Solar Power FAQ

Golden Ray Q&A

What happens when the sun is not shining?

The extra energy you produce during the day is stored by the grid as "credits." When the sun's not shining, you're using up the energy credits that you generated during the day. In the summer, you'll create the surplus you need in the winter to offset your bill.

Is there enough sunlight in the Chicagoland area?

YES! Illinois gets an average of 4.5 hours of sunlight a day. By comparison, Germany is the world leader in solar energy and they average only 3.3 hours per day. 

What happens if there is a power outage?

If the power is out, you have no power. In order for your solar electric system to work, it (the inverter) needs to sense AC voltage. The inverter (equipment that converts sunlight to usable energy) shuts off in milliseconds. This is a safety measure to keep your system from shocking the utility worker who's working on restoring your power.

Can the panels be damaged by flying objects like hail?

Average modules are designed to handle one inch-sized hail traveling at 100MPH. Quality modules like those used by Rethink Electric are engineered to withstand much more. 

What is an SREC?

An SREC is a Solar Renewable Energy Credit.  It equals one megawatt of clean power created versus a coal-fired power plant. SRECs are a commodity that can be traded. You can lock in a five-year contract for the value of your system's SRECs. Rethink Electric will help you during that contract process.

Will switching to solar affect my real estate taxes?

NO! Illinois has a property tax incentive to encourage solar installation. When you register your solar system with the Chief County Assessment Officer (our partners on the ground will take care of this for you), your solar equipment will be valued at no more than the value that would be given to a conventional energy system.

How much does solar installation cost?

Your house and power usage is unique. To get an accurate quote, we review your property and power bill to come up with the best recommendation for your need. The first step is to get in touch with one of our energy consultants.

How long before it pays for itself?

Most systems can pay themselves off in six to eight years, but in the right conditions they can pay themselves off even faster.

Got a particular solar energy question?

We love hard questions, and we've got easy answers. We're more than happy to answer any question under the sun.

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