Solar Electric FAQs

American Sheet Metal can help you evaluate whether a solar electric system is right for your business or home.

Solar Electric Systems are reliable and renewable ways to generate energy. A solar photovoltaic (PV) system can be a substantial investment, but between state and federal incentives and generous financing programs, solar is very affordable!

How is solar energy converted into usable electricity?

1. The solar panels you see are made up of minute cells of treated silicon - each collects solar radiation and then converts it into electrical current.

2. These panels are wired together in a circuit to create an array and the electrical output from the array travels to an inverter located near your breaker box.

3. The inverter converts electrical "Direct Current" or DC into "Alternating Current" or AC which is used to power TVs, appliances, computers, etc.

4. Solar electricity is produced by the sunlight landing on the solar panels installed on your roof, instead of just heating up your attic. Now, you're producing energy and saving money on your electric bill.

How do I get credit for the solar from PG&E?

1. Net Metering: All power that is unused from your solar electric system will spin your meter backwards. You receive credits from your utility company for this unused power. This is called "net metering."

2. Time of Use Metering: Credits from the power company can be applied at retail rates, and in the middle of the day, that means credits stack up quickly. You can then use the power at night when rates are low.

3. Tier Shaving: In California, the more power you use, the more you are charged based on your tiered usage. A solar electric system helps to eliminate your usage in the high tiers and thereby brings down your bill by shaving off the most expensive power first.

4. Electric rates have historically gone up at a higher rate than inflation over time. So the ability to fix your long term cost of energy yields a higher and higher return on your investment over time. So why not fix your electricity while you can?

Why should I buy a solar electric system?

Reduce or Eliminate your electric bill

Fix your cost of energy

Help to protect the environment

Increase your property value

Is my home or business a good place for a solar energy system?

A well designed solar energy system needs clear access to the sun with limited or no shading issues. You can often make a good determination yourself by identifying optimal roof lines and evaluate any shading hazards like trees, chimneys, and neighboring homes. The best orientation for solar systems is Southern facing, however west or easy faces may also be acceptable.

You will want to evaluate the age of your roof. If your roof is older and needs repair or replacement, you'll want to take care of that upgrade prior to installing solar. After all, your solar system will last for 25 years and likely more!

What is the permit process like?

Each county or city will require you to apply for a permit with the building department. The requirements of each building department vary, but they tend to ask for the following documents:

1. Line diagram

2. Manufacturer cut-sheets

3. Roof drawing / array layout

4. Application

5. Small Fee

Which Panels do you work with?

We only work with best-of-breed products that we have personally tested to perform at the highest standards. When we recommend and install a system, it must be readily available, cost effective, and come from a reliable company that carries a meaningful warranty.

What Size System Do I Need?

Typically 100 sq. ft of roof space will generate 1 kilowatt of electricity. An average 2,500 sq. ft. home will use 5,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year. This results in the need for a 3 kW (AC) system, utilizing 300 sq. ft. of roof space and will generate most of the electricity required for such a home.

Is it proven technology?

The technology has been around for over 50 years and some of the initial solar cells are still operating today. The panels are designed to produce at least 80% of their initial power even after 25 years. The efficiency and cost has significantly improved in the last 5 years. Solar has never been so affordable an investment.

Solar Panels come with a 25 year warranty

The Inverter comes with a 10 year warranty

Workmanship comes with a 10 year warranty

With this kind of guaranty there is nothing to fear, and everything to gain!

What rebates and incentives are available?

Paying for your solar electric is quite economical with state rebates, federal tax credits and plentiful financing options. However, most rebates decline over time.

A typical system could look this way:

$32,000 Gross System Cost for a typical 4kw system

-$8,000 cash rebate from the state incentive program

-$9,600 federal tax credit (not a deduction, a real tax credit!)

--------------

$14,400 Net Cost - a 50%+ savings!

Important Links:

Click here for more information on the California Solar Initiative

http://gosolarcalifornia.ca.gov

PG&E

http://www.pge.com/solar

Disclaimer: You should confirm the availability of the incentives and consult your tax advisor about the financial benefits you may be eligible for.

Tell me about California CSI State Rebate:

As part of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's 3.3 Billion, Million Solar Roofs Program, California has set a goal to create 3,000 megawatts of new, solar produced electricity by 2017 - moving the state toward a cleaner energy future and helping lower the cost of solar systems for consumers. Expected Performance-Based Buy-Down, or EPBB is a cash rebate from the state of California for systems smaller than 50kW in capacity. The rebate amount is calculated by equipment ratings and installation factors (geographic location, tilt and shading). American Sheet Metal Solar will file all necessary paperwork on your behalf to reserve your incentive. Once the project is completed, ASMS will send the CSI administrator as-built data to determine your final rebate for the program. Please be aware that the final CSI incentive rate that is reserved for you will be determined by your CSI Program Administrator at the time your reservation request (RR) application is approved and may change subject to the configuration of the as-built system. The rebate will be shown as an immediate cash credit on your proposal. From http://gosolarcalifornia.ca.gov.

Didn’t they just extend the Investment Tax Credit (ITC)?

The ITC is a reduction in the overall tax liability for individuals or businesses that make investments in a variety of pre-determined areas. For solar electric and solar water heating residential property expenditures, the credit is 30 percent of the cost. ITC will be extended for an additional 8 years and it will be a true, un-capped 30% tax credit for both residential and commercial solar installations. The ITC tax credit would be realized when you file your tax returns.

Do I need to notify my home owner’s insurance?

Prior to installing your solar electric system, we recommend you contact your insurance carrier to determine the impact on the yearly premium. Typically, a solar electric system will impact your premium very little, however it’s always best that you ensure coverage at the start of your project. Solar systems come with a long term manufacturer and workmanship warranty, however, we highly recommend your home owners or liability insurance cover the cost of unexpected issues, radical snow loads or weather related issues.

Why American Sheet Metal?

Our crews are bonded and insured against accidents or injuries.

Customer service is our top priority.

ASM professional installers are always friendly and experienced.

Our packages are predesigned, engineered and ready to be permitted. We save time, you save money.

American Sheet Metal Air conditioning Heating and Solar is family owned and operated in Fresno. We have 40 years experience having been in business here since 1969. We know what it takes to keep our customers satisfied.

We deliver an excellent product with superior service and price!

We take care of the permits, equipment, install, rebates --everything!

American Sheet Metal SOLAR is solar done the American way, the right way, the first time.

How do I get Started?

Start with a quote - it's a free, easy, no hassle solar assessment for your home or business, and there's no commitment. You can see the estimated cost, financing options, and your bill offset.

Once you're ready to get a customized quote, simply schedule a site survey with us and our professional solar staff will come to your home, measure your roof, get its orientation to the sun, calculate your rebates/incentives and provide you with a customized quote specific to your residence or business.

©2016 Copyright by American Sheet Metal. All rights reserved.