1. How can I estimate the size and cost of my system?
  2. How do I apply for a solar rebate?
  3. Why do I have to use an Eligible Installer?
  4. How can I pay for my PV system?
  5. What are Renewable Energy Credits (RECs)?
  6. Will I still have power even if the grid goes down?
  7. Is there a federal tax credit for homeowners to install PV?
  8. In what temperatures will a PV system operate? What about snow?
  9. Is my solar water heating system eligible for a rebate?
  10. I have a question that's not on this list. Who can I contact?



1.) How can I estimate the size and cost of my system?
First, gather your electric bills to see how much electricity you use on a monthly basis. This number will be in kWh (kilowatt hours). Second, decide how much of your electricity you want to come from your PV system. Third, visit www.findsolar.com or the Clean Power Estimator at www.clean-power.com/ccef and use the solar estimator to get a rough idea of system size and costs. Fourth, contact some CCEF Eligible Installers for price estimates.

2.) How do I apply for a solar rebate?
You must work with a CCEF Eligible Installer to apply for a solar PV rebate. Once you decide which Eligible Installer you want to use, he or she will apply to CCEF for a rebate on your behalf. You will receive a letter from CCEF to inform you when your rebate has been processed. The Eligible Installer will handle all the paperwork including the rebate application, necessary permits and utility interconnection agreement.

3.) Why do I have to use an Eligible Installer?
CCEF has taken the risk off of the homeowner by qualifying companies to perform PV installations for homeowners, nonprofit and educational organizations. These companies have the appropriate credentials, training, experience, insurance and financial resources to install PV systems. In addition, since CCEF pays the rebate directly to the installer on your behalf, these installers have agreed to abide by CCEF program rules.

4.) How can I pay for my PV system?
You might consider taking out a home equity loan to finance your PV system. Check with your tax advisor on tax benefits of a home equity loan. If you are building a new house, you may be able to include the cost of your PV system in the mortgage. Low interest loans are also available to finance solar PV systems through the Connecticut Housing Investment Fund or by calling 860-233-5165.

5.) What are Renewable Energy Credits (RECs)?
When you make electricity using clean energy, there are two products that have value. One is the electricity itself. The other is the environmental attributes of the electricity. These environmental attributes are also known as a Renewable Energy Credits (RECs). There are organizations that are willing to pay you money for the RECs that your PV system produces. Selling your RECs can provide several hundred dollars of income to you a year. Check with your installer for more information.

6.) Will I still have power even if the grid goes down?
If you install batteries as part of your system, you can still have electricity during power outages. Without batteries, the device that converts your solar energy into energy you use in your home (the inverter), has to disconnect from the grid and also from supplying your home with electricity. The reason for this is to protect electric utility workers who may be restoring the lines. Since your PV system produces electricity during daylight hours, it will be "live" and might produce enough electricity that could injure a linesman. CCEF will not provide a rebate for battery backup. You would need to pay for this part of the system yourself.

7.) Is there a federal tax credit for homeowners to install PV?
Yes, under current law, an individual homeowner may take an income tax credit of 30% of spending on qualified solar property up to $2,000. This law is effective for systems placed in service by the end of 2008. New federal legislation has been introduced to extend and expand the solar tax credits. More information, including a tax guide, can be found at www.seia.org.

8.) In what temperatures will a PV system operate? What about snow?
PV modules are generally designed to operate in temperature range of -10 to 120 degrees Farenheit. Heat decreases the output of the PV modules. To compensate for this, panels are usually mounted 3-6 inches off the surface of the roof to allow ventilation and cooling. Snow usually melts off the panels in a matter of hours. PV systems are designed to withstand snow, hail, rain and wind.

9.) Is my solar water heating system eligible for a rebate?
No. Solar water heating or solar thermal systems heat water which can then be used directly in your home or in a heating system to heat your home. Solar PV systems produce electricity. CCEF is funded by the CL&P and UI electric ratepayers and therefore funds projects that produce clean electricity. Your solar thermal project may still be eligible for the federal tax credit (see #7).

10.) I have a question that's not on this list. Who can I contact?
The Connecticut Clean Energy Fund is standing by to help you succeed. Please send your question to: smallsolar@ctinnovations.com



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