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Solar energy  
FAQs

Frequently asked questions

How much solar energy can a rooftop system produce on my home?

Most roofs get more than enough sunlight. Our experts can map your roof and install solar panels where they'll be most effective. Our customers typically generate 50 to 90% of the energy they use every year from solar power. This can lead to significant savings since solar energy is more affordable than electricity from the utility company.

Should I purchase the solar energy system or lease it?

It depends on your financial goals. We’ve discovered that 95% of our customers benefit more from a solar lease than a purchase. It’s a great option if you want to start saving right away because there’s little to no upfront cost.

Purchasing the solar energy system may be a better option if you’re looking for an upfront investment with good returns. You’ll need money to purchase the system, plus an accountant who understands solar energy tax benefits. Cash purchases typically have a 6-8 year payback.

We'll be sure to go over all of your solar financing options during your free consultation.

What happens if I decide to sell my house?

We understand that many customers don’t expect to live in their homes for 20 years. That's ok! Solar is a huge plus when it’s time to sell. Berkeley Labs found homes with solar energy systems command more at resale than homes without.*

Most customers simply transfer their solar agreement to the home’s new owner. You can also buy out the system ahead of time and include the cost in your home's sale price. Click here for more details on buying and selling a solar home.

*Ernesto Orlando Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, December 2013, "Exploring California PV Home Premiums"

Is my home a good candidate for solar power?

There are many factors that determine whether or not solar power will work for you. First, you must own the home where you want solar installed and have high utility bills. Our customers typically spent over $100 per month on electricity before signing up with us.

Other things that could determine if solar is right for you include your roof type, your credit score and the shading on your home. One of our Energy Advisors can go over all this and answer your questions during your free consultation.

How does solar power work at night and when I’m not home?

Solar panels installed on your roof convert sunlight to electricity throughout the day. Any electricity that you do not use immediately is put into the power grid. This excess solar energy offsets your energy use at night when the system is not generating electricity. The result is lower utility bills and more control over your energy costs.

How will my home look with solar panels?

Your solar roof will look great! We worked with our manufacturers to make our solar panels sleek and elegant. The frames are painted with automotive-grade black paint, while our unique mounting system blends them right into your roof. Wiring and other components are hidden from view. It's a distinctive look you'll only get from SolarCity.

Is solar power less expensive than electricity from my utility?

Yes! Solar power costs less than traditional power in many markets throughout the U.S. These are the areas where we do business. Traditional utility costs also tend to rise every year. SolarCity lets you lock in low, predictable solar energy rates no matter how much traditional power rates go up. You can watch your savings grow over time.

Additional questions about solar energy?

Ask one of our Energy Advisors. They can give you the answers you need and let you know if your home qualifies for solar.

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