Learn About Solar
With solar, you can save money on electricity costs while generating your own power and reducing your carbon footprint. National Grid wants to help you make an informed decision about solar.
We’ve partnered with EnergySage, the nation’s leading online marketplace for solar, to make it easier than ever for our customers to explore solar. Learn more about a range of solar topics, get an estimate for the potential of your property for solar, and get easy-to-compare quotes from pre-screened, high-quality installers by visiting our Solar Marketplace.
Why install solar panels?
Solar is one of the fastest growing sources of energy, and for good reason. Here’s why many are considering solar:
- Save on monthly electric bills - Solar panels can help reduce your electricity bill, providing long-term savings.
- Generate your own energy - Energy customers like the idea of being able to generate electricity using their own roof.
- Protect against fluctuating energy costs - Energy costs will rise and fall. When you generate solar power, you lock in a fixed electricity rate for the lifetime of the system.
- Benefit the environment - Solar is a clean, emission-free source of energy. By using solar power, an average home can eliminate three to four tons of carbon emissions each year - this is equivalent to planting over 100 trees annually.
- Increase in property value - Studies have shown that homes with solar panels sell quicker and at a higher value than comparable, non-solar homes.
When it comes to installing solar, there are three primary decisions to make: what equipment you want to install, how you want to finance your solar panel system, and which installation company you want to move forward with. Here are some key facts to keep in mind about each:
- The key components of a solar installation are solar panels, inverter, and mounting equipment. Compare solar panels, inverters, and batteries with the EnergySage Buyer's Guide.
- Not all solar energy equipment is created equal; panels and inverters come with different warranties, efficiencies, certifications, and more.
- Premium equipment options will often come with a higher price tag but may generate more solar electricity than standard equipment options.
- Equipment manufacturers warranty their products for 10-30 years.
- You can finance a solar panel system through a loan or lease. You can also purchase a solar panel system upfront.
- There are $0-down financing options available for going solar.
- Solar financing products have different terms, interest rates, and down payments.
- Installation companies typically partner with specialized solar lenders and can help you obtain a solar loan, but some people elect to obtain their own loan directly (home equity loan, HELOC, etc.).
- Installers vary in terms of experience, reputation, company size, certifications and warranty offering.
- Most solar installers offer a workmanship warranty of at least 10 years.
- Reputable installers will have online reviews and can typically provide contact information for references as well.
Solar panels are made up of silicon. When sunlight hits a solar panel, electrons in the silicon begin to move, initiating a flow of electricity. This creates direct current (DC) electricity. A solar inverter will convert the DC electricity into alternating current (AC) for your home’s appliances to use.
Video: How do solar panels work?
You can use EnergySage’s Solar Calculator to get ballpark estimates for solar costs and savings on your property. To use the calculator, you’ll need to input your address, confirm your roof, and enter an average monthly electricity cost. The resulting costs and savings estimates will take into account these factors, along with current pricing data and any available incentives.
Video: Is my roof good for solar?
Every solar panel system is unique - the number of panels you’ll require depends on how much electricity you want to generate, the efficiency of the equipment, the proposed location of the solar panels, and your geography. When quoting a solar panel system, installers use design tools to propose an appropriately sized solar panel system based on these factors. Installers will also confirm system size at an in-person site visit prior to installation.
Net metering is a solar incentive that allows you to send any excess electricity your solar panels produce back to the grid for credits. You can draw electricity from the grid and use these credits come night time when your solar panel system is not generating power. If your solar panel system produces more than you used in a given billing cycle, National Grid will add credits to use on a future electric bill. Alternatively, if you use more electricity than your solar panel system generates in a billing cycle, National Grid will charge you standard electricity rates for the “net” energy you used from the grid during that month.
Video: How does net metering work?
Yes; your solar panel installation will be grid-tied. This allows you to pull electricity from the grid when you need to, like at night when your panels are not producing. That said, your electric bill can either have a credit or a charge depending on how much solar electricity your system generated versus how much electricity you used during the month.
The cost to install solar panels will depend on multiple factors, including your location, the type of equipment you choose, the size of the system, how you finance the system, and your installer. Fortunately, there are $0-down options available for installing solar panels, including both loan and lease arrangements.
Video: How do you pay for solar?
There are currently both federal and state incentives available for going solar. If you purchase a solar panel system in 2019, you’re eligible to claim a 30% federal investment tax credit. In addition, New York residents who purchase a solar panel system are eligible for the state-funded Megawatt rebate and a state tax credit of up to $5,000. Read more about New York’s solar incentives here.
With a solar battery, you can store extra solar electricity at home instead of feeding it back to the grid. Solar batteries can provide an excellent source of backup power in the event of a grid outage. Installing a battery with a solar panel system will add on an additional cost, but you’ll be eligible for multiple storage incentives that will help minimize overall costs.