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How Solar Works

Will solar power work on my Columbus-area home or business?

We hope so!  The two biggest factors are the amount sunlight you get throughout the day and the amount of open roof space. We can give you a quick assessment by looking at satellite photos of your property. If your roof looks good, we can schedule a free solar consultation where we will evaluate if a solar power system will fit with your architecture and meet your energy needs. Ecohouse Solar will provide a detailed proposal including recommended system location, size, pricing and financial analysis.

Will I need to adapt my home or business to run on solar power?

No. Solar power electric systems fit seamlessly into your building. You won’t have to buy new appliances or change your electrical outlets. Everything will work just the same as it did before. The main difference will be that your utility bill will be lower and you will be generating your own electricity from solar.

How will solar power affect my utility bill?

When you begin to generate your own solar power, your utility bill will drop significantly. How much you can save will depend on the size of your solar power system and your electricity usage. When your solar electric system generates more electricity than your building can immediately use, your excess power flows back to the utility grid and your meter literally spins backward. Your interconnection with the utility is called “net metering” and will allow you to receive credit for any excess electricity you generate to the grid.

Should I wait for new technology?

No. Now is really the best time to invest in a solar system given the combination of lower equipment costs and government incentives. Solar is being widely adopted around the world which has driven down the cost and improved efficiency of the equipment. Keep in mind, the Federal government currently offers a generous 30% Tax Credit to go solar. This Tax Credit expires at the end of 2016, so take advantage of it now. You will also receive additional income by selling “Renewable Energy Credits” when you install a solar electric system in Ohio.

What size solar system do I need?

Every home and business is different, so the size of your system will depend on your energy needs, roof space and solar goals. Residential solar power systems are typically 4-10 kW and commercial solar power systems range from 10-100 kW for a small to medium-sized business. Ecohouse Solar will custom design a solar power system to meet your specific needs and offset as much of your utility bill as you desire.

What maintenance is required?

Your solar energy system requires very little maintenance, largely because it has no moving parts. All your system requires is minimal shade, and occasional inspection. We suggest that you keep an eye on trees that may shade your system and keep them trimmed. Cleaning the solar panels periodically may also maximize energy production.

How reliable is solar power?

Solar systems built today are very reliable. They have proven to be dependable sources of energy for large office buildings, mass retailers and governmental agencies, supplying megawatts of energy. Some of the largest companies in the world have buildings powered by solar energy, including Google, eBay, Walmart, and the US Army and Air Force. Ecohouse Solar has high quality standards and uses only the best equipment—we build our systems to last.

Do I need a battery back-up system?

No. All Ecohouse Solar energy systems are connected to the utility grid so you always have access to a power source. You never have to worry about “running out” of power.

What happens at night, or when the weather turns cloudy?

Central Ohio has a reputation for being cloudy, but that won’t stop solar power. Since the amount of electricity your solar power system generates is a direct result of sunlight, it will produce slightly less electricity when the weather is cloudy. Your system will not produce any energy at night. Your Ecohouse power system will be interconnected to your local utility grid, so that you can automatically begin to draw power from the grid whenever you need it. You won’t experience any power interruptions—the switch between solar system power and the utility grid happens seamlessly, with no effort on your part.

What happens if there is a black out?

In the event of a black out, your system is designed to turn off. This is a safety requirement by the utility company so that their technicians can safely repair electrical lines. To still have power during a utility outage would require either a generator or battery back-up.

How long will a solar system last?

Most of the parts on your solar system, such as solar panels, carry warranties of 25 years. In addition, Ecohouse Solar offers a five-year warranty on the entire installation. Most solar systems may far outlast their warranties; many of the first solar systems installed more than 30-40 years ago are still going strong.

Installation Process

Is it difficult to switch over to solar power?

No. Ecohouse Solar makes it easy to switch to solar. We will get your solar system operating as quickly and smoothly as possible so that you can start saving money and using clean energy. You won’t experience any changes inside your home or business.

How long will it take to get my new solar system up and running?

A typical solar panel installation takes about 2-5 days and a typical commercial installation takes about 1-3 weeks from the day we begin the installation. The length of time depends on the complexity of your roof and the number of panels that will be installed. The permitting process may take 2-4 weeks depending on the location.

What kinds of permits are needed to meet local building codes?

As part of our comprehensive service, Ecohouse will obtain all required building and electrical permits and design your system to meet your local building codes and the National Electric Code.  We’ll arrange the electrical, building and utility inspections and be on-site to make sure that everything is up to code. Ecohouse Solar takes care of your project every step of the way.

What if my roof needs repairs after I've installed solar panels?

Ideally, you should install solar panels on a roof that is in good condition. When an Ecohouse Solar representative comes out to inspect your building prior to installation, he or she will check to make sure that your roof is suitable for a solar installation. Once the solar panels are installed, they actually help to protect your roof from the elements. Should you ever need to make repair on the roof, the solar panels will need to be removed and re-installed. Ecohouse Solar offers this service for a reasonable fee.

Financial Benefits of Solar Power

Does a solar system make financial sense for me?

Yes! Solar is cleaner and less expensive than power from the utility company. Solar is a smart financial investment because you will save money on electrical costs for years to come and increase your home value. Our customers who purchase their system typically see an excellent return on investment (ROI) and expect to recoup their solar system investment within 5-8 years for commercial installation and 7-10 years for a residential installation.

Will the government really give rebates and tax incentives for going solar?

A combination of incentives and tax credits can cover more than 30% of the total cost! The most important thing to keep in mind about these governmental programs is that they won’t last forever. Now is the time to take advantage of the federal tax credit and state mandate to switch to renewable sources of energy. Once the adoption rate reaches a certain level, the incentives will disappear.

Is now a good time to buy a solar system?

Now is the perfect time to switch to solar. Federal and state governments are offering generous loan programs and incentives to go solar; however, these programs are designed to reward early adopters of solar power. In addition, solar can dramatically reduce your utility bill and will protect you from rising utility rates for years to come.

Do you have financing available?

Yes. Ecohouse Solar can help you obtain a low interest loan using the State of Ohio Eco-Link program, so you can experience the benefits of solar power immediately — and lock in a lower energy cost for decades to come. We install the equipment on your site and you get the power it produces. You just pay a low monthly payment on your loan for a specified term, usually 5-7 years, after which you own the system and get the benefit of electricity for 30 years or more.