There are three main factors to consider -- age, condition and cost.
- Age: If your roof is less than 12 to 15 years old, it’s probably fine.
- Condition: Check for red flags, both inside and out.
- Signs of water damage (leaks or stains) on your ceiling
- Outside light coming through the roof
- Broken, cracked or missing shingles
- Shingle granules in the gutters
- Cost: The cost of repairing or replacing a roof varies depending on the material of the roof surface and where you live. Weather, such as snow load or rain amount, may be a factor in determining replacement cost.
A general rule of thumb is if your roof needs to be replaced within five years, you should consider doing it before installing solar panels. Removing and reinstalling solar panels to replace the roof generally come with an extra cost. This can be prevented if you repair the roof prior to installing your solar system.
There are three main components to a solar system: panels, inverters and meters.
Solar panels contain solar cells. Solar cells, sometimes called photovoltaic cells, convert the energy of the sun into electricity. Most solar cells are made of some form of silicon. Panels also contain metal conductor strips and antireflective coating. Wiring and hardware to attach panels to the roof are also part of your entire solar system.
Solar panels generate Direct Current (DC). But almost everything you use in your house – TV, computer, refrigerator and such – runs on Alternating Current (AC). That’s why solar systems require an inverter. Inverters convert DC power generated by solar panels into AC power that fuels your house. If allowed by your utility, excess AC energy can be fed back into your local grid.
Solar systems utilize two types of meters. Your solar power company will provide a solar meter to collect and upload your system’s production data. Your utility company will provide a net meter to measure the energy you consume and, in applicable markets, the energy you send back to the electric grid. This give-and-take relationship between your solar system and the utility grid is called net metering.
In addition to the three main components, some systems may also include a battery storage system. By adding a battery, your system will power your home during the day and send excess energy to the battery to be used at night. Unlike solar-only systems, it will continue producing and storing energy during a power outage when the electric grid is down so you can keep your most needed lights and appliances on.
The amount of power available during a power outage is limited, depending on the loads connected and the customer usage during a power outage.
Solar systems convert sunlight into energy, so you definitely need the sun’s rays to make that happen. Weather conditions, the season of the year and time of day all have an impact on how much energy your system generates. On cloudy or foggy days when your production is less, or at night when your system isn’t producing at all, your home will be powered by energy from the electric grid. Interconnection of your system to the grid makes this possible.
In most cases, if your solar system generates more energy than your home needs at any given time, the excess energy will flow back to the electric grid. Your utility company may provide you with a credit for energy you send back to it.*
There are a few exceptions, however. For example, customers in states that have placed a cap on net metering may be limited in the amount of energy they can export to the grid, as well as any credit received for it. In addition, homeowners whose solar systems have a battery component are able to store excess energy for future use when their systems aren’t generating power, rather than export it to the grid.
*Sunnova makes no guarantees regarding credit for net energy exported to the electric grid, and any credit provided (now or in the future) is subject to change or termination by executive, legislative or regulatory action.
Your solar system will provide most of the power your home needs. During cloudy or foggy days, there will be low production and at night, the system won’t produce energy. If you have a battery connected to your solar system, you may receive power from it when your system is not producing; thereby reducing the amount of power you need from the grid.
However, whether you have a battery or not, your system will be connected to your utility company’s electric grid to supply electricity during the times your system isn’t producing enough on its own or the battery is depleted. This is known as interconnection, and it allows for the bidirectional transmission of energy between your home and the electric grid.
Net metering is the concept of measuring both the energy you receive from the grid, as well as any excess energy your system produces and sends back to it1. Your utility company will supply your net meter to keep track of what you consume from and export to the grid. You may receive credit for exported energy to help offset the cost of what you consume.
Net metering is not available in all markets. We recommend you check your local utility.
Please note: You will have two energy meters and therefore two monthly statements. Sunnova will provide you with a solar meter to measure your solar production, in addition to your utility net meter. Net metering may appear on your utility bill in its acronym form, NEM (Net Energy Metering).1
1. Your electricity needs will vary based on your usage, the energy efficiency of your home and other factors. Your solar system’s production will vary based on weather and other factors. Sunnova makes no guarantees regarding credit for net energy exported to the electric grid, and any credit provided (now or in the future) is subject to change or termination by executive, legislative or regulatory action.
Your Sunnova solar or solar + battery system is grid-tied, which means it is connected to the electric grid. A solar-only system cannot operate independently of the electric grid and will shut down when the grid isn’t working. This means you won’t have any power for your home during a grid outage.
This is normally to keep the line workers safe when doing repair work on the grid since there can’t be any live power flowing through the lines. Solar-only systems can’t produce any energy.
Unlike solar-only systems, a solar + battery system will continue producing and storing energy during a power outage, when the electric grid is down, so you can keep your most needed lights and appliances on. Visit our Sunnova SunSafeTM page to learn more about our solar + battery technology.
The amount of power available during a power outage is limited, depending on the loads connected and the customer usage during a power outage.
The average life expectancy of a roof varies greatly depending on what your roof is made of and the climate you live in, so it could be anywhere from 12-30 years. Residential solar panels typically come with a warranty of 20-25 years, but panels can last more than 40 years.
Solar panels are built to survive the elements, including hurricane-force winds, high-speed hail, and heavy snow and rain. Even at the end of 25 years, solar panels usually maintain at least 80% efficiency.
A racking system mounts the panels, and any gaps resulting from installation are sealed. Coverings, such as flashing, may be required. The integrity of your roof will be as preserved as it was before installation.
However, in the event that the installation of the solar panels causes any leaks or damage to your roof, Sunnova will work with our installation partners to ensure that all repairs are made according to our roof warranty.
Solar panels contain solar cells. Most solar cells are made of some form of silicon. Panels also contain metal conductor strips and antireflective coating. Wiring and hardware to attach panels to the roof are also part of your entire solar system. All of these components do not add an unbearable weight load to your roof.
Today’s solar panels don’t weigh much at all -- typically about four pounds per square foot.
That being said, if your roof is damaged or in disrepair before installation, it doesn’t take much additional weight to cause cracks or leaks.
You can monitor your solar system’s production in the “Monitoring” section of the MySunnova customer portal. Please keep in mind that the reading of your meter is delayed approximately 24 hours. For example, on Monday, you’ll be able to see the production your system registered for Sunday.
To ensure optimal performance of your solar system, Sunnova also monitors every system 24/7* at no additional cost to the customer. Learn more about our MySunnova portal.* In the state of Florida, Sunnova does not offer production guarantee or 24/7 system monitoring. Restrictions apply. Refer to your service agreement for complete terms and limitations.
Solar storage is a hot topic in the solar industry because it has the potential to significantly reduce your dependence on the electric grid. Sunnova offers two battery solutions:
- Home Solar + Battery Storage – if you do not currently have a solar system, check out Sunnova SunSafeTM, our state-of-the-art solar + battery storage technology.
- Add-on Solar Battery Storage – if you already have a solar system, you can add Sunnova +SunSafeTM, our battery storage technology that connects to your home’s existing system.
When you go solar with Sunnova, you not only gain greater control over your energy costs, but you also get the peace of mind of eliminating out-of-pocket expenses associated with the solar system’s care and maintenance. Every Sunnova solar and solar + battery system comes with a maintenance and operations warranty that lasts the lifetime of the service agreement. This includes:
- Sunnova Protect™ Warranty - Our best-in-class warranty covers all system components for 25 years, eliminating out-of-pocket expenses for repairs and maintenance. Plus, you get a 10-year roof warranty for extra peace of mind.
- 24/7 System Monitoring - We track your system’s solar generation and battery performance. If we detect any issues, our team of experts will take care of it.
- Online Customer Portal - Access account information, hourly production data and other important information about your solar system by using our comprehensive portal, MySunnova.
- Transferable Agreement - If you sell your home, you can pass the benefits to the next homeowner. And, the Sunnova ProtectTM warranty will still cover the system through the full 25-year agreement.
- Production Guarantee - We guarantee your system will produce the promised amount of energy outlined in your 25-year service agreement, or we will credit you the difference.
To ensure you warranty remains intact, the following actions must be completed by an authorized Sunnova vendor:
- Removing and reinstalling your solar system – this is typically done during roof repairs or renovations involving your roof
- Installing critter or snow guards
If you currently have a home solar system that was not installed by Sunnova or a Sunnova partner, but want the benefits of the Sunnova Protect™ Warranty, visit our Sunnova Protect™ Services page to learn more about our plans.1. New homeowners must meet Sunnova credit requirements. Limitations apply. Please refer to your agreement for details.
2. Production guarantee is not available in all markets.
With some products, Sunnova offers a production guarantee, which means we guarantee your system will produce a certain amount of energy each year. The amount of energy your Sunnova solar system produces in each year is subject to a number of factors such as weather, time of day, the shading around your home, and season of the year. During sunny summer months, your system will produce more energy. In the winter and on cloudy days, your system will produce less. At night, your system won’t generate energy at all. Sunnova’s production guarantee is designed to make up for variances in your system’s production.
Sunnova will review the system’s performance on a periodic basis. If your system produces less than the guaranteed amount, we’ll credit you the difference, generally, starting at the end of year three. If your system produces more than the guaranteed amount, you won’t owe us any extra money—we’ll simply “bank” the overproduction for future years in which your system may produce less than we guaranteed. You will likely only receive a credit if your system is routinely underperforming.
Review your solar agreement for details regarding production guarantee, including when the assessments will occur.
When you go solar with Sunnova, you not only gain greater control over your energy costs, but you also get the peace of mind of eliminating out-of-pocket expenses associated with the solar system’s care and maintenance. Our Sunnova solar and solar + battery system come with a maintenance and operation warranty that lasts the lifetime of the service agreement and includes our best-in-class warranty, 24/7 monitoring, access to our online customer portal, and production guarantee. Our production guarantee is not available in all markets - please contact us for more information.
If you currently have a non-Sunnova solar system, but want the benefits of the Sunnova Protect™ warranty, you can sign up for one of our Sunnova Protect™ Service plans.
Financing and Billing
At Sunnova, we offer solar and solar + battery storage systems at little to no upfront costs. In addition, with the Sunnova Protect™ warranty, all system components are covered for the term of the agreement, eliminating out-of-pocket expenses for repairs and maintenance, including labor too1. Plus, you get a 10-year roof warranty for extra peace of mind.1. Limitations and conditions apply. Refer to the warranty in your Sunnova agreement for details.
There is a brief window for canceling your solar service agreement, typically seven days from the date you sign it. Cancellation periods may vary slightly by product and market; however, your solar service agreement will outline the specific terms and deadlines for cancellation.
We make paying your Sunnova bill convenient by setting up automatic payments. Since your monthly payments are recurring, this takes the hassle out of remembering to pay each month or risking a late payment because you forget. You can select a current bank account, debit card, or credit card as your payment method. However, you will receive a discount for paying with a bank (ACH) draft instead of a debit or credit card.
You may be eligible for a federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) with the purchase of a solar or a solar + battery storage system. If eligible, you could reduce your federal tax payment by up to 30% of your system’s cost. To receive the full federal tax credit, you must have federal income tax liability at least equal to the value of the tax credit. Additional tax credits may also be available for homeowners in certain states.
If you choose one of our lease or PPA products and reside in a state that offers the Solar Renewable Energy Certificate (SREC), you must assign ownership of the SREC to Sunnova. Sunnova makes no guarantees regarding customer eligibility for tax benefits or SRECs. Sunnova does not provide tax advice. Contact your personal tax advisor for eligibility requirements.
Each month, you will receive either a bill or a statement from your utility company, in addition to your Sunnova bill. If the utility company sends monthly statements in lieu of an actual bill with an amount due, you can expect an annual reconciliation of all electricity usage charges and credits.**Sunnova makes no guarantees regarding credit for net energy exported to the electric grid, and any credit provided (now or in the future) is subject to change or termination by executive, legislative or regulatory action.
In the event of your passing, your agreement passes to your heirs who will then also enjoy the benefits of solar power simply by continuing to make the monthly payments for the remainder of the agreement term.
We strive to keep things simple for you, including the completion of your solar agreement. At the end of the original term, you have the option of renewing your solar service agreement for up to two successive five-year terms. Refer to your agreement for other options.
An annual escalator is a strategy sometimes used to achieve greater savings in the early years of a solar service agreement, in return for a small increase in the rate per kWh each year.
Solar service agreements that include an annual escalator will provide less significant long-term savings than those that don't include an escalator; however, you will save more at the beginning of the agreement.
The reason behind the 25-year duration of Sunnova solar service agreements is simple: long-term peace of mind. Utility rates are unpredictable because they are tied to fossil fuels and, as a result, dependent on the ups and downs of a commodity market. When you consider the fact that you must do business with your utility company for as long as you need electricity, 25 years of sustainable, readily available solar power doesn’t seem like a long time at all.
During the term of your agreement, you don’t have to worry about out-of-pocket expenses for maintenance or repairs1. That means simpler, more predictable budgeting for your energy costs for the long haul.
Think of the solar service agreement as proof of our commitment to you -- a document designed with life’s milestones in mind. If you move, you can easily transfer the agreement to the new homeowner2. Likewise, should your agreement outlive you, your heirs will enjoy the benefits of solar power simply by continuing to make the monthly payments for the remainder of the agreement term.
As an added bonus, your solar service agreement means you’ll be doing something good for the environment for 25 years. Your wallet and the world will both be a little better off because you chose solar power.1. Limitations and conditions apply. Refer to the warranty in your Sunnova agreement for details. 2. New homeowners must meet Sunnova credit requirements. Limitations and conditions apply. Please refer to your agreement for details.
No, we will not put a lien on your home. However, if you are selling a home or securing financing using your home as colateral, there may be conditions that require the removal of a Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) filing before the home can be sold or the financing process is completed. UCC laws are established to regulate the sales of personal property and other business transactions. For example, when a lender gives a car loan to a person buying a car, both parties sign a UCC-1 form. The form is filed by the lender and the title is kept by the lender until the loan is paid off.
In matters of solar systems, the UCC provides for a way to protect Sunnova’s ownership on the solar system (typical under Easy Save Simple, Easy Save Monthly and Easy Save), or its collateral under finance agreements (Easy Own), in the event a customer decides to sell (or transfer in any way, including foreclosures) the home where the system is installed. While Sunnova does not put liens on homes, Sunnova files a UCC financial statement with respect to the solar system -- not your home. This filing is known as a UCC-1 filing (mentioned before). Some states refer to these filings as a lien on a collateral, which in our case, is the solar system we (or our partners) installed on your home.
The UCC-1 filing should not impact your ability to sell your home as it will be removed and refiled under the new title owner’s name. However, it’s important that you contact us as soon as you think you will be selling (or transferring) your home as the UCC removal process may take a few weeks. Also, removal fees apply in most jurisdictions and customers are responsible for these. The sale of a home is the most common scenario where the UCC-1 filing will need to be removed in advance. However, this applies also to any process that may affect your home’s title with the county. For example, if you decide to secure a second mortgage on the home on which the solar system is installed, we will also need to remove the UCC filing before you can do so.
Solar Moving and Relocation
When you need to do renovations to your home involving your roof or roof repairs that are not solar related, such as replacing your entire roof, you will need to remove and reinstall your solar system. You will need to contact Sunnova first so that we can shop around to obtain a high-quality vendor who offers competitive pricing. We'll help you get the best deal for removing and reinstalling your system.
To ensure your Sunnova Protect™ warranty remains intact, your solar system’s removal and reinstallation must be done by a Sunnova-approved vendor or partner.
In the process of selling your home, we are more than happy to speak with the new homebuyer so that we can explain to them the benefits of solar. Otherwise, we will be happy to work with you to relocate the solar system to your new home, as long as your new home is within the same utility district.
Please keep in mind that there are costs associated with this move and your system design will and can change due to the different dynamics of the new roof at the new home.
If you sell your home, you can transfer your Sunnova service agreement to the homebuyer, passing the solar benefits to the next homeowner. When transferring your service plan1, a potential homebuyer must pass a credit check to verify they are able to make regular monthly payments through the end of the term of the agreement. It’s the exact same process that every new Sunnova customer goes through.
Once the sale of the home has closed successfully, the transfer agreement goes into effect and the buyer is officially a Sunnova customer. This means that the buyer will receive all related benefits, including warranty, maintenance and performance guarantee as applicable. Our Customer Service team will walk you through the entire process, but it’s important that you contact us by phone at 866.SUNNOVA, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as you decide to sell your home.1. New homeowner is required to meet Sunnova’s credit requirements. Refer to your agreement for conditions and limitations.
Solar Maintenance and Repairs
Sometimes. Cleaning your solar panels is easy, however. In fact, rain does a great job of cleaning your solar panels for you! Otherwise, in times of heavy dust or other regional weather issues, you may have to rinse your solar panels to clear the dust and debris.
To find a solar panel cleaning company in your area, please give us a call and we will connect you directly to an approved solar panel cleaning company.
If you decide to clean your own solar panels, we recommend you spray your panels with a hose from the ground – do not get on your roof. You should not clean your solar panels during the hottest part of the day because the extreme temperature difference between the water and the solar panels may cause the glass to crack.
Some notes about solar panel cleaning and your Sunnova service agreement:
Although Sunnova solar system comes with the Sunnova Protect™ warranty1, it’s important to note that you’ll want to keep the solar panels free of debris and obstructions. Doing so will help keep the system operating at optimum levels.1
Regularly trim any trees around your solar system so they don’t block sunlight from reaching the solar panels. The analysis performed at your home during the pre-installation site visit established a benchmark for any shading created by trees, which you are expected to maintain for the lifetime of your solar service agreement.
Panels will become dirty over time. Typically, rainfall will serve as a consistent and effective method of washing the panels. However, in more arid climates where rainfall is minimal and dust storms are often an issue, it may be necessary to periodically rinse your solar panels. Be sure to avoid harsh chemicals that could damage the panels – a garden hose should be sufficient.
Generally, maintenance issues are mainly related to the system’s wires rather than faulty panels and/or equipment. To prevent problems with your system, check that there’s no accumulation of leaves, debris, snow, or critters, like squirrels or rodents, under the solar panels.2 In doing this a couple of times a year, you can avoid interruptions in energy production, system damage and roof rotting. Prevention plays a key factor in extending the lifetime of your panels during your solar service agreement.1. Refer to the Limited Warranty in your agreement for complete warranty terms and limitations.
2. Sunnova does not assume responsibility for any injuries to the homeowner that may result from solar system maintenance.
Solar panels are extremely durable and built to withstand the elements. While solar panels don’t typically need regular maintenance, it’s always good to keep an eye out.
You know your solar system the best because you see it every day! We recommend you do a regular visual inspection of your solar panels from the ground. Look for things like weeds, wasps, and anything else that seems out of place.
It’s also important keep the area around your solar system free and clear. You should regularly trim trees or shrubs that grow near your solar panels. As new foliage grows around your solar panels, your solar production may be negatively impacted by new shade.
If you have any additional concerns about your panels, please don’t hesitate to call us.
Research around solar panels and critters is mixed – it’s unclear the degree to which home solar panels may lead to critter problems.
It’s important to note that there is a gap between your solar panels and your roof where critters may nest.
If you’re concerned about critters, we recommend you ask your solar installer about a critter guard. The recommended critter guard is a malleable metal screening installed around your solar panels to block off the gap between your solar panels and your roof.
If you have any concerns about critters, please don’t hesitate to call us right away.
Solar panels are tough and built to last. They’re covered with tempered glass, which is incredibly durable. Today’s solar panels can withstand the force of hurricane winds and large hail.
That being said, accidents can occur.
Your solar service agreement should cover, in detail, what will and won’t be covered if a panel breaks. This includes “Acts of God” or “Force Majeure.”
If one panel breaks, your system may still be generating some solar power. If you notice an issue, contact Sunnova immediately. Most importantly, do not try to fix a broken solar panel yourself as it will void your warranty.
The majority of home roofs in North America are made from asphalt shingles. The shingles have a rough texture and give your roof friction that snow can “grip” – this prevents large amounts of snow from falling off your roof at one time.
Because solar panels are covered with glass, they are near-frictionless. When large amounts of snow accumulate on your solar panels, the snow may fall off your roof in large sheets. This amount of falling snow can hurt anyone standing below the roof and damage your outdoor furniture, vehicles, and anything else in the way.
If snow has accumulated on your solar panels, we strongly recommend you let the snow melt off your panels - brushing the snow off your solar panels may put you at risk of personal injury and falling snow can cause property damage. We also recommend you clear the area under your solar panels for falling snow.
Your solar panels are designed to handle snow. You should not be concerned about the weight of the snow on your solar panels.
If you live in an area with frequent heavy snowfall, you may want to ask your solar installer about snow guards. Snow guards are designed to hold snow on the roof, so the snow falls slowly or melts off the roof - no avalanche.
If you have any concerns about snow or ice on your panels, please don’t hesitate to call us.
You will receive a $350 gift card for every homeowner who installs a Sunnova solar system from a referral you provide to Sunnova. You can refer as many people as you would like by filling in the online form in your MySunnova customer portal. There is no cap to the number of referral incentives you receive, but if the amount exceeds $599 with any calendar year, you will receive a 1099 form. For any additional questions, please visit our referral terms and conditions.