Residential FAQ

Residential Solar Frequently Asked Questions

About Arch

Arch Electric was established in 2003 and has been installing solar since 2004. We are headquartered in Plymouth, WI with additional offices in Milwaukee and Madison.

Arch Electric is a fully insured, licensed Electrical Contractor in Wisconsin. We can offer our Evidence of Insurance if necessary. We can also be found on the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions website to confirm our credentials.

Arch Electric is a completely vertically integrated company. This means we do everything in-house, from design to installation, with our own employees. We have our own Master, Journeyman, and Apprentice Electricians on staff.

We are familiar with most municipalities in Southeastern Wisconsin. Most simply require an electrical permit for solar installations. Some may also request a building permit along with a structural engineering report which can add to total application cost.

Yes! We have numerous happy customers who would be willing to discuss their solar installations with potential customers. We strive for a superior level of service throughout the entire solar process. Arch Electric will take care of everything in house and keep you informed every step of the way. We want to do the work. We want you to enjoy the savings.

General Questions

The evolution of solar panels has leveled out somewhat in the last few years. While we do anticipate continued technological advancements, it is likely that power generation capacity will not change drastically in the immediate future. The best time to invest is now!

Recent studies have shown solar increases home value by 3-5%. Most warranties related to solar panel equipment stay with the installation and are transferable to the new homeowner.

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No. Wisconsin has strong solar access rights that prevent any private land use controls from restricting the construction of a solar energy system. You may still need to notify your association of the installation, but they cannot stop you from taking advantage of solar.

The PV system will need to be removed for roof replacement. Our current labor rate is $110 per hour. Depending on the system size and complexity it may take our installers a day or two to remove and replace the installation.

Wisconsin law protects a solar system owner’s right to unobstructed access to the sun. WI Statute 700.41 limits the permitted building envelope of properties next to a solar system to what it was at the time of system installation. This allows the system owner to be certain that future zoning and development will not render the system ineffective. In addition, WI Statute 844.22 states that any structure of vegetative growth that occurs after the installation of a solar system and interferes with its function is considered to be a private nuisance. The right to unobstructed resource access can only be applied after a system is constructed.

It depends — vehicle type, average miles driven, charging rate, charger type, etc., all make a difference when determining how much solar is needed to offset the EV’s usage. A vehicle can be charged via the grid or battery system even when the sun isn’t shining. We can work with a homeowner to evaluate their EV usage and take it into account when planning the solar install.

Equipment

Yes, all solar panels have a degradation rate and slowly lose production capacity over their lifespan. Most panels guarantee a power performance of 87-90% over 25 years, which is the industry standard. 

Most of our residential installs use micro-inverters for a few reasons. Micro-inverters generally have a warranty and lifespan similar to that of the panels, whereas central inverters are usually only warrantied for 10-15 years and may need to be replaced. Micro-inverters allow for easier expansion if the homeowner would like to add on to their system in the future. Most micro-inverters will be compatible with battery systems should the homeowner wish to look into storage options. Finally, we see better power performance with micro-inverters as each panel operates independently of each other compared to a string.

The panels and inverters we install come with their own warranties (typically 25 years). Arch Electric offers a 5 year workmanship warranty for residential installs. If a problem occurs with any installed equipment or workmanship, homeowners are welcome to reach out to us!

Project Management and Design

We have in-house Solar Energy Consultants and Designers who collaboratively use the latest technology and software to design solar arrays. We utilize local weather data and forecasting to provide the most accurate production estimates possible.

We take care of all permitting and interconnection applications for homeowners. The associated fees are included in the total project cost. If the utility or town requires a form that cannot be completed by Arch Electric, we will notify the homeowner.

The quote provided at the time of signing will be a firm quote. Your Solar Experience Consultant will ensure you understand the contract before it is signed.

All contract changes will be addressed with a change order to be reviewed by the homeowner. We do allow a 3-day grace period following contract signing during which the homeowner may cancel their installation.

Yes, our systems installed with micro-inverters come with panel-level monitoring. The monitoring is provided through the inverter company. The homeowner will have their own account for the system monitoring that can be accessed from any web-based device. Monitoring set up is completed by our installation team. While production monitoring is included with every installation, consumption monitoring is not. This can be added at an additional cost to cover parts and labor.

Roof-mounted solar installs are not very heavy (about 3lbs/sq ft) and most homes in WI have no issue with the additional load. If a homeowner is concerned their home may need reinforcement or if a municipality requires it, we can provide a structural engineering report at an additional cost.

Yes, our designers are knowledgeable of local and national codes regarding solar installs and make sure to follow proper procedures.

The majority of our installs are grid-tied. This means the grid acts like a storage system, allowing the solar to feed power out during the day and the home to draw it back at night. Unfortunately, for safety reasons, grid-tied solar systems will shut down during a power outage. The only way to avoid this occurrence is to install a battery backup, which Arch commonly installs.

In most instances, yes. Provided there is space and the inverter can handle expansion, we can add more panels. If the homeowner knows during the initial consultation that they would like to add panels in the future, we can do some pre-planning to make the addition easier.

Yes. Our Solar Experience Consultants and design team can work with you to find the best solution for a solar install if a homeowner’s roof is inconvenient. Arch has all the equipment to install ground mount systems.

Savings & Financing

Our Financing partners are CECU, Sunlight Financial, Mosaic, GreenPenny, and others. In addition, we work with several local banks to make solar a possibility for homeowners. Our experts can discuss this with you further, regarding your specific situation.

It depends. Just about anyone can save money with solar; however, the amount (and payback period) is dependent on numerous factors. This includes but is not limited to: location, panel orientation and tilt, shading, electrical usage, ease of installation, utility and existing electrical service.

Our terms are 50% down upon contract signing, 40% substantial completion, 10% final (PTO). Depending on the preferences of the homeowner, we have some flexibility regarding how the payments are split.

The Federal Income Tax Credit (ITC) is available to all homeowners installing a residential solar system. It will be applied to 26% of the project cost in 2022 and 22% in 2022. The ITC will be discontinued in 2022 for residential customers. Wisconsin’s state program, Focus on Energy, offers rebates for residential installs. An additional $500 is available to homeowners located in eligible “rural” zip codes.

Installation

No. We let homeowners know which portion of the installation requires indoor access (if any) and if their presence is necessary.

We do have several electricians working for Arch Electric, including two Master Electricians. However, it is not necessary a Master Electrician be on site during most residential installs as all electrical can be handled by our Journeymen and their apprentices. A licensed Journeyman Electrician will be on site for all AC electrical work on the installation.

Our typical lead time for residential projects from contract signing to installation is 10-12 weeks. This fluctuates throughout the year depending on our construction queue. We keep all customers apprised of scheduling expectations and delays. After installation is complete, we will need to schedule an inspection with the municipality and the interconnection/commissioning with the utility. The time from when the installation is complete to when the system is interconnected with the utility and producing power can range from 2-5 weeks depending on the availability of the inspector and utility.

Yes, we work with the utility and authority having jurisdiction to schedule inspections and will have someone on site during the process.

The inspection itself is quick. However, how soon we can schedule the inspection depends on the installation. On average, most residential installs take 2-3 days and occur in two parts. The DC portion (panels and some electrical) and the AC portion (additional electrical, meter changes, and communications). Following your outage and inspection, we scheduled the system commissioning with the utility. Following your outage and inspection, we schedule the system commissioning with the utility, which can take up to 10 business days.

Arch Electric offers a 5-year workmanship warranty on our residential solar installs. If roof damage does occur as a result of the solar installation, we will rectify it.

Yes, as the installer, we do have access to your panel monitoring system (provided it is connected to a data line). We routinely check monitoring and, if we note any discrepancies in system reporting, we will notify the homeowner and look for a solution.

Need Financing?

In Wisconsin, there are basically two ways you can acquire affordable residential & commercial solar panels, and become energy-independent: cash purchase or financed purchase.

How To Go Solar