With abundant tax credits and financing, it only costs between $11,000 and $14,700 for most Americans to radically reduce their electric bill and become a solar-power generator.
The home solar panel has plunged in cost and spiked in efficiency since President Jimmy Carter installed them on the White House’s roof.
Yet 42 years later, there are still plenty of misconceptions about solar power and home installation. So what do you need to know before installing solar panels on your home and going green?
In the following article, we’ll take a look at what you need to know about home solar panels.
The Right Roof for a Home Solar Panel
Some homeowners decide to dedicate a piece of their property to a freestanding solar panel installation. However, most people looking to install solar panels for residences put the panels on the roofs of their homes and garages.
These solar panels for residences save space and are unobtrusive. However, there are some factors to consider.
Your best bet is to have a roof free of obstruction like skylights, satellite dishes, and chimneys. Also, a pitch of about 30 degrees is optimal for capturing sunlight.
Also, ask yourself, does your roof has any shade-producing obstruction that dampens your access to sunlight? If so, can those be ameliorated?
Most importantly, having a south or west-facing roof is optimal for solar panels for residences, but you’ll still generate plenty of power if your roof faces another direction.
Lastly, you should know some important basic facts about your roof. Is it large enough to accommodate a solar array? Google’s Project Sunroof is a great resource for calculating this.
Another roof basic is knowing how much life is left in your roof.
If you have less than 5 years left on your roof’s life, then you should consider replacing it before you install your solar panels. If you have 10 years or so left on your roof, plan to put aside a few thousand dollars to take off, store, and reinstall your panels.
Check Regulations State by State
You do not need to live in a hot, sunny state to get big savings from your solar panels but positioning them in a way to capture the most sunlight is key. The Central and Northeast are surprisingly good solar energy producers even though they are many miles away from the Sun Belt.
Also, check state incentives and net metering regulations. Since utility regulation is widely a state function (hello, Texas), you’ll find there might be widely different tax incentives and ways to sell power back the power grid from state to state.
This selling of your power back to the grid is called net metering. Always search “solar providers near me” to get the best local information on installation incentives and net metering restrictions.
Check with your town or city’s zoning and code enforcement agencies to see if there are any restrictions on installing a home solar panel. You might also find that your local home association has rules against where, when, and how much of your home can be covered.
Be About the Green
Remember, a home solar panel is a great way to do something for the environment and save money. But before you go green by saving green, do your homework and make sure solar panels are right for you.
A consult with a local solar power installer will help answer your questions and get the ball rolling for you.
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