Solar 101

How solar works diagram
01Solar Modules

Solar modules (panels) react to sunlight, creating a flow of electrons ( DC electricity).


The inverter converts the raw DC electricity to grid standard (AC electricity).

03AC Electricity

AC electricity is sent to the electric panel to be used in the home.

04Bi-directional Meter

When the system produces more power than the home is using, the excess is sent to the grid. A bi-directional meter keeps track of the flow to and from the grid.

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Mission Solar Energy

Frequently Asked Questions

The cost of your solar investment will vary greatly depending on: the size of your system, your location, and available incentives. To find out how a Solar4America system can reduce your electric bill, click here.

Some solar power systems produce more electricity than is used each month, bringing net-electricity costs to $0. However, there is still a minimal connection fee (typically about $100 per year) to remain connected to the electrical grid.

PetersenDean systems sold in the U.S. are eligible for a federal tax credit. The solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) previously at 30% has stepped down to 26% for 2020. In 2021, it will step down to 22%. After 2021, the residential credit ends while the commercial and utility credit steps down to a permanent 10%. Additional state, local, and utility incentives exist in many areas; further lowering the net cost of your investment. Call Us to find out the incentives available in your state.

Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) Schedule

Currently, most of America is under a system known as Net Metering. Net Metering allows your electricity bill costs to be reduced to zero, but no further. In a select few areas in the U.S., you can be paid for any excess electricity you create, in what is known as a Feed-In Tariff system. Learn More about NEM 2.0 here.

It is not recommended. The process requires both licensed electrical skills and roofing expertise to ensure the solar power system is safe and optimally designed for its 30+ years of operation.

With proper design and installation following industry best practices, your roof should maintain all its pre-solar integrity. We audit and trains all our Installers on best practices so that you can have peace of mind about your roof.

Little to none. With no moving parts and at least a 30-year expected lifespan, solar panels require very little maintenance. In fact, their design ensures that they remain relatively clean as long as they are exposed to rain or a quick rinse with a garden hose every few months.

Yes. A general rule of thumb is that if you can clearly see your solar panels, they can produce electricity. In fact, given equal sunlight, a solar panel on a cold day will out-produce a solar panel on a hot day.

While snow will decrease production while it is on your panels, it should not damage your system when designed and installed properly. Given the angle of the panels and their tendency to produce some heat, the snow will fall off your panels faster than it would fall off your roof, quickly returning your system to its full potential.

High-quality solar panels can withstand high wind and snow loads.

For the safety of workers attempting to fix power outages, solar systems that are connected to the electrical grid are required by utility regulations to shut off during blackouts. If you want to protect yourself from grid outages and keep the power to your home always-on, we recommend Enphase – the only all-in-one solar and storage solution.

Most pools are heated by natural gas, so solar electric power will not be able to assist in heating outdoor swimming pools. However, an upside is our solar panels can offset the power used by a pool’s electric pump.

In most cases, no. Currently, 39 states have solar access laws that provide varying degrees of protection against restrictions that can be imposed on you. Your local PetersenDean office will be able to discuss the laws and policies in your area.

People move more frequently now than ever before, but that shouldn’t impact your solar decision. A solar system can save you money today and even pay for itself in as little as five to seven years. Even if you move before your solar investment is completely paid off, studies show the cost will likely be returned in added value to your home.

Plus, your home will most likely sell faster. Who doesn’t want a home with a guaranteed low electric bill? Our warranty is even transferable one time to a new owner.