Here’s what you should do before deciding to install solar panels at home

Thinking about installing solar panels in your home? You are on the right track. Solar panels will not only help you protect the environment, but they will also reduce your bill. Moreover, with advancements in the industry, they have become super cheap to install.

For 2019, the average solar price is $3.05/watt. An average size solar panel is around 6 kilowatts, which translates into $12,810 after tax credits. This is 2 percent less than what it was two years ago, and the prices will continue to fall as they get more traction.

The cost of a solar panel mostly depends upon the amount of electricity you need. A bigger system will obviously be more costly. A 2 KW system can cost as low as $6100, while a 25 kW system would cost around $76,500. According to the scoop company, “solar power is all about the long run.” You need to invest now to get returns in the future.

If you have the budget to churn out electricity from the sun, then you should definitely opt for it. However, before you make the plunge, there are certain things that you need to consider because the stakes are high since you will be putting a dent in your pocket and in the worse case on your roof as well. Here are some factors that you should look into before making the decision:


1. Is your roof ready for installation?


The most important thing that you need to consider is that if your roof is ready to support the solar panels. Solar panels are usually durable and last for around 25 to 30 years. Hence, you need to make sure that your roof can last that long. If your roof needs repairs or replacement, then it is better to do before the installation, or you will have to go through the entire hassle or disconnecting and reinstalling again.

Other than the age of the roof, the type of material also matters. Solar panels are mostly installed on metal and asphalt roofs. If your roof material is different, then it is better to talk to a professional before installation. Some companies also treat the roof for a small fee.

You also need to look out for any potential obstructions on the roof, including vents and pipes because the panels need to e installed in a straight line. A good professional, however, may be able to design around them.

Your roof’s exposure to sunlight is yet another important factor that impacts the productivity of your solar panels. Avoid installing in a shady area and trim the trees in case of obstruction.

Before deciding upon the company, search them online and read the reviews. A little mixed review is fine because they indicate that they are genuine.


2. Type of solar panel


Once your roof is ready for installation, the next thing you need to decide is the type of solar panels you need. There are broadly two types of solar panels:  thermal and photovoltaic. The choice depends upon what you want to achieve. Thermal cells use sunlight to heat up air or water while photovoltaic converts sunlight into electricity. If you live somewhere where heating fuel is expensive, and a lot of heating is required, then you can opt for thermal cells. They will also breakeven sooner.

Other than that, you can choose from roof mounted or ground mounted panels. Roof-mounted is a popular choice. Ground mounted, on the other hand, can be installed anywhere on the roof and are ideal for north facing roofs. However, they are more expensive. So, you need to do a cost-benefit analysis. Always remember to check out the efficiency of solar panels. Efficient panels will give returns sooner.


3. Financing options


The cost of solar panels is the biggest factor that you need to take care of before making the installation decision. Although the costs have been going down, you need to figure out how you will finance your panels. You can either buy them or lease them. If you buy them, you will have to pay more up front, but the returns would be higher. In case of leasing, the electricity would be cheaper, but then you won’t own the system once the lease is over.

In case you decide to buy the solar panels then look out for all the rebates and tax credits; they reduce the costs considerably. Rebates and tax credits depend upon the state you are living in.


4. Check the company you are buying from


Since the stakes are high and it is technical, you cannot hand it over to just anyone. You need to be sure that the installer you are hiring is trustworthy and experienced. Before deciding upon the company, search them online and read the reviews. A little mixed review is fine because they indicate that they are genuine.

A reliable and experienced potential will give you the best advice and will put up the system with less cost.  


5. Prepare for maintenance


Fortunately, solar panels require low maintenance as compared to generators since they don’t have moving parts. However, maintenance will ensure efficient and long-lasting energy supply. The dustier your area, the more you need to be careful and inspect regularly. Bird droppings and debris can reduce the efficiency of the solar panels to absorb sunlight. Just take a garden hose and soft sponge, and you can easily clean them.

Apart from the dust, you also need to look out for wild animals such as rodents, squirrels and birds. To avoid any mishaps, install bird spikes and squirrel guards beforehand.

Installing solar panels may seem to be a daunting task, but it is really not. All you need to do is find the right company, and it will take care of everything. As the industry, a lot of companies have jumped on the bandwagon. Increased competition is benefitting customers in terms of quality service and low prices. Some companies also help you in getting finance.

Installing solar panels is a great idea that will always reward you in the future. Plus, with all the global warming, you will contribute your part in saving the environment.

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