Frequently Asked Questions

Deciding on Solar

Why Should I Invest in a Solar Photovoltaic System Now?

The Incentives have never been better than now. The Unisource subsidy is $.10 per direct current (DC) watt installed, Mohave Electric is $.35, the Federal Tax Credit is 30% of the total cost of the system and Arizona gives another $1,000 in state tax credits.

I’ve heard that solar is more wasteful than efficient since it costs so much to produce the materials. Is that true?

In the past, that was the case; but with new technology, the production costs have come down dramatically, making it a viable energy source. Plus, new state, federal and utility company incentives make it more affordable than ever before.

How reliable is the system?

The life expectancy of the modules is 40-plus years; and the lifespan of the inverter (the mechanism that converts direct current to alternating current for use in your home or business) is 15-20 years.

How much experience does Solar Power by Esmay Electric have?

We have been in business in Lake Havasu since 1979 and have been installing Photovoltaic systems since 2007.

What equipment does Solar Power by Esmay Electric use?

We have all the up-to-date tools available for the photovoltaic industry, including the Solar Pathfinder computer program, which determines the most efficient system and application for your home or business.

About Solar Technology


What are photovoltaic cells?

Silicon wafers that absorb photons from the sun’s rays.

How does a photovoltaic system work?

Photons from the sun’s rays are captured by the solar cells and turned into electrons creating direct current (DC) voltage, which is then inverted to standard alternating current (AC) voltage

What is a photovoltaic module?

A module is a group of photovoltaic cells, tied together in series to create enough voltage and wattage for your use.

How long do photovoltaic modules last?

The warranty period on the modules is 25 years, but the life expectancy is 40-plus years.

Do I need a battery back up?

No, we install systems that are tied into the power company’s grid. No batteries are involved. The direct current created in the photovoltaic modules passes through an inverter that changes the direct current to alternating current, which then passes through a breaker in your electric panel. That makes the intertie.

What size system do I need?

That depends on your power usage, we size the systems to your needs.

How long does it take to install a system?

Once the permits are obtained, it takes approximately two weeks, depending on the size of the system


How do I know if my house is suitable for Solar panels?

Please call us for a free evaluation and estimate of your home or business.

I’m not sure my house gets “full sun.” What does that mean exactly?

If enough of your roof is in the direct sun for most of the day, without shade from trees or other houses, a rooftop installation will work; or you property can be evaluated for a ground-mounted system.

Does my house have to face south?

No, we can mount the solar modules on any portion of your roof that faces within 45 degrees of south.

What if the system produces more electricity than I need?

You will earn a credit with the utility company – your meter will literally turn backward if the system is producing more power than you are using. It is normal to have credit in the low usage months, usually in the winter, and then use the credits up in the high-demand, summer months.

What if my roof needs repair after the system is installed?

Every system we install is mounted with a UL-listed, bolt-together mounting system that can be unbolted at any time. (You should always use a qualified photovoltaic installer.)

Does a photovoltaic system have to meet local building codes?

Yes. Both the city and the county require building permits to install Solar. Solar Power by Esmay Electric will handle all the permits, and the cost is included in our proposal.

How do I know if my system is working?

The inverters have a green light that lights up when the inverter is operating, also the monitoring system that comes with all our SunPower® systems will give you all the information about your system.

How does the SunPower® monitoring system work?

The SunPower® Monitoring System lets you view your real-time solar energy output and other factors, to help you get the greatest energy savings from your system. It can even measure how much your system has done to benefit the environment. There are three ways to access your system: On a sleek, wireless, wall-mounted display, which can be installed in your home; online through a web-based interface, and on the go with our monitoring application for the iPhone™ or iPod touch® mobile devices, which let you access your information wherever you are.

iPod touch® and iPhone are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.

How do I maintain my photovoltaic system?

Since there are no moving parts, there is not a lot of maintenance. The modules will collect dust after a period of time, so hosing them off every 4-6 months is all that is needed.

Will the system work on cloudy days?

Yes, but the production may vary depending on the thickness of the clouds. Fortunately, there are very few cloudy days in our area.

Do I need approval from my homeowner’s association?

You should get approval, but federal law states that no association rules can hinder the installation of solar on a residence.

Your Solar Investment

How much does a photovoltaic system cost?

After the current incentives, your final cost could be as low as $3,000. Before tax credits and rebates, the systems will run $12,000-$60,000 , we also have lease options that greatly reduce the cost of the system. Or you can have monthly payments that are less than your electric and lock in the cost of your electric bill.

What are the federal and state rebates and financial incentives?

The federal tax credit equals 30% of the cost of the system. The Arizona tax credit is $1,000. Unisource subsidy is $.10 per direct current watt as of Feb. 2013, and Mohave Electric’s subsidy is $.35.

Is financing available?

Yes, through our SunPower® dealership. A home equity loan is the best option, because of the tax advantages, but other forms of financing are available. Leasing is also an option.

How much money will I save on my electric bill?

From 50% to 95% depending on how much you invest in the system (there will always be a charge for the utility company to read your meter).

What are the economic benefits of installing a solar system?

You will have a guaranteed return on your investment; you will break even on your investment in 7-8 years and have free electricity after that.