Do we get enough sun in Richmond?
Absolutely — we receive almost as much solar radiation as Miami does annually. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory collects and publishes data on the average solar radiation for the entire US.
What is net energy metering?
Net energy metering is a special metering and billing agreement between you and your electric utility. Normally your electric meter spins forward as it measures how many kilowatt-hours of electricity you buy. A net energy metering agreement allows you to use the electricity you generate first, reducing what you would normally buy from your electric utility. If you generate more electricity than you use, the excess goes through your electric meter and into the grid, spinning your meter backward. Your meter records the net amount, measured as the difference between the electricity your system generates and the electricity you purchase from your electric utility.
What happens if the grid goes down?
"Grid-tied" or interconnected solar PV systems typically do not have battery back-up systems. If a power outage occurs, your solar PV system will automatically shut down to protect utility workers. However, with recent advances in technology, we can offer a system above base price that can power part of your home when the sun is out and the power grid is down — all without batteries.
Is solar right for my home or business?
We will need to check your roof for structural soundness, orientation to the sun, shading, and other details. Unfortunately, solar doesn't work for every situation. Still, solar can work for roughly half of structures assessed. Even if your home or business isn't in a good spot for solar right now, we'll keep you updated as new options become available.
Who installs the systems?
SolarizeRVA reached out to installers across Metro Richmond looking for the best deals for Richmond Region residents. After review, we awarded the contract to a local solar installation company, Integrated Power Sources of Virginia, with an exceptional reputation and track record. When you participate in SolarizeRVA, they'll handle all the technical details — the permitting, the design, and the installation. Your contract is between the solar installer and you. The Richmond Region Energy Alliance is not a party to the contract.
Where are the panels made?
The standard panels are 270 watts and made by Piemar, an Italian company. If you prefer American-made panels, they are available for an additional cost.
What is an inverter?
Your solar panels generate direct current (DC) electricity. The DC electricity travels to your solar power inverter, which converts it into the alternating current (AC) electricity your appliances and devices run on.
What are the warranties?
The panels have a power production guarantee for 25 years and the inverters are guaranteed for at least 10 years.
Your monthly payments for solar will never increase — protecting you from utility rate increases. And you can expect your system to perform efficiently for 25 years or more — providing you with decades of free electricity.
One of solar power's many advantages is that the sun will always be free. It's like buying a house instead of renting an apartment — your mortgage won't ever change, even as landlords constantly increase their rents. Once your panels are installed, you never have to worry about the price for your solar PV system going up.
What financing is available?
The upfront cost of solar can be a barrier, and many don't have cash on hand to invest in a system. We have arranged for special solar financing through Admirals Bank. The loan program is specifically geared towards renewable energy installations and offers attractive interest rates, fast pre-approval and a variety of term options to suit your financial needs. The program does not require home equity, and includes loan terms up to 20 years. Through this program it's possible to set up a monthly loan payment that is close to your monthly utility savings.
Why just in the Richmond Region?