Solar FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

Welcome to Wescom’s Solar Installation FAQs page! Here, we address common questions about solar energy systems to help you make informed decisions about harnessing clean and renewable energy for your home or business. Our team at Wescom is dedicated to providing you with reliable information and top-notch solar solutions tailored to your needs.

There are variety of benefits to supplementing your energy resources with solar, including::

  • Choosing to become part of the renewable energy transition
  • Protecting yourself from rising energy costs
  • Securing your current and future energy demands
  • Lowering your energy costs
  • Seeing an immediate return on your investment

It truly depends! The key factors that go into your payback rate include:

  • Roof-mount solar vs ground-mount solar panel systems
  • The tilt angle and orientation of your array
  • The amount of shading that is present
  • Your current energy usage
  • The size of the system

With a solar panel array, there are a lot of options available that may affect the total price of your solar energy system.

This includes:

  • The type of system (roof-mount vs. ground-mount)
  • System size
  • Mounting and racking requirements

A couple of questions that are important to ask while looking into the affordability of solar panels are:

  • What would it cost for you if you didn’t proceed with solar?
  • What utility costs could you expect to pay over the next 10+ years without solar?

There are financial companies that will base payments on your current utility bill to limit additional funds needed for your array. Once that solar energy system is paid for, you will save thousands in extra power usage and payback.

With the enactment of the Inflation Reduction Act, additional tax credits are also available (30%) to you.

Solar panel arrays offer a wide assortment of financial benefits to people looking into energy independence. One of the key reasons our clients choose to go solar is so they can protect themselves against the continued rate increases with our utility companies.

By designing a system sized to your current usage, you can decrease or eliminate your power bill. With an average utility rate increase of over 2% each year, you can also protect yourself from rising costs. There’s an additional potential for additional cash flow with utility buyback.

First things first, make sure to set up a solar consultation with a reputable solar contractor. During your solar consultation, make sure to discuss the details that help determine your solar path. Keep in mind that solar is not always right for everyone, and that is okay! Several determining factors may include site location, your shading analysis, and the direction your solar would face.

If the physical location is a viable option for solar, we will ask you the following questions:

  • Are you want to take control of your energy future?
  • Are you planning on living in your home for ten years or longer?
  • What is the condition of your roof (for a roof-mount system)?

All the above questions and details can help determine if solar is right for you.

The first steps in determining your array size are:

  • Defining your solar goals
  • Reviewing current energy usage
  • Looking at your output and performance capabilities

In Northern Minnesota and Wisconsin, we can expect that in a prime location, you can generate an estimated 1,300 kWh per year per KW of solar installed. Remember that the units of energy purchased from utility companies are called kWh. For example, if you install a 10 KW solar array in an excellent location, you can expect it to produce (10 x 1300) 13,000 kWh in one year.

We have also found that a utility company has a “limit” for residential, commercial, and industrial clients. Often this is a maximum of 40 KW AC or up to 120% of your power usage. Here in northern Minnesota, we are comfortable with a DC/AC ratio of 130%. This would result in a maximum size residential array of 52 KW DC.

The average home size we see in our region is 9-10 KW. Commercial and industrial arrays will vary greatly depending on power usage.

There are (2) different types of solar panel arrays. These include roof-mounted and ground-mounted systems.

  • Roof-mounted solar panel systems use the existing roof structure for the basis of your array.
    • We use clamps for the rails on the roof’s standing seam for metal roofs. This way we do not have to penetrate your roofing panels.
  • Ground-mount solar panel systems have various choices, including a fixed tilt angle design or adjustable racking systems.
    • These systems may be pile-driven, excavated, poured, or pole-mounted.

The answer to this question will depend on your array size and type of solar installation.

Residential installations can be completed in as little as one month from design to installation. The timeline for your project can be affected by local permitting, array size, component availability, and crew availability.

There are (2) options available with solar:

  • Battery backups (designed with this in mind)
  • Solar array-only

With a battery backup system design, an Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS) will instantly hook your home or business to the battery system and allow for the automatic seamless energy transfer without any power outage or issue. The battery systems may also capture energy during sunny days for nighttime power consumption.

If you install an array without a battery backup, your system will automatically shut down during any power outage.

After your system installation, you will be able to use powerline communications to report your array’s production. Upon system commissioning, we will set you up with an account on an app to monitor your system anytime, anywhere.

From your carbon footprint to energy savings, we know this is an exciting tool to show all your friends.

Yes! All components within our solar panel arrays have a factory warranty.

  • The solar panels we use have a minimum warranty period of 25 years
  • We also offer several levels of a workmanship guarantee (2, 5, or 10 Years)

Don’t want to remove snow or clean your solar panel array? We have options for that too. We can discuss our ongoing maintenance agreements to protect your investment and ensure that your solar array performs to the best of its capabilities.

The current Inflation Reduction Act offers a 30% federal tax credit for our residential, commercial, and industrial clients. Additional credits under this act also include 10% for USA-made products and 10% for being in an environmental area.

We work with our clients outside the federal tax credits to secure utility rebates and other states, local credits, and rebates.

Here in northern Minnesota and Wisconsin, the biggest challenge we face for maintenance is snow removal. If snow covers your solar panels, the array will not produce power. Many clients choose to leave snow on the solar panels throughout the winter months; this will not be an issue for durability. If you choose to remove the snow, you can expect approximately 20% of their annual production during these winter months.

We suggest washing modules at least once to remove dust, pollen, and bird droppings during the summer. By doing this, you can ensure that your system is running at optimal production.

The app allows you to observe each solar panel independently. If there are any performance issues with the system, your app will alert you of this!

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