Guide to Going Solar

The ultimate guide to going solar

We’ll help you figure out what’s best for you when it comes to going solar.

There is a lot to learn about going solar, and Certasun will guide you through this process. We’ve compiled a list of hot topics and frequently asked questions to help you figure it all out.

What you’ll find in The Ultimate Guide to Going Solar:

Why go solar?
How residential solar works
The process of going solar
Will solar save me money?
About solar incentives
Is my home good for solar?

There is a lot to learn about going solar, and Certasun will guide you through this process. We’ve compiled a list of hot topics and frequently asked questions to help you figure it all out.

What you’ll find in The Ultimate Guide to Going Solar:

Why go solar?
How residential solar works
The process of going solar
Will solar save me money?
About solar incentives
Is my home good for solar?

Why Go Solar?

Embracing solar energy is a forward-thinking choice that brings numerous benefits to homeowners. From providing financial savings and environmental impact to increased home value and price stability, going solar offers a brighter, more sustainable future for you and the planet.

With so many benefits, there’s really no reason not to go solar. Read more about the benefits of going solar.

Certasun Customers
Guide to going solar - how solar works

HOW residential SOLAR WORKS 

 

  1. SOLAR PANELS ABSORB SUNLIGHT. The PV cells in the panels absorb energy from the sunlight and convert it into direct current (DC) electricity
  2. INVERTERS CONVERT DC TO AC ENERGY. Microinverters convert the DC electricity into the alternating current (AC) electricity that is used by the grid and distributed in your home.
  3. ELECTRICITY FLOWS THROUGH THE HOME. Your main service panel distributes electricity to where you need it in your home. Your solar system connects to your home’s electricity system through the main service panel.
  4. ENERGY FLOWS TO/FROM THE GRID. Any solar energy above and beyond what is used in your home is exported into the grid. This overproduction generates energy credits that are used when you power your home from the grid when the sun is not shining. Your utility meter measures the net amount of energy consumption from the grid and excess energy sent to the grid.

HOW residential SOLAR WORKS 

Guide to going solar - how solar works

1. SOLAR PANELS ABSORB SUNLIGHT. The PV cells in the panels absorb energy from the sunlight and convert it into direct current (DC) electricity

2. INVERTERS CONVERT DC TO AC ENERGY. Microinverters convert the DC electricity into the alternating current (AC) electricity that is used by the grid and distributed in your home.

3. ELECTRICITY FLOWS THROUGH THE HOME. Your main service panel distributes electricity to where you need it in your home. Your solar system connects to your home’s electricity system through the main service panel.

4. ENERGY FLOWS TO/FROM THE GRID. Any solar energy above and beyond what is used in your home is exported into the grid. This overproduction generates energy credits that are used when you power your home from the grid when the sun is not shining. Your utility meter measures the net amount of energy consumption from the grid and excess energy sent to the grid.

The Process of Going Solar

There’s much more to installing a solar system than installation day. It takes about three months from the day you sign an installation agreement until your system is installed, and it can be several more weeks for your system to pass inspection and be turned on. There’s a lot going on behind the scenes while you wait for installation day. Certasun will take care of the entire process, including system design, permitting, engineering, and grid interconnection.

Read more about what to expect when going solar.

Certasun Installers

Will Solar Save Me Money?

The cost of going solar – and the savings you’ll achieve – varies significantly based on the size of the system you install.

Every solar system we build will ultimately save our customers money. The amount and schedule of savings, as well as a customer’s return on investment, will vary depending on a number of factors, like system size, system productivity (which is determined by characteristics of the roof), and how you choose to pay for the system.

Certasun’s solar consultants will help you understand your cost to go solar, what incentives are available (in Illinois or Wisconsin), and how much you can expect to save with solar.

Solar incentives help you save more

The federal and state specific solar incentives can offset the cost of going solar substantially. Regardless of where you live, you’ll be eligible to claim a federal solar tax credit worth 30% of the cost of your system.

If you live in Illinois, you’ll benefit from the state’s solar incentive program, Illinois Shines, which can save you an additional 30% of the cost, or more. Learn more about Illinois solar incentives and Wisconsin solar incentives.

Is My Home Good for Solar?

Whether or not your home is suitable for solar depends on a number of factors, some of which are more important than others. We encourage you to reach out to use with any questions, but here are some situations that might influence whether solar is good idea, or even possible:

  1. YOU DON’T OWN YOUR HOME. You probably can’t install solar if you are a renter because your home is actually your landlord’s property. Even if he or she would allow it, installing solar probably still wouldn’t be a good idea because you can’t easily take the solar system with you when you move.
  2. YOU HAVE VERY LOW ENERGY CONSUMPTION. In general, we find that homeowners whose typical electric bill is $75 or more are most likely to benefit from solar. If you use significantly less energy, your system may be too small to merit the fixed costs of installing the system. These costs are the same whether you have a very small or a very large system.
  3. YOUR ROOF MATERIAL IS INCOMPATIBLE. We don’t install on certain roof materials, like DaVinci shingles or cedar shake.
  4. YOUR ROOF IS TOO STEEP. Certasun will only install on flat roofs or pitched roofs up to 45 degrees, as our SunPower equipment is specified for that pitch. Besides, it would be unsafe for our crews to install on steeper roofs.
  5. YOUR ROOF IS HEAVILY SHADED.  If your roof is heavily shaded by trees or other structures, it can be hard to justify the economics of rooftop solar. It costs the same to install panels on sunny roofs and shaded roofs, but panels on a sunny roof will produce a lot more energy.
  6. YOUR ROOF NEEDS TO BE REPLACED.  Here’s one that has a silver lining. While we don’t recommend installing solar on a roof that needs to be replaced in the very near future, putting solar on a roof right have you’ve replaced it makes a lot of sense.

Fill out our inquiry form to speak with one of our solar consultants, and get an individualized assessment of your roof.

Get a Quote

Receive a custom quote for your home. Schedule an online consultation at a time that is convenient for you.

"*" indicates required fields

Name*

Not quite ready? Call (312) 638-0800 with any questions!