DIY / Home Improvement

6 Things to Know Before Installing Solar Panels

Are you thinking about going solar? This is a great way to save heating and cooling costs for your home. You can also earn some tax credits for living green and reducing your carbon footprint. Before you get started, however, there are a few things you need to know.

Keep reading to learn more about what to expect when installing solar panels for your home.

1. Quality of Your Roof

When adding solar to your home, the system will most often get installed on your roof. This means you will need to have a property assessment performed by a professional to determine if you will need to have any modifications or a full roof replacement before getting started.

If you own an older property, there might be structural issues or flaws in the original construction. This may cause your solar panel installation to be risky. It could cost you more money to maintain or repair your home than you originally expected.

To save yourself a financial headache, you must have your property inspected before you get started with the solar panel process.

2. Different Types of Solar Panels

Once you have determined that your roof and property are ready for solar panel installation, you have to determine what type of panels are right for you. Since solar panels have become more prevalent, there are many different types available to you on the market.

If you are worried about the aesthetic value of the panels, you could choose a frameless option. If you live in an area that gets frequent severe weather, a high-performance model might be the best choice. These types of panels are designed to withstand gusts and high winds for long periods of time.

3. Cost of Solar Panels

Before you commit to getting solar panels, you should get multiple quotes from different companies. This is the best way to make sure you are getting the types of panels you want and for a cost that fits your needs.

Then, take your top estimates, and compare the different company’s solar energy production online through the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. This will help you get an unbiased view of each installer.

The initial cost of solar panels can be fairly hefty, with some projects costing around $25,000 for installation. But, you may be eligible for federal and state tax incentives.

You may be able to receive up to $7,500 in federal incentives the first year of installation. Once your system is installed, you will begin to save money on your electricity or gas bill and avoid paying hefty bills if your utility company raises its rates.

If you aren’t prepared to pay the cost of the installation upfront, you can also opt for a solar loan. These types of loans can be provided by your installation company, such as Blue Raven Solar, or a bank loan.

4. Evaluate Efficiency

If you typically use a lot of electricity on a daily basis in your home then you will need to make sure you are producing enough to cover your needs. Start by reviewing your home and determining if there are any upgrades you can make to help lower your consumption.

Check the seals around your doors and windows, and repair or replace any that might be damaged. Faulty seals will let your cold or heat out of the home and make your HVAC unit work overtime to make up the difference which can be costly to you.

Take a look at the light fixtures that you use the most and switch the incandescent light bulbs to an LED bulb or compact fluorescent. The older style light bulbs need more energy usage and replacing them will help you save your overall solar usage.

Another great way to lower your energy needs is by using smart power strips to plug in your electronic gadgets. Since these devices never fully power off, they end up draining your electricity slowly throughout the day. Using a smart power strip will cut the current off to the item when it isn’t being used.

Lastly, you can request an energy audit through your utility provider. This service is often free to their existing customers and allows you to find other ways to reduce your usage before switching to solar.

5. Choose a Grid or Off-Grid System

One of the advantages of solar panel systems is you can choose between being on the grid or off-grid which stores your energy in batteries.

Most homeowners choose to remain on the grid. With this type of system, you will connect to your utility company. The incentive to this option is you will be able to receive a credit when your solar panels produce an excess in power.

This credit may help you towards making payments towards your solar panel system. When the system has been paid in full, then you can use the credit however you like.

An off-grid system will require a large storage capacity to save the energy that you produce. This energy can then be used later in the event of severe weather which may result in a power outage.

6. Selling Your Home

You might be wondering if it is worth going solar if you plan on selling your home in a few years. The good news is, having a solar energy system will help increase the value of your home and help you sell it quicker.

Most buyers will be willing to pay more for a home that already has the system installed. This gives them the opportunity to take advantage of solar power without having to install it themselves.

Learn More About Installing Solar Panels Today

These are some of the main things you should expect when installing solar panels for your home. You will need to inspect the quality of your roof to ensure it is capable of supporting your system. Then evaluate the different types of panels that are available to you and choose which kind best fits your needs.

Once you have determined the type of panels you need you will then need to evaluate the cost of the system and its installation. You can choose to have your system on your utility provider’s grid, and receive credits, or go off-grid and store your excess energy for future usage.

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