations for the best placement of your new tree(s).

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Monitoring

If you agreed to provide internet in your solar array contract, you will receive two emails: one from the monitoring portal provider, and one from Eagle Point Solar. The email from the monitoring portal will give you a link to register your email address. The email from Eagle Point Solar will have a short walk-through description for setting up your account and explanation of the monitoring portal. If you do not receive this email from Eagle Point Solar within 5 business days from the time your array is turned on, please email: support@eaglepointsolar.com

Eagle Point Solar provides monitoring clients with email instructions on how to access monitoring after Power To Operate (PTO) is granted. If you do not receive this email from Eagle Point Solar within 5 business days from the time your array is turned on, please email: support@eaglepointsolar.com

Yes, Eagle Point Solar offers the capability to provide internet-based (online) production monitoring of your solar array. This provides us (and you) the ability to monitor the solar production and to troubleshoot anything which may need attention. Eagle Point Solar will also send you an annual production report comparing our estimated energy production with the actual energy production of your equipment.

Monitoring your Eagle Point Solar array can be done with the correct app and online access using most electronic (desktop and mobile) devices running Apple, Android and Microsoft operating systems. Application monitoring capabilities depends on the software development provided by the manufacturer. Often, manufacturers offer online portals through a web browser as well as mobile apps.

Only energy that travels through your meter appears on your utility bill. The utility bill does not show the total energy produced by your solar system. Not all the energy you produce is sold to the utility, only the left-over energy – net energy. Your bill reflects net sales not net usage. If you are producing energy at the same time you are consuming energy it will not appear on your utility bill.

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Maintenance

In the event of a fire or flood, there is nothing special you need to do for your solar array. If you would normally turn off electricity in the situation, your solar array would turn off with the electricity shut off.

Generally, there is no need to clean the panels as Mother Nature takes care of that in the Midwest. Spring rains and winter snows provide the best glass cleaning for solar panels.

With no moving parts and quality components solar panels require very little maintenance. In fact, their design ensures the glass remains relatively clean by naturally being exposed to the rain and snow.

There are a variety of options you can choose for landscaping underneath ground mounted solar panels. Plant life including wildflowers, vegetables and grasses are very successful under panels. Shaded plants require less water and help to keep the temperature under the panels cooler in turn maximizing the panels efficiency. Other options include rocks or mulch on top of landscape cloth to reduce the possibility of unwanted growth for a cleaner lower maintenance appearance.

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Service & Support

This will be different, depending on your installation:

  • For hardwire customers, it should be as simple as plugging the CAT-6 cable back into the new router.
  • For customers with hardline directly to inverter, this cable will need to be plugged into the new router.
  • For Zigbee customers, you will plug the ethernet cable into the new router.
  • Engenius customers will need to plug ethernet cable into the new router.
  • CDMA customers should not be affected by this.
  • For ECU customers, this will require a service call to Eagle Point Solar.

First, check your internet router/connection. This is the same as if your internet on a computer goes out. Second, check your solar array owner’s manual for your specific communication systems directions.

Most solar components carry a manufacturer’s warranty of up to 25-years. As with any other products you may buy, warranties can be driven by the quality of the equipment you are considering, cheaper equipment can mean shorter warranties.

Eagle Point Solar generally warrants our workmanship for 5 years. Warranty extensions of that timeframe are possible during the development of the initial contract.

Eagle Point Solar Hours of Operation
After hours, please call and leave a message – Matt Shear, Service Director at (563) 582.4044 Ex.36 or email support@eaglepointsolar.com

The utility bill shows the net difference between energy produced and energy used. If that month you use more energy that you produced, your bill will show an amount due for energy consumed from the utility. If you produce more than you consume, your bill will show a credit.

When a property owners installs solar panels, they will typically become a net metering customer. Net metering is a policy used throughout most of the country that credits solar customers for excess energy produced by their solar panels. This changes the way these customers’ bills are calculated. After installing solar, a customer’s bill may include some of the following terms:

Net Meter Balance (Parallel Generation): The net difference between energy produced, carried over balance and energy used.

Total Received Generation: The energy produced by the solar array which is not immediately consumed and sent to the utility grid.

Select a link below to review details explaining your utility bill terms and definitions:

Alliant Energy (WI & IA)

MidAmerican Energy

Wisconsin Public Service (WPS)

Excel Energy

Comed

Ameran

We Energy

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Power Purchase Agreement (PPA)

The solar array is paid for in full by the Investor (Co-Owner) who will then sell the electricity coming off the solar array to the Energy Consumer (Buyer) at a lower rate than they are paying the utility.

The Investor (Co-Owner) will own the solar array through the duration of the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).

The Investor (Co-Owner) will take advantage of the tax credits and will also be selling the power coming off the solar array(s).

The Investor (Co-Owner) is responsible for any maintenance the solar array(s) require. Maintenance of issues with the physical solar array does not include maintaining the grounds around the solar array.

The Investor (Co-Owner) will own the solar array during the duration of the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) and is responsible for the insurance on the solar array.

Any damage or malfunction of the solar array during the duration of the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) is the responsibility of the Investor (Co-Owner).

Each solar array is monitored for its energy production. The Energy Consumer (Buyer) will receive a bill from the Investor (Co-Owner) for the electricity coming off the solar array. Because the Energy Consumer (Buyer) will still be tied to the utility grid for a portion of their consumption, they will also receive a bill from the utility. The combination of these two bills will be lower than what the buyer is currently paying for electricity from the utility.

Yes, this is correct. The only downside to the Energy Consumer (Buyer) is the space being taken up by the solar array.

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