• Top Questions

    • Do solar panel companies own your roof?

      In a solar lease agreement scenario, ownership is retained by the solar company. You pay for the electricity it produces. The company that you lease from is selling the electricity.

    • Are solar panels bad for your roof?

      When installed properly, solar panels will not result in damage to your roof if your roof is in good condition. Be certain to choose a reputable, licensed professional installer.

    • How often do you have to replace solar panels?
      According to a study, the median average of efficiency degradation for solar panels is 5% annually. That equates to a replacement of a solar panel every 40 years.
    • Is it harder to sell a house with solar panels?

      Consideration of whether or not to install solar panels is on a case by case decision, aesthetics being one of those. An individual’s return on the investment is another.

    • Is it better to lease or buy solar panels?

      Savings are far less for leasing than purchasing solar systems whether it be buying them outright or with a loan. In addition, leasing excludes federal tax benefits and any local incentives.

    • What is the solar tax credit for 2020?

      The 2020 Solar Investment Tax Credit known as ITC, is 26 percent for both residential and commercial properties. For projects that began in 2021, the ITC was 22 percent.

    • Do solar panels work at night?

      Solar panels do not produce electricity at night so electricity used during the night is from extra power produced during the daytime that is stored in solar banks or customers use net metering.

  • Energy Storage

    • Is a Tesla Powerwall worth it?

      Purchasing the Powerwall storage system is worth it if you put a massive premium on the value of having backup power when the electric grid is down.

    • Can you use Tesla Powerwall off grid?

      Tesla Powerwall is able to sustain a home’s solar system ability to run during a power outage. When an over abundancy of solar is produced that can be stored, Powerwall is able to turn off.

  • Solar Maintenance

    • What is a bypass diode?

      Bypass Diodes are wired in parallel with individual solar cells or panels and provide a current path around them in the event that a cell or panel becomes faulty or open-circuited.

    • Do solar panels leak toxic chemicals?

      The manufacturing process does produce greenhouse gas emissions and does require manufacturers to handle toxic chemicals, but solar panels are not emitting toxins into the atmosphere as they’re generating electricity.

    • Is it necessary to clean solar panels?

      Exposure to sunlight produces power. Unless your environment produces high amounts of smog, dirt or sand and smog, solar panel cleaning is generally not required.

  • Commercial Solar Solutions

    • Is there a warranty?

      Beacon offers extensive 10-year workmanship and 25-year panel warranty at no additional cost.

    • Will my business still need to use the grid?

      When you have a solar system installed, the electric company installs a meter that can “tick backwards” allowing you to “store” the excess energy you produce for use during non-sunlight hours.  This is called NET METERING.  Many solar panel system owners are at work during the day when a solar system typically produces the most energy. While you may not be using that energy, your utility lets you use it at a later time when you’re not producing.  If you produce more energy than you use in a month, you’ll see that your total usage is negative.  Utilities determine this by taking the current reading and subtracting the previous reading for a total usage calculation. If you have a negative balance, this balance can be used to pay the customer charge billed by all utilities.

      Beacon Solar designs all solar systems to offset your electric bill as much as possible.  You can offset up to 100% of your bill.  However, this depends on factors we take into consideration such as roof direction, pitch, shading, etc.

    • Is maintenance required?

      Our solar systems are warrantied to last 25 years and are virtually maintenance free, with the exception of the inverters, which typically last 12-15 years.

    • How long will it take to install?

      For commercial customers, this depends on a number of factors including system size and electric utility requirements. Timelines can vary significantly. Please contact us to discuss your specific situation with a Solar Consultant

    • What is the latest news in Massachusetts for Solar?

      In late 2017, the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (MA DOER) developed Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) to double its solar capacity to over three gigawatts (GW).  SMART has replaced the previous solar incentive program in Massachusetts, Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs).  SMART provides a monthly payment to property owners for the energy produced. You also qualify for a 30% federal tax credit and will receive up to $1,000 state tax credit. Commercial customers are also able to claim MACRS depreciation on the system. If a customer chooses a solar lease or Power Purchase Agreement (commercial customers only) instead of purchasing or financing, they are not eligible for any federal or Massachusetts solar incentives.

    • Is solar financing available?

      Beacon Solar works with lenders to find you the best financing to fund your solar installation.

    • What is the business case for commercial installs?

      Solar Energy and Energy Storage reduces operating costs related to electricity usage, including electrical consumption over time (kWh), on demand (kW), and transmission costs. Producing electricity on site enables businesses to reinvest those savings and become more competitive.

    • How much do solar panels cost?

      Each system is custom designed for the property, so there is no “one size fits all” for solar panel systems. The installation begins with a customized quote based on several items, including how much your utility bill is, how large your roof is, and where the sun is. For commercial installations, Beacon Solar gives customers the choice between various Tier-1 solar panels.

  • Residential Solar Solutions

    • What are the 3 types of solar panels?

      Currently there are 3 types of panels on the market; thin film amorphous, polycrystalline and monocrystalline. As noted in the name, monocrystalline and polycrystalline utilize crystalline silicon in their construction.

    • What can a 300 watt solar panel run?

      Normally your batteries would be fully charged, so no issue. If your battery was exhausted for some reason, a 300-watt panel could run things like LED lighting, fans, TVs, etc.

    • Can I run air conditioner with solar power?

      Air conditioners are high demand items so your system would need to be configured to ensure you can meet that demand. These are all things that would be factored into the design of your system.

    • Can you run a refrigerator on solar power?

      With the right configuration, yes, you can run a refrigerator solely on solar power. This just requires some very simple calculations to understand the power demands and ensure you meet those requirements.

    • Can you run your whole house on solar power?

      Yes, a house can be powered using only solar generated electricity. If someone wants to get completely off the grid that would depend upon the house and the equipment you are willing to run.

    • How many solar panels would it take to power a house?

      A typical house installation would have about 16 panels. If the panels were just to heat water for a family of four (average family) this would take two solar panels.

    • How do you store electricity from solar panels?

      Solar systems come with a battery that allows you to store excess electricity generated from your panels that your home doesn’t need yet. This excess energy goes to your battery as stored electricity.

    • Do solar panels work when it's raining?

      Panels operate ideally in full sunlight. When raining or cloudy they are not quite as efficient, but panels will still work because we know that light still gets through clouds and rain.

    • What size solar panel do I need to charge a 12v battery?

      You need 13.6 volts to charge a 12V battery, so that would be the panel requirement. In ideal conditions a 12V solar panel produces 17V or more, so a single panel could do this.

    • Can I run air conditioner with solar power?

      Air conditioners are a high energy demand item in the home. For instance, an air conditioner that uses 2.5kw, the minimum power to power the air conditioner would need to be 3kw.

    • Can you run a house on solar power alone?

      Although unnecessary, solar panels can be covered when not in use and is a personal preference of the home owner to leave covered or uncovered when not in use.

    • Do solar panels work at night?

      In a word, no. That’s why systems are designed to provide energy to your home at night through battery storage (i.e. store energy from the day so you can use it at night).

    • Can you overcharge a battery with a solar panel?

      A standard 12 volt panel can actually produce up to 20 volts under full sun. As a result, even a small solar panel has the ability to overcharge a battery when directly hooked to it.

    • Can solar panel work without battery?
      Yes, you can, but you could only power your house when the sun is out. In order to power your home when the sun was not out you would need a battery storage system.
    • Can a house run on solar power alone?

      Yes, but that demands that you have a way to store all that power when the sun is not out. This situation has improved with the new Powerwall and Powerpack rechargeable lithium-ion battery availability.

    • Do solar panels leak water?

      If there is no rain and a panel is leaking, the cause is probably a lifted temperature and relief valve on the solar heating system. A panel also might leak due to freezing temperatures or system excessive pressure.

    • Do solar panels leak toxic chemicals?

      Solar panels do not emit toxins into the atmosphere. During the manufacturing process toxic chemicals are used and greenhouse gases are produced, but no toxins are emitted in the operation of the panels.

    • Can solar panels be installed on a metal roof?

      Metal, asphalt shingles, stone coated steel, rubber slate, clay and concrete are all roofing materials that you can install solar panels on. Actually, metal roofs work really well with solar panels.

    • Do solar panels void roof warranty?

      Properly installed roof solar systems will not void your roof’s warranty. Actually, because the panels shield parts of you roof after installation, those parts will be shielded from the sun and will last even longer.

    • Do solar panels ruin your roof?

      For the vast majority of homeowners, solar panel installation will not damage your roof when it is done by professional, qualified installers. This is a question you should ask when interviewing for installers.

    • Can I install solar panels in my yard?

      Yes. However, one of the things you’ll want to consider is if your yard or available area is big enough to allow for the number of panels you will need to cover your energy needs.

    • Do you have to itemize to get solar tax credit?

      The federal solar tax is a tax credit, not a deduction, so there is no issue if you don’t itemize. The credit can’t go higher than what you tax liability is for any given year.

    • Can you claim solar panels on your taxes every year?

      It is a one-time credit that allows claiming 26% of your total project costs on your tax return. The credit may be carried into other tax years. It expires in 2022.

    • Is the solar tax credit a one time credit?

      The Investment Tax Credit (ITC) gives you a tax credit for solar investment. It is a one-time credit, but as with many tax credits, you want to carry it over to other tax years.

    • Why is the solar tax credit going away?

      The spending bill was passed in December 2015. That doesn’t mean new money won’t be given for this program after 2021. Solar is a great investment considering a system pays for itself in 25 years.

    • Is there a limit on solar tax credit?

      26% is what the government allows for the solar tax credit. For tax purposes, you cannot get a tax credit that exceeds what you own in taxes in any given year.

    • How long is the federal solar tax credit good for?

      The solar tax credit expires in 2022. The IRS allows 26% of your total project costs claimed as a credit on your federal taxes (i.e. $10,000 of project costs reduces taxes by $2600).

    • What does it take to install solar panels?

      The process of installing average size solar panels should only take one day and possibly up to two days for installation of slightly larger solar panels.

    • What states is it illegal to live off the grid?

      It is legal to be “off grid” in Massachusetts and produce your own electricity. But pay particular attention to restrictive city and county ordinances which can put a crimp on “off grid” living.

    • Is going solar really worth it?

      While solar has a higher cash investment up front, in the long run (i.e. over 25 years), solar will cost less than half of what you would pay a utility for electricity.

    • How long does a solar panel last for?

      Generally, the solar industry thinks that solar panels will last for 25 years. This does not mean they stop working at this point, rather, their production of electricity drops off as compared to normal production.

    • Can I go off grid in Massachusetts?

      Anytime a residence is not connected to the grid, it’s “off the grid.” So this isn’t related to location, rather it relates to whether a person is connected to the electric power grid.

    • Do solar panels increase home value in Massachusetts?

      The real advantage to a solar installation is that this home improvement can pay itself off after just four or five years. That fact doesn’t even consider whether or not it increases your homes value! Source

    • How much do solar panels cost?

      Solar panels are custom to your home and take in account several things including size of roof and utility bills and are not a one size fits all.

    • Should I cover solar panels when not in use?

      While panels don’t have to be covered when they aren’t being used, this is just a personal preference on the part of the user. Covering them when not being used should not damage the units.

    • Is there a warranty?

      Beacon Solar offers extensive 10-year workmanship and 25-year panel warranty at no additional cost.

    • Will I still need to use the grid?

      When you have a solar system installed, the electric company installs a meter that can “tick backwards” allowing you to “store” the excess energy you produce for use during non-sunlight hours.  This is called NET METERING.  Many solar panel system owners are at work during the day when a solar system typically produces the most energy.  While you may not be using that energy, your utility lets you use it at a later time when you’re not producing.  If you produce more energy than you use in a month, you’ll see that your total usage is negative.  Utilities determine this by taking the current reading and subtracting the previous reading for a total usage calculation. If you have a negative balance, this balance can be used to pay the customer charge billed by all utilities.

      Beacon Solar designs all solar systems to offset as much of your electric bill as possible. However, this depends on factors we take into consideration such as roof size, direction, pitch, shading, etc

    • Is maintenance required?

      Our solar systems are warrantied to last 25 years and are virtually maintenance free, with the exception of the inverters, which typically last 12-15 years. However, our residential systems come with an automatic inverter warranty extension from 12 to 25 years. 

    • How long will it take to install?

      On average the on-site installation is a one to two day process. From start to finish it can take an average of 60 days with planning, install, and getting the system online.

    • What is the latest news in Massachusetts for Solar?

      In late 2017, the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (MA DOER) developed Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) to double its solar capacity to over three gigawatts (GW).  SMART has replaced the previous solar incentive program in Massachusetts, Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs).  SMART provides a monthly payment to homeowners for the energy you produce. You also qualify for a 30% federal tax credit and will receive up to $1,000 state tax credit. If a customer chooses a solar lease or Power Purchase Agreement (commercial customers only) instead of purchasing or financing, they are not eligible for any federal or Massachusetts solar incentives.

    • Is solar financing available?

      Beacon Solar works with lenders to find you the best financing to fund your solar installation.

    • How much will I save with solar?

      Depending on monthly energy usage and property conditions, a full and complete cost reduction of your utility bill, excluding the utility’s standard charges, is possible. Property conditions include roof size, direction, pitch, etc.

    • How much do solar panels cost?

      Because each solar panel system is custom designed for your home, there is no “one size fits all” for solar panels. The installation begins with a customized quote based on several items, including how much your utility bill is, how large your roof is, and where the sun is. For residential installations, Beacon Solar gives customers the choice between various Tier-1 solar panels.