FAQ

Does solar work well enough here in the New York area to make it worthwhile?

Yes, the three biggest factors affecting the economics of solar energy are solar resource (how sunny is it here?), solar incentives, and the cost of electricity. Although it’s certainly not as sunny here in the New York area as it is in Phoenix or San Diego, we get much more sunlight than most of Europe, where solar adoption rates are much higher. The New York area really shines with respect to solar incentives. Not only was the 30% Federal Investment Tax Credit for solar recently extended for another three years, but New York also offers generous rebates, both as upfront cash incentives for commercial solar installations smaller than 200kW, and as performance based incentives for systems larger than 200kW. In addition, we pay some of the highest electric rates in the United States, making every kW hour that you generate using solar that much more valuable.

How long will it take for an investment in solar to pay for itself?

Commercial solar energy systems purchased with cash can pay for themselves in 4-5 years depending on the quality of the solar application (orientation towards the South, shading, and tilt angle). If you factor in the value of the capital investment, the system pays for itself right away by adding resale value to your building. Solar energy systems that are financed often are cash positive from the outset, since electric savings more than compensate for monthly payments.

Won't putting solar on my roof increase the likelihood that it will leak?

Not if it is designed and installed properly by experienced professionals like Silver Lining Solar. Most commercial solar arrays are installed with a ballasted design requiring no penetrations to your roof. And all pitched roof installations use high quality waterproof flashings that protect your roof against leaks. We stand behind our installations for a full five years, and extended warranties are also available.

Even if I believe in climate change, isn't going solar too little too late?

No. We are at a tipping point in the battle to limit the effects of manmade climate change, and we are starting to win. Every new solar installation makes a difference. Here’s an update from Al Gore that gives reason to be hopeful.

Solar prices have come down a lot lately, shouldn't I just wait for even lower prices?

Not if you want to take advantage of the current generous rebates that are still available. The more you wait, the more likely it is that you will qualify for a smaller incentive. In addition, solar module prices have recently stabilized and started to creep back up a bit, so waiting for lower prices could be a mistake. Don’t forget that everyday you delay means you are not able to take advantage of the free fuel that is falling on your roof in the form of sunlight. Why waste daylight?

What happens at night?

Nothing different than what you had before you went solar. You are still connected to the electric grid, and have a continuous source of electricity, just like before.

Do I need batteries?

In most cases probably not. The solar energy made by your system feeds directly into your electric service distribution panel and is available to your entire facility. Whenever you make more solar electricity than your facility needs, the excess power flows back through your meter to power others in your neighborhood. You’ll be credited for the excess power your system makes according to the rules of Net Metering. We do, however, offer batteries for clients interested in the management of their demand (kW) charges, and for those who have special needs, including resiliency.

What's Net Metering?

Net metering means that you get credited at the retail rate for the solar power that you export to the electric grid. In other words, you don’t have to store the power in batteries, and even if you aren’t using it when it’s produced, you still get the full value of every kWh your system makes. Think of it as the ability to time shift the value of your solar energy production so that you never waste a drop.