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FAQs

What sets SolarFlair apart from other solar companies?

How long has SolarFlair been in business?

How many projects have been installed?

What is the largest project you’ve installed?

What does SolarFlair do? What will I (the homeowner) need to do?

Does SolarFlair offer a PPA (or other financing) option?

Does SolarFlair arrange for financing or does the customer bring financing to the project?

For a PPA payment plan what rebates, tax benefits, and SREC program are available to the customer?

For a cash purchase what tax benefits, and SREC program are available to the customer?

How can I get SRECs when I am producing less than 100% of my electricity usage?

How will this affect my roof?

What if my roof is old? What happens if the roof needs to be replaced or repaired.

How does your warranty work regarding installation?...regarding major components (panels and inverter)?

Where will you run the conduits/wires? (Exposed on exterior of the house or through the house?)

Do I need to clean the panels or remove the snow from them?

What inverter manufacturer do you use and why?

Will the system use batteries? I want to live off the grid?

Can I use my own electrician to perform the electrical work?

How long does it take to install a solar system?

Does my roof need to face south?

Are solar panels fragile?

What is an Inverter?

How much roof space is required?

 


 

What sets SolarFlair apart from other solar companies?

We are the trusted local company with years of solar design and installation experience.  We take the trusted advisor role, presenting all financial models objectively so you can make the decision that is best for you, and will continue to help you once the system has been installed. We install with our own labor force, including our own licensed electricians. We do whatever is needed to make sure our customers are fully satisfied at the end of the job. 

 

How long has SolarFlair been in business?

Since 2007.

 

How many projects have been installed?

SolarFlair has installed over 850 projects throughout Massachusetts. Ranging from a 2.5 kW system all the way up to a 2 MW system, and everything in between!

 

What is the largest project you’ve installed?

SolarFlair's largest project is a 10 acre solar farm in Charlton with 7000 solar panels (2 MW).

 

What does SolarFlair do? What will I (the homeowner) need to do?

SolarFlair is a turnkey solar installer. We design, permit, install, and commission your project from start to finish.  We handle all coordination and paperwork with the following entities:

  • -- Utility company for interconnection
  • -- Mass Solar Loan applications - Through the Mass Clean Energy Center, SolarFlair is a Pre-Qualified Installer
  • -- Town for building and electrical permitting
  • -- Broker to monetize SRECs

 

Does SolarFlair offer a PPA (or other financing) option?

We offer a PPA model as well as an Ownership model. With the PPA, the homeowner has little or no upfront costs and immediate utility savings.  With the Ownership model, the homeowner gets all of the financial benefits of a solar installation including utility savings, SREC revenue, rebates, tax credits, and value added to the home.

 

Does SolarFlair arrange for financing or does the customer bring financing to the project?

We can do either. If you want to make a cash purchase, we offer various solar specific financing options to fit your families financial situation. Many of our customers can expect to be cash flow positive, even after their monthly loan payment. If you need a home equity loan, we recommend you talk to your own bank or we can recommend one of our local banking partners. They'll have options for home equity loans/lines of credit. 

 

For a PPA payment plan what rebates, tax benefits, and SREC program are available to the customer?

With a PPA all of these benefits go to the PPA Fund (SunRun) because they own the system.  However, you are still getting the benefits of these incentives in the form of a reduced electricity rate.

 

For a cash purchase what tax benefits, and SREC programs are available to the customer?

Tax benefits : The federal income tax credit is 30% of the installation cost with no maximum.  The state Income tax credit is 15% of the installation cost with a maximum credit of $1,000.  You obtain these when you file for your tax return.

SREC Program For every 1,000 kWh the system produces (regardless of whether that electricity gets used in the home or sent back to the grid) you will be able to sell 1 SREC. A broker will sell your SRECs on your behalf each quarter and then cut you a check. You can either have the broker manage your sales for you or you can dictate the minimum price you want the broker to sell them for.

 

How can I get SRECs when I am producing less than 100% of my electricity usage.

The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) has declared that solar energy has two byproducts. The first is the actual electricity that you use in the house. For this you are receiving a credit on your electricity bill at the retail rate that you pay. The other byproduct is the renewable, environmental benefit. This is the product you are selling with your SRECs. Thus, you are receiving both Utility savings and SREC revenue for every kWh your system produces.

 

How will this affect my roof?

SolarFlair takes great care when attaching the panels. We use special flashings and seals to keep water out, and warranty all the attachments to the roof for 10 years. 

 

What if my roof is old? What happens if the roof needs to be replaced or repaired.

Every roof is different but generally If the roof needs to be replaced within 5 years then the customer should do that before installing solar. If the roof needs to be replaced within the life of the system, then they can hire SolarFlair to take the panels off and reinstall them. That would cost roughly $1,000 to $2,000 but will be dependent on actual system size.

 

How does your warranty work regarding installation?...regarding major components (panels and inverter)?

The SolarFlair Workmanship Warranty covers everything for 10 years (including installation, components, and inverters).  If you have a problem, just call SolarFlair and we will fix it. Additionally, the manufacturer’s warranty on the solar panels and micro-inverters is usually 25 years.

 

Where will you run the conduits/wires? (Exposed on exterior of the house or through the house?)

Whenever possible all wiring will be run internally. If this is not an option, due to the homes construction or technical reasons, the wires are run down the outside of the house in small pipes (conduit). Our engineer will determine the easiest path that works best for everyone. Prior to installation, the licensed electrician onsite will discuss the pathway for the conduit with the homeowner.

 

Do I need to clean the panels or remove the snow from them?

Cleaning the solar panels is not necessary, rain and snow will clean them enough to maintain production. Also, the snow melts and slides off the panels faster than asphalt roof shingles. If you must clean the panels due to aethetics, using a garden hose to lightly spray the panels will not damage your array.

 

What inverter manufacturer do you use and why?

We primarily sell Enphase microinverters but also offer central inverters from Solectria and SolarEdge. Most customers opt to go with microinverters because houses in New England tend to have some shading and microinverters outperform central inverters under these conditions. Microinverters also have a 25 year warranty as opposed to a 10 year warranty for central inverters.  We use Enphase, the leading microinverter manufacturer. SolarFlair is also installing systems with SolarEdge DC optimizers, the DC optimizers do not replace the microinverter, instead they're paired with a central inverter from SolarEdge. The advantages are similar to those of a microinverter, and is a great solution for those homeowners looking to install a battery backup in the future.

 

Will the system use batteries? I want to live off the grid?

No, we do not provide battery backup systems. It adds a lot of expense that most people don't want to pay. With Grid connected systems the Customer gets the retail rate credited to them due to net metering. As prices of battery backup systems come down, SolarFlair will continue to explore this as an option for our Solar PV customers.

  

Can I use my own electrician to perform the electrical work?

No, Solarflair staff has all of the appropriate licenses including  licensed electricians with years of solar experience. 

 

 How long does it take to install a solar system? 

Actual installation of a residential solar electric system typically takes only 1-4 days (depending on the size), with minimal disruption to your home. But before we can install the system we have to apply for permits with the town and file other paperwork with the state which takes 8-10 weeks or more.

 

Does my roof need to face south?

Southern exposure is best, but even if your roof is east or west facing, you can still get strong results. Generally we look for a roof that is between 100 degrees and 260 degrees (on a 360 degree compass, with south being 180 degrees). 

 

Are solar panels fragile?

Solar photovoltaic systems are extremely rugged.  Today’s panels are designed to withstand lightning strikes, hail storms, and 100+ mile-an-hour wind.

 

What is an Inverter?

The solar panels produce direct current electricity that travels to an inverter.  The inverter changes the direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC) and feeds that power to your building.  Inverters come in different shapes and sizes, but they all output the alternating current electricity that we use everyday.

 

How much roof space is required?

A rough rule of thumb is: for every kilowatt (kW) installed, a solar electric system takes up about 100 square feet. An average residential install will be a 5 kW and therefore need 500 ft2. However, it is important to note that square footage alone doesn't tell us how many panels we can fit, the shape of the roof and obstacles must be accounted for as well.