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Frequently Asked Questions

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General FAQs

To determine your home’s average energy requirements look at past utility bills. You can calculate how many solar panels you need by multiplying your household’s hourly energy requirement by the peak sunlight hours for your area and dividing that by a panel’s wattage. Use a low-wattage (150W) and high-wattage (370W) example to establish a range (ex: 17-42 panels to generate 11,000 kWh/year). Note that how much sunlight your roof gets and factors such as roof size and battery storage will figure in as well.

Look at your electricity bill for average usage. Look for "Kilowatt Hours (or kWh) Used" or something similar, and then note the time period represented (usually 30 days). If your bill doesn't show kilowatt hours used, look for beginning and ending meter readings and subtract the previous reading from the most recent one.

You want daily and hourly usage for our calculations, though, so if your bill doesn't show a daily average, just divide the monthly or annual average by 30 or 365 days, respectively, and then divide again by 24 to determine your hourly average electricity usage. Your answer will be in kilowatt-hours (kWh). (And just in case you are wondering, a kilowatt-hour is how much power you are using at any given time multiplied by the total time the power is being used.)

A small home in a temperate climate might use something like 200 kwh per month, and a larger home in the south where air conditioners account for the largest portion of home energy usage might use 2,000 kWh or more. The average U.S. home uses about 900 kWh per month. So that's 30 kWh per day or 1.25 kWh per hour.

Your average daily energy usage is your target daily average for to calculate your solar needs. That's the number of kilowatt-hours you need your solar system to produce if you want to cover 100 percent of your energy needs.

It's important to note that solar panels don't operate at maximum efficiency at all times. Weather conditions, for example, can temporarily reduce your system's efficiency. Therefore, experts recommend adding a 25 percent "cushion" to your target daily average to ensure you can generate all the clean energy you need.

The peak sunlight hours for your particular location will have a direct impact on the energy you can expect your home solar system to produce. For example, if you live in Phoenix you can expect to have a greater number of peak sunlight hours than if you lived in Seattle. That doesn't mean a Seattle homeowner can't go solar; it just means the homeowner would need more panels.

The Renewable Resource Data Center provides sunlight information by state and for major cities.

Now multiply your hourly usage (see question No. 1) by 1,000 to convert your hourly power generation need to watts. Divide your average hourly wattage requirement by the number of daily peak sunlight hours for your area. This gives you the amount of energy your panels need to produce every hour. So the average U.S. home (900 kWh/month) in an area that gets five peak sunlight hours per day would need 6,250 watts.

Here's where solar panel quality makes a difference. Not all solar panels are alike. Photovoltaic (PV) solar panels (most commonly used in residential installations) come in wattages ranging from about 150 watts to 370 watts per panel, depending on the panel size and efficiency (how well a panel is able to convert sunlight into energy), and on the cell technology.

For example, solar cells with no grid lines on the front (like SunPower ® Maxeon cells) absorb more sunlight than conventional cells and do not suffer from issues such as delamination (peeling). The construction of our cells make them stronger and more resistant to cracking or corrosion. And a microinverter on each panel can optimize power conversion at the source, in contrast to one large inverter mounted on the side of the house.

Because of these wide variations in quality and efficiency, it's difficult to make generalizations about which solar panels are right for you or how many you'll need for your home. The main takeaway is that, the more efficient the panels are, the more wattage they can produce, and the fewer you will need on your roof to get the same energy output. Conventional solar panels usually produce about 250 watts per panel, with varying levels of efficiency. In contrast, SunPower panels are known to be the most efficient solar panels on the market.

To figure out how many solar panels you need, divide your home's hourly wattage requirement (see question No. 3) by the solar panels? wattage to calculate the total number of panels you need.

So that average U.S. home in Dallas, Texas, would need about 25 conventional (250W) solar panels or 17 SunPower (370W) panels.

If you have a small or unusually shaped roof, solar panel size and numbers are important considerations. With a large usable roof area, perhaps you can sacrifice some efficiency and buy more larger panels (at a lower cost per panel) to get to your target energy output. But if your usable roof area is limited, or if it's partially shaded, being able to use fewer smaller high efficiency panels may be the best way to make the most possible power over the long term, ultimately saving you more money.

Typical residential solar panel dimensions today are about 65 inches by 39 inches, or 5.4 feet by 3.25 feet, with some variation among manufacturers. SunPower panels are 61.3 inches by 41.2 inches.

These dimensions have remained more or less unchanged for decades, but the efficiency and output from that same footprint have changed dramatically for the better. In addition, SunPower designs entire systems to have virtually no gaps between panels and uses invisible framing and mounting hardware to keep the rooftop footprint as tight, efficient and attractive as possible.

Knowing the answers to the above questions will give you an idea of the ideal number of panels for your electricity generation needs or at least a realistic range. Next, a professional installer needs to assess your roof architecture, angle to the sun and other factors to see if and how you'd be able to physically arrange the right number of panels on your roof to achieve your daily energy production goals.

You should also consider net metering as you're considering figuring out your ROI for your solar system. Net metering is how your utility company credits you for producing excess solar energy when the sun is shining and then lets you draw from those credits when you're using conventional power grid at night, if you don't have a solar battery storage system.

Our systems are designed to have a useful life of 40 years or more.* For more information about solar panel durability and performance, email [email protected] to request a report on solar system useful life field tests performed on SunPower® systems vs. conventional panels.

Your current monthly energy use and the size of your system will determine your actual savings amount. And with little or no startup costs*, systems can start paying for themselves immediately. Savings will vary based on several factors, including system size, performance, your household's average energy usage as well as any applicable solar credits, tax incentives, and current solar energy buyback (net metering) rates offered by your utility company. A detailed calculation of your potential return on investment (ROI) will be provided by SunPower during your solar evaluation. Get more information about what goes into calculating home solar panel system costs and other important solar energy questions to ask your installer.

Having a solar system typically adds value to your home.* Depending on where you live, there is often no increase in your property taxes.

SunPower has a wide variety of financing options, including some that don't require you to pay any upfront costs if you qualify. The cost of your solar system depends on several factors, including your current energy usage, your available amount of unshaded roof space, your local utility’s net metering policy, and other factors.

As each residence is unique, exact costs are difficult to estimate without an initial consultation. With this in mind, we offer free estimates for all of our clients. We also work to make solar an affordable choice with financing options that include $0 down and low same-day approvals.

Despite the generalities you may hear in solar advertising, not all solar systems are created equal! Of all the solar panels on the market, SunPower panels have the highest efficiency* and convert the highest amount of sunlight into electricity. This means our solar panels generate more power than conventional panels within the same amount of space, and you'll need fewer panels to produce the energy you need. You can maximize your available roof space to choose the best, unobstructed location for electricity production. Our world-record panel efficiency* means you'll save more money over time by choosing SunPower panels.

Solar energy offers multiple benefits, from big savings on your electricity bill to increased home value. Most importantly, solar power is a renewable energy source, offering protection for the environment.

No! Solar Energy Partners also offers ground-mounted solar and solar carports. Our design team will consider your preferred aesthetics and your home's layout when helping you decide which option is best.

Ideal conditions for solar power are cool temperatures and bright sunlight. While rain, hail, and clouds can reduce the efficiency of solar panels, recent innovations have minimized the impact. Every SunPower solar panel is equipped with a micro inverter, harnessing the full potential of each panel in the system and reducing the negative effects of bad weather. Backup power solutions offer additional security.

At Solar Energy Partners, we are more interested in educating clients on the benefits of solar power than making a sale. Our team promises to serve with integrity, educating our clients on the benefits of solar energy and empowering communities to build a sustainable future. We proudly install SunPower systems, a leader in the solar energy industry. With a highly professional and respectable team, we promise quality service, excellent communication, and a smooth installation process. We are proud to be considered the best solar company in Charleston / Mt. Pleasant and the state’s sole SunPower master dealer!

Yes! With our backup power solutions, you can store any excess energy produced by your SunPower system and use it during the night, on a rainy day, or in the case of power outages.

Studies show that homes with solar panels have a higher resale value than comparable homes without solar energy.

If you are interested in going solar, the process is simple. Contact us for a free estimate and we will begin an initial consultation to see if solar is right for you. From there, there are only a few more steps until you're ready to power your home with renewable energy from the sun.

Storage FAQs

Backup Storage is designed to charge when it is sunny and discharge when needed based on your settings. In your mobile app, you can select how much of the battery you want to use daily for savings and how much to reserve for an outage.

We recommend indoor installation, typically in a garage. Outdoor installations are possible in shaded areas and where temperatures remain between 15-110° F and are protected from other severe and extreme weather.

This depends on your energy use, utility rate, rate structure, and several other factors. Your SunPower Equinox® proposal will provide an estimate of your annual savings from your solar and storage system based on your current electricity use.

A photovoltaic (PV) solar energy system is composed of solar panels, racking for mounting the panels on the roof, electrical wiring, and an inverter. From sunrise to sunset, the solar panels generate direct current electricity (DC) which is sent to the inverter. The inverter converts the DC into alternating current (AC), the type of electricity required for household use. (SunPower also offers AC solar panels which do not require a central inverter because they feature a microinverter that's factory integrated into each panel.) The AC power is delivered directly to your home's main electrical service panel for use by you and your family.

It?s important to minimize shading because solar panels operate at optimal output when their entire surface is fully exposed to direct sunlight. The system will still produce energy if it is shaded but its output will lessen. SunPower will evaluate your particular situation and provide solar options for you.

Warranty FAQs

While length of coverage is important, it’s even more important to understand the comprehensiveness of the coverage. If something goes wrong with your system, is there one company to contact, or will you have to juggle amongst multiple manufacturer warranties, each of which is responsible for only one component of your system? Can you simply pick up the phone, or are you required to send a request for help to a P. O. Box in a distant location and wait an extended period of time to receive help? Will a representative inspect the system at your home, or will you be expected to ship a faulty component, at your expense? Do you have peace of mind knowing that your system will be fixed at no extra cost to you, or will you be billed for extra charges, such as labor or shipping? These are only some of the considerations that SunPower took into account when creating our industry-leading Complete Confidence Warranty.

A working solar system is composed of many components that work together to turn sunlight into usable power for your home. When you buy a SunPower® solar system with components that are designed and engineered to work together, you get the confidence of knowing that not only will the system work better together, but also that, should anything go wrong, you have one company, SunPower, backing your entire system - not just a component. If there is an issue, you have just one phone call to make.

No. Other manufacturers, many of which are new to manufacturing solar, are trying to catch up to SunPower’s 30+ years of dedicated solar experience, and to the exceptional terms of our Complete Confidence warranty. Many of them include hidden charges, such as shipping and labor costs, and don’t cover all of the many parts that go into a working solar system – panels, inverters, racking system, monitoring hardware and software. SunPower is the only company who offers one comprehensive product, power, and labor warranty for all components, because we engineered and designed the entire system.

Over time, all solar panels lose a small amount of production, measured by its annual degradation rate. SunPower panels have the lowest degradation rate in the industry, validated by 3rd party testing2 from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). This means that a system with SunPower panels can produce more power and we back this with our 25-year Complete Confidence Warranty.

Homeowners should be suspicious of product and power warranties with separate lengths of terms. Product warranty covers defects, and power warranty covers how much power the system is producing. What’s the value of a longer power warranty if the product generating the power breaks but is no longer warranted?

Solar is a technology that requires years of dedication and commitment to refine and perfect. SunPower has been solely focused on solar for over 30 years – it’s been our vision, our mission, and the air we breathe since we were founded in 1985. You may be familiar with other brands because they make your dishwasher, refrigerator, or TV, but probably not because of their solar products. Those familiar with solar products agree that SunPower builds premium solar products and have a reputation for quality, design, and reliability.

No. Hardware is only part of the total cost of getting a home equipped with solar. Other costs that other solar companies don’t include are product shipping, handling/packaging, installation, and other labor costs. SunPower covers all of this, because we know that anything short of end-to-end coverage will result in homeowners unexpectedly having to pay extra hidden costs.

You can contact your SunPower dealer who can handle your claim directly with SunPower for you. You’re also welcome to contact SunPower directly (1-800-SUNPOWER), and we will dispatch a SunPower dealer to help you. You may be asked for a description or pictures to help us better diagnose the issue, but rest assured that we’ll help make sure your system is up and running as soon as possible –at no extra cost to you.

PV Panel Warranty Insurance, like any insurance policy, is riddled with fine print, and incorporate confusing details like high deductibles (also known as self-insured retention, SIR), or limits to payouts. In contrast, SunPower is a financially conservative company and maintains one of the largest reserves in the industry with one of the lowest claim rates. Your investment ultimately rests on the underlying quality and reliability of the product itself – choose the better product.

If your SunPower dealer is no longer available, you can always just call SunPower directly (1-800-SunPower), and we will send an installer to help diagnose and resolve your issue. Because the SunPower warranty provides end-to-end coverage, there are no extra hidden costs to get your system up and running again.

PV Panel Warranty Insurance, like any insurance policy, is riddled with fine print, and incorporate confusing details like high deductibles (also known as self-insured retention, SIR), or limits to payouts. In contrast, SunPower is a financially conservative company and maintains one of the largest reserves in the industry with one of the lowest claim rates. Your investment ultimately rests on the underlying quality and reliability of the product itself – choose the better product.

Community Solar FAQs

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) supports a range of initiatives, one of which includes community solar programs:

1. Residents: Most New York residents can join a community solar project. Typically, this includes homeowners, renters, and virtually anyone who pays an electricity bill, including those in apartments or condos.

2. Businesses: Local businesses can participate in community solar, which can be an attractive option for companies aiming to reduce their carbon footprint or to stabilize and potentially reduce their energy costs.

3. Municipalities: Local government entities, schools, and other public organizations can participate. This can help them to achieve sustainability goals and reduce public expenses.

4. Renters: Even if you don't own your home or property, as long as you have an electricity bill in your name, you can typically participate in a community solar program.

5. Others: There can be options for non-profits, faith-based organizations, and other community entities that participate.

Joining a community solar project doesn't mean you have solar panels installed on your property. Instead, you "subscribe" to a portion of the energy produced by a local solar array.

In New York, the community solar model operates under a system where subscribers can be anywhere within the same utility territory as the community solar project. This offers a significant advantage as it allows for greater flexibility and accessibility. Here's a more detailed breakdown:

1. Utility Territory: As long as a customer is within the same utility territory as the community solar installation, they can subscribe to that project. This is especially beneficial in more urban settings or areas where individual solar installations might not be feasible due to space, shading, or ownership constraints (like apartments or rented homes).

2. Bill Crediting: Once you're a subscriber to a community solar project, you receive credits on your utility bill based on your share of the electricity produced by the solar array. These credits can offset or reduce your monthly electricity charges.

3. Expanding Access: This model allows for broader access to solar benefits. By not being restricted to immediate geographic proximity, more residents and businesses can tap into the environmental and potential financial benefits of solar power, even if they are some distance away from the actual solar farm.

4. Supporting Renewable Growth: By opening up the subscription to anyone within the utility territory, these community solar projects can quickly gain the subscriber base they need to become financially viable, encouraging the development of more projects.

Yes! Here's an explanation emphasizing why community solar sites partnered with Solar Energy Partners (or similar entities) tend to fill up quickly:

1. Strong Partnerships: Collaboration with Solar Energy Partners or comparable firms often ensures a seamless process from design to subscriber acquisition. This efficiency can generate significant interest from potential subscribers, making slots fill up faster.

2. Expert Marketing and Outreach: Partnerships with experienced solar energy entities often bring with them advanced marketing strategies and comprehensive outreach campaigns. These efforts effectively raise awareness and drive demand for the available slots.

3. Financial Benefits: When projects are backed by reputable solar partners, they often come with attractive financial incentives, clear savings projections, and transparency. This can instill confidence in potential subscribers, leading to rapid sign-ups.

4. Credibility and Trust: Established solar energy partners have a reputation for successfully executing projects and maintaining high levels of customer service. Their involvement can lend credibility to a community solar initiative, making residents more eager to participate.

5. Education and Workshops: Experienced solar partners often conduct informational sessions, workshops, and community meetings to educate the public about the benefits of community solar. This educative approach can demystify the process for many, encouraging quicker sign-ups.

6. Flexible Contract Terms: With the experience of managing various projects, seasoned solar energy partners understand the importance of flexibility. Offering short-term contracts or user-friendly opt-out options can make participation more appealing, leading to faster slot fill-ups.

7. Holistic Solutions: Solar Energy Partners and similar firms often provide end-to-end solutions, from project conception to subscriber management. This comprehensive approach ensures that potential issues are addressed preemptively, offering a smooth experience for subscribers.In summary, community solar projects backed by adept solar energy partners offer a combination of trust, transparency, financial benefits, and education. This mix can be very attractive to potential subscribers, leading to rapid filling of available slots.

Amidst the drive for sustainable energy and notable utility savings, Solar Energy Partners' community solar slots are in high demand. While businesses lean toward long-term commitments, residential subscribers have the freedom to unsubscribe with just 30 days' notice.

Absolutely! Subscribers can see up to 15% in monthly savings. Plus, with membership come added perks such as gift cards and exclusive SEP community offers, granting discounts at popular service, retail, and hospitality locations.

Yes! By signing up for the community solar program, you'll receive credits that can reduce your monthly electricity charges by up to 15%.

Absolutely! Solar Energy Partners is on the lookout for partnerships, ranging from large corporations and manufacturing facilities to small businesses. Our goal is to promote sustainable energy solutions and provide cost savings. We're always ready to team up with forward-thinking corporate partners.

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Why Solar Energy Partners?


Serving with integrity

At Solar Energy Partners, we are more interested in the benefits of solar energy than making sales. We do not waste our client's time — if your Charleston / Mt. Pleasant home or property is a poor candidate for solar panel or solar power installation, we will be honest with you in the beginning.

Providing real solutions

With superior solar technology, we are able to provide real renewable energy solutions, including solar panel installation services, to home and business owners. From solar panels that generate 55% more energy than conventional brands offered in the Charleston / Mt. Pleasant areas, to the most durable solar cells in the industry, SunPower products are top quality.

Empowering local communities

We believe that everyone should have access to clean energy and we work to empower local communities in building a sustainable future together. Education is a key part of our service, and we provide Charleston / Mt. Pleasant homeowners with all the information and resources they need to run their home or business on solar power.

Local, professional team

Every professional on our team is local, educated, experienced and licensed. You can expect incredible service and quality customer care when working with us to install your Charleston / Mt. Pleasant solar panels. We are proud to be the best solar company in Charleston / Mt. Pleasant and we are the state's top master dealer of SunPower products.

Customer Success Stories

What's it really like to have home solar panels? Homeowners share why they chose SunPower and how the decision to go solar has changed their lives.
Patel Family

Before we had solar, our average bill was $200. Now with SunPower...our bill is $12

Andrew

Once I figured out that SunPower was the way to go, with the warranty and the depreciation value vs other competitors...that's where it all started with me.

John & Minette

Since I've gone solar, I've received 2 bills for $4.53 (not even for electricity).

Paul & Janette

I don't think there is any investment you can do with your house...that actually pays you money. Thanks to SunPower...it's wonderful when the bill shows up!

  Michael

The system itself has exceeded my exceptions in reducing my electric bills. Reputation is paramount, and SunPower had the reputation I was looking for.

The Schulte Family

It's a good feeling to be self reliant, and produce 100% of our own power!

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