The popularity of solar panels has been on the rise over the past two decades. More and more people in cities all across the country, people are embracing the many benefits of solar power. Who can blame them?
Solar power offers a lot of great incentives to homeowners. It improves a home value and helps cut utility costs, all while helping to reduce a family’s carbon footprint. You couldn’t be blamed for considering a switch to solar yourself.
What are some of the considerations you need to think about before installing solar panels? If you’re new to this technology there are a few elements you’re going to want to work through first before going ahead with this big transition.
What are they? Read on and we’ll walk you through what you need to know.
1. Where Are You Located?
Let’s start with an obvious statement: solar panels require the power of the sun to generate energy. That means the better positioned your home is in terms of sunlight, the more utility you’ll get out of installing solar panels.
If you live in a cloudy state or in a location where the days are shorter, the benefit of solar panels will be slightly less than those who live closer down to the equator. Homes with panels installed up north tend to generate less energy than those down south.
However, you could still find plenty of utility or install a few extra panels to make up for your geographic downsides.
Physical location aside, you’ll also want to take in the specific position of your home. Do you have a roof that faces towards the rising or setting sun? Are they other buildings, large trees, or other obstructions that would prevent sunlight from reaching your home?
These could potentially hinder the amount of energy your panels will be able to produce. Making sure that your panels will produce the amount of energy you’re hoping for is important before committing to having anything installed.
2. Types of Panels
Even within the world of solar panels, there are distinctions and decisions that will need to be thought through. The traditional and most popular choice is the classic roof-mounted panel.
However, this isn’t always the right choice for every family and home. Sometimes, a ground-mounted system might work out better. Some people simply have a spot somewhere in their backyard that ends up getting a lot more sun than their roof ever would. In that situation, this is the right choice.
You could also pay a little extra to have panels mounted with a sun tracker. These panels are equipped with technology that allows them to move and follow the path of the sun, thus soaking up more and more potential energy.
You will have to weigh how much your panel budget is before committing to this more expensive version.
Even among traditional setups, there are different panels you can have installed from your system. Some have higher efficiency than others. If you’re wondering: how many solar panels do I need? It will probably depend on the amount of energy you want to produce and how efficient the panels themselves are.
You might also even want to invest in solar shingles, which are designed to look like a normal roof. These specialty products produce less energy than a traditional solar set up but are much more discreet.
3. Rebates and Incentives
Another reason many homeowners decide to go with solar energy is that money can come back into their pockets in the form of rebates and impressive tax credits. You’ll want to do your research on these deals as there are a lot of eligibility requirements when it comes to obtaining these savings.
In some situations, you may need to purchase your solar system from a particular set of companies in order to be eligible. There is also likely a small window of eligibility that you need to make yourself aware of. Submitting paperwork after a deadline might mean you miss your opportunity for major savings.
The biggest saving for most homeowners at one point could be found under the Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit put out by the federal government. It allows for 30% of related expenses to be taken off your taxes. However, this program drew to a close in 2019.
However, many states now offer similar programs and incentives. Even some utility companies out there offer massive savings to those who agree to switch over to solar energy. Doing your research prior can help you to determine just how much money you can save and the steps you’ll need to take to do so.
4. Status of Your Roof
Not every roof will be a perfect home for solar panels. Solar panels are known for their durability and often will far outlive the health of the roofs they are installed on. As such, it’s usually a good idea to have a roof repaired prior to installing new panels.
It is possible to install panels on a less than stellar roof. However, should the roof need serious repairs at some point, you might need to uninstall and re-install panels, which can be costly. It’s better to do it ahead of time if you can afford to.
Some companies might also charge more to install a system on special types of roofs, including those with ceramic tiles or those that are flat as opposed to slanted. Make sure to talk to a solar company about your roof prior to committing to any deal.
Considering Installing Solar Panels
Installing solar panels is a fantastic way to bring your home into the 21st century. It can be easy to be swayed by the many advantages, however. The above considerations are worth thinking about before you commit to this change.
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