Solar FAQs

 Solar Energy Basics

Installing a solar energy system at your home, business, or farm offers multiple benefits including: 

  • Saving money by reducing or eliminating your utility bill.
  • Reducing your carbon footprint.
  • Reaching energy independence.

Most of our solar systems come with a 25 or 30 year performance warranty from the panel manufacturer, ensuring the panels will not degrade more than the allowable amount specified in the warranty. This means most systems will still be operating at 80-85% after 25 or 30 years.

Despite the long winter months, Minnesota and Wisconsin are great places to install solar panels.  Even though most energy is generated in the summer months when the sun is high and we have more daylight hours, state policies, coupled with a strong solar resource, make installing solar panels very advantageous when compared to other parts of the country.

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) publishes a lot of great maps and graphics which illustrate the solar resource across the USA. Check them out here:

Typically, we are able to go from contract signing to system producing in 6 months or less.

Once we have received a signed installation contract and down payment, our permitting team will begin submitting for the required electrical and building permits, as well as the interconnection agreement with the utility. We cannot start your installation until all three of these processes have been completed and the permits have been issued. Depending on the utility and local building authority, this process can take 2 weeks, or it can take 2 years…. How long the permitting process takes is largely out of our control, so we do our best to ensure everything required for approval is provided and accurate.  

We do our best to keep you informed of where your project is at in the process, and when you can expect your system to be installed and producing power.

Solar Connection Inc. prides itself on generating accurate, conservative financial estimates. Solar panel size, orientation and shading, utility rebates and grants all play a role in determining the payback period of going solar. A typical residential project will take between 8-12 years to pay for itself. Some commercial systems that qualify for additional incentives may only take 5 years. Every project is different. 

 Solar System Costs 

Solar panel costs vary depending on a variety of factors, especially the size of the system. While the total cost of a solar panel system increases as the system gets larger, the cost per panel or cost per watt actually goes down as the system size goes up. With that being said, there are fixed costs associated with the installation of every project and the cost of installing 10 panels is not much different than installing 100 panels. Installing a larger system will also typically have a shorter payback because of the lower cost per watt.

We provide free honest and trustworthy solar panel assessments for homes, farms and businesses to make sure you install the right size for the right price!

Contact us to set up your free evaluation.

Every project and customer we work with is unique. Most solar customers are eligible for the 30% Investment Tax Credit. Depending on where the solar system will be installed, there may be state, local, or utility rebates available as well. Our team of dedicated experts will explain all the incentives you are eligible for during the initial site evaluation.

Installing a solar system is a long-term investment that takes several years to pay for itself under ideal conditions. While financing will add to the payback period of your system, there are multiple options available to help pay the up-front cost of getting a solar system installed, including home equity lines of credit.

Solar Connection Inc. does not offer any financing directly and we are not incentivized to convince you to use financing for your project, however we have resources and relationships with programs and lenders that offer solar loans for your consideration.

Designing Your Custom Solar System

The size of a solar system varies greatly depending on the site, electricity usage, and budget. Some electric utilities can limit how much solar you install or have policies that make it not financially advantageous to install a system that produces more energy than a property consumes. 

Examples of usage to take into consideration when determining the size of a system are electric vehicle charging or powering a heat pump.  Designing your system with these things (and more) in mind will help ensure that your system will cover your future needs and avoid a costly add-on down the road.

Our team of dedicated experts is available to talk you through your options and help you determine the right size system for your situation. Contact us to set up your free evaluation.

Battery backup for solar systems is becoming increasingly popular. While the price of adding battery backup can be costly, some customers choose to add this on as a part of their solar installation. Our team of experts will educate you on the pros and cons of installing a solar system with battery backup. There are multiple battery options that enable you to add a battery after your system has already been installed, enabling a customer to go solar now, but still have the option to install a battery later.

Our team can determine if your roof is suitable for a solar installation with an on-site evaluation. Shading and the integrity of the roof itself are both taken into consideration when determining the answer to this question. As part of the building permit process we go through for every system, we provide engineering calculations to determine whether the roof can support the additional weight of a solar system. Most newer homes (post 1965) were built with engineered trusses, which can typically support the additional weight without any modification. Older homes that were built with hand cut rafters will often require some amount of additional structural support to accommodate the system.

Unlike some other solar installers, if your roof needs to be replaced, or if a system will not produce efficiently on your roof because of shading, we will tell you. Integrity is one of our company’s core values, and our reputation is vital to continue to serve our communities.

Our team has a lot of experience assisting customers with these types of energy estimates. If you know the type of EV you are looking to purchase and the amount of driving you expect to do, we can estimate how many kilo watt hours charging your EV at home will add to your annual usage.

Accounting for this additional usage – prior to installing a solar system – is crucial if your goal is to significantly reduce or completely eliminate your electric bill long term.

Choosing the Right Solar Installer

Choosing the right installer for your project is important to ensure you have a great experience transitioning to solar energy.  Doing your homework and asking the right questions is key to making sure you get exactly what you are looking for.

Ask prospective installers for multiple references within 5-10 miles of your property. This should include recently installed systems, and past customers that have had a system installed for several years. If you are talking with an installer and they are unable provide this, they are likely not local, and may not have been in the solar industry very long.

Ask if they offer support after installation. Many out-of-town installers will not offer long-term support or be available to answer questions after installing your solar system.

Solar System Care & Support

All tier 1 solar panels are designed and tested to withstand impacts from hail. However, if a storm produces large enough hail and strong enough winds, there is a chance the panels could be damaged. If a panel gets damaged by hail, you are almost certainly going to need to get a new roof installed. In this case you would include the cost to remove, replace any broken equipment, and re-install your solar system as a part of your homeowner’s insurance claim.

While snow accumulation does affect solar production, our estimations take this into consideration.  We highly recommend that our customers let the snow melt off the panels gradually versus removing it themselves, to avoid any accidental damage to the panels themselves.

One of the best parts about current solar technology is the limited amount of preventative maintenance required to keep the system running properly.

Having said that, over time components can and do wear out and require replacement. As your installer, we will happily take care of any service work your system requires. If your system is covered by our “anything happens” warranty, we will get your system back up and running at no charge to you. If your system is not covered by our warranty, we will charge an hourly and truck roll fee.

Most of the equipment we install is covered by a manufacturer’s warranty that includes replacement parts or all new equipment in the event of a failure.

Every installation comes with a variety of warranties from the equipment manufacturers and the installer. Most panels come with a 25 or 30 year performance warranty as well as a 10, 12 or 25 year workmanship warranty. Inverter systems also come with 10, 12 or 25 year warranty.

Solar Connection Inc. offers all customers a two year “anything happens” warranty as well as a 10 year structural warranty.