Frequently Asked Questions
How much does it cost?
Your cash outlay will be very different than the answer to the "How many actual dollars does it take to construct a solar system?" question. There are an array of options including zero-down financing, amazing state and federal incentives, lucrative tax credits, and differing levels of return on investment (ROI) based on electricity use. So a ginormous chunk of the cost isn’t even something people have to pay. But for curiosity sake, the dollars & cents answer is about $29k for a standard system. Contact us to get specific for your situation and see if it’s not possible to be cash flow positive from the get go!
What kind of warranties or service plans are available through Sungrade?
Peace of mind is important to us at Sungrade because we know it’s critical for you and your home.
1.) There’s a 5-year System Monitoring Warranty, which may seem short, but that’s because it’s based on current 3G technology and no one knows how the Next Big Thing will affect monitoring. Any above-board solar company should clearly express their intention to re-up in some fashion and keep people well posted about developments as they happen.
2.) We decided to go far beyond the 12-year factory inverter warranty by purchasing, at no extra cost to you, an addition eight years, rounding things off to 20-years on the inverter.
3.) Sungrade offers a full 25-year linear warranty on the panel power production.
4.) We also provide a 25-year labor warranty for all our work.
We’re always thinking of ways to make sure your sound investment is protected so that, with Sungrade, you can rest easy for quite a number of trips around the sun!
How long do solar panels actually last?
Sungrade panels are carefully vetted for the lowest possible degradation rate compared to the (frankly huge amount of) substandard products flooding the market. We love talking tech and getting into it (there’s a lot to the details), but here’s a tip-of-the-iceberg tidbit: advanced testing by manufacturers shows panels go strong for 25-30 years, which doesn’t mean they suddenly shut down or stop working – they keep generating electricity for potentially decades longer! At the 25-30 year mark the power production has simply declined by what manufacturers consider a “significant amount” – around 85% of their initial capacity.
How do you choose your installers?
In a word? Thoroughly. Carefully screening the people working on your personal property isn’t just about top quality, it’s a matter of safety and comfort. We painstakingly select only the best, locally licensed, bonded & insured installers and expect every system to be cover-worthy of the most impressive glossy showcase magazines in our industry. We maintain such a high bar because we know your trust, and our reputation, is in your hands.
Do you do your own installations?
You may or may not get as fantastic a result with solar companies who try to take care of everything entirely on their own. We’ve made our decision to partner with lots of highly curated installers for two crucial reasons.
1st, doing things this way – and well! – unleashes a powerful ability to provide more solar for more folks faster, without compromising quality, all while increasing local California jobs. Expanding the industry footprint (quicker than traditional “do-all” companies can) raises up more high-quality outfits whose sole focus is on the artisanal skill of installation. More solar helps us all fight climate change with a greater impact.
2nd, we get to focus on what we’re best at – education-based sales and insanely complicated logistics – and that’s to your advantage. Our speed, efficiency – dare we say zeal – for creating the most streamlined process in areas that typically cause the most consternation means our arrays are switched on sooner. FUN FACT: The vast majority of labor hours don’t happen during physical installation. It’s the zillion pesky things like permits, various custom municipal forms, permission documents, inspections, engineering approval, design iterations and financial analysis, distribution of equipment and personnel, timelines, scheduling, monitoring, etc.) that create untenable delays and problems if poorly tended. We’re succeeding in record industry install times while preserving aesthetic & operational quality on every roof and property.
Bottom line: companies that attempt to bite off (and chew) every aspect sometimes lose steam in one or another part of the process. We inist on the highest standards from our installation partners while focusing on our own core strengths to make it all happen as smooth as solar panel glass. The crews we choose are a point of critical pride since this is where it all counts – the people showing up to mount you very own cash saving, “photo-op worthy” solar array!
Must my roof face south?
Nope. It’s true that panels produce more or less power depending on which way they’re facing, but that’s why the design process is so important. We pay meticulous attention to (i.e. totally geek out on) all factors, like how many panels it will take to offset 100% of your anticipated electricity usage. Is there a different layout that provides a stronger financial advantage? We tinker and fine tune until the best solution becomes clear. Customers often choose us because of our collaborative approach to the design process that allows you to understand exactly what’s driving the different options where panel placement, number of modules, and projected power production are concerned.
What if it’s cloudy?
Although clouds decrease production somewhat, some light still gets through (it’s actually UV rays that generate the electricity when absorbed by panels anyway). So the question is really whether the week-long / month-long / year-long average exposure stacks up to offset your energy needs, putting you financially on top right away. What gets us out of bed in the morning is finding out if a gorgeous solar array will save you money whether or not your area gets more or less sunlight on any given day.
What happens when the power goes out?
We get this question a lot – it’s a good one that gets into how things are installed relative to the massive power grid that all our houses are hooked up to. Deep breath: Here’s why even though you have all these solar panels your power is still out.
As your panels produce power it gets routed straight into your house. You flip on a light switch and the array outputs enough juice to handle it while any extra power you produce (but aren’t using and don’t need at that exact moment) gets dumped back onto the grid and you get a credit for that amount. That credit is called “net metering” and is part of your sweet financial victory – and material for another question, sorry ‘bout that (we get excited about this stuff).
Anyway, you flip on 12 more light switches and the solar system’s got you covered, but let’s say you suddenly plug in those 35 refrigerators secretly stashed in your garage (just go with our weird example). At that precise moment, even on a bright beautiful sunny afternoon, you’re requiring way more electricity than your panels can handle. With us so far?
But those fridges would still work because when you require more power, you’re ultimately attached to our aforementioned power grid. Just like how at night, when your panels get zero light, all your power comes from the grid (and any overproduction that happened during daylight goes toward your nighttime power needs). Getting the idea?
So when there’s a power failure, even during a bright sunny day, all the overhead wires should have no deadly electricity flowing through them so lineworkers can do their repair operations, and in order to protect a potential Sarah Q. Lineworker, a critical shutoff feature is present so she needn’t put herself in mortal danger. Thanks for hanging with us for our involved answer!
How do I get power at night?
When panels aren’t producing you’re still hooked up to the power grid and your local electric company, so you still get electricity. The point of going solar, if the numbers work out well (and they do for most people) is that over the course of every month and the whole year, your array produces enough energy to offset all your daytime and nighttime usage in full. The savings can be huge and happen almost immediately upon install with potentially zero cash outlay given all the incentive programs. Pretty amazing!
What is the environmental impact and benefit of solar energy?
Much of the electricity generated from fossil-fueled power plants is lost in its transition from the plant, across miles of electric lines, to your home. By having your own rooftop power plant, you eliminate that waste of both electricity and the fuel used to make it! As far as cutting down on your carbon footprint, going solar is the best thing you can do for the environment.
What happens to my home value after installation?
Having a solar array gives you some spectacular advantages. First, your home can be officially listed as a “green, home,” and green homes sell, on average, twice as quickly as traditional houses! In terms of your home’s increased value, dollar for dollar, once you’ve sold your home you could recover all your initial system investment – or quite close to it (obviously talk to a Realtor, but this seems to be how the numbers bear out). There are just so many reasons to go solar!
How can I contact you for a no-cost consultation?
There are several ways to reach us. Filling out any of the forms on this website or emailing will get you a response by the next business day. If you’d like to flex those old school telephone muscles, feel free to dial 925-433-3425.