Switching to solar energy is a significant step, but it is well worth the expense. Who wouldn’t want to live in a world powered by renewable energy for the rest of their lives? Many people are becoming aware of the necessity of renewable energy, and as a result, solar system installation costs continue to grow.
As of 2021, the United States will have built over three million solar panel systems, totaling 100 gigawatts (GW) of solar capacity. This amount is sufficient to power 18.9 million households.
If you’re contemplating installing solar panels on your house or business, here are some things to ask beforehand.
Can Your Roof Support Solar Panels?
If your roof requires repair or replacement within the next several years, it is prudent to address the issue first. This manner, you save the additional expenditures associated with dismantling and reinstalling a system.
Your roof must be robust enough to support the weight of the solar panel installation. By hiring a solar professional to inspect your roof, you may ascertain whether it need extra support.
Is Your Roof The Right Shape And Type?
A site visit is useful in determining if your roof is solar-ready.
A conventional gable roof is perfect for solar panels due to its ease of installation. However, a variety of alternative roof styles are compatible with solar panels. Installers will consider the roof’s type, shape, material, pitch, and orientation during their site visit. These elements together affect the amount of sunshine that your roof can efficiently absorb.
When it comes to composition, certain roof materials are more suited to supporting solar panels than others:
Due to the fact that metal (standing seam, tin, and corrugated) does not require roof penetration, it is the simplest material to install solar panels on. Composition shingles are also very straightforward to install solar panels due to their durability. Tile roof surfaces vary in appearance depending on the material used. Because clay tile is prone to cracking and breaking, concrete tile is frequently the easier option.
Related: What Is The Best Roof For Solar Panels?
Which Direction Does The Slope Of Your Roof Face?
Your solar panels act as solar sponges. The more light they get, the more energy you generate. However, if your roof is not facing the sun, your panels will not generate the maximum amount of electricity.
It is critical that your solar panels face south to get the most out of your system. West may also suffice, depending on your roof’s slope and direction.
Solar panels can be used to generate electricity in some situations when put on east- or north-facing rooftops. Freedom Solar offers an online solar potential calculator to assist you in determining the energy production of your roof. However, always, always, always rely on a solar professional.
How Efficient Is Your Home? How Much Energy Do You Use?
If your home has an outdated HVAC system, insufficient insulation, or improperly sealed windows and doors, it may be more cost effective to undertake energy efficiency upgrades before adding solar panels. By initially decreasing your energy use, you may install a smaller system with fewer panels and increase your overall payback.
Additional cost considerations include the following:
- How much energy you now consume: The more energy you presently utilize, the bigger the savings and payback period associated with a solar system.
- Is it likely that your energy use will rise or decrease in the future: If you want to create a pool, get an electric vehicle, or expand your family, your power use will increase.
- Does your monthly energy use vary: The amount of electricity consumed varies throughout the year. It often increases during the hot summer months as a result of air conditioning demands or during the winter as a result of the need to remain warm.
- Consult your solar contractor about constructing a solar panel system that meets your year-round energy demands. Consider the efficiency of your house, your energy consumption, and utility net metering rules to optimize your overall savings.
Related: How Many Solar Panels Do I Need
How Do You Connect To The Grid?
Consider logistics whenever a dispersed generating energy system is connected to the grid. The following are some inquiries to make of your installer and utility company:
- How long will it take to establish a connection?
- Am I liable for any fees?
- How will I be compensated for the power generated?
- How long will it take for me to obtain credits for the power I generate?
What About Warranties?
While there are several sturdy and long-lasting solar panel options available, it’s critical to know that you’re protected in the event that something should happen to them throughout their lifespan. Warranties vary by manufacturer but typically cover the equipment and its performance in terms of energy output.
After 20 years of service, a common industry warranty assures that the panels will generate at least 80% of their rated power. At Freedom Solar, we offer a full 25-year warranty on all components and labor for the entire system, as well as a 92 percent energy output guarantee after 25 years.
Consult your solar business to verify they have a robust guarantee and will maintain your system for free. Additionally, you should inquire about what happens to your warranty if the company is bought or goes out of business. Publicly listed corporations in the United States are required to keep a warranty reserve, while other companies may provide warranty insurance coverage.
How Much Do Solar Energy Systems Cost?
Numerous factors impact your overall solar cost, including the size of your system, your energy use, and the net metering regulations of your utility provider. The good news is that solar subsidies and other federal, state, and municipal incentives may significantly lower the total cost.
You’ll need to engage a solar professional to do a specific solar study of your property. Both your upfront prices and monthly payments are determined by the size, style, and efficiency of your solar panels. Generally, the more effective your panels are, the more expensive they are to acquire.
If you operate a company, you may get into a PPA (power purchase agreement) in which you purchase the electricity but not the solar panels. This means you have the advantage of fixed power prices without incurring any upfront fees.
What Are The Financial Incentives And Rebates To Go Solar?
The Federal Solar Tax Credit, commonly known as the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC), allows you to deduct 26 percent of the cost of your solar system’s entire purchase and installation off your federal taxes until 2022.
Each year, the percentage rate lowers steadily until it reaches 22% in 2023, at which point it will be eliminated for homeowners in 2024. Beginning in January 2024, a 10% tax credit will be available for commercial and utility markets. Thus, the sooner your solar panel installation is completed, the more money you will save in the long run.
Along with the federal tax credit, several states and towns give refunds and incentives. State rules protect homeowners who desire to install solar, such as property tax exemptions for the additional appraised value added by solar panels.
Related: The Federal Government’s Guide to Solar Panel Incentives
What Type Of Solar Installation Will You Choose?
Your dealer or installer will give suggestions on the type of solar panel that will best meet your goals, whether they be long-term savings, achieving sustainability goals, or increasing the value of your home. Hiring a third-party solar consultant would enable you to compare products and warranties objectively.
If you’re looking for home solar panels, you have three options: normal roof installation, ground-mounted system, or solar carport. It is determined by your energy requirements, design taste, available space, and the orientation of your property.
Due to the fact that not all solar panels are created equal, conduct research on the finest solar panels. Always inquire about the sort of equipment your solar contractor will utilize on your property.
How Long Will The Solar Panels Last?
Solar panel installation is a big expenditure for the majority of individuals. You want to ensure that the panels and equipment have been thoroughly tested over an extended period of time and have a track record of great quality. You’ll need to contact your individual installer to inquire about their track record and certifications.
What If You Change Your Location In A Few Years? Who Are You In Contact With?
The majority of individuals do not stay in the same residence for longer than two decades. Consult your solar business to determine the documentation requirements for transferring a solar warranty to the buyer.
Additionally, you may wish to inquire whether the solar supplier would speak with your agent when it comes time to sell. This manner, you can maximize the market value of your home’s solar system.
Will My HOA Require Me To Follow Specific Guidelines?
The good news about Homeowner Associations (HOAs) and solar panels is that a majority of states restrict HOAs from refusing homeowners solar panel installations.
Nonetheless, some HOAs may impose limits on the size and installation of solar panels and may require homeowners to obtain prior approval before going solar. It is generally prudent to do a check before to beginning the installation procedure. If you run into opposition, contact a solar installer to see if they would fight for you with your HOA.
Additionally, inquire about construction permit documents with your installer. These permissions are location-specific, and the installation will be aware of the requirements. While the installer will normally complete this paperwork for you, you should be aware of any items that fall within your responsibility.