Frequently Asked Questions

What is MadiSUN?

MadiSUN is the City of Madison’s initiative to expand solar energy for homes, businesses, and nonprofit organizations. For residents looking to go solar, the MadiSUN Solar Group Buy serves as a consultant, connecting homeowners to local contractors and answering questions along the way. MadiSUN makes it easy for homeowners to go solar!

What is a Group Buy?

In a solar group buy, a large collection of homeowners come together at one time to purchase solar. By purchasing as a group, materials and labor costs are reduced, making the installation more affordable to homeowners.

What are the benefits of installing solar through MadiSUN?

For the 2021 MadiSUN Group Buy, participating homeowners will have three solar installers to choose from. MadiSUN staff vet each solar installation firm, saving time and taking the guesswork out of selecting a contractor. Through a competitive selection process, Each MadiSUN solar contractor offers the best combinations of quality, service, materials, and pricing.

How long does the solar installation process take?

The whole process ーsite assessment, issuance of proposal, permitting and installationーcan take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. The actual installation of the solar panels typically takes 1-2 days.

What additional incentives are available for residential solar systems?

Homeowners who go solar in 2021 can qualify for the current 26% Federal Tax Credit. Statewide incentives are also available from Focus On Energy. Learn more about qualifying for these incentives and how to apply here. In addition, solar is exempt from sales tax and rising property taxes.

Is it cost effective to put panels on an east or west facing roof?

Yes – roof pitches that face east or west are suitable for solar panels. South-facing arrays are the most efficient, but east-facing and west-facing arrays still typically produce enough energy to offset your home’s needs.

What is the difference in production for panels that are west- or east-facing versus south-facing?

This depends on the pitch/tilt of the roof but a roof at 30 degrees facing due east or west would produce 20% less than a system facing due south.

What is the minimum tilt angle for a roof? 

Solar can also be installed on flat roofs, so there really is no minimum tilt. However, any roof below a 10-degree tilt would not be eligible for an incentive from Focus on Energy.

What size solar array should I install?

Every home is different which means every solar array will also be different. Residential solar systems are custom designed to offset a majority of a home’s electric consumption. The size of your solar array will almost entirely depend on your home’s electric use. Roof size, orientation, and shading may also come into play. A home solar system is designed to fit your home’s needs!

Can I put extra panels on my roof to consistently overproduce energy?

This is not recommended because energy put back onto the grid is credited to customers at a wholesale rate, whereas a customer purchases electricity at a market rate. The cost of the panels is typically more than the electricity credits from overproducing.

What does the Group Buy price include?

The Group Buy prices include everything needed in the solar installation process – materials, labor, permits, etc. There are add-ons you can purchase and the contractors will recommend them as needed.

Is there a way to track the performance of my PV system?

Electricity production from panels can be tracked online or using a phone app. 

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Can I connect my electric car charger to my solar system?

Yes! Electric car chargers can be connected to home solar arrays, which allows you to drive on sunshine! The cost varies based on the location of the electric box, but it typically is an extra $1000-2000 cost.

What about battery backup/storage?

Yes! Battery backups and electricity storage are available through MadiSUN in 2021. NOTE: this will significantly increase the cost of your solar system. Battery storage options typically start at around $15,000 and increase based on the number of kilowatt-hours stored. But you will have peace of mind in the event of a power outage, and you can also use excess electricity produced from your solar array at times when the sun is not shining.