Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs

How much do solar panels cost?

The cost of solar panels has decreased significantly in the past few years, and there are also many programs in place to help homeowners get the system in place. The cost of a solar panel system depends on many factors, especially the size of the system. More panels mean a higher cost, but also more energy produced. Because each home has different energy needs, the best way to find out the cost of a solar power system is to get a professional estimate.


How do solar panels work?

Solar panels are made up of many solar cells that have been joined together. These cells are made using materials that have a photoelectric effect, which means that they produce electricity when they’re struck by photons (i.e., light). Solar cells capture the electricity produced when the photoelectric materials are hit by sunlight, and send that electricity to an inverter. This inverter then transforms the electricity from direct current (DC) into a form that can be used in your home: alternating current electricity (AC). In most cases, the system also includes batteries, which store excess power until you need it.


What solar incentives are available?

Renewable Energy Corporation helps you obtain the maximum tax credit and rebates for your solar installation. We handle all the necessary applications for federal, state and local solar incentives. Not only does this simplify the process for you, it also ensures that you don’t miss any incentives. We can even find tax credits and other incentives that you and other solar installers may not know about.


Can I really reduce my electric bill to $0?

Yes! While you may still have to pay a minimal connection fee to stay connected to the electrical grid (usually about $100/year), you can reduce your net electricity costs to $0/month. Ask us how by requesting a solar panel estimate.


Do I need a city permit to install solar panels in Maryland?

In most cases, yes, you do. Your Renewable Energy Corporation solar contractor takes care of this for you. Installing solar panels in Baltimore and other Maryland communities is easier when you have Renewable Energy Corporation navigating the permit process for you.


How much energy do solar panels produce?

Your home’s solar energy production can vary based on the size of your system and its location. To get an accurate estimate, request a free solar consultation.


How many solar panels do I need for my house?

It depends on your current energy bills are and your energy goals. Most residential solar installations are between 2 kW and 10 kW. A typical solar panel installation provides between 40% and 60% of the household’s energy.


How much roof space do solar panels require?

Solar panels are modular, meaning that your system can be scaled to fit your roof. Generally, each kW of PV takes up about 100 square feet of roof space. A typical 5kW system, for example, would require 500 square feet of roof space.


Can I install a solar system myself?

We do not recommend a DIY home solar energy system. Maryland building codes require a licensed electrician to connect your PV system to the grid. City codes may also apply. Do-it-yourself solar kits are more complicated than many homeowners realize and can result in serious expenses and risks.

The expert solar installers at Renewable Energy Corporation will make sure your system is well designed and qualifies for the maximum possible rebates and other incentives.


How long do solar panels last?

The American-made solar panels we install are high-quality panels with a life expectancy of more than 30 years. We guarantee the power output for the first 25 years of operation: 97% of power during the first year; and afterward, the power will not decrease by more than 0.7 percent of the rated power per year.

So at year 3, the Sunmodule’s capacity is guaranteed to be at least 95.6% of the nameplate as opposed to the industry standard guarantee of 90%. And at year 20, it’s still at least 83% as opposed to the industry standard 80%.


Can my homeowners association block me from installing solar panels?

In Maryland, solar access laws protect homeowners’ rights to install solar panels. We created a guide to Solar Panels and Your Homeowners’ Association to answer your questions.


What kind of solar panel maintenance is required?

PV panel maintenance is amazingly simple. Many homeowners wish to clean solar panels regularly, but other than that, no routine maintenance of solar panels is necessary.


Do solar panels break easily?

No. Our solar panels are extremely rugged. The SolarWorld Sunmodules we install are made from tempered, shatterproof glass. They’re engineered to withstand hailstorms with one-inch hail striking at more 50 mph. Plus, these durable PV panels can survive snow loads up to 112psf.


Do solar panel systems work on rainy days?

Yes, your home solar system provides some power on rainy or overcast days. However, you might not get maximum output. On days when the sun isn’t shining, the electric grid will provide reliable electricity to your home.


Are photovoltaic systems difficult to operate?

Not at all! Once installed, your solar PV system works automatically. You get reliable electricity and incredible convenience and ease-of-use.


Can I mount solar panels on the ground?

Yes, ground-mounted solar photovoltaic systems are ideal for many homeowners. Consult with your solar installer at Renewable Energy Corporation to discuss your options.


Do solar panels take more energy to manufacture than they produce?

No, this is a common misconception. A typical solar installation will provide an energy payback in 1 – 3 years.


Will my home solar panels provide backup power if the power goes out?

In most cases, the answer is no. In Maryland, solar PV installations are usually connected to the grid, which means that if the power grid goes down, you’ll lose electric power, too. Battery banks and switchable inverters are available for backup power; however, these systems can cost extra. Ask your solar installers for details.


What’s the largest solar panel system I can buy?

The maximum size of the system you can install depends on the amount of appropriate roof and/or ground space available and how much you want to spend. Most of our installations are sized for optimum savings, rather than maximum size, and most incentives will only cover up to the amount of electricity your home or business actually uses on an annualized basis.


How heavy are solar panels?

Our Sunmodule 235 panels weigh about 48 pounds each.


Do solar panels pose a fire risk?

Like any electrical system, proper solar panel installation is the first step in reducing electrical and fire risks. For this reason, solar installation and wiring is a job for professionals. You can further reduce your risk by keeping children and animals away from solar panels to avoid damaging electrical components. This means making sure children don’t throw balls, toys or other objects at or near your solar array.