Solar panels offer a number of benefits. They may generate power for your home even when the grid is down. They provide renewable energy that may be fed into the grid, lowering your energy bill and helping the environment. A good solar panel installation will pay for itself in a few years, especially if you can take advantage of every possible incentive and tax rebate. Here are 8 things you should consider before having solar panels installed on your home.
Do You Have the Right Weather?
If you’re living in a state like sunny California, then this isn’t an issue. However, in colder climates where they get less sunlight, it can affect this decision. When an area receives heavy rainfall or snowfall, it reduces the power output from the solar panels. If you don’t get enough sunlight, then you may want to reduce your energy bill through better energy conservation instead, or use solar panels to supplement your needs instead.
How Much Sun Does My Roof Get?
The best location for the solar panels will be one that catches the most sunlight. The amount of shade your roof gets also affects the performance of the solar panels. You may have to choose between solar power and your shade trees. The way the home is oriented will also have an effect on production and how they should be installed.
Do You Have the Right Roof?
Don’t put solar panels on a roof that needs to be replaced soon. The ideal roof has many years of life left. Solar panels that last 20 years shouldn’t go on a roof that has to be replaced in ten, since you’ll dramatically increase the maintenance costs. At a minimum, have roof repairs done before you install solar panels.
On the other hand, the roof must be able to support the load of the solar panels. If the weight of the solar panels is too great, the roof could collapse. This is true no matter what shape the roof is in. This could be mitigated by the addition of supports, but that adds to the cost of the project. Always have your roof evaluated by a professional before you go forward with solar panel installation.
Another factor to consider is the roof design. You can put solar panels on an angled roof. However, the project isn’t worth it if you don’t have enough space for enough solar panels to have a decent ROI. The ideal roof for solar panel installation has sloped face south and west, maximizing the amount of sun they receive. On the flipside, you want to ensure that the solar panels don’t interfere with water drainage. Poorly installed racking and harnesses could send water away from gutters and into the home.
The solution to this is to go with a reputable solar company like Semper Solaris. They have years of experience with solar panel installation and supporting equipment that only adds value to your home. They also offer a variety of solar panels and equipment like solar batteries so that you have the greatest possible return on your investment. And they’re expert roofers as well, so you’ll be able to save if you get everything done with them.
What is the Return on Investment?
Some people don’t need to ask this question, because the environmental benefits are enough. However, most of us want to break even – or better – on any project.
The first things solar panels will do is reduce your energy bill. The savings are even greater if your installer can take advantage of every possible tax break and rebate possible. Make sure that you run the numbers before you start spending money. You might find that leasing solar panels is a better choice than buying them outright in some cases.
Talk to several different installers, too, so that the installers don’t hit you with hidden fees or cut corners on the quality of work that cost you money down the line. For example, you may have to pay a fee to be connected to the grid, though this may let you sell excess power to utilities and be able to tap into the grid if your solar panels aren’t generating enough power.
What Do Local Rules and Regulations Say?
California is encouraging renewable energy projects, but that doesn’t mean everyone can put solar panels up on their roof. If you live in a rented building, your landlord has to permit the solar panel installation. In some neighborhoods, your solar panel project may have to fit within the community guidelines.
On the flipside, solar panel lease agreements will come with own terms and restrictions. Furthermore, you want to understand the local utility’s rules for hooking up solar panels to the grid and how you’ll be credited for the excess power you generate.
Who Do You Want to Do the Work?
Don’t just sign any agreement, and always make sure that you do your research. Shop among solar panel installation companies to find the best overall deal. Nor do you want the cheapest solar panels, since they may not be the most durable.
You want to have the highest quality work at a reasonable price, not the lowest cost vendor who may not do the best job. For example, you want to work with solar companies that have the necessary credentials and expertise. You also want them to be able to service it under the warranty, and that’s not possible if they go out of business a few months later. If you don’t trust the contractor, go on to the next one on your list. Contact at least 3 vendors and see what they have to say and if they’re being consistent.
What is Expected of You?
Before you sign a contract, make certain you understand the financing, ownership and performance expectations. Know who may collect data on your electricity production and who has access to data on your energy usage.
Understand what you have to do to keep warranties in effect. Note that there are some incentive programs that mandate a warranty for the solar equipment. You may also have to the right type of insurance in place during and after the solar panel installation to meet building codes and qualify for certain rebates.
How Will You Maintain the Solar Panels?
Once the solar panels are up on the roof, they’ll need to be maintained. While they are low maintenance, they’ll need to be cleaned at a minimum in order to maximize power output.
This will also extend their operating life.
You’ll also have to deal with severe weather from time to time, and solar power equipment could be damaged. Insurance won’t cover all types of damage. Know who will maintain or repair the solar panels before you have them installed. And don’t expect to do it yourself. Solar panels are both an electrical project and home renovation project, and you don’t want to accidentally punch holes in the roof or short out wiring trying to do anything yourself.
Solar power technology has been steadily advancing, bringing down the cost of the equipment and its installation. However, you need to ask the right questions so that you have the right system installed on your home.