Frequently Asked Questions
Answering Top Questions about Going Solar
It’s easy to switch to solar! We will get your solar system up and running as quickly as possible so that you can start saving money and using clean energy. Once the equipment components arrive at your home, a typical solar panel installation takes about 2-5 days to install (but can be completed in 1 day in some cases).
Inside your home, you will not experience any changes. There’s no need to change appliances or make any other alterations. Outside your home, your solar system installer will obtain all building permits.
- …design your system to meet your local building codes,
- …arrange the electrical, building and utility inspections, and
- …be on-site to make sure that everything is up to code.
Once the system is installed on your roof, it takes some additional time to receive “Permission to Operate” from your utility company. Your solar installer will provide you with the estimated installation time for your specific solar energy system. For any other detailed questions related to your system installation, you can refer to the detailed FAQs below:
When you begin to generate your own solar power, your utility bill can drop significantly. How much you can save will depend on the size of your solar system, your electricity usage, your current utility rates, and other factors. In your meeting with our CREW solar energy consultant, they will share the specific projected savings that your system will generate.
Now is an ideal time to switch to solar.
Solar power can dramatically reduce your utility bill and will protect you from rising utility rates for years to come. In addition, federal, state and local governments are offering generous rebates and incentives to go solar. The federal government offers a 30% tax credit on federal income taxes which has been extended for five years.
Our solar installers provide in-depth assistance on all required tax submission forms, which includes identifying all of the potential rebates, acquiring the relevant forms, and preparing the materials for you to sign and submit. We strive to make upgrading to solar a hassle-free experience at every stage of the process, including your tax submission
Solar energy systems are durable and built to withstand the wear and tear of outdoor conditions. Your system will operate best when it is clean and in direct sunlight, so periodic rinsing is recommended. Seasonal inspections and trimming nearby trees will ensure your system is delivering optimal solar energy production.
In case you encounter any issues with your system’s performance, solar installers include operations & maintenance services, a 15-year warranty on all repairs and defects, and a system performance guarantee with every solar loan as part of our service to you.
Solar energy systems are also extremely reliable. Solar has proven to be a dependable source of energy for large office buildings, large retailers and governmental agencies, supplying large quantities of energy. Some of the largest organizations in the world have buildings powered by solar energy, including eBay, Walmart, and the US Air Force.
CREW and our network of partners have incredibly high quality standards and partners with solar installers who only use the best equipment – we build your solar energy system to last, and stand by our quality with the system performance guarantee.
Most solar systems can be productive for 25-30 years or more, and their primary operating components come with long-term manufacturer’s warranties. As part of the solar loan, we require our solar installers to provide long-term solar system performance guarantees on every system that is installed.
No. Solar electric power systems integrate seamlessly into your home. You won’t have to buy new appliances or change your electrical outlets; everything will work just the same as it did before. Just sit back and watch your utility savings add up!
We hope so, and it’s easy to find out. Simply enter your information here, and we will give you a call to get your solar journey started. Our customer-focused CREW Members can quickly evaluate your home’s suitability for solar by examining satellite photos of your property, with no cost to understand if solar is right for you.
At times, your solar energy system will produce more electricity than you can use, and the surplus electricity is returned to the utility grid to be used by other consumers. The amount of electricity your home pulls from the utility grid is tracked by your electric meter which spins forward for each kilowatt hour used. When your solar energy system returns electricity to the utility grid, your electric meter will actually spin backward. This process is called “net metering,” and it effectively counts and bills you for the net amount of electricity that you have pulled from the grid.
At a high level, energy from the sun is collected by the solar panels on your roof and converted into electricity. This electricity from the panels, which are made up of of photovoltaic cells, is in “direct current” (DC) form, which needs to be converted into “alternating current” (AC) electricity that you currently use in your home.
This AC/DC conversion is made by a component called an inverter, which is included with your system. The inverter then channels the usable electricity into your existing power meter, and it can then be used to power your home. When your system generates energy in excess of your home’s needs, that extra power is sent back into the grid (a process called “net metering”) which in turn lowers the cost of your utility bill. Clean energy + savings!
Since the amount of power your solar system generates is a direct result of sunlight, it will produce slightly less energy when the weather is cloudy, and will not produce any energy at night. Your home will continue to be connected to your local utility grid, so that you can automatically begin to draw power from the grid whenever you need it. You won’t experience any power interruptions; the switch between solar system power and the utility grid happens seamlessly, with nothing to do on your end.
The biggest difference is that both solar leases and power purchase agreements (PPAs) entail a third party owning the solar system on your house, while a solar loan means that YOU own your system. Whether you go solar with a loan, a lease or a PPA, you will likely save money on your utility bills immediately.
However, the financial benefits of owning your system – either through a solar loan or a cash purchase – highlight the clear advantages of ownership.
- Lease: In the lease model, an Installer builds a solar energy system that it owns on your property. You pay a leasing fee for the solar energy system. Solar leases typically involve annual inflation escalators meaning you pay more each year for the power from solar system. You don’t get any tax credits or incentives; instead, the installation company gets them and typically sells them to a big conglomerate company.
- PPA: In the PPA model, similar to a lease, an Installer builds a solar energy system that it owns on your property. The Installer then sells the power generated by its system back to you at a fixed rate. You don’t get any tax credits or incentives, and you effectively pay the same high financing costs as you would in a solar lease.
- Solar Loan: With a solar loan, you actually OWN the system on your roof instead of renting it from a solar company. The solar loan is similar to a lease or PPA in that you have no upfront costs, but also provides significant additional benefits for Homeowners. After your system is installed, you may be eligible for a federal tax credit of up to 30% of the cost of your system. In addition, many states also provide tax credits to encourage people to buy their systems.* With a loan, these tax incentives belong to the Homeowners who purchase their system, but in a lease, the leasing companies pocket the sizable tax credits because they own the systems.
In summary, the solar loan combines the benefits of a lease – no down payment, energy cost savings, hassle-free maintenance and performance guarantees – with the financial upside from ownership. Solar loans are offered at $0 down, with low interest rates and no prepayment penalties, typically offering net savings far in excess of leases or PPAs.
No, there is no lien on your house. Our solar loans are secured by your solar energy system. We file a UCC-1 financing statement, naming your solar system equipment as collateral, which means that we can repossess the solar equipment in the unlikely event you default on your loan.
Many other solar energy companies require a lien on your home, effectively using your house as collateral for the loan payment. We don’t think you should have to put your home at risk to go solar.
One of the biggest advantages of buying (rather than leasing) your solar energy system is that you may qualify for a tax credit from the federal government of up to 30% of the cost of your system.
In order to keep your interest rate low, our loan terms contemplate you using your tax credit to pay down the principal on your EmpowerLoan by the 16th month of your loan (the Incentive Investment). The Incentive Investment amount is equal to your expected tax credit.
This investment towards principal enables us to offer you such a low interest rate from the beginning. In most cases, this is money you would otherwise owe to the federal government that you are now able to use to own your energy independence and enjoy the advantages of solar energy.
Because the Incentive Investment is a payment towards principal, it saves you money (in the form of interest expense) because it reduces your outstanding loan balance by ~30%. Payment on the Incentive Investment is not required until the 16th month of your loan to allow you to have time to receive your tax credit prior to your commitment to make this payment.
You are always free to pay any or all of your Incentive Investment prior to the due date, and the sooner you pay it, the less you pay in interest over the life of your loan; as with any loan, the more you pay in principal now, the less you pay in interest in the future. Note that any amount you pay in addition to interest during the first 16 months of your solar loan will be counted toward your Incentive Investment.
If you don’t make the Incentive Investment in full by the 16th month of your loan, your outstanding principal will be subject to an increased interest rate until the Incentive Investment is made, after which your interest rate will return to your original low rate.
While we have streamlined the tax credit preparation and filing process for you, it is important to note that if for any reason you do not qualify or apply for your expected tax credit, you will still be required to make the Incentive Investment by the 16th month of your loan to prevent your low fixed rate from rising.
You can prepay your loan at any time without penalty. Prepayments will not change the interest rate or monthly minimum payment required, but paying early will reduce the effective term of your loan and save you money by reducing the amount of interest you will pay in the future. If you choose to use your monthly savings to help pay off your loan, you can save even more money over the long run.
Solar loans are $0 money down, with no up-front payment whatsoever. With CREW and Dividend Solar, you can buy solar panels through our financing with no out-of-pocket cost.
Once you’ve been pre-qualified via the review of the draft proposal and running of a soft credit check, all we need from you to complete the application process is a copy (a picture from your phone or a scanned images) of proof of income (2 pay stubs, your last year’s W-2 or 1040 tax returns) and your bank account details.
It’s that simple. But don’t worry at all. There are always experienced solar energy consultants with CREW here to help.
At CREW, we’ve changed the experience of getting a loan. Instead of a time-consuming, paperwork-heavy process with inflexible rules, our loan application process has been described as “simple,” “hassle-free” and “the way it should be.” If you’re a qualified homeowner, getting a loan has never been easier.
To start your solar journey, simply Request a Proposal or Contact Us. We’ll catch up on the phone with one of our CREW Members, understand your energy needs and get a solar energy system designed for you – all at no cost.
To qualify for a loan, you must own your home and be at least 18 years old with a verifiable bank account. We consider a number of factors in qualifying a you for a solar loan, including:
- Your current credit score
- Information provided by credit bureaus
- How much money you owe compared to how much money you earn
- The length of your credit history
- The number of other accounts that you have open
- Your account usage and payment histories
- Your recent credit report activity
Our goal is to help all homeowners who want to use solar energy to power their homes do exactly that. We take a look at every single application on a case-by-case basis and are often able to work with our customers to find a solution that works for them.
Quality and customer experience are of utmost importance to us. We partner with the highest-quality solar installation companies in the country; all of our Installers have to share our commitment to quality and have track records of success. Every solar system installer commits to provide ongoing operations & maintenance (O&M) services, system monitoring and a long-term performance guarantee.
Once the equipment components arrive at your home, a typical solar panel installation takes about 2-5 days to install (…but can be completed in 1 day in some cases). The length of time depends on the details of your roof and the number of solar panels that will be installed.
Once the system is installed on your roof, it takes some additional time to receive “Permission to Operate” from your utility company. Your solar system installer will provide you with the estimated installation time for your specific solar energy system.
We provide a 30-day grace period from loan signing, during which we forgive all interest owed. If your installation is significantly delayed, for example due to a delay in permitting, we will work with the solar system installer to expedite progress. We will never charge you until your system is installed and saving you money on your electric bill.
It’s easy to switch to solar!
We will get your solar system up and running as quickly as possible so that you can start saving money and using clean energy.
- Inside your home, you won’t experience any changes – there’s no need to change appliances or make any other alterations.
- Outside your home, your solar system installer will obtain all building permits and design your system to meet your local building codes.
Your solar installer will arrange the electrical, building and utility inspections and be on-site to make sure that everything is up to code.