Solar FAQs

Have questions about going solar? Six Rivers Solar is here to help. We’ve been the North Coast’s leader in renewable energy since 1980 and are one of the most experienced solar companies in California. Keep reading for answers to some common questions we hear about going solar. 

Our Process

My system needs service but someone else installed it/I installed it myself. Can you help?

In addition to in-house installations, Six Rivers Solar also offers permitting and solar equipment ordering for a very select few outside contractors. We do not service equipment that was not installed by a Six Rivers Solar technician. If you are in need of service for your system, you will need to reach out to your …

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Will you install solar on my travel trailer/mobile home/manufactured home?

For a number of reasons, we do not install solar on travel trailers, mobile homes or manufactured homes. You can learn more about why we discourage installing rooftop solar on such dwellings here. If you have enough land available, however, ground-mounted solar is an option.

My home is within Tribal jurisdiction. Can I still get solar installed?

Absolutely! Six Rivers Solar has extensive experience in working within various Tribal jurisdictions. Please be advised that permitting and interconnection take significantly longer within Tribal territory.

Do you sell equipment for me to install myself?

We do not offer the solar equipment that we install for sale.

My equipment is really old, and I would like someone to perform a site visit to make sure that it’s working. Is that a service you offer?

Our core focus is the installation of residential and commercial solar. As such, if a system is not installed by us and you would like a site visit to assess its condition, we are unable to accommodate that request.

Solar 101

I had solar panels installed already and now I need to replace my roof.

If this was a system installed by Six Rivers Solar, we are happy to help! Please contact us with your information and the year your system was installed by us and we will happily give you a timeline and a quote for that service.

Do I need a new roof to install solar?

That would depend on the remaining lifespan of your current roof. Six Rivers Solar recommends that a roof be no more than 10 years from needing a roof replacement, but it can be assessed case-by-case.

What is solar energy?

Solar energy is radiant light and heat from the sun that can be harnessed by solar panels and transformed into electricity. Solar energy is the cleanest and most abundant form of renewable energy that’s available to us.

How do solar panels work?

Solar photovoltaic (PV) panels work by absorbing sunlight and converting it into electricity. When particles of light, called photons, hit the PV cells in a solar panel, they generate direct current (DC) electricity. Then, a component called a solar inverter converts the DC electricity into alternating current (AC) electricity, which can be used to power …

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Does solar work only on sunny days?

Solar systems work even when it’s cloudy. Cloud cover reduces the amount of solar radiation reaching the panels, but the system will still produce some electricity on all but the most overcast days. 

How long do solar panels last?

If properly installed, your solar system should last for 30-40 years. Many systems that were installed in the 1970s are still fully operational today. Technology has evolved, however, so the systems from the 1970s may not be as efficient as today’s solar technology.

Do solar panels need maintenance?

Solar PV systems are inherently very low maintenance. You may need to occasionally rinse your solar panels off with water if they get too dirty for light to get through, but they don’t need to be cleaned often and require very little maintenance overall. 

Why choose Six Rivers Solar?

Six Rivers Solar is the best solar company for homeowners and businesses in the Humboldt and Del Norte County areas. We are a 100% locally owned and operated business with decades of experience, and are a part of the community we serve. We know the area and climate well, and you can trust us to …

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Benefits of Solar Energy

What are the benefits of solar energy?

A solar energy system will benefit you in many ways, including:  Reducing your energy bill! In many areas, your utility company will also buy back any extra electricity you generate. Qualifying for federal, state, and utility financial incentives, which are available in many areas. Adding to the value of your home. Allowing you to gain …

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How does solar help the environment?

Fossil fuels are the leading cause of global warming and air pollution. Solar energy reduces the amount of fossil fuels burned to generate electricity, thus reducing the pollutants and CO² typically released into the atmosphere by fossil fuel use. The solar systems that we install have the added benefit of high efficiency, durability, and lengthy …

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How can solar help the economy?

Right now, the US has to import oil and natural gas to cover our country’s energy needs. The cost adds up to billions of dollars, and all of that money leaves the country. But solar energy is generated locally. The energy dollars stay at home, creating economic growth and benefiting your community. Plus, Six Rivers …

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New Construction

I’m going to start building my house and I want solar. Help!

We would love to help! We will need a few things in order to get started: 1) Electrical and structural information will be found within the plans you’ve received from your builder/architect. Both digital and physical plans are acceptable. If you only have one set of physical plans, we are happy to scan them in …

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What if I want batteries for my new home?

That is an option as well that we are happy to discuss.

Off-Grid Solar & Solar Microgrids

My new home is going to be off-grid. Do I still need Title 24 documents?

Yes. All permitted dwellings in the state of California, including off-grid homes and ADUs, will require solar to be installed at the minimum calculated Title 24 requirements.

How does off-grid solar work? 

Off-grid solar systems are not connected to the electric grid. They generate 100% of the power needed by a home or business and usually have several batteries to allow for a significant amount of energy storage. The benefits of a California off-grid solar system include: Complete energy independence Elimination of electricity bills  No risk of …

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What is a solar microgrid?

A solar microgrid is an independently controlled solar energy system that distributes solar power to multiple sources of use. They are ideal for remote locations, like cannabis farms in the Emerald Triangle. Solar microgrids can be installed with or without a connection to the main electric grid. 

Solar Batteries

How does solar battery storage work? 

During the day, solar panels typically generate more electricity than the owner of the system can use at any given time. A solar power battery gives you a place to store that excess energy. You can then use the energy from your solar battery system to power your home or business at night or when …

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Will I still have power in an outage with solar panels?

All grid-tied solar panels are automatically shut off when the power goes out for safety reasons. If you have a solar battery, however, your system will temporarily disconnect itself from the grid during an outage and operate in island mode. This allows your solar panels to keep generating power during a grid outage. 

Do I need solar batteries for my home? 

You can install solar panels without a solar battery, but you won’t be able to store excess electricity from your solar panels or use your solar panels during a power outage. If you are interested in solar panels but are not ready to install a solar battery, we can install a battery-ready system so that …

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Solar Incentives

How does net metering in California work?

Net energy metering (NEM) is an electricity buy-back program that is available from many California utility companies. If you generate more electricity than you use, the excess goes back to your utility company, spinning your meter backward and giving you a credit for the electricity your PV system generated.

What is the federal solar tax credit? 

The federal solar tax credit, formally known as the Investment Tax Credit (ITC), is one of the best solar incentives currently available. The ITC allows you to reduce your federal tax liability by a percentage of your total solar installation costs. It is worth 30% through 2032; will step down in 2033 and be eliminated …

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Solar Cost & Financing

How much do solar panels cost?

The cost of a California solar installation can vary significantly depending on your personal electricity usage, the roof or ground space you have available, the type of solar panels you want to install, and more. Our free solar consultation allows us to better understand your needs so that we can provide an accurate solar panel …

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Can you finance solar panels?

Yes, you can finance solar panels in California. We offer financing through Sungage Financial and Ygrene, and can help you find the right payment option for your needs and budget. 

Do you still have an electric bill with solar panels?

If you install a grid-tied solar system, you will still receive an electric bill every month. Your electricity costs will be significantly reduced, however, and if you participate in net metering, you will receive credits that show up on your monthly bill. If you install an off-grid solar in California, you will no longer receive …

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Permitting & Regulations

I would like my system size larger than the Title 24 minimum requirements.

Great! We will probably need a bit more information about you, your historical usage, and information about the appliances in your new home.

I’m a contractor building a house (not my own) that needs solar. Will you craft a permit and do the installation for the project?

Yes! Six Rivers Solar is happy to help. We will need the following: ∙A copy of the house plans ∙Customer contact information ∙Your license number and contact information ∙Address and APN of the home to be built ∙The building plans for the home for structural and electrical purposes ∙The home’s Title 24 report After this …

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My new home is going to be off-grid. Do I still need Title 24 documents?

Yes. All permitted dwellings in the state of California, including off-grid homes and ADUs, will require solar to be installed at the minimum calculated Title 24 requirements.

Will the Title 24 proposal cover the entirety of my usage?

It’s hard to say given that you will be in a new home and your usage may change in comparison to your previous residence. Additionally, the T24 requirements are typically sized very small. On average, we do not see Title 24 systems that often cover the entirety of a home’s usage, unless that usage is …

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I would like a solar deferral letter. Can I get one from Six Rivers Solar?

At this time, we are not supplying either homeowners or contractors with solar deferral letters.

Have more questions about going solar in California? Call 707-378-6521 or get in touch here. We’re always happy to help. 

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