As your Touchstone Energy® Cooperative, we are your source for energy and information. Since interest in solar power generation is growing, we put together the following information to help answer questions you might have. If you are thinking about installing solar panels, contact us first to obtain more details about solar grid interconnection, energy use details and more. Having these details will help you make an informed decision about whether solar is a good option for you.
Contact us to discuss your past energy use, to learn about energy efficiency upgrades and more. Having this information will help you decide if solar is the right fit for your property.
Frequently Asked Questions
The payback period can range from fewer than 10 years to more than 20 years, depending on the system cost, available rebates and incentives, the amount of electricity produced and the price of electricity. Contact us to learn more about your past energy use to determine if solar makes sense for you.
Certified products and systems typically have a life expectancy of about 30 years. Manufacturers test solar panels for hail impact, high wind and freeze-thaw cycles to represent real-life situations. Most manufacturers offer 20- to 25-year warranties for panels; extended warranties may be available at an extra cost. Other components like inverters may have a shorter life. Solar panels may outlast the roof they are attached to. Make sure your roof is in good shape or budget for replacement during the life of the system.
Grid connected solar systems are connected to our power lines. That means electricity can flow both ways (to your home from our power lines, and from your solar system back to the electrical grid). Particularly on sunny days when your energy use may be low, your system may produce excess energy that can flow back to the grid and may be purchased back by us. Contact us for more information, including requirements for interconnection, safety, metering and applicable rates.
Most grid-connected systems shut down to prevent back-feeding electricity into de-energized power lines that may have fallen or that line crew members may be working on. It’s important to have this shut-down feature to prevent injuries, and even death, to those working on the line.
Most people opt for grid-connected systems rather than battery-backed or grid-independent systems for reduced cost, maintenance and high reliability. With this type of system, your electric cooperative continues to provide energy to you when you need it. Your system will produce energy, and even excess energy, on sunny days. Your system will not collect sunlight at night and on cloudy days. That means you will continue to draw electricity from us during these times.
To begin, you can look at factors such as which direction your home faces, the condition of your roof and obstructions such as trees and other buildings that may block the sun during the peak generation period of 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Contact us to learn more about the factors that affect the quality of solar generation.
The amount of electricity that you can generate from a private solar system will depend on several factors. These factors include the size of your system, your property’s location and more. Find ways to reduce your energy use before installing solar. Also, if you decide that solar is a good fit for you, invest in the right size of system for your property.