Solar energy is a viable option for many homes, but you’ll need to do a little research to determine is solar panels are right for you. It’s also a good idea to check and see if the solar system will actually be worth the money to install and utilize. For instance, if you live in an area that doesn’t get much direct sunlight, or the rain and snow in your area will damage the solar panels, you may want to think about finding other ways to conserve energy in your home.
Here are some things that will help you recognize if your home is right for residential solar energy.
Roof Condition and Placement
Your roof or the roof of your garage should be positioned south, southwest, southeast or flat. The solar panels may also do well if you have a lot of sunny space in your back yard. Make sure your roof is in great condition, and won’t need to be replaced soon. If your roof is 7 years or older, wait until you get a new roof before adding solar panels. You may also want to ask your solar panel professional for a roofer recommendation, and some solar panel installers are roofers themselves.
Check HOA Regulations
Make sure that your home owner’s association allows solar panels to be installed on your home. If the HOA doesn’t permit solar panels, you can check your city or state laws that prohibit the HOA from meddling when it comes to your solar energy choices. For example, the Solar Rights Act in California stops cities and HOAs from prohibiting the installation of solar panels unless the panels are a safety or health risk for neighboring residents. Of course, there are several benefits that come with residential solar panel installation, such as raising the value of a home by $20,000 for every $1,000 that is saved in electricity bills.
Get Optimal Sunlight
Ask your installer where the best place is to install your solar panels. If you get lots of shade from the trees in your yard, you should avoid these areas. The garage or the backyard may be the best places for panel installation if there is a direct path of sunlight. Even if you live in a Northern state or reside in an area that gets lots of rain, you can still benefit from solar energy. Just remember that the payback for solar panel installation will be longer if get less sunlight.
Consider Your Electric Bill
Gather your electric bills for the past year and calculate the cost before having solar panels installed. This will let you know how much you’ll be saving by using solar energy instead of conventional electricity. If you pend under $100 a month in utility bills, you likely won’t get a swift payback on your solar panel investment.
Check the DSIRE Website
This website will let you know how your state town or utility company will provide you with a tax credit or rebate toward your solar panel system. Your solar panel installation professional should also be able to give you more information on these discounts, so you’ll know how much you’ll be saving both initially and per year.