Solar Energy FAQs

Solar is growing as a viable energy choice for Georgia consumers. Find answers to frequently asked questions.

Can I install solar photovoltaic (PV) panels at my home or business?

Yes, as long as the location selected is clear of obstructions that will block the sunlight. Some shading may be unavoidable, but you want it to have direct sunlight most of the time. Please visit our Rooftop Solar Service page to learn more.

Are Georgia Power and Southern Company testing different solar technologies?

Yes, Southern Company and EPRI are currently testing multiple PV technologies in Georgia and across our territory. See our solar projects page for a few examples.

How do solar panels generate electricity?

Solar panels absorb energy from the sun by way of a semiconductor (typically silicon) and generate a direct current electrical source. An inverter is used to convert the source to an alternating current source. Learn more about How Solar Works.

How can I use solar panels to power my house at night?

Battery storage may be ideal for some small Scale PV systems. However, this method requires additional maintenance, and can be costly.

Most customers remain connected to the grid for access to continuous, reliable electricity at all times.

How do PV technologies differ?

Some of the key ways solar PV technologies differ is by temperature coefficient and efficiency. The temperature coefficient represents the relative change in power output with respect to the ambient temperature. Solar panel efficiency is related to the quality of the panels and solar cell technology (monocrystalline, polycrystalline, thin film). Panel efficiency commonly ranges from 12-21 percent with respect to the cell technology.

What size PV system do I need to power my home or business?

PV system size is directly related to how much generation you need and the available area you have. By observing your monthly and annual usage, you can calculate your ideal PV system size.

How much does a typical installed PV system cost?

The installed cost of solar PV systems can range from $2,000 – $4,000 per kW depending on technology, location, size of the installation, and other factors.

How long does a typical solar panel last?

Most solar panels are under warranty to produce 80 percent efficiency for 20-25 years, though some panels have been known to perform in excess of 40 years.

Can I install my PV system on my house myself?

It is highly recommended to have a professional installer for PV installations. Compliance with local building and electrical codes may be required.

How much space is required for a 4 kW PV system?

A good area estimate is about 60 square feet per kW or about 240 square feet for a 4 kW system. This varies for each solar panel.

Is maintenance required for PV systems?

Yes, minimal maintenance is required. Panels should be cleaned of debris and anything else that can block the sun, to ensure maximum output. Some components may need regular inspection by a professional.

Can cloudy days impact solar panel effectiveness?

Yes, clouds can diffuse and/or block sunlight. This in turn will restrict the amount of sunlight absorbed by the solar panels and can reduce the energy output by 40-90 percent.

Where can I find a licensed contractor to install my solar panels or solar water heater?

Georgia Power recommends using a solar installer who is certified by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners. Visit their website to learn more about NABCEP and find certified professionals in Georgia. We're also available to help with your installation through our Rooftop Solar Service.

What kind of questions should I ask when choosing an installer?

Price is only one factor to consider when selecting a renewable energy installer. Here are some other things to consider:

  • Is the company certified?
  • Is the company experienced?
  • Will the company provide a copy of their current business license?
  • Does the company have any judgments or liens?
  • Will the company provide references?
  • Does the company have a record with the Better Business Bureau?
  • How many systems has the company installed in the last year?
  • How long will the installation process take?
  • How long will the company monitor the installations after they are completed?
  • What is the warranty period? What does it cover?
  • What repair services are offered? What are the rates?
  • What type of operation or maintenance training is available?
Does Georgia Power sell solar systems or recommend specific systems?

Please visit our Rooftop Solar Service page to find out more about partnering with Georgia Power on your solar installation. You can also check with qualified installers through NABCEP for their recommendations on the correct system to meet your needs.

How much is the federal tax credit for customers?

An uncapped 30 percent Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) is available to homeowners for solar equipment placed in service by December 31, 2019. The tax credit will be 26 percent for systems placed in service in 2020, 22 percent for systems in service in 2021, and 0 percent for systems in service after 2021. For commercial systems placed in service after 2021, the tax credit will be 10 percent (Business ITC). Find information about tax incentives at the Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy and Energy.gov. Please consult your tax advisor to determine how this federal incentive may apply to your particular circumstances.

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