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Ipsun Solar FAQs

Included in the process (and price) of a full service solar energy installation is permitting. Every home or business address going solar requires sign-off by the “Authority Having Jurisdiction,” or AHJ for short, at that location. You may have noticed that some places in our area may have misleading mailing addresses or neighborhood nicknames. We always double check the city or county using this finder tool – and you can test it using your address too! This way we ensure that we start the solar permitting process in the correct place every time. Permitting keeps every solar project safe and high-quality. We think it even helps connect the local government, our industry, solar users, first responders, and even homebuilders. Hopefully we all align and mesh into a well-oiled machine of solar progress across our communities. That said, sometimes permitting offices are very busy given the popularity of solar and limited resources. We will keep you posted on your solar permitting when you need to know updates!

Short answer, inverter clipping happens when your inverters are rated lower than the peak power you’re able to produce with your solar panels. When your panels produce at their highest level, your inverters may not be able to match, and will “clip” your production. It’s infrequent that all conditions come together to allow for peak production, so sizing up your inverters to match that infrequent high point is often not economical. This calculation is specific to each homeowner’s situation– your solar consultant will help you decide on the best setup for your goals. 

Washington, DC Fire Code Setbacks:

Below is an overview of general fire code guidelines for solar projects in Washington DC. Keep in mind that this is a general guideline. Your location and your roof will dictate specifics, and how stringently the code is enforced. Historic districts especially will follow stricter code. To learn more about how the code works and for links to the code itself, check out our blog. All jurisdictions and roofs are different, but your solar consultant will know the ins and outs of what’s required. Reach out to us to learn what’s required for your home. In general DC fire code setbacks are as follows:

  • 3 foot setback from the ridge if PV area is more than 66% of the roof
  • 1.5 feet setback from the ridge if PV area is less than 66% of the roof
  • 3 feet on both sides of the roof for each roof
  • No setback on ridge if there is no PV on the opposite roof
  • No setback for flat roofs (less than 9.5 degree pitch)

If your solar panels are not producing power due to snow or a power outage, you may get a message from Enphase that says “Microinverters Not Reporting.” This message is sent because the microinverters need the solar power to report, so if there’s snow on your panels and they’re not producing power, your micros can’t report. It’s nothing to worry about. As soon as the snow melts they should start reporting again. Similarly, if there’s a grid outage your solar is automatically turned off for the safety of repair crews, so your microinverters will stop reporting. Once the power is restored, they will report again.

Our basic answer to this question is no, you should not remove snow from your solar panels. It’s dangerous and can damage the panels. When the sun comes out it should warm up the panels and the snow will slide off. Check out our blog post on this subject!
If your Solar Edge inverter has been disconnected from WiFi, often you can troubleshoot this issue on your own. Sometimes this can happen if you have changed your Internet Service Provider, network password, or network name. The steps to fix this problem manually are found below, or you can watch the video to connect through your SetApp. If you give these steps a try and it doesn’t work, then please reach out to us – we’re always happy to help! To walk through the steps to manually establish a network connection, see below. This will require you to use a device such as a laptop, tablet, or smartphone. You will also need the password for your home’s Wi-Fi connection.
Solar Edge wifi instructions

Solar Edge wifi instructions To connect through your SetApp, check out this video.

Solar Renewable Energy Credits, or SRECs, are a type of solar incentive that help speed up the return on your solar investment. SRECs aren’t available in every state, but where they are, they’re a valuable source of extra income in addition to your monthly savings on your utility bill. The way they work is pretty simple. For each 1,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity your solar energy system produces, a renewable energy certificate is created. An average residential solar installation at Ipsun is about 10kW, so with a system of that size, you could generate roughly 12,000 kWh/year and create on average one SREC per month.

As long as your panels are producing as they should, and you’re using the same amount of power as before you went solar, your bill will be lower. If it’s not lower, a typical reason for this is something called the Rebound Effect. The Rebound Effect can sometimes happen to people who adopt new technologies in renewable energy and subconsciously are not as energy efficient as they were before. Without even thinking, you might not turn the lights out when you leave the room or you might be less vigilant about hot water use from your electric water heater because you know your power is renewable now. Before you know it, your house is lit up like a Christmas tree, your fingers are pruney, and your utility bill is just as high or higher than it was before. You need a way to monitor your electricity use and production so that you can avoid this dreaded Rebound Effect and reap the benefits of lower bills. When we install your system, we will set you up with a monitoring system that will show you your solar production and how much grid energy you’re using during the day. If you add a consumption monitor, it’ll help you track your in-home energy usage as well. Check out this blog post to learn more!

If your Enphase Gateway has been disconnected from WiFi, often you can troubleshoot this issue on your own. Sometimes this can happen if you have changed your Internet Service Provider, network password, or network name. The steps to fix this problem are found in the link below, as well as in the video. If you give these steps a try and it doesn’t work, then please reach out to us – we’re always happy to help!

Click this link to walk through the steps to manually establish a network connection, which will require you to use a device such as a laptop, tablet, or smart phone. You will also need the password for your home’s Wi-Fi connection.

Follow these steps to get your Envoy back online manually

Or follow along with this video to reconnect using your Enlighten App aka Enphase App.

A rechargeable lithium ion battery with liquid thermal control. Specifically, it is a lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide (NMC) battery. This means higher energy density and increased safety.

A Tesla Powerwall cost about $7,600 before installation and additional components.  As a rough estimate, you can expect the Tesla Powerwall to cost between $9,600 and $15,600 for a full system installation. We constantly hear that a Powerwall is cheaper via Tesla, but once you do a full price comparison of hardware, labor, permits, shipping, and taxes you’ll see the prices are comparable.

Going off-grid is a wonderful goal for homesteaders or people living in an area where grid power is not reliable. But in our area, the complications may outweigh the benefits. Generally, we encourage people to pay the nominal fee to stay connected to the grid even if your system will produce enough to always cover your power usage. You can learn all about the requirements, pros, and cons of an off-grid system here.

While most states have laws providing protection against restricting solar, there are rarely any issues with HOA or neighborhood organizations interfering with an installation. Your HOA may ask you to modify the design and/or location for aesthetic reasons, as long as the changes don’t significantly impact electricity production. Read more about HOA rules here. Legislation was passed in Virginia’s 2020 General Assembly session that clarifies how much modification is allowed by an HOA.  Specifically, it says HOAs cannot instruct the homeowner to make changes to a project that would increase the cost by more than 5%, or decrease the expected output by more than 10%. You can read more on our Virginia policy page, and learn how policy changes in Virginia will affect solar customers on our blog.

Reports show that solar increases home values by up to 4%, and transferring to a new owner is simple. Based on your purchase option, your solar assessment specialist can provide more information on the transfer process when selling a home with solar.

Yes. We include lifetime monitoring for any solar inverter brand we install. As a solar customer, you’ll get access to the Ipsun App to track the progress of your solar project and the same App shows you your solar power production. This allows you to see the live production of your solar energy system on the  Ipsun App. That software that we built for ourselves, also monitors your system and sends you monthly production reports. It also alerts you and us if there is a problem with your system. The software is used by other solar installers, just like Ipsun Solar. That software is called Sunvoy.

Yes. The crystalline silicon cells degrade slightly over time due to exposure of UV light. This happens at a rate of about .4% per year. Panels now carry a linear warranty, meaning they are guaranteed not to degrade more than this amount per year for 25 years. All of our financial models take this degradation into account. Plus, solar is still considered to be an appreciating asset of real property due to the average annual increase in national power rates of 5%.

No. For safety reasons, your home solar power system will automatically shut off if the power goes out. This is to protect utility workers who might be working on power lines in the event of an outage. You will not have power during this time unless you have installed a battery backup system. Battery backup systems have become increasingly popular as storms increase in intensity and wildfires have become more prevalent. The addition of Tesla Powerwall battery storage provides a seamless switch from grid power to solar power when the electricity goes out.  Ipsun is a Certified Tesla Powerwall installer, bringing you the highest quality home batteries and expert installation.

The average panel used in our installations is 62 x 42 x 1.5 inches and weighs 41 pounds. This same panel produces over 325 watts, which means during perfect sunlight conditions, it will produce over 325 watts per hour.

Our customers have fallen in love with the look of solar on their roof. The look of solar has changed over the last few years as the technology has advanced. Panels are thinner and lighter and are now available with a darker blue inner and a black frame. Once solar is on your roof, it will blend in as good or better when comparing with roof vents or a satellite dish. Some say, “it’s bling for your roof!” Ultimately, you should request to see photos of an installation or go see one in person. Ask us for a list of homes/businesses that you can view, or click on one of our galleries.

The solar panel warranty is 25 years. Panels are projected to continue to work for up to 50 years with some loss in efficiency. The inverter warranty varies from 10 to 25 years, depending on the type needed for your installation.

Toggle Conte25 years on hardware, 12 years on labor We offer a 25-year warranty on the solar panels and inverters, as well as a 12-year warranty on workmanship for solar installations for homes. That’s a longer warranty than you’ll find on just about anything you will ever purchase! Our standard labor warranty for non-residential solar projects is 3 years. You can see our full labor warranty and all the manufacturers warranties for the solar panels we stock here: https://ipsunsolar.com/warranty/ Additionally, we offer a 30-year extended warranty through Solar Insure. Ask your solar consultant about the benefits!nt

Many brands including premium and All-American We provide the option for American-made systems including manufacturers like Enphase. You can always upgrade your system if you would like panels that have a higher wattage capacity, backup battery storage, home energy monitoring and data collection, or other new technologies. We provide electric vehicle charger installations as well. Our electrical expertise allows us to be a one-stop-shop for your energy efficient solar and electric improvements.

Yes, we can remove it. We are happy to give you a quote at any time showing the cost to remove and reinstall the system, should the need arise. If moving the system to a different location, other charges would apply. Keep in mind that any estimate about energy production your solar system are location-specific, and so installing those panels in a different place, oriented a different way, at a different angle, under different conditions will likely impact the utility bill offset and environmental benefits of the solar energy system.

It doesn’t have to be completely sunny for your panels to produce electricity. In bad weather, your panel production won’t be 100%, but they will still be producing power. The exception is a snowstorm. If it snows enough for there to be a significant accumulation on your panels, no energy will be produced. However, snow slides easily off the panels, and panels are typically located where your roof gets the most exposure. Snow days will be factored into your system’s projected production. In Utah, there is an average of 5.26 daylight hours. This factors in snow and cloudy days. Solar panels can handle some pretty tough weather. Most solar panels are guaranteed to withstand hurricanes, and one-inch hail at 55 miles per hour. They are also built to withstand direct lightning strikes.

Yes – Cellular connectivity is possible We offer monitoring for every single system that we install, and have options for monitoring with a cellular signal for those without a reliable broadband internet connection. While there is always the potential for data lag from the solar data servers to impact your instantaneous solar production monitoring, production history is always available so that the customer can easily review record-setting energy generation on clear, sunny days and compare data from past months and even years.[/accordion]
[accordion tab_class=”faq-accordion” heading=”Will you help me handle all the paperwork to register and permit the system?”]Answer: Yes We will manage all the paperwork to register a system with the utility and public service commission, in order to obtain your net meter and interconnect your system to the electricity grid. This means that you’ll be able to benefit from accruing credit on your utility account when your solar produces more energy than you can use, and get energy from the grid when you need it like at night. It also allows your system to generate Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) if applicable in your jurisdiction. We will also process all permits and handle approval of your system from your city or county and if necessary we will also shepherd approval by your homeowners’ association (HOA). If the thought of red-tape and bureaucracy bothers you, no worries! We handle it all so that within a matter of months you’re on the path to a clean energy future.

Yes, in nearly all cases. Your solar power system generates electricity when the sun is out, during the peak hours of demand. But your utility will continue to supply your electricity at night and at other times when you are using more electricity than you are generating. Believe it or not, you probably want to stay connected to the grid not only for the times when your solar energy isn’t quite enough, but also to get credit for any surplus solar energy you send out from your home to the grid.  Read more on our blog about how your solar electric system interfaces with your utility provider.

As we navigate our new normal post-Covid-19 crisis, our answer to this question will probably vary. Normally we would say that from the time you sign your contract to the time your installation happens can range from about 4-6 months. It’s still best to check in with us on a case-by-case basis so that we can give you an accurate assessment of our project queue and your place in it. We do urge you to get your project in the queue so that we can get rolling on the process and ensure that you qualify for the 2021-2022 federal tax credit of 26%. Once your installation day comes, the actual process of installing your solar project typically takes 1-2 days. Please read more about our contactless project process here and our Covid-19 response and precautions here. After installation, your system will typically take another 30-60 days for interconnection, which is the responsibility of your utility, so they control the speed of the process. Once the system is interconnected and turned on, you can begin using the system and realizing the benefits, as well as register for Renewable Energy Credits (RECs). We will help you register for the RECs, which generally take another 30-60 days for approval, and finally we will help you register those RECs with the appropriate database so that you can sell them off, if you choose.

Let’s sum up the basic steps for a solar project so you have the best understanding of why the process takes the time it does.  In the pre-signing phase, solar consultants assess the solar potential available at your location and explore your goals. You’ll get clarity on all the applicable incentives and credits you’re eligible for, and see how we select the ideal products and equipment layout. The moment we have your finalized solar contract, your project is in the hands of our dedicated in-house operations and design squad. You’ll have updates as soon as our team members can provide them about your locality approving your project permit for construction and your utility signing off to connect your system online. We encourage you to read about our contactless project process here and our Covid-19 response and precautions here.

After performing a free virtual consultation, our solar assessment specialists will recommend a system that will function at the capacity you and your home require for complete efficiency. The electricity generated by your system is connected seamlessly into your existing electrical panel and is sent back to the utility grid when you generate more than you use. You will not be able to notice any difference.

Do it prior to solar installation, please! We have roofing partners The best time to install a new roof is when you install a solar system, as it allows you to receive the Federal Investment Tax Credit of 30% on both the roof and the solar system. That means that you effectively receive a very large discount not just on your solar system, but also on the substantial cost of your roof. As part of your solar consultation and site assessment, your roof age (if known, or once estimated) will determine whether we would advise you to replace it. Roughly, 10 years would be young enough, but older than 15 or more is a different story! The thinking goes that rather than realize later that the roof needs replacing, necessitating removing and storing the solar panels and reconnecting everything after the reroofing is finally completed, the cost and challenges of this can be avoided by getting a new roof in place. Its life will run concurrent with the solar panels’ life and conveniently they will perform in tandem. Lawmakers saw the logic of this and provided for the tax credit to extend to roof replacement for just this reason, further helping homeowners make such improvements! We partner with Apex Roofing to offer roof services and installation.

There are two ways that you can get credit for your extra energy production. Net metering allows you to get credit on your utility bill that you can use when your solar is not producing as much power as you are using. You can also get paid for your extra energy in the form of Renewable Energy Credits, or RECs. The REC market is already established in MD and DC and will soon be available in VA as well. Read more about Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) here, and learn more about net metering here.

65% upfront, 35% at completion. Our contract is standard, easy to understand, and allows you to a choice of payment options. You can either pay: 65% upfront at contract signing, and 35% at completion of installation or: 25% at contract signing, 50% at equipment order, 15% at completion of installation, and 10% at final interconnection. These options are to provide you with maximum flexibility based on your financial needs. We look forward to earning your business and showing you the value of a solar installation purchase!

Yes, multiple options. We work with several banks that provide loan financing with competitive terms. We also partner with companies that can help you defray the upfront cost of a solar system by purchasing your Renewable Energy Credits upfront when you purchase a system. In some jurisdictions, you can pay for upwards of 80% of the cost of a system over the course of the first year with federal and local incentives and energy savings. This can even help to reduce the need for financing in some situations. Power Purchase Agreements are not offered; we encourage homeowners to enjoy the benefits of solar ownership.

The decision to buy or lease depends largely on your personal preference. Each option provides differing benefits for short-term and long-term savings. Tax benefits, credit score and financial position are also important factors in determining which option works best for your situation and needs. Your solar assessment specialist will be able to better explain the benefits of each.

Tax deductions reduce taxpayer’s taxable income. Tax credits reduce owed taxes.

The tax benefits differ per state, but one of the biggest benefits is the Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC), which has been significant in the support for solar growth nationwide. The ITC is worth 30% of the system’s cost and can be claimed by the system’s owner. This credit is a dollar-for-dollar reduction in the amount of federal taxes owed.

Check out our tutorialpdf iconDominion – Tutorial to find your electric bill Do you get paper bills in the mail? Scan it or take a picture with your phone and email or text it to your solar consultation representativepdf iconPepco – Tutorial to find your electric bill Do you get paper bills in the mail? Scan it or take a picture with your phone and email or text it to your solar consultation representative

$3-$4/Watt The cost for a customer to purchase a solar array is generally measured as a price per Watt. This number represents the full cost of an installation including design, permitting, materials, and labor. We offer systems in the range of $2.50-$4.00/Watt depending on your specific situation and needs. That means an average system size of 5 kiloWatts (or 5,000 Watts) would cost between $12,500 and $17,500. You can see from the recent projects in our company portfolio that the size of solar systems varies quite a bit. In most cases the majority of that cost can be recovered in the very first year after an installation. Federal tax incentives and energy savings pay back the owner’s cost. We are as transparent as possible about pricing because we stand for empowering the customer. We have to make sure our business remains healthy and sound, and at the same time we strive to do our part to keep solar affordable for residents in our region.

Not anymore, and not with Ipsun Solar. We make solar accessible to everyone regardless of income. But now, with advances in technology and the growth of the industry, as well as with with state and federal incentives and innovative financing programs, solar is not only a much more affordable energy option, it actually pays for itself through savings and the additional income your system will generate for you.