Do you have to clean or maintain the panels?
There is no need to clean panels and I actually recommend against it. Their glass has special coatings that break down organic materials and the occasional rain shower is enough to keep them clean and operating efficiently. If done properly, clean panels will perform marginally better than slightly soiled ones, but scrubbing panels can actually grind in dirt and scratch the glass and coating, permanently hurting the efficiency. Once you factor in the time of getting up on the roof and the waste of water, it just is not necessary.
All of the panels, associated electronics, and wiring are all very static and won’t need any major maintenance during their life. However, it would still be a good idea to do an annual inspection of the system to make sure everything is still generally in good condition. MHK Solar can help with this.
What about hail?
Hail is certainly a major concern in Kansas. However, solar panels are designed to be very durable and face the elements for 25 years. The protective glass outer layer is very hard. They are also installed on your roof at an angle, meaning most hail impacts will be a glancing blow. Regardless, a very large hail stone could break a panel. It will be a good idea to consult with your home insurance agent to fully understand your specific policy and make sure you are covered.
Will adding a solar system add value to my home?
The answer to this question is it depends on your buyer. Many buyers would look favorably on a system for the same reasons you decided to install it. However, others may not like the look or may have misconceptions about maintenance or other costs. At this point, there simply are not many recently sold homes with solar systems to draw any conclusions about the local market. Some national surveys and research has suggested adding a solar system can increase the value of your home by about $20,000.
Will adding a solar system raise my property taxes?
No. While other home improvement projects that add value to your home and increase its market value will also increase your property tax assessment, solar improvements will not. The State of Kansas has exempt “electric generating property using renewable technology” from property taxes (2012 Statue, Chapter 79, Article 2).
How much does a system cost?
There is a very long answer to this question that involves a site visit to measure the roof, identify shading obstacles, analyze electricity consumption, and much more to appropriately design the size of a system and identify any added installation challenges. However, an ideal medium sized 12 panel system would cost a little more than $10,000 and generate about $700 worth of electricity a year. After the 30% federal tax credit, the initial costs would drop to close to $7,000. Larger systems will be less expensive on a per panel basis since there are some fixed costs with the installation in addition to the variable costs of adding more panels.
Are there any tax incentives?
Yes! There is a 30% federal tax credit that covers all installation costs including components, labor, and any application fees. It will stay in effect through 2019 and then begin to taper off until its expiration in 2022.
Is there any financing available?
Yes. MHK Solar has partnered with a local bank to provide 60-month financing on solar system installations. This will result in paying more for your electricity than you would have previously during the duration of the loan, but once paid off you will own your system free and clear and it will continue to produce free electricity for two more decades! Other companies may offer lease options with low or no down payments, however, these leases typically have 20-year terms with escalating payments. At the end of the 20 years the bank or installer also still owns the system on your roof. At that point you would either have to sign a new lease or have the system removed.
How long will a system last/function?
Panels and the microinverters are designed and warrantied to last 25 years. According to Google's Project Sunroof, systems can reliably last for greater than 30 years. There is no physical reason why panels would cease to function (they won't just wear out like batteries or mechanical devices) and they could theoretically last a very long time.
Do the panels have warranties?
Yes. Almost all panel makes we use have a performance guarantee that lasts at least 25 years (some are 30) which says power production will not drop below a specified level over that time. Additionally, they have a 12, 25, or 30-year workmanship warranty. The Enphase Energy microinverters we use, which convert each panel's DC output voltage to the AC used in your home, also have 25 year warranties.