How long will it take for me to see the financial benefits of switching to solar?

This amount of time is dependent on multiple factors. The short answer is two fold; 1) the first month after your utility has interconnected your system, and 2) typically within five to 10 years. So, part 1 is referencing the instant savings you will see on your utility bill. (Example: Invest $15,000 in solar. Month 1 your electric bill is $10 instead of $150). Part 2 is referencing when your initial investment will have been paid back in full. (Example: Invest $15,000 in solar. After seven years, the savings on your electric bill will equal $15,000, so, now you have had your investment returned to you, and the ongoing savings you experience is the ongoing benefit you get for making the initial investment). The number of years before your investment has been paid back will depend on how much you invested and how much you save on gas and electricity moving forward. – Micah Breeden, Chief Financial Officer of Allterra Solar in Santa Cruz, California

How frequently will my solar system require maintenance?

Traditionally the only maintenance on a solar system is the replacement of the inverter which comes between years 10 and 15. If you’ve bought the system outright the homeowner would be responsible for replacing, if homeowner is signed up through a lease, the system would usually be covered under the service agreement and be replaced at no charge to the customer. The annual washing of your panels could come into play if you’re in a dry, dusty region, but otherwise good ol’ rain will take care of that. – Ruben Ugarte, Senior Business Development Director of Horizon Solar Power in Temecula, California

‘Ask the Experts’ provides SolarStory.com readers with answers to their solar energy questions, as well as expert advice from top solar energy providers. Do you have a question about residential solar energy? Send it to [email protected]