Topics:Green Living Solar Financing Solar Savings Solar Equipment Energy Efficiency Solar Incentives Solar Companies Solar FAQs solar power solar panels green living solar news
This is the third question in a twelve-question series. Please click here to read the introduction, as well as access other questions in the series. Or, download the printable ebook to view the entire series. "This varies greatly. In solar friendly states, which have lower installation costs and allow homeowners to take many of the same tax benefits that large companies can take, the payback can be as little as 3 or 4 years (providing energy for another 27!). In “non-solar friendly” states, the payback is around 10 years. Because of tax and install credits, savings are front-end loaded. So if you spend $10k on a system (leasing is a different animal), you can get a payback in 4 years; however, that does not mean you save $2,500 every year. Tax credits are a one-time shot to help with payback." -Teris Pantazes "According to a report by UC Davis, California is anticipating higher utility growth rates ranging between 3.5% to 6.3% per year until 2020 (Source: UC Davis "The Future of Electricity Prices in California" Report). Savings will vary from one homeowner to the next because there are so many factors involved in determining each household's savings. We've worked with homeowners who have cut their electricity bill from $450 per month to $45 per month. And in some cases, we've even seen residents with a $275 monthly utility bill that's cut to only $12, which is just the utility company's connection fee." -Rainier de Ocampo "If they opt for a PPA or Lease agreement, at least 20%. If they purchase the system, then it really depends on where you live. In the worst of cases, you might just save a little bit or nothing per month while you pay off the panels, but once the system is paid off you won't have to pay for that power ever again." -Julio Daniel Hernandez "The answer to this question is dependent on where you live. Location, location, location! The amount of solar electricity you can produce will vary from place to place, and the amount you can save will be directly related to the cost of electricity from your local utility. There is no one answer to this question. That's why we built Sunmetrix Discover, where you can enter your address and learn how much solar electricity you can produce with an average sized system (5 kW). You can also change the parameters of your system and the orientation of your roof and see the impact. Then you can estimate what you would save - we put in the average utility rate per state as a default, but you can fine-tune it by putting in the actual rate that you can find on your utility bill." - Simone Garneau "This depends on the size of the solar installation and if it is integrated with battery storage. A typical installation for a homeowner today (approximately 4 to 5 kW of power) will have a less than 3 to 5% return on investment. This will be a bit higher with energy storage. However, the savings will be greater the more self-sufficient the homeowner can be. And if the homeowner chooses to invest in enough capacity to sell back to the grid when over-generating for the homes’ needs, the savings can turn into a small profitability." -Greg Reed "It depends on the size of system installed and the amount of power used from the solar PV." -Mark Stevenson "The average consumer is spending $200 per month for electricity, and the cost of a solar system is $25,000 ($17,500 after the tax credit). If the utility rates don't go up, the homeowner would spend $60,000 in utility costs over 25 years without going solar. By going solar with a system that costs $17,500 after the tax credit, they would be saving $42,500 over 25 years - without factoring in rate increases by the utility company." -Matt Stoutenburg "20-100%, depending on which program they choose" -Geoff Mirkin Click here to go on to Question #4: Would You Recommend Investing in Battery Storage Along With a Solar Energy System? Why or Why Not?
This is the second question in a twelve-question series. Please click here to read the introduction, as well as access the other questions in the series. Or, download the printable ebook to view the entire series. "Removes carbon from our atmosphere" -Geoff Mirkin "Much less reliance on fossil fuels to meet the demand on the grid. At this point, solar is putting so much energy back on grid during the daytime in southern California that we are having to send it to Arizona." -Matt Stoutenburg "Simple power of a purchase. If, as consumers, we invest in clean energy, then it will make less and less sense for billions of dollars to be wasted in fossil fuel procurement, therefore reducing the negative impact that the current outdated infrastructure has." -Julio Daniel Hernandez "Any renewable resources provide environmental benefits. However, solar panel technology and infrastructure is much ‘lighter’ than some other forms, such as wind and hydro, which inherently are more equipment-intensive and require much more construction costs and other infrastructure to integrate effectively. This is why most wind and hydro facilities are still primarily more economical at large grid-level installations, but solar can be deployed more easily and less expensively at the distribution and end-use level." -Greg Reed "Once the carbon cost of manufacturing/transporting/installing the system is amortized, there is no negative impact on the environment, only the positive one of reducing the need for unclean fuels like oil, coal, nuclear, and (cleaner but still dirty) natural gas." -Shel Horowitz "Increasing the rollout of Solar PV significantly reduces our reliance on traditional power stations for generating electricity and reduces our CO2 output." -Mark Stevenson "In places where coal is the main fuel for energy, the carbon footprint of solar panels is much better for the environment. Solar is an efficient energy creator because the line loss for a residential solar energy system is MUCH lower than the power running the miles from the plant to your home." -Teris Pantazes "Our mission is to contribute to global change by providing environmentally friendly, alternative, independent, affordable, and efficient energy to consumers. We believe that the Earth's natural resources are precious and that society's addiction to outdated forms of fuels has put our environment at risk. It is the responsibility of each and every one of us to make changes and embrace new, innovative ways to power our collective way of life. Choices of the past have created challenges for future generations. Solar Optimum's goal is to be part of the solution to help our community become energy independent. The bottom line is to save the planet." -Rainier de Ocampo Click here to go on to Question #3: How Much Could the Average Homeowner Expect to Save With Solar?
This is the first question in a twelve-question series. Please click here to read the introduction, as well as access the other questions in the series. Or, download the printable ebook to view the entire series. "The top benefits of solar energy are that it is cost effective; it is reliable; and it is sustainable, meaning that consuming solar energy is not harmful for our planet. Cost effective: the cost of solar energy is generally lower than the cost of the utility grid, especially when you consider the fact that utility rates increase about 2%-3% each year. Over the life of a system, that means electricity costs could almost double, while the cost of energy, if you own the solar installation, is constant. Reliable: solar is a proven technology, and its energy output capabilities are well-known. There are good warranties available from manufacturers, and a good solar installer will also stand behind their work. Sustainable: since solar energy relies primarily on sunshine, of which there is relative abundance globally, it is sustainable and does not pollute our environment." -Samuel Adeyemo "The top benefits of solar are taking control and ownership of your utility costs, taking advantage of the tax benefits, and freedom from paying for-profit utility companies." -Matt Stoutenburg "Solar energy doesn't just have a positive effect on the environment, but also creates jobs to boost the economy and creates energy independence so the U.S. doesn't have to rely on fossil fuel imports." -Kathie Zipp "Solar enables you to generate your own clean energy onsite, reducing the cost and reliance on grid-purchased energy. As electricity costs rise, homeowners will save more." -Mark Stevenson "Mitigating climate carbon, eliminating the cost and environmental impact of fossil fuels, having a great selling point if you want to leave, REALLY hot water. Note that often, the payback is much faster and the benefit much more immediate for switching your hot water to solar before thinking about electricity. Many homeowners don't think about this. In our case, we saw $100/month reductions in our electricity bill as soon as we switched. And our hot water is hot enough that we warn guests about it." -Shel Horowitz "In most regions in the United States, upgrading to solar means you pay less for the electricity you consume and your home goes up in value. Never mind the positive environmental impact." -Julio Daniel Hernandez "Solar panels reduce a home's carbon footprint; support micro-grid enhancement, which increases grid reliability; and reduce your own energy bills (in most cases). They are a long term investment in your energy, produce electricity for up to 30 years (warrantied for 25), and help protect you from inflation during their lifespan." -Teris Pantazes "Saving homeowners and businesses money!" -Geoff Mirkin "Solar energy is the right choice for anyone who wants to improve their bottom line and save money on their costly electricity bill while making a responsible and positive impact on the environment. Solar energy, specifically solar panels for homeowners, has gained mainstream acceptance due to its relative affordability and practical necessity. The threat of skyrocketing energy costs for homeowners is a looming concern." -Rainier de Ocampo "Solar is a clean, sustainable, renewable, and now very affordable energy resource that can be deployed effectively across energy infrastructures—from small rooftop facilities on homes and businesses generating a few kilowatts of power to large-scale, centralized, grid-level facilities generating hundreds of megawatts of capacity." -Greg Reed Click here to go on to Question #2: How Does Solar Energy Impact the Environment?
Are you thinking about making the switch to solar? Maybe you'd like to lower your electricity bill, or perhaps you want to reduce your carbon footprint. The good news is that, in many situations, installing solar panels on your home or business can be an extremely economically and environmentally beneficial decision. However, solar isn't the right fit for everyone, so it's important to do your research before putting up a significant investment. In an effort to provide helpful information for home and business owners like you, as well as shed light on a somewhat confusing and ever-evolving industry, Best Company asked 11 solar experts for their input on frequently asked questions that many consumers have about solar energy, such as: "How much can I save with solar? How long will the panels last? I live in a cold or cloudy area... is solar still a viable option for me? What about battery storage?" In this series, you'll find answers to all of these questions and more. Some of the responses might surprise you, but don't take our word for it; take a look at what the experts have to say! Meet the Experts Simone Garneau is the co-founder of Sunmetrix, an online consumer education website with a goal to help homeowners go solar. In addition to over 200 articles about solar energy, the Sunmetrix website has a fun and interactive solar calculator, Discover, that allows users to preview solar energy for their home. Geoff Mirkin is the co-founder and CEO of Solar Energy World, a residential and commercial solar company based in Elkridge, Maryland. Kathie Zipp is managing editor of Solar Power World and Energy Storage Networks magazines. After graduating from Kent State University, Kathie was introduced into the world of trade journalism, specifically in the renewable energy sector. She writes about the technology, installation, and development of solar energy. Samuel Adeyemo is the co-founder of Aurora Solar, a company that makes solar design software that is used by most of the leading solar companies in the United States. Teris Pantazes has advised hundreds of homeowners on solar. He owned a solar company for 10 years before selling it in 2015 and was the leading commercial solar installer in the mid-atlantic at one point. Teris is also the co-founder of Efynch.com, a homeowner and handyman community with over 3,000 members in Washington D.C. and Baltimore. Matt Stoutenburg is the founder and CEO of Peak Power Solutions, a solar company based in Costa Mesa, California. Peak Power Solutions has been around for 12 years and performed nearly 6,000 installs in the Southern California area. Julio Daniel Hernandez is the CEO of EnLight.Energy, a national home energy upgrade franchise family. Mark Stevenson is the Founder Managing Director of Bright Spark Energy, an ethical energy consultancy focused on helping individuals and organizations reduce their energy usage. He has an extensive background in the education industry from an IT, building, and energy perspective. Shel Horowitz has been following solar since the 1970s and wrote his first piece about it in 1972. He has solarized his own home and helps green-energy and other businesses go beyond mere "sustainability" (keeping things the same) to "regenerativity" (making things better). He has authored 10 books and owns GoingBeyondSustainability.com. Rainier de Ocampo is the Vice President of Marketing at Solar Optimum, a solar energy and battery storage company based in Glendale, California. Greg Reed is the Director of the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Energy and the Energy GRID Institute. He has over 30 years of combined industry and academic experience in the electric power and energy sector, including solar energy. Questions Click on the links below to read the expert responses to each question, or download the printable ebook and access all of the responses in one place. Question #1. In Your Opinion, What Are the Top Benefits of Solar Energy? Question #2. How Does Solar Energy Impact the Environment? Question #3. How Much Could the Average Homeowner Expect to Save With Solar? Question #4. Would You Recommend Investing in Battery Storage Along With a Solar Energy System? Why or Why Not? Question #5. What Should Consumers Look For in a Solar Company? Question #6. What Solar Incentives Are Currently Available? What Do You Expect to Happen With Solar Incentives in the Future? Question #7. Are Solar Panels Viable in Cold Climates? Will They Still Work When It's Cloudy/Rainy/Snowy? Question #8. Will Solar Panels Still Generate Power During Grid Blackouts? Question #9. Is Solar Panel Efficiency an Important Factor? Question #10. How Long Will a Solar Energy System Last? Question #11. What Effect Do Solar Panels Have on a Home's Value? Question #12. What Advice Do You Have for Individuals Who Are on the Fence About Solar Energy?
1. When the solar salesperson first knocks on your door via GIPHY 2. When they start to give you their pitch about how much you can save on your utility bill by powering your home with ~magical~ sun energy via GIPHY 3. When you realize that what they're saying is true and you really could be saving pocketfuls of cash via GIPHY 4. When you think about how you'll be helping the environment and contributing to a greener future via GIPHY 5. When you're signing all the paperwork for the system via GIPHY 6. When the installers come over to your house to put up the panels via GIPHY 7. When it's taking weeks to get your system connected to the grid via GIPHY 8. When your system is finally all hooked up and you're ready to start harnessing the power of the sun via GIPHY 9. When all your friends and neighbors see how cool your new solar panels are via GIPHY 10. When you get your first electricity bill and see how much you saved via GIPHY Don't have solar panels on your home yet? Check out top rated solar companies in your area here.
1. Solar energy is the most abundant energy resource on the planet The earth receives about 1,366 watts of direct solar radiation per square meter, but we use very little of this available energy. The annual potential of solar energy is estimated to be 1,575—49,837 exajoules (!), which is several times larger than the total world energy consumption (559.8 EJ in 2012). In order to power the entire planet on renewable energy, we would need to install solar panels on approximately 191,000 square miles. Considering there are over 57 million square miles of land on earth, we have room to spare. 2. The earth will never run out of solar energy Unlike other energy sources like coal, natural gas, and oil, which are finite and will eventually diminish, the sun is here to stay and so is the energy we can obtain from it (at least for the next 5 billion years). If the sun happens to burn out before that, we've got much bigger problems on our hands. 3. Solar energy emits much fewer greenhouse gasses than fossil fuels According to a report by the International Panel on Climate Change, which examined hundreds of estimates of greenhouse gas emissions, renewable energy has a substantially lower negative environmental impact than fossil fuels over the lifespan of each power source. How, exactly, does solar energy reduce greenhouse gas emissions? When fossil fuels are burned to generate electricity, they release carbon dioxide, which warms the climate and causes ice to melt, sea levels to rise, and precipitation to increase. Solar panels, on the other hand, capture energy from the sun with practically no impact on the environment, resulting in electricity that is completely emissions-free. 4. Solar power is not a new technology The potential to harness solar power was first discovered by Alexandre Edmond Becquerel way back in 1839. Becquerel created an electrical current in a conductor that's hit by the sun's rays, otherwise known as the photovoltaic effect. Solar cells were first made available for public purchase in 1956. 5. Solar panels are more efficient than plants at converting light into energy Plants typically have a radiant energy to chemical energy conversion efficiency between 0.1 and 2 percent, while most commercially available solar panels have more than 10 times this efficiency. In other words, solar panels on the market today are more efficient than photosynthesis. 6. Solar is the most affordable energy source in the world The cost of solar energy has dropped dramatically over the past six years, making it the most affordable energy source on earth. In fact, solar is cheaper than wind power in emerging markets such as China and India, and electricity is being produced in Chile for less than $30 per megawatt hour—half the price pf power being produced by coal. 7. Solar energy is applicable everywhere Anyplace there's sunshine, solar energy can be deployed, which is particularly useful for remote regions without access to any other source of electricity. Furthermore, solar power can be used to run air conditioners, hot water heaters, and everything currently fueled by natural gas, electricity, or oil. Interested in using solar energy to power your home or business? View top rated solar companies in your area here.
Finding the right solar company for you can be a difficult task. Purchasing a solar energy system is very expensive, and is a long-term commitment. You will be working with the company throughout the lifetime of your panels. Many solar companies are not as upfront as they should be, and do not disclose items that can lead to a long-term disaster. In this article we will be discussing five important things to look for when choosing a solar company. Time in the Industry You should first consider how long the company has been in the industry. It's not that younger companies do not provide great service, but when you choose a younger company, there is a higher risk of the company not even being in business for the full 25 years of your solar panel's warranty. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 50 percent of businesses make it past five years in operation. This could make things very difficult for you if the company you bought solar panels from went out of business. This means your warranty would mean nothing, and you would have to find maintenance and cleaning services on your own. Therefore, it is recommended that you look for a company that has at least five years in the industry. Solar Panels and Quality There are three types of panels that are commonly used throughout the industry: amorphous, polycrystalline, and monocrystalline. Amorphous solar panels are cheap, but have the lowest efficiency rates and durability out of the solar panel options. You have probably seen polycrystalline solar panels popping up around your neighborhood. Polycrystalline panels are known for their blue color and have become very popular in the last few years. They are a great choice for people who have plenty of space and do not want to pay the high price that comes with the monocrystalline panels. Monocrystalline solar panels have been the most popular choice for several years. These panels have the highest efficiency rate and require the least amount of space. Thus, they are a great option for people who do not have a large roof. However, they are the most expensive choice for solar panels. Whichever solar panels you decide are best for your needs, make sure the company you go with has the type of solar panels you want. Some companies only specialize in one or two of these solar panels. You will also want to ensure that the solar panels are high-quality and from reputable manufactures (most solar companies use third-party manufactures). According to a recent study testing the durability of solar panels, the efficiency-degradation rates for 19 solar company's panels varied from 1 to 35 percent. This indicates that some solar panels hold up much better long-term compared to others. Surprisingly, many of the companies with the best degradation rates were manufactured in China. Payment Options Going solar is an expensive endeavor; however, there are several financing options. Some of these options include green energy loans, power purchase agreements, and leasing options. Each of these options have positive and negative aspects to consider before making a final financing decision. The first option we will discuss is the green energy loans. These loans were made specifically for people who want to change to a renewable green energy. Most of these loans have fairly low interest rates. This option allows you to own the equipment, and pay off the balance over time. Most people pay off green energy loan within 7–8 years. The next two options are very similar: power purchase agreement and leasing options. With the power purchase agreement, you are essentially renting the equipment and paying for the energy you use. Leasing options are similar in that you are renting the equipment, but instead of paying for what you use, you pay a set amount every month. With both of these options you do not own the equipment. You are also tied into a long-term contract. Be aware that many of these contracts include an annual increase of your interest rate that can be as high as 3 percent. Be sure to read your contract carefully. You will have to decide which of these options works best for your situation. Once you have chosen a company, you can further discuss the choices. It is suggested to find a company that offers all of these options. Warranties Warranties are an important piece of the solar puzzle. Your solar panel warranty consists of two parts: equipment and performance. The equipment warranty is generally good for 10–12 years, while the performance guarantee lasts up to 25 years. While most solar panels will go decades without any issues, it is important to have a solid warranty in case something does happen. You should look for a company that offers a: Equipment warranty for 10–12 years Performance warranty of 90 percent up to 10 years Performance warranty of 80 percent up to 25 years Reviews It wasn't too long ago that finding real reviews for products was borderline impossible. You relied on word-of-mouth feedback, which isn't always reliable. Finding reviews from real people who have experienced what a company has to offer can help you find a great company as well as avoid horrible mistakes. Find a company that has glowing reviews from past customers. Reviews can show what kind of customer support and services a company provides. You definitely want to find a company that's representatives are responsive, caring, and knowledgeable, as you will be communicating with the company frequently. To find verified reviews from real customers, check out bestcompany.com/solar. They have over 2,000 reviews for nearly 200 solar companies in the industry.
Financing solar panels with a loan has become an increasingly popular payment option in recent years. If you don't have the cash on hand for an outright purchase but still want to maximize the financial benefits of a solar system, a loan might be the perfect fit for you. This guide will help you learn everything you need to know about solar loans before you decide whether or not to sign on the dotted line. What are the benefits of a solar loan? Solar loans allow you to finance the entire cost of your system, as well as receive all rebates, tax credits, and other incentives available in your area. These benefits allow you to maximize the return on your solar investment. Because your loan payment will most likely be less than your current electricity bill, you will begin saving money right away. And, as electricity prices continue to increase, so will your savings. Once your solar panels are paid off, you will own them and all of the energy they produce, essentially giving you the ability to power your home for free. Which types of solar loans are available to me? There are two different types of solar loans that borrowers can choose from: secured and unsecured. There are $0 down options available with both types, so you won't be required to put up any cash in order to lock down a loan. The most common form of secured loans are home equity loans or home equity lines of credit, which are sometimes referred to as second mortgages. With these kinds of loans, you borrow against the equity you've built in your home and your house serves as collateral. Secured loans often come with a loan term of 7 to 20 years, an interest rates of 3.5 to 5.5 percent, and tax-deductible interest. However, if you were to default on the loan for some reason, the bank would have the option to foreclose on your house. A second type of secured loan that can be used for solar panels is an FHA Title 1 loan. This type of loan is guaranteed by the government, but your home must still be used as collateral. Loan terms range from 7 to 20 years and interest rates typically fall between 5 and 7.5 percent. If you happen to default on the loan, the lender will have a lien against your home so that the loan will be paid when or if you sell your house. Unsecured loans, on the other hand, do not require any collateral, which makes them riskier for the lender. This risk is reflected in a slightly higher interest rate, and the interest is not tax deductible. If you were to default on an unsecured loan, your credit score would be impacted. However, applying for an unsecured loan is quicker and less involved than applying for a secured loan. Where can I go to get a solar loan? Many different types of institutions offer solar loans, including traditional banks, solar panel manufacturers, credit unions, national lending institutions, public-private partnerships, utilities, and municipalities. Most solar installers work directly with solar lenders, which makes it easy to roll financing in with the rest of the solar process. However, it's not a bad idea to shop around on your own and find the loan that's best for you and your situation. Ready to start saving money with solar? Click here to check out top rated solar companies in your area.
Before considering solar panels for your home, you need to consider how much your climate will impact their efficiency. Weather conditions like snow, clouds, and hail can have an impact on your energy production levels. In this article we will discuss the different climate and weather issues you may have, and what you can do to solve them. Winter Issues For many, winter issues include heavy snowfall and thick clouds. These conditions can make it difficult for your solar panels to produce the energy you need for your home. Solar panels cannot produce any energy if they are covered in snow, so you'll need to be prepared to clear them off should that happen. For people who live in states that have snowfall for several months of the year, this can be a major issue. To combat these issues, you will require panels that can handle the extra weight of snow, and your panels will need to be mounted at an angle so that the snow can fall off. Roof rakes can also be purchased to help keep the snow from piling up on your solar panels. If you keep your panels cleared off, the cool, sunny winter days will offer high energy production for your household. Cloudy Days Cloudy conditions are the worst for solar energy production. Clouds, fog, and mist can significantly reduce the amount of solar energy your panels can produce. However, even on very cloudy days, your solar panels will still produce some solar energy. People who live in even the cloudiest cities can still benefit from solar panels. A great example of this is the United Kingdom. Recently, the United Kingdom hit an impressive solar milestone, in a six-month period their solar panels produced more electricity than their coal-fired power plants. Another great example of using solar energy through climate issues is Germany. Germany’s sunshine levels are comparable to Alaska’s. But even with the lack of sunlight hours, their solar energy is a large contributor to their utility mix. While cloudy days are not desirable, you can still benefit from going solar. Net metering is a great option for people who live in cloudy areas. When you choose to use net metering, your home is still connected to the utility grid. When your solar panels produce more energy than your household needs, the energy will be sent into the grid. You are given credit for the energy you have contributed. When your solar panels are not producing enough energy for your household, like at night or during cloudy days, you can use the credit you have earned from the grid. Solar panels combined with net metering offers a smooth and dependable source of energy for your household. Extreme Weather Extreme weather conditions include frequent hailstorms and lightning. Most hailstones can range from the size of a dime to a nickel, but large ones can be the size of a softball. The damage to property can be very costly to the people who live in these areas. People who live in places with frequent hailstorms and lightning may be hesitant to use solar energy for their needs. However, Photovoltaic (PV) solar panels have been built to be extremely durable, and are great for areas with extreme weather. The international requirements for solar panels is to withstand hail at 50 MPH. However, some solar panels can withstand hail at much higher speeds. In one test we can see a solar panel being tested with speeds up to 262 MPH. Solar panels have been made to withstand a lot of abuse. PV solar panels are used even in the most extreme environments such as Antarctica and the Mojave Desert. Scientists are even trying to create solar technologies that can be used on other planets—but that’s a little more than we need to power our homes. From this article you can see that while climate and weather conditions may impact your production, that you can still choose to go solar. It may take some extra care, but it may be worth the effort in the money that you will save and the positive impact it will have on the environment when you lessen your carbon footprint. Looking for the best solar company in your part of the country? Visit our solar company page to learn more.
Earlier this year, Tesla began accepting $1,000 deposits for its new Solar Roof, which is designed to look like a traditional roof and does away with the need for separate solar panels. Here are nine things you need to know before placing your order: 1. Tesla's Solar Roof Is Not the First of Its Kind Although the hype surrounding Tesla's solar roof tiles may give you the impression that the company is the first to ever develop or market this technology, a number of other companies have already attempted to sell building-integrated photovoltaics. For example, Dow Powerhouse was on the forefront of integrated solar roof products but ended up declaring bankruptcy and discontinuing its solar shingles in 2016. There's also Suntegra, which is a solar manufacturer from New York that began selling solar roof products a few months before the announcement of Tesla's shingles. 2. Tesla Offers a Variety of Panel Styles Tesla's solar tiles, which are made of sleek tempered glass, are not a one-size-fits-all option. Instead, homeowners can select the tile design that best matches the style of their house from four different options: textured, smooth, tuscan, and slate (tuscan and slate won't be available until 2018). 3. An "Infinity" Warranty Covers the Tiles Tesla's solar shingles are incredibly durable and have best-in-class ratings for hail, wind, and fire. As a testament to its confidence in the durability of its product, Tesla is offering a tile warranty that lasts for infinity or the lifetime of the house—whichever comes first. The company is also covering its solar roof systems with a 30-year power warranty and a 30-year weatherization warranty. 4. Not All of the Shingles Will be Solar-Powered A Solar Roof from Tesla will include both solar and non-solar tiles. According to the company, the two look identical from the street. The ratio of solar to non-solar shingles will ultimately depend on preferred energy offset and desired price. 5. A Tesla Powerwall Battery Is Recommended with the System Tesla advises that its Solar Roof technology be integrated with its Powerwall home battery, which allows homeowners to use solar energy whenever they choose and receive uninterrupted electricity during grid outages. A Powerwall battery, when bundled with a Solar Roof, will run customers $7,000. 6. Not Every Home Will Qualify The Solar Roof is similar to a traditional solar panel system in that it's not the best option for every home. Sun exposure, electricity price, and roof condition are all important factors to consider. For example, if a house is located in a cloudy area or receives a significant amount of shade, a Solar Roof typically won't be the best investment because it will not produce enough energy to earn a profit. Additionally, if local electricity prices are low, the energy savings that a Solar Roof will provide may not be enough to justify the cost. Furthermore, if a roof is in good condition and isn't due for a replacement in the near future, installing a Solar Roof is not the most cost-effective option because contractors must be hired to remove the current roof first. 7. The Solar Roof Will Cost More than Traditional Solar Panels (for Now, at Least) The actual price of a Solar Roof will vary depending on roof size and energy coverage needs. Tesla has reported that solar tiles will be priced at $42 per square foot and non-solar tiles will cost $11 per square foot, making a Solar Roof about 30 percent more expensive than a traditional roof and solar panel system. Homeowners can generate a Solar Roof price estimate specific to their house on Tesla's website. 8. Tesla Plans to Offer Financing Later This Year According to a statement released by Tesla, the company aims to offer Solar Roof financing in the United States in late 2017. For now, Tesla suggests that individuals interested in financing look into a personal loan, home improvement loan, home equity line of credit, or other second mortgage product. 9. California Installations Have Already Begun Tesla has stated on its website that Solar Roof installations will start in California in June and roll out to additional markets over time. SolarCity, which is owned by Tesla, will perform the company's Solar Roof installations. Once Solar Roof is rolled out to a particular market, installations will be based on order placement. Tesla's Solar Roof isn't available in your area yet? Click here to check out other top rated solar companies in your state.