Solar Power FAQ
+ What are the advantages of solar energy?
Capturing sunlight and converting it to electricity is a clean, pollution-free, efficient, and affordable way to power your home or business. It can increase your home value and lower your electric bills. Best of all, going solar is more affordable than ever with tax credits, solar rebates, net metering programs, and flexible financing options.
+ How is solar panel efficiency calculated?
A solar panel efficiency rating gives you a measure of how much sunlight a solar panel can convert into electricity. Efficiency for different manufacturers and types of panels range from about 12% to over 20%. SunPower is recognized as making the highest efficiency solar panels in the industry, producing 44% more power per panel, and 75% more energy per square foot over 25 years.
+ Why should I choose Freedom Solar for my solar panel installation?
Freedom Solar is locally owned and operated, founded in 2007 by brothers-in-law who were born and raised in Austin, Texas. After growing throughout the state of Texas, we expanded to Colorado. We are a leading solar panel installer the largest SunPower residential dealer in the United States. We have completed projects for commercial clients including Whole Foods, the University of Texas, and The United States Air Force, along with thousands of residential solar panel projects. We take pride in providing quality parts and service throughout the turn-key installation process and most importantly, servicing your solar array after the installation is complete. We believe in going above and beyond to exceed the customer's expectations and give the best possible customer service.
+ What is the benefit of installing SunPower solar panels?
SunPower solar panels convert more sunlight to electricity, producing 44% more power per panel, and 75% more energy per square foot over 25 years. They are the most efficient panels in the industry, and SunPower provides a 25-year complete coverage warranty on all their products.
+ What kind of warranty comes with the array?
25 years bumper to bumper coverage includes power production, product coverage, and service/labor. If any issues, which are rare, arise with your array, Freedom Solar replaces the product on behalf of the manufacturer. Our Complete Freedom Warranty differentiates Freedom Solar from other companies. Additionally, Freedom Solar provides a lifetime transferable warranty on the solar panel installation.
+ Which direction is best for solar panels to face?
Solar panels are most productive when South facing given our location North of the equator. However, anything from due East to just past due West is a productive solar window.
+ Does it have to go on the front of my house?
In some cases, yes it does. This is simply based on what your available roof surfaces are.
+ Will my HOA have a problem with this?
Most HOA's are super cool about solar. They may have a restriction or two, but the good thing is that Texas passed a law forbidding HOA's from blocking solar panel installation.
+ What about hail?
SunPower solar panels are designed, rated, and tested to withstand hail up to 1 inch in diameter traveling at 54 mph. Moreover, your panels will be covered under your general homeowner's policy, and if you have a broken panel you will likely need a new roof anyways, so it will all be handled as an insurance claim.
+ Will my homeowner’s insurance go up?
In many cases, your homeowner’s insurance will not go up. It depends on how comprehensive your current coverage is. If you need to add coverage, it can cost an extra $10 - $80 per year.
+ Do you have to penetrate the roof?
The only non-penetrating roof application is on a standing seam metal roof. On all others we use a very reliable roof flashing made especially for solar mounting systems.
+ What roof material is the best?
Standing seam metal is probably the best roof material, but we frequently work with composition shingle and have a lot of experience with clay tile.
+ Do these things come with batteries?
They do not. Off-grid or battery backup solutions are available and your energy consultant will be happy to go over those with you.
+ How much do solar panels cost?
This depends on your utility company, local jurisdictions, your existing electrical service, and the type of panels you choose. Our energy consultants will create a custom proposal for you that includes system size, design, costs, benefits, financing options, and the available federal, state and local incentives such as tax credits and rebates. We will walk you through the proposal during your appointment, which will take place at your home, at our solar design center, or virtually over the phone and online.
+ Just tell me what the damn thing costs!
At a very high level, we can tell you that most of our customers tend to finance their investment and can do so with no money out of pocket and a payment that is often below their energy savings from day one. Our cash customers typically see a payback in 5-12 years, and an IRR that exceeds what the general stock market has historically returned over the last 70 years.
+ What solar panels do you sell/use?
There are a lot of options out there, and we have done a careful job to curate our solar panel offering. Our primary panel partner is SunPower, a US-based company with the most efficient solar panel in the world.
+ How long does it take to get the solar panel system installed?
It takes about 1-3 days for the actual install, but there is a backlog of projects in the install cue and a number of steps that need to be completed before we can mount the system on your roof. The typical period from contract signing to install is about 90 days.
+ Can I over-size the system and sell back for a profit?
It depends on if your utility offers such a program – this is something our energy consultants can research for you.
+ What happens to the array if I'm repairing the roof or remodeling?
We can de-install and re-install solar PV systems regardless of make, model, or previous install company. Our team of 100% full-time Freedom Solar employees will coordinate with your contractor. We offer free system diagnostic inspection during service and will return your system to equal or better performance. Contact us before work begins.
+ What if I decide to sell my home?
We will help you maximize the resale value that solar panels add to your home. Our certified solar appraisal documents with all the details buyers need on your system, performance, and warranty, which is fully transferable to the buyer. We can also consult with your realtor to help them explain the value of your solar installation.
Listen to our podcast with Marc Richmond of Texas Green Realty to learn more about appraising your solar system and how to maximize resale value.
+ Who do I call if I have a problem?
+ Why should I go with Freedom Solar Power?
Texas ownership, superior products, best warranty, outstanding customer service, and the most experience. But don't take it from us - see what our customers have to say. We're proud to be rated the #1 solar contractor in Texas.
+ Why doesn't my monitoring device match my utility bill?
Your utility's billing period may not start on the first day of the month, so be careful when looking at monthly production or consumption to ensure that you're comparing the same time period.
The measurements from your monitoring device may not record the exact same totals as the utility meter, as the devices use different methodologies to measure the current. It is normal for there to be a difference within a range of +2.5% to -2.5%, and the meter collects the more accurate reading.
Another important difference for both production and consumption is that the utility can only measure what passes through its meter. The utility will only credit you for excess generation that passes through its meter back to the grid.
Similarly, your utility will only report on energy delivered through its meter to your home. The utility will debit you for the energy you consume from the grid when your energy needs exceed your solar generation (or at night). If you have consumption monitoring installed, your consumption data will be higher than what the utility reports because your solar monitor is reporting all your consumption whether it came from the grid or from your solar array.
If the values are wildly different from each other and cannot be explained by the scenarios above, you may be experiencing one of the following issues:
- Incorrect configuration of the solar monitor
- Solar monitor calibration issue
- Utility meter calibration issue
If you have questions or are concerned about your monitoring, please contact our Service Department.