Solar 101: Frequently Asked Questions

What should I know about solar before I invest?

Before you invest in solar, you need to consider cost, reliability, warranties, maintenance, to name a few essential topics. Many third-party solar providers will claim solar is more affordable than what you are currently paying for your power. Be careful. You also need to decide why you might want solar power: Do you want to save money? Do you want to be prepared in the case of a power outage? Do you want to make energy choices that positively impact the environment? The answers to these concerns are detailed below.

What is the actual cost of solar?

Federal and state governments subsidize solar through tax credits. The local city government may participate in the subsidies as well. The cost of the solar equipment, installation, and maintenance is borne by the buyer (homeowner.) If financed, be careful of the “no money down” or “12 months interest-free” plans. If not refinanced in a certain time frame, many of these financing options will charge high-interest rates for equipment that is constantly depreciating. Lastly, some fees are required by OPD5 to connect your system to the grid.

If I invest in solar, will it eliminate my power bill?

No one can zero out their power bill. If your service is tied to OPD5’s grid, you will always pay a base fee. The only way to eliminate your power bill is to be off the grid.

What if the power goes out? Will my solar power still work?

Since the most economical way to have solar is through a “net-metered system” (you receive your power source from the grid), your solar panels will not be working when there is a power outage in your area. This means that if the consumer wants to be prepared for a power outage, they must also purchase backup systems (batteries or generators) that can easily double the cost of solar. Batteries usually have a short life span (3-7 years) until the consumer purchases and replace them, which adds to the cost again.

Who is responsible for maintenance and cleaning the solar equipment?

If you are purchasing a solar system from a third party, you are responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the equipment. Be cautious of statements like “maintenance-free” solar arrays. The panels will get dirty, which will affect the system’s overall performance. To keep solar panels generating at their highest efficiency, you must clean them every few months.

Will OPD5 reimburse me for any power I haven't consumed?

If the power produced exceeds usage, you will not receive a cash payment. Unused credits will be carried forward to future bills to offset times when you use more energy than you produce. Your monthly power bill will still include a customer Base Charge fee and any miscellaneous charges incurred. The excess kWh credits will not cover these charges.

After the last billing cycle in December and following the commencement of the “Interconnection Agreement” by both parties, OPD5 will zero the customer’s account of any excess credits. There will be no credit or buyback for the excess generation.

Does installing solar power reduce demand on the grid and postpone the need to build future generation and transmission?

No, solar power does not reduce the demand on the power grid and does not delay any required investments in generation or transmission. Solar panels generate electricity from mid-morning to mid-afternoon; the power grid peaks in the early morning and the early evening, outside the brief window of solar power generation.

What are OPD5's solar connection requirements?

The interconnection agreement, application, and renewable application are all included in this area on our website.

If you have other questions

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