Fortunately, while not every property is perfect, most homes are well suited for a solar system. Here are seven questions to help you figure out if solar panels are right for you and your home.
#1. Is the House Your Own?
First and foremost, solar panels are often harder to install if you don’t own your home – you can certainly ask the property owner to install a system and whether it would help as a solar advocate, but ultimately, they will be the final decision makers.
Need help convincing them? Talk to your landlord about how solar energy can help increase the value of their property, the environmental benefits of solar energy, tax credits and other incentives they enjoy, and more. For more ideas, take a look at our top 10 reasons to turn to solar power.
#2. Are there trees or buildings nearby that shade your property?
Don’t worry if your home only experiences some shade during the day – contrary to popular belief, your home doesn’t always have to be perfectly sunny to take advantage of a solar panel system. While it’s true how sunny your roof or property is, you can generate more electricity with solar panels, the right equipment (like micro-inverters and power optimizers) and a well-designed system from your solar installer can help minimize the negative effects of your solar installer. shadow hitting your system.
However, if your home is shaded most of the day, it’s not a good idea to install solar panels without cutting or removing trees: No matter what solar technology used, a shaded solar panel cannot generate electricity.
#3. Is your roof suitable for the sun?
Apart from the availability of shade and sunlight, there are a few factors to consider when assessing your roof’s solar potential:
Solar panel systems last a long time (usually more than 30 years!) If your home’s roof is nearing the end of its life, you should replace it before any solar installation. This will increase the upfront cost of the project, but replacing your roof before installing solar certainly has its advantages: First, you avoid the hassle and cost of removing and reinstalling your solar panel system to work on the roof. Additionally, solar panels will help extend the life of the portion of your roof they cover, as they are durable and protect the roofing material from the elements.
With continued innovation and diversity in solar mounting equipment, you can install solar panels on most roofing materials, including upright metal, clay tile, asphalt and rubber.
Two of the more difficult roofing materials to install are slate and wood: Given how fragile both materials are, the installation process is more delicate than other materials and requires specialized equipment (which can be expensive). For this reason, most installation companies do not install solar panels on such roofs, so it can be difficult to find a firm to work with.
Solar panels have a fixed, rectangular shape, and most residential installations use at least 10 solar panels. You will need enough space on your roof to maximize your solar energy savings. With more uniquely shaped roofs, different structures such as skylights, chimneys, vents or widows can cut certain parts of your roof from the installation, making it difficult to place enough solar panels for a proper installation.
You can install solar on a flat roof, but installing solar panels on a flat roof often requires more space because you have to tilt and stagger the rows of panels for optimum electricity generation. Curved solar panels are also important for equipment self-cleaning.
At the other end of the spectrum, panels mounted on a steep roof generally generate less electricity and are more difficult to install. As a general rule, anywhere between 30 and 45 degrees is the optimal slope for most solar panel systems.
The orientation of your roof, or the direction your roof is facing, will affect how much electricity your solar panel system produces. In general, south-facing solar panels get the most exposure to sunlight (note: this is the opposite for properties located in the Southern Hemisphere.) However, while south-facing is ideal, it’s certainly not a necessity for sun exposure: surface-facing panels east and west can often get enough sunlight to make your installation a worthwhile investment.
#4. If your roof is not suitable, do you have enough sunny land for an alternative type of installation?
If you can’t or don’t want to install solar panels on your roof, consider doing so in an existing, sunny land area – with a ground-mounted system, you’re less likely to have space limitations and will perfect your array as opposed to being limited by the dimensions of a roof surface. slope and direction.
Floor mounts aren’t your only alternative to consider—though less common, some homeowners choose to install a sun garage, shed, patio cover, and more.
#5. How much do you spend on electricity?
There are many factors involved in how much you can save with solar energy, but none as much as your electricity costs: how much electricity you use and how much you pay for it plays an integral role in ultimate solar savings.
If you own a home in a state that faces high electricity rates, you’ll save big by switching to solar power. Alternatively, if you use very little electricity for a year or if you live in an area with particularly low electricity rates, you can still save money with solar energy, but it will take more time to witness significant savings and break even with any upfront payment. investment.
# 6. Does your city or utility company offer sun-friendly incentives?
There’s no doubt that some states are easier to get (and save money on) solar power than others, due to local policies and incentives.
One of the most important solar incentives to consider is net metering. Net metering, offered in most states, allows you to send the excess electricity produced by your solar panel system to the grid in exchange for credits on your electricity bill. You can then use these credits when your solar panel system is not producing the energy you need (such as at night).
Apart from net metering, many states and utilities offer tax credits, rebates, or performance-based incentives to help you save money with solar power. The federal investment deduction (ITC) is available to anyone in the United States, who owns the home and installs a solar panel system that claims a percentage of their solar costs as their federal tax-directed credit.
#7. How much does it cost to go solar in your area?
Finally, the cost: this will affect how much you can save and how quickly you can break the investment by switching to solar (note: the average payback period in Turkey is close to 6 years). Solar power is more expensive to install in some parts of the country than others, depending on the availability of incentives, labor and permit costs, and more. However, regardless of solar costs in your state, you don’t need to pay for the entire system upfront – there are many financing options available that allow you to switch to solar without your money being cut.