Knowledge is power.
GOING SOLAR IN THE NORTHWEST:
YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED.
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At Artisan, we know education is the first step to bringing solar power into more homes and businesses throughout the region. By debunking common misconceptions and showing how easy solar can be, we empower you to make informed choices about your energy future.
Read on to see our responses to some of the most frequently asked questions about solar power!
What are the environmental benefits of solar power?
As an energy consumer, you are dependent on vulnerable, unreliable and polluting power sources. A large percentage of our power comes from coal, gas and nuclear power. While the Northwest’s hydropower is technically renewable, it does have environmental consequences, and there are no more rivers to dam.
Generating your own power at home using solar energy makes you a part of the solution. Installing a solar system will help preserve the earth’s finite fossil-fuel resources, reduce air pollution, and creates efficiency, resilience and dependability in the grid. Since the power is being produced just feet away from where it is going to be used (as opposed to via an antiquated centralized distribution model that causes up to 15% powerline energy loss in distribution), it is by far the most efficient way to produce power.
To learn more about solar’s positive environmental impacts, see our Environmental Benefits of Solar Power page.
Does solar add value to my home?
Yes! Solar is actually one of the best investments you can make to increase the value of your home. No other renovation or enhancement to a home increases value this substantially (not to mention produces clean power and income until you sell the home!).
Research suggests that your solar PV system pays for itself in added value to your home as soon as it’s installed. Many studies have quantified how solar PV systems increase the value of a home or building.
A 2013 study for the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative concluded that you can expect about a $5,900 increase in added property value per each kilowatt of installed solar power.
A more recent study of side-by-side comparisons to similar non-solar homes suggested on average a buy is willing to pay about $15,000 more for an average 3.6kW solar system house.
And the more recent Institute for Market Transformation’s “What is Green Worth?” study found that a house with solar was sold for a price between $17,000 and $36,500 higher than a house without.
For more, see our Solar and Home Value page.
How long does a solar energy system last?
Solar panels have no moving parts and are practically maintenance-free, so American-made panels can last 30-50+ years! Their longevity depends on both climate conditions and the quality of modules installed. Artisan uses modules with a warranty of 25 years, and in our temperate climate, we expect them to work for 30-50+ years.
Inverters (which turn the solar panel’s DC power into AC power so your house can use it) have between a 10- and 25-year warranty. They generally do not last as long as the rest of the system. They are easy to replace, however, and represent only a fraction of the overall system cost.
In addition to the module and inverter warranties, Artisan Electric specifically offers a five-year workmanship warranty for all of our solar installations. You can learn more on our Warranties page.
How much maintenance is required?
If a system is built properly, it takes very little maintenance to keep your solar system in excellent shape. An annual cleaning of the solar panels is generally sufficient. If your system is not easily accessible for cleaning, or you would like us to regularly inspect the system, Artisan can provide you with maintenance services on an annual basis. If an issue arises in between visits, we will come out and fix it at no cost to you under our five-year workmanship warranty.
Artisan’s warranty also includes a full system inspection on the first and fifth year of installation, to make sure that your system is performing at or above our estimated performance level. You can learn more on our Warranties page.
Who handles the permits and rebate paperwork?
We do! One of Artisan’s unique values, as part of our absolute commitment to making solar easy and accessible, is a “turn-key” approach to all of the administrative aspects of your system. Your contract with Artisan covers all fees and permits needed to complete the job. We will also complete and submit all required paperwork on your behalf, taking the guesswork out of the process for you! Our customers love this benefit.
Read more about The Artisan Process.
Is there financing available to help pay for solar?
Absolutely! We will help interested customers apply for $0-down loans from Puget Sound Cooperative Credit Union (PSCCU), a local credit union we trust. The majority of our customers finance their systems through PSCCU, and we get consistently fantastic feedback about their customer service. In fact, we ourselves use PSCCU for our business needs!
Most customers obtain a fixed 4.25% loan up to $50,000. You choose the duration of the loan (up to 15 years). There is no early payoff penalty, and you can renegotiate the terms once at no charge (which means when you get your federal tax credit, you can use it to pay down the loan almost immediately and refinance!). The solar panels themselves are the loan collateral, so it’s not a home equity loan.
Do you use subcontractors? Are your workers licensed?
All of our systems are built by Artisan employees. All of our solar installers are licensed journeyman electricians and electrical apprentices. Occasionally Artisan will subcontract non-solar work to another trade, such as waterproofing commercial roofs, building carports, or repairing drywall.
Learn more about our team.
I’m a DIY kind of person—will you help me build a system?
For the right customer, absolutely! While solar deals with high voltage and we recommend you hire experienced electricians to install your system, we are more than happy to help homeowners who are confident that they can properly install a system and know the risks.
Artisan will provide DIY homeowners with a solar package, which includes a full set of designs and plans needed for buildout and permitting, as well as panels, racking, and inverters.