Solar FAQ Sunline Energy
Solar energy has been a part of Sunline Energy’s business since 2011 and we have witnessed many things. We install within SDG&E and parts of Southern California Edison territory. We thought we would make a list of frequently asked questions that homeowners should be asking during their solar consultation with Sunline Energy or any other company:

Is the solar company in good standing with CSLB?

If they aren’t, then they might be sub-contracting their solar installations to a different contractor. We have noticed, there has been a lot of “solar companies” that don’t install solar and hire subcontractors. This would mean that in case of any issues they have no liability for the work that was done. This doesn’t do any favors to the solar consumer. You can check any California contractors at the CSLB website here.

How long has the company been in business?

Solar is a very competitive industry, and most don’t survive past five years. As a solar consumer, it’s a good idea to hire a solar contractor that is well established. The information can be verified by searching here.

Are their online presence positive and how far do they go?

We suggest searching for the companies such as Yelp, Google, Better Business Bureau (BBB), Angie’s List, or Best Company.

How long has the salesperson been in the solar industry?

Having a salesperson that has been in the solar industry is important. Avoid any company that is prone to hire a seasonal solar consultant.

How financially viable is the solar company?

Can they turn a profit? Are they in debt? Knowing who manufactures solar panels and inverters is equally important.

What financial options are they providing?

Contractors will frequently increase your contract price to accommodate “contractor” or “dealer” fees they pay to finance companies to offer a special loan product. Loans that sound too good to be true mean you’re will probably be paying more elsewhere. Make sure to ask the lender to explain any additional costs and steps if you choose to go with a PACE loan. Many homeowners prefer an equity loan or a loan from a credit union.

Is the solar consultant educating or pressuring to close the deal?

Has the consultant explained Net Energy Metering (NEM), True Up cycle, and time-of-use (TOU) electric rates and schedules? Is there a specific layout of solar panels that will be installed on your roof, along with an estimate of production based on your actual roof orientation and shading conditions? Have they discussed with you your expected future electric consumption, and given you options for choosing system sizes? And who will be your point of contact after you sign the solar contract?

Are you able to ask the solar company to provide you with previous installations that were done in your area?

If you get a chance talk with the previous customers and ask them all the questions you may have. Also, look at the aesthetic of the installation and how they line up, etc.

How firm is the price on the proposal?

The price of solar panels is rarely changed after a contract is signed, but change orders are used almost exclusively by some companies. Can the price of solar panels change for any reason? Does your main electric panel have adequate capacity, and is there enough space on your roof?

What type of solar panels and equipment are they using?

Is the solar energy system design to last for 25+ years? Even when exposed to harsh elements? Have they inspected your roof to make sure the solar panel will hold up? What type of cabling are they using?

Is there a written guarantee or warranty accompanying the verbal one?

What is covered by the installation warranty? Will full replacement be covered by equipment warranties from manufacturers or just partial replacement? Will labor be covered? How long do production guarantees last? Clarifying what is covered is extremely important.

Do they push power purchase agreements (PPAs) or leases?

Leases and PPAs have many downsides: #1 they are vastly more expensive than purchasing solar, and #2 they are a liability if you sell your home instead of an asset (speak to your Realtor). Some homeowners may be interested in the lease/PPA model, but be wary of salespeople who emphasize the pros rather than the cons. Check out online reviews of the leasing/PPA provider as well.

Does the company offer an endless amount of discounts?

Get $1000 in cash back if you sign up before the end of the month! You will no longer have to worry about utility bills as long as your solar is installed! Pay $0 now to get solar installed today! For some companies, these constant promotions are simply built into their pricing. For others, it might be a sign that the company is struggling.

Is the company offering new incentives?

Is solar really free? In reality, solar companies contend that incentive programs are available from the government or the utility, but that’s a common sales tactic used by disreputable solar companies. In some cases, door knockers and telemarketers pose as representatives of utilities to lend credibility to their claims.

Last but not least

We recommend to please consider choosing a local solar company over an installer who works across multiple regions or is nationwide. The higher buying power of large companies can indeed result in some cost savings, but it is insufficient to offset the added bureaucratic costs. Residential solar installers have seen their market share decline dramatically in recent years due to many going bankrupt. Also, when choosing local you are helping your local economy.

Solar FAQ’s For Homeowners

Sunline Energy has compiled a list of frequently asked question about solar energy for residents. If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact us and we can help!

Why Should I Consider Solar?

Does solar have financial benefits?

When you install a solar energy system on your home, you will save money on your energy bills and you won’t have to worry about rising energy rates. How much you will be saving is all dependent on the size of your solar energy system, the rates of your utility company and how much energy you use. However, solar is a good investment especially if you live in San Diego, CA.

Will solar energy help the environment?

Solar energy, like every other renewable energy source, has many environmental and health benefits. Adding solar panels to your home will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which are a big contributor to climate change.

How much will I pay for electricity?

The best way to find how much you pay for your energy bill and how much usage per month, is to take a look at your utility bill.

What is net metering?

Net metering is a billing mechanism used by utility companies that allows consumers who generate their own electricity using solar, receive credit. You only pay for the electricity that is returned to the grid. Click here to read net metering policies for SDG&E and Edison.

Do solar panels add property value to my home?

Studies show that adding a solar energy system to your home will add property value. On average the value of your home will go up by 4.1%, according to Zillow analysis across the US.

How Do Solar Panels Work?

How does solar photovoltaic (PV) work?

Solar panels take in energy from the sun during the day and convert it into direct current electricity. However, most homes use alternating current (AC) electricity. The DC electricity is passed through inverters to convert it into AC electricity.

Do solar panels work during the night or cloudy nights?

The amount of energy your solar panels produce depends on how much sunlight it receives. Your solar panels will create less energy during cloudy days and no energy during the night. However, because San Diego has so many sunny days, solar is a smart decision.

Can I go off grid with my solar energy system?

When you install a solar energy system for your home, you will be connected to the grid. This allows you to draw from the grid during the night or when your solar panels aren’t producing. If your solar panels are producing excess energy, that energy will be returned to the grid and you will be receiving credit. It is possible to go off the grid with a solar panel system if you add battery storage. However, your system will cost more and some homeowners won’t benefit from using a battery storage.

Will my utility company bill me when I have a solar energy system installed?

If your solar energy system has a battery storage, you can be completely off the grid. You will still receive a monthly bill from your utility company. However, your bill will be reduced or you will have a $0 bill, it all depends on your energy usage and solar panel system.

Do solar panels protect you from a rolling blackout or power outage?

If your solar energy system is connected to the grid, your system will be shut off during a black out or power outage. This is to protect electricity repair people or emergency responders from being injured when fixing the grid. If you decide to add a battery storage to your system you can have power all the time even during a power outage.

What is the cost of a solar energy system maintenance?

Solar panels are made from durable material and require little to no maintenance for the lifespan of the solar panels. In some cases, it is advised to clean your solar panels twice a year, depending on where you live. If something happens to your solar panels or microinverters, most solar equipment include warranties.

What Are Solar Financing Options?

Are there any solar incentives or rebates?

Solar rebates and credits depend on where you live. Currently in San Diego County there is a 26% federal investment tax credit (ITC) from your taxes and if your system is installed in 2020-2022, and 22% for your solar energy system installed in 2023. The tax credit will expire starting 2024 unless Congress will renew it. To read more about the tax credit read it here.

What are my solar financing options?

There are various types of financing options. You can purchase your system in cash, take a solar loan to purchase your system, or lease your solar energy system also known as (PPA). However, Sunline Energy does not offer a solar lease. Read why.

Should I buy or lease solar panels?

Sunline Energy does not believe solar leasing is worth it simply because you don’t get to claim tax incentives, the solar company can raise the cost of your lease at any time and they will lock you in for a 25 year contract.

Which is better: solar lease or solar loans?

Solar loans and leases both have advantages and disadvantages. Both options will reduce your energy bill and help reduce greenhouse emissions, but terms and conditions are very different. A solar loan will allow you to own your system once it’s paid off and when you lease your system will be owned by the solar company that you signed a contract with.

How do I choose the best solar plan?

Sunline Energy offers different solar options. To choose the best solar loan for your or compare different providers, contact us to go over all of your financing options.

How to Evaluate Solar Quotes?

How to choose the best solar company in San Diego?

There are a couple of things to consider when choosing a solar installer the best solar company in San Diego. Make sure they are licensed and insured, have at least 5 year of experience and can provide you with references. Meet with your potential solar installer in person and make sure you are comfortable signing a contract with them. You can also do a search and read through their social media and reviews. To view yelp reviews click here and for google reviews click here.

How do I compare solar energy quotes?

If you have more than one solar quote from different solar installers can be a daunting task. Not every solar installer uses the same metrics and underlying assumptions. They also use different solar panels brands and inverters and that can make a difference in price and warranty.

Is there a difference between these types of solar panels?

There is a difference when it comes to solar panels such as production, warranty and production. Sunline Energy makes sure to carry top name brands to offer you quality solar panels that will last you 25+ years and back it up with one of the best warranties in the industry. If you’re interested in learning about the solar panels that Sunline Energy carries, contact us today. We can explain the various types we carry and which one will be the best fit for your home and budget.

What inverters are available?

Inverters are a crucial piece of a solar energy system to convert DC to AC power. There are three types of inverters such as: string, microinverter and power optimizers. Like solar panels Sunline Energy carries top rated solar inverters such as Enphase and Solar Edge.

What is the process of a solar energy system?

If you decide that Sunline Energy is the right solar company for your installation. Once you sign the contract we will conduct a site survey to assess your home. After that our in-house engineers will design your own solar energy system and submit the paperwork for your permits. Once your permits are approved we will begin the scheduling of your solar project. It usually takes two to three days to install your system.

Is the solar monitoring system important?

If you are interested in getting a detailed report about how much your solar energy system is producing, ask your solar contractor about solar monitoring options. You may need to pay for the monitoring separately.

Should I install a solar battery with my solar energy system?

Adding a solar battery is getting more popular, but it can be pricey. However, batteries are not required and necessary for most homeowners. If you live in an area that experiences fires or rolling blackouts you might want to reconsider.

Is Solar Right for Me?

Is solar energy affordable?

If you can afford to pay a high energy bill, you can afford a solar energy system. Now more than ever solar is very affordable and the price keeps getting lower.

Is solar a good fit for my roof?

In a perfect world every roof would be facing south with no shade and plenty of roof space to hold solar panels. Luckily, in many cases there are workarounds even if your roof isn’t facing south. Sunline Energy can go over all of your workarounds if you think your roof isn’t suitable for solar panels.

What is the right size for my solar energy system?

The size of your solar energy system depends on how much energy you use and if you have enough roof space. San Diego County has great weather conditions for solar and you can rest assured that you will save a lot of money.

Do I need to replace my roof before installing a solar energy system?

If your roof will last less than 5 years and are thinking about solar, consider replacing your roof. If you install solar panels in an old roof then it can be costly to remove and reinstall when it’s time to replace it. Sunline Energy is a licensed roofing contractor and can save you money when you do both roofing and solar.

How long does a solar energy system last?

In general a quality solar energy system can last you 25+ years.

What if I plan to sell my house in the future?

If you own your solar energy system and you plan to sell your home, your house can be solar at a premium. Studies have shown that solar increases property value and the home will sell faster. If you are still paying the system off, make sure you can transfer the agreement to the new homeowner.