Solar Energy FAQ’s
Do solar systems really work in Vermont?
Yes, absolutely! People have been installing solar energy systems in their homes and businesses in Vermont for over 35 years. The estimated annual output of a solar hot water heating system in Vermont saves 65% to 75% of conventional water heating energy costs. A grid-tied, net-metered solar electric system (PV or photovoltaic) can be sized to produce enough electricity to power 100% of your electrical needs!
How much do a solar systems cost?
Solar systems are custom designed to meet the needs of each individual household or business. Each site has unique installation design requirements. It isn't possible to quote an exact price based on one size fits all.
However, an estimated range for residential solar hot water systems from Solar Pro is from about $8,000 for a small family (2-4) to $9500 for a larger family (4-6). Those prices do NOT include the federal tax credit of 30% AND the Vermont state renewable energy rebate of about 10%, which reduces the range of net costs for solar hot water systems to between $4800 and $6700! In most cases, a solar hot water system saves so much money in conventional heating costs that the solar system pays for itself in full in about 5 to 6 years.
Photovoltaic systems are priced according to the size of the system and the type of installation (rooftop or pole mounted). Solar electric systems can pay for themselves in full in about 12 years and will continue to generate electricity indefinitely.
How long do solar systems last?
Many solar hot water systems are still working that were installed more than 25 years ago! They require very litte maintenance and will continue to heat your water as long as the sun is shining! The updated technology and high quality equipment that Solar Pro installs is designed to last much longer than solar hot water systems that were installed in the '70's and '80's. We expect the new systems to last 30 years or even longer!
Photovoltaic cells will produce eletricity indefinitely. The solar panels that Solar Pro installs are guaranteed to last 20 years, at least!
Will my solar system work in the winter?
Yes, just as soon as the sun comes out after a snow event, your solar collectors will start to absorb the sun's radiation. Even on cloudy days, solar hot water systems absorb solar heat from ultraviolet radiation and PV systems generate electricity even in dim light. It’s true that solar hot water systems work most efficiently during summer months, but they will continue working to provide solar energy for your home all year long.
I live on the side of a mountain and my house is shaded part of the day. How much sunshine do I need to make solar work at my location?
Almost every home in Vermont is a good candidate for solar water heating. To be most effective, the sun should shine on your solar collectors from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. If the sun sets behind your mountain as early as 4 p.m., you’re probably OK for solar!
I don’t have a south-facing roof, am I solar-challenged?
No way! A south-facing roof is an ideal location for solar installation, but is not required! Solar Pro can install your solar collectors on a ground mount, or on the side of an exterior wall of your home. No problem! Check out the photos on our Residential Photos page for examples of collector mounting options.
My home has a slate tile roof, is that a problem?
Our installers are longtime Vermont contractors who have many years of experience working with slate tile roofs. They can install your solar collectors on your slate roof, or, they can construct a ground mount or wall mount for your solar collectors if you prefer.
Are Schuco solar systems guaranteed?
Yes, photovoltaic panels are guaranteed for 20 years and solar thermal collectors are guaranteed for 10 years. Both types of solar systems are expected to perform for many more years past the manufacturer warranties. Many solar collectors are still performing efficiently after 30 years!
Does the Schuco solar hot water system qualify for federal tax credits?
Yes, Schuco systems qualify for federal tax credits which amount to 30% of the cost of your new solar water heating system, with no upper limit.
How much is the Vermont state renewable energy incentive rebate?
Depending on the size and rated performance of your system, the state awards incentive payments after installation of a qualified solar system, IF the system has been installed by a state partner. Solar Pro IS a approved as a qualified Vermont partner. Rebate payments must be reserved by the state prior to the beginning of the installation. Generally, the incentive payments are about 10% of the cost of a new solar system.
What type of solar water heating system is best for Vermont conditions?
Solar Pro recommends a closed loop flat plate collector system for Vermont installations. Flat plate collectors are preferred over evacuated tube collectors because snow will usually melt off flat plate collectors as soon as the sun comes out after a snow event. Our high quality flat plate collectors are very durable AND, cost less than evacuated tube collectors. Our Schuco systems offer two types of flat plate collectors for your choice.
Solar water heating is really very simple! Copper coils are contained in flat plate collectors in a closed loop that contain a non-toxic “Solar Fluid” (propylene glycol - "Tyfocor"). Radiation from the sun heats up the solar fluid in the coils which is pumped down from the collectors into a solar storage tank that contains water for your home. The hot solar fluid stays inside the coils, but heat from the coils transfers to the water inside the tank, and -- Voila! -- hot water for you! Check out the drawing on our page entitled "How It Works."
Can the solar collectors get too hot in the summertime? Back to Top
One of the most sophisticated components of the Schuco hot water heating system is the automatic heat expansion tank. The system continually senses the temperature inside the collector coils. If the solar fluid becomes super-hot and no hot water is being used in the house to absorb that heat (for example, if you’re away on vacation), the system will automatically move the solar fluid down to a heat expansion tank where it cools down to be returned to the collectors later, when needed.
Here's a link to a Solar Pro narrated slide show that explains more about solar energy! Click here: Solar Movie