Solar FAQ: Everything you need to know about solar power, panels, batteries, installation, and more.

Have a question that isn’t answered below? Contact us! There should never be any unanswered questions when you choose to go solar. We are here to share our expertise and help you understand all the benefits that solar energy entails.





Solar Costs

Solar Energy

Solar Energy is created by nuclear fusion within the sun. In the sun's core, nuclear fusion occurs when the hydrogen atoms in the sun push themselves together to form helium.

Some of these hydrogen atoms convert into energy in the form of light while pushing together.

This light and heat produced by this reaction are then used in several different ways to power our plants, lives and homes.

How Solar Energy Works

The sun is a gigantic nuclear bomb. The fusion that occurs within the sun has the same amount of energy as about 15 billion thermonuclear bombs.

The difference between the life produced by the sun and the destruction of these bombs is pressure. The pressure from the reaction in the sun is greater than the gravity pushing on the gasses. 

As a result of this battle of wills comes a plethora of different advantages.    

Advantages and Benefits of Solar Energy

The main advantage of the sun is the gravitational pull it has on the earth. As a result of the sun and the perfect balance of several other factors, we have plants and animals that make this planet unique to our solar system.

Plants use the sun through a process called photosynthesis. Animals eat these plants and soak in needed nutrients such as Vitamin D when they are in the sun.

Solar has also given us another advantage. This advantage is the ability to use solar energy to generate power.

Turning Solar Energy into Solar Power

There are several different ways that the sun's energy can turn into solar power. The two main types of solar power include thermal and photovoltaic.

Thermal power uses the heat from the sun to heat a liquid, so this energy can be stored for later or used immediately to heat an area. Thermal power is also how concentrated solar power systems heat salt and store energy for later to power homes and cities.

Photovoltaics use light from the sun to generate electricity. Depending on how big the solar array is, it could power a city or a home. This form of electricity gives homeowners the option to use the sun as their power source instead of coal.

Solar panel information

What are solar panels?
Photovoltaic solar cells (or solar panels) are a form of technology used to absorb solar radiation for the purpose of conversion to solar electricity.

How are solar panels made?
Solar panels are made by framing small silicon cells protected by a pane of glass.

What are solar panels made of?
Solar panels are made up of photovoltaic solar cells which are made of some form of silicon. Highest efficiency panels are made from monocrystalline silicon cells. (Product comparison chart)

How do solar panels work?
Solar panels use photovoltaic technology to release electrons from the rest of the atom. Electrons move around within the panel, which creates direct current (DC) electricity. An attached inverter will then convert the DC electricity into alternating current (AC) electricity. AC electricity is the same type of energy that you use on a daily basis.

How many solar panels do I need?
Our average system involves 16-30 panels. This is entirely dependent upon the size of the installation area and your energy usage. You can even add a backup supply to store energy with batteries.

How many solar panels does it take to power a house?
Generally we use a 270 watt solar panel. In order to offset the electrical usage of your home you would need a panel array producing the equivalent of your energy usage.

What happens at night or when it is cloudy?
Although the production may be less, solar panels work on cloudy days. We always design solar systems to offset energy usage both night and day, meaning the energy produced by your system during the day will continue to offset your energy usage during the night. Solar panel efficiency on a cloudy day is lessened, but with the right system size you’ll offset your usage over time.

Do solar panels work in the winter?
Solar panels can actually work better in colder temperatures because as a solar panel heats to extreme temperatures, the efficiency lessens. Solar panels in winter will function fully unless heavily coated with snow. In this case, you’d need to remove the snow to resume solar energy production. Thankfully most roof pitches allow for easy snow fall and most often you will not need to remove it manually. Keep in mind, a custom solar system designed for your home should always take into consideration the number of cloudy days and winter snow days in your region – this helps determine what the overall energy offset needs to be so that you buy an array with enough solar panels.

Find out why our system components stand out from among the rest.


How much does it cost to install solar panels?
Installation is just one element in the overall price of a solar system which is dependent on many different factors. Most solar companies will build your installation costs into the price per kilowatt and include hours worked, expertise, travel cost, etc.

For specific pricing please schedule a free consultation with one of our solar experts.

How to install solar panels.
Installing your own solar panels is possible, but requires intense research, city permitting, and someone knowledgable of safety procedures.

The overall process for solar panel installation includes the following steps: array electrical design, full system engineering, city or county permitting, installation of mounting rack, installation of solar panels, system wiring and connection to the net meter.

What kind of roof do I need?
Roofs of all types are eligible for solar installations.

We recommend that old roofs that need re-shingling or replacing be completed before or at the time of solar panel installation to reduce maintenance costs in the future.

How much is too much shading?
Considerable shading produced by trees or other obstructions can significantly decrease energy production.

When in doubt, call to schedule a free solar assessment.

Is my property suitable for a solar installation?
Utah is a fantastic candidate for solar power. We typically have over 300 days per year with sun. Some of the factors that should be considered when looking at solar power for your home: (1) Adequate roof space oriented South and/or West. (2) Shading and shadows affect the efficiency of your system, so less is better! (3) Roof is in good condition (you don’t want to install solar on 20 year old shingles). To better understand the process, learn how to go solar.

Call to Speak with a Go Solar Representative

Solar panel maintenance

How long do solar panels last?
Solar panels last much longer than warranties will guarantee you. Industry standard is a 25-year warranty, however with regular upkeep and maintenance, our systems will continue to generate clean, free energy for 30 or even 40 years.

How efficient are solar panels?
On average solar panel efficiency is between 14-22%. Highest-quality technology is always our promise when it comes to your system components.

How to clean solar panels:
In order for highest efficiency, solar panels should be kept clean of leaves, heavy dust, snow and other obstructions. This can be done with a damp rag, water hose or other cleaning devices like a squeegee.

If you regularly maintain your solar panel cleanliness, you won’t need to spend money on cleaning services. We recommend checking them once a month for any buildup, but you’ll rarely find a need to clean them.

Read more about solar panel cleaning.

What service is needed after my solar installation?
Solar power systems require very little maintenance. There are no moving parts, and require you to clean the panels 1-2 times a year to maintain optimal efficiency. Always make sure your system is free of debris to make sure they are producing the most power possible.

What if my roof needs to be repaired once solar panels have already been installed?
Solar panels can be removed from the mounting system for individual repair and mounting racks can be removed and reinstalled during re-roofing.

Are you facing this now? Contact your installation provider to open a service ticket.

Learn more about our company and why we have a 96% customer satisfaction rate.


Is solar energy renewable?
Solar energy is the world’s fundamental renewable power source. As long as the sun is shining, we can have power generated through solar panels. Just so you know, the sun should be radiating for the next 5 to 6 billion years.

What is solar energy?
Solar energy refers to energy that is harnessed from solar radiation, using the radiant light and heat from the sun for useful purposes.

What is solar power?
Using photovoltaic solar cells, solar radiation can be harnessed and converted into electrical “power,” which can then be used the same as any other form of electricity.

How is solar energy produced?
Through solar panels, you can increase your energy efficiency by utilizing something that is already available to you: the heat of the sun. This begins by installing a system of solar panels on the roof of your home or business. These panels use photovoltaic technology to release electrons from the rest of the atom. Electrons move around within the panel, which creates direct current (DC) electricity. An attached inverter will then convert the DC electricity into alternating current (AC) electricity. AC electricity is the same type of energy that you use on a daily basis. To maintain the overall efficiency of your home or business, your solar panel system will communicate with your utility service to export surplus energy and import power when needed.

What are the benefits of going solar?

Solar Costs

How much do solar panels cost?
The price of solar panels and installation will vary depending on a number of different factors. This could include the size of your home, your average electrical consumption, tax rebates, solar incentives, and other forms of financial help available. Please contact us today to learn more about the solar panel cost for your Utah home.

How much does a solar panel cost?
Technology really has come a long way in the past couple decades. Average solar panel cost is lower than it ever has been, and it depends on the size of the panel, its production expectations, and the associated warranty. Most residential solar panels cost between $150 and $500 per solar panel.

For specific pricing please schedule a free consultation with one of our solar experts.

How much lower will my electric bills be?
You can expect to see up to 100% reduction on your electric bill. This depends on the size of your system and your energy usage.

When you purchase a solar array meant to offset all your energy usage, you can accrue credits in the months that you use less energy to balance out energy you use in summer months (when most of us pay more for energy). So while you’re using more than you’re producing in the summer, you’re still taking advantage of the higher production in earlier months.

Is solar worth it?
Solar is more than worth it. In fact, the holistic benefits of solar pay off because when you go solar, you can have the confidence that you are saving money, doing good for the planet, and securing yourself a more sustainable future.

How much does solar cost?
Solar is definitely not a one-size-fits-all model, so the cost depends on your system size, inverter of choice, government solar credits, & more. Average Go Solar Group installations start around $16,000 before government incentives are taken into consideration. After government incentives, most families are projected to see well over $40,000 in power savings over 25 years.

For more information call to schedule a free solar consultation.

How much does solar energy cost?
Once your system is installed, solar energy is FREE. All day, every day.

What incentives are available for my solar installation?
In Utah, Homes and businesses are eligible for rebates of 30 percent of installation costs, with no cap. This credit comes when you file your tax return. These credits were recently extended through 2022. In addition, the state of Utah offers homes that install solar panels a one-time $2,000 rebate, and businesses a 10% tax credit up to $50,000. Lastly, most power companies offer a credit system for excess power produced so that you can store and use energy when you need it. For Rocky Mountain Power, federal, and state rebates, we handle all the paperwork on your behalf.

Find out what state and federal incentives are available for Utah homeowners.

Miscellaneous Solar Panel FAQs for Salt Lake City, Utah; San Antonio, TX; and Reno, Nevada Homeowners

Do they place a lien on your home when you take out a loan for the solar?

No, but if a lien is placed, It’s a lien on the equipment, not the home, and this is only the case If they were to sell their home. So it’s not, in fact, a lien.

Why is the payback 12-15 years?  Are there options within the lending that can shorten the terms of the loan?  Are there options for different rates of interest?

It totally depends on the specific home for when you’ll see the payback. You’ll have a better idea of timing for payback or years to ROI in concrete terms once you sit down with a solar consultant for a free, no-obligation solar assessment. There are options that can shorten the terms of the loan and of different rates of interest, but these will vary based on credit worthiness.

What is the output per panel?

This depends on the environment and weather. However, Go Solar Group’s solar panels are rated at standard test conditions for 290 watts. If it’s cold and bright, they can put out more than that.

What is Nevada ballot (Initiative #3) and what does it have to do with solar power for Reno homeowners?

Measure 3 is a ballot item that was put out by the Las Vegas Sands Corporation to allow them to deregulate utilities. The long and the short of it is it’s a pretty big fight between two billionaires – Warren Buffett and Sheldon Adelson on the other side. Warren Buffett wants to institute a regulated environment with one sole power in arbiter in the region. Sheldon Adelson wants deregulation.  With deregulation, rates would decrease as they have in solar. Rates of electricity, if they go up, as they would with Warren Buffett’s goal, solar would be more viable.

Does snowing or raining or overcast lesson the output of the panels?

Snow does. To prevent this, use a roof rake to wipe the panels off.

What are the Logistics with battery backup? 

Your typical system, when you’re connected to the grid, puts electricity back on to it if the grid goes down. The system shuts off. Our system makes it so you can draw power even when the grid is down. With your standard solar system, the grid goes down, and you’re out of luck. It’s a good thing to disconnect from the grid at times because we don’t want to shock people trying to fix that. We can use our backup options to draw 2000 watts from an outlet when the sun is shining.

How long does the smallest Goal Zero Yeti last vs. how long does the Tesla Power wall last?

If you’re running the same thing with both devices, the smallest Yeti (1400) runs for 1.4kwh and the Tesla Powerewall is 13.5 kWh, so it’s about 10x more with the Tesla Powerwall.

Is it illegal in some areas to go completely off-grid?

Yes, but that’s a loaded question. Check with us before you do.

Why can’t we install on mobile homes?

Financing, usage, and credit, and structural element of it. We’ve done a ground mount with a mobile home, but it has to have a foundation. If they can put wheels on it and drive their house away, it doesn’t work.

How much larger would a solar system need to be if they have an electric car they’re wanting to charge utilizing their solar power?

It depends on how many miles you drive. E.g.,  Tesla is 200-watt hours per mile. So depending on how many miles one drives, he or she needs that much to recharge. A  Tesla vehicle can go 310 miles on 1 charge. It depends on the charger one plugs it into. If it charges it from his outlet in the wall, it gets 5 mph. If it charges it at the supercharger at the Tesla dealership, 200 – 300 mph.

How do they get their money from the federal tax credit?

We do the paperwork, but it’s a tax credit. So you will use it instead of paying their taxes. It’ll just appear as usable income with tax paperwork.

Do NV customers automatically benefit from the solar generations program?

Not automatically, but through us and our relationship with NV Energy. Our competitors do this too, but it takes more labor on their end and we are more efficient at it.

Does the square footage of the home affect the system size at all?

You see correlations between square footage and usage, but there’s not a causal link. It has to do solely with usage, which can generally be gauged by electricity bills.

What makes Axitec panels better than other panels, such as Tesla’s?

Tesla is a phenomenal backup and storage powerhouse in the solar game. However, it isn’t yet viable to use their own panels yet. Go Solar Group’s panel warranty is linear 25 years at 85%; nobody else does that versus the traditional 80%. The service warranty is 15 years now for the Axitec panels. There are kinds of 3 warranties we offer, technically. There is an installation and labor warranty, which is for 10 years, then there’s a panel and manufacturer warranty that’s 15 years, and finally, there’s a performance warranty that’s 25 years.

Why are solar shingles not viable at this point?

Not only are these solar shingles expensive, but you also lose efficiency every time you have to make a connection with each individual panel, so the efficiency is not up to snuff just yet. So the shingles have to make tons of individual connections and the efficiency degrades, whereas, with Go Solar Group’s panels, we can generate more power more efficiently on a panel-by-panel basis over a longer surface area, making them more absorptive from the sun. It’s done for the whole use and you have to pay for solar shingles on one side of your roof that will not absorb sunlight.

Is it worth it for me to go solar if I don’t have taxable income? 

Not really, but this is up to the individual. Essentially, they’d be giving themselves a 30% cost increase.

Can I use solar panels for heating my pool?

You would have to run panels dedicated directly to the pool heating equipment. Go Solar Group does not sell solar thermal, which would heat the actual pool water. In general, there are two kinds of panels for pools. Photovoltaic and thermal. Thermal takes hoses and pumps them up on to the roof. Thermal panels are 3 or 4 inches thick and they are for domestic hot water. Thermal panels do qualify for the 30 percent Federal Tax Credit but Go Solar Group does not sell pool PV. We can, however, install enough solar panels on a Reno Nevada or San Antonio, Texas, or Utah home to offset a pool pump, though.

What is required to go off-grid with the Tesla Powerwall, including the linking of multiple Powerwalls?

You need a minimum of 3 Powerwalls to go off-grid. You would also need to change your consumption habits significantly. If you want to go off-grid without changing your consumption profile, you would need 4 or more Powerwalls. This does, however, all depend on usage. You can link up to 10 Powerwalls if you would like to do so.

With a 280-watt solar panel, how does this size affect kilowatt-hours (kWh) usage each month?

It varies on weather, time of year, the pitch of the roof, and orientation of the panels. Every situation is going to be different.

Is it possible to produce three-phase power from a solar system?

Yes, and Go Solar Group can help! We use smart inverters that match whatever power they see from the grid. This is what makes three-phase power so effective.

What are the technical specifics on how solar A) saves money and B) helps the environment?

Going solar reduces the amount of energy that you buy from the utility company. That’s why buying solar panels is pre-paying for electrical energy. In 1999, if someone had offered to sell you gas for your car for the next 25 years at $1/gallon, you would have saved a lot of money by now. Solar is the same thing – you’re buying energy at a fixed cost now when the price of electricity is only going to go up from here. The less energy you buy from the utility company, the less coal or gas they burn. You lower your demand, they lower their production, and you get a better environment.

How do solar power storage and solar battery backup work in relation to net metering?

Storage/Backup work in conjunction with net metering. The only difference between backup and pure net metering is that your solar panels will first fill the batteries with energy, then export excess power to the grid once the batteries are fully charged. This doesn’t happen every day, it only happens when the batteries are depleted for any reason.

What is the difference between SolarEdge and SMA Sunny Boy in terms of function and application?

SolarEdge uses DC optimizers and is a great application for choppy roofs and roofs with potential shading issues. SMA does not use DC Optimizers, but you get the Secure Power Supply option – meaning you have a limited amount of energy that you can use from your inverter if the power is out and the sun is shining on your panels.

What is the difference between mono-crystalline and poly-crystalline solar panels? 

Mono = 1 type of silicone crystalline. This means better efficiency, and a fewer number of panels, plus better aesthetics. Go Solar Group uses this kind of panel. For an efficiency comparison chart on panel types, visit our solar panel comparison table. Poly = multiple types of silicone. Lower efficiency, more panels needed for the same result as mono, and terrible aesthetics.

When should I consider off-grid solar, and when shouldn’t I consider it?

The only reason to do off-grid solar is when the cost to get the utility connection to the location is more expensive than a large solar system with many batteries and back-up generators.

Should I wait for solar shingles before buying solar panels for my Nevada or Utah home?

If you do wait for them, you will be waiting for another 3 to 4 years. And the expenses will likely not drop at that point to where they are manageable for most people who would otherwise go solar with regular rooftop panels. 3 to 4 years also reduces the time value of money and cuts significantly into opportunity cost and, therefore, the amount of money you can ultimately save with rooftop solar. Additionally, the price of solar panels is about ¼ of the cost of solar shingles. Just direct them to the Tesla Solar Shingle website to determine the cost of a solar shingle roof. It’s bonkers!

Why is Go Solar Group different and better from a technical standpoint than its competitors?

There are a few points to consider here. Quality, service, German-engineered products from start to finish, Authorized Tesla Dealer & Installer, the ability to complete the most complex technical jobs for both Nevada and Utah homes and businesses. Please feel to see our customer success stories or read our solar company reviews as well.

How is going solar more affordable now than ever?

You still get a tax credit from Federal and State governments. In Nevada, AB 405 has ensured solar will continue to be a good investment for homeowners and businesses. Additionally, the prices of solar panels have dropped with greater innovation. More and more competition has driven prices lower as well.

What are some best practices for getting the most out of my system?

Utilize provided monitoring of the system, invest in consumption monitoring (usually, only a few hundred $ on top of system cost).

How do the Goal Zero Yeti and battery backup work with solar systems?

Solar panels are used to charge the back-up portion of the system. And the back-up portion is used to power some loads in the house when the power is out.

How are the panels equipped to deal with snow?/what can people do to optimize production when snow falls?

There are tools called roof rakes that you can buy at the hardware store or online. NEVER clean the panels with water in the heat of the day. Do it early in the morning before the sun comes out. And, for the most part, Utah and Reno Nevada homeowners should just let Mother Nature do her thing. The models we use to size systems take a lot of historical weather data into the equation. Some years you’ll produce less, some years you’ll produce more. It all evens out over the span of 25 years. To learn more about using solar panels in the wintertime, visit this post.

What are the details on the warranty aspects of the Axitec panels if a golf ball breaks a panel, will Axitec replace it?  Are they are warrantied for 25 years at 100% production?  What would cause a panel to drop below 100%?

Go Solar Group uses Axitec, German-engineered solar panels that have a 15-year manufacturer’s warranty. This covers defects in the physical panel itself and does not cover hail damage, breakage from snow, or golf ball damage. The solar panels are guaranteed to produce 90% of their nameplate rating after 15 years (industry standard is 85%). The solar panels are guaranteed to produce 85% of their nameplate rating after 25 years (industry standard is 80%). The silicone cells that makeup panels have natural degradation. Each year they lose a little bit of efficiency. Every solar panel degrades.

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