Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to your burning questions about solar. 

Operations & Maintenance

Will my District need to pay any money upfront for a solar array?

No! iDEAL Energies solar program requires no upfront cost from the District. You only pay for the energy produced by the solar array at a discount to what you currently pay your utility. You save money day-1!

I have a newer roof - will solar void my roof warranty?

NO! iDEAL Energies works with your roofing vendor to follow their specific roof warranty overburden requirements to assure that your existing roof warranty stays intact with solar installed. 

Making sure your roof warranty stays intact is integral part of our standard process.

My roofs are going to need replacing soon, so is now a good time?

Yes! The energy savings from your solar array will help pay for your new roof.   

Taking down and reinstalling the solar panels during a roof replacement event costs approximately two years of energy savings. 

Does the solar array require maintenance?

Solar arrays require minimal maintenance.  In MN, there is no need to clean the solar arrays or to remove snow during winter months.  Our financial modeling takes this into account.

iDEAL Energies includes O&M services for our school customers as part of our standard agreement.

How long is the construction process for solar?

6 - 9 months

Installation time varies with system size, utility programs leveraged, time to receive utility interconnection approval, and weather.

iDEAL Energies completes the installation of your solar array with minimal impact on your day-to-day activities.

I have a new building under construction. How do we design it for solar?

iDEAL Energies offers design consulting services to our new construction customers to ensure that buildings are designed to be solar capable and installing solar becomes a seamless part of the construction process.

Will solar hedge against rising utility rates?

Yes! Phasing out fossil fuels is causing utilities to upgrade their infrastructure. This means raising rates for all their customers.

(For example, Xcel just proposed raising its rates 20+% over 3 years)

By installing a solar array now, you will lock in your current energy costs during the payback period.  After the payback period, you will save on your bottom line by receiving free energy from your solar array for its remaining life (typically ~40 years).

FAQ

  • Operations & Maintenance
  • Public Sector Financing
  • Private Sector Financing
  • Solar Project Timing
  • Solar Array Maintenance
  • New Construction

Public Sector Financing

Will my District need to pay any money upfront for a solar array?

No! iDEAL Energies solar program requires no upfront cost from the District. You only pay for the energy produced by the solar array at a discount to what you currently pay your utility. You save money day-1!

How much does the system cost?

The total of the power payments.  

Will solar hedge against rising utility rates?

Yes! Phasing out fossil fuels is causing utilities to upgrade their infrastructure. This means raising rates for all their customers.

(For example, Xcel just proposed raising its rates 20+% over 3 years)

By installing a solar array now, you will lock in your current energy costs during the payback period.  After the payback period, you will save on your bottom line by receiving free energy from your solar array for its remaining life (typically ~40 years).

Project Timelines

My roofs are going to need replacing soon, so is now a good time?

Yes! The energy savings from your solar array will help pay for your new roof.   

Taking down and reinstalling the solar panels during a roof replacement event costs approximately two years of energy savings. 

How long is the construction process for solar?

6 - 9 months

Installation time varies with system size, utility programs leveraged, time to receive utility interconnection approval, and weather.

iDEAL Energies completes the installation of your solar array with minimal impact on your day-to-day activities.

I have a new building under construction. How do we design it for solar?

iDEAL Energies offers design consulting services to our new construction customers to ensure that buildings are designed to be solar capable and installing solar becomes a seamless part of the construction process.

Equipment

Should I wait to buy solar? Isn't technology getting more efficient every year?

Commercial solar panels are getting about 1.5% more efficient every year. This means you can get about 1.5% more electricity generated in the same footprint on a roof every year.No doubt more power in a smaller footprint is a good thing. However, in Minnesota a company is only allowed to generate 120% of the electricity it consumed in the prior year. So, if you have enough roof space available to generate that 120%, there is essentially no benefit in a more efficient solar array. As a side note, the cost to install a solar array has remained relatively unchanged for the last few years with a slight reduction year over year.

How quickly do the panels degrade?

Solar panels degrade at approximately .5% per year and the solar industry offers a standard panel manufacturer’s warranty covering production for 25 years.
Imagine 25 years from now your system is producing 80% of what it did when new, and that electricity is basically free since the system is paid for. Seems questionable to buy a totally new system at that point just to get 25% more production.

How durable are my solar panels?

The quality of the PV Panels we use are engineered to high resistance. They have an international standard minimum of 1” diameter hail traveling at 50 mph. Damage from debris, hail or storms are very rare, but generally covered under your insurance plan.

Will the array still produce energy on a cloudy or rainy day?

The rain helps to wash away dust and dirt. Although not as effective as on a sunny day, producing 10-25% of its regular capacity, solar energy can still be converted on a cloudy day. Germany, which gets as much sunshine as the state of Alaska, is the world’s top solar panel installer, producing 31% of the world’s renewable energy.

Is solar technology reliable?

Ongoing research in the field has created ever more efficient and standardized technology. No longer a novel product, most solar panels today are interchangeable and come with long warranties and production guarantees.

What size array do I need?

Your needs will depend up on the your energy consumption and the size of your building / and adjacent grounds. First, we review your annual energy consumption, which can be obtained from your utility bill. Next, we look at the physical size of your facility and/or available land. Commercial systems can range in size from 20 kW up to 1000 kW, with a footprint of roughly 100 square feet per kW.
Certain conditions determine how optimal your site is for solar, including: direct sun exposure, shading, slope and which direction the roof is facing.

Private Sector Financing

How long does it take for solar to pay for itself?

In Xcel Energy territory, commercial solar projects usually pay for themselves in approximately 4 - 5 years.  Other utilities may differ in their payback time.  Systems are paid for by using a combination of tax benefits (65%) and energy savings (35%).

I could pay cash, but are there other options for financing the solar array that make sense?

iDEAL offers a variety of innovative financing options that will result in a cashflow positive investment - Day 1. 

Contact iDEAL to discuss the financing option that is right for you.

Will solar hedge against rising utility rates?

Yes! Phasing out fossil fuels is causing utilities to upgrade their infrastructure. This means raising rates for all their customers.

(For example, Xcel just proposed raising its rates 20+% over 3 years)

By installing a solar array now, you will lock in your current energy costs during the payback period.  After the payback period, you will save on your bottom line by receiving free energy from your solar array for its remaining life (typically ~40 years).