Interested in Installing Solar?
How Does Home Solar Really Work?
Whether you are interested in mounting solar panels to your roof or would like to add ground-mounted solar to your property, the sunlight-to-electricity conversion process works the same:
Solar Frequently Asked Questions
Whether you’re just getting started or have thoroughly researched solar energy, give our Energy Specialists a call ((888) 368-7289) for a free home energy assessment and to review your energy-savings goals before committing to a solar contract.
Unfortunately, we’ve seen instances in our community where members have been misled and misinformed because of inaccurate information. We’re here to be your energy partner throughout the process, helping you to arrive at a decision right for your home and personal goals.
Another thing we always recommend is to improve the energy efficiency of your home. A more efficient home stretches your energy dollar further, and you’ll recover the expense of your solar investment more quickly.
Depending upon the size and efficiency of your system and home, most homeowners see savings on their electric bill. Some solar companies make claims that you’ll never have to pay an electric bill again, and we caution this is simply not true. Your home requires electricity even if the sun isn’t shining, including at night and on cloudy days, which means you will continue to draw electricity from the grid and be billed monthly based on your home energy use and any basic facilities charges.
Four County members with home solar are still connected to the grid. Because we are an at-cost, not-for-profit cooperative energy provider, standard charges that all members pay to ensure the reliability and safety of the electric grid for all will stay on your bill, no matter how much energy your home may produce. Without this structure, grid costs would unintentionally be shifted to members for whom home solar is out of reach for financial, geographic or other reasons.
This is a common question and a concept often clouded by misinformation. The best thing you can do is contact us, and one of our Energy Specialists will help you determine if solar is the right fit for meeting your financial goals.
Each of North Carolina’s 26 electric cooperatives is independent and governed locally by an elected board of directors, which is responsible for setting and reviewing policies. This means our policies may differ from our neighboring co-ops because of our local circumstances and needs.
At Four County, we compensate our members for their contributions at what is called “avoided cost” – or a price in line with what we pay for wholesale energy before infrastructure and operational costs. Compensating our members for excess solar energy at “avoided cost” ensures they earn a fair price for what they produce while also paying for the infrastructure still utilized by the home.
Bottom line – Because policies vary, we encourage you to please contact us to make sure you have all the facts before purchasing solar installation. Solar installation companies may not be familiar with our co-op’s policies, and we don’t want anyone to enter into an agreement with misinformation.
Yes! The U.S. Department of Energy has a great tool for providing cost estimates on home solar installations. Please keep in mind this is an estimate only; you will have a more accurate financial picture by working with us and a professional solar installation company.
Ground-mounted and rooftop solar are both home solar solutions, and their differences are highlighted below for your consideration.
- Can place the array in an optimal location
- Easy to clean panels and make any needed repairs
- Most commonly installed – does not require expansive amounts of land and eliminated risk of tampering
- Typically, less expensive than ground-mounted arrays
- Utilizes unused space
Yes! We support all energy solutions that are a fit for our members, uphold the safety and reliability of our grid and improve the diversity of our resources while also ensuring that costs are not shifted to members without home solar panels. Our nation’s electric grid is shifting from a model where large, centrally located generating plants produce power and push it to the far corners of the grid to a model that incorporates more distributed energy resources and technologies, like home solar. This is an exciting time in our industry, and we want our members to make a choice that is right for them. If your choice leads you to solar installation, we ask that you please let us know and work with us so you can make informed decisions and incorporate your new installation into our plans for managing electric traffic across our grid.
Yes. The investment tax credit (ITC), also known as the federal solar tax credit, allows you to deduct 30 percent of the cost of installing a solar energy system from your federal taxes. The 30 percent tax credit will be available until 2033, at which point it will drop to 26 percent. The ITC applies to both residential and commercial systems. There is no cap on its value, and the average savings is approximately, $6,150 according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Consult with an accountant to determine your full tax credit potential.