Making the decision to go solar is a big one. There are a lot of things to consider before making the switch. But there are also a lot of things to love about it, from being able to take advantage of federal and state tax incentives to saving money on your utility bill every month. So if you’re ready to make the switch, here are some questions you should ask yourself.
How much sun does your house get?
One of the most important factors is how much sunlight your house gets throughout the day.
The amount of sunlight your home receives will impact how much energy your solar panels will be able to generate. If you live in an area with lots of sun, you’ll be able to generate more power and save more money on your energy bills. However, if you live in a cloudy, rainy, or snowy area, your solar panels will not generate as much energy.
You should also consider any large trees or structures that may cast a shadow over your roof throughout the day. Fortunately, if you do have a large tree that shades your house during the day, you can have it removed and add the cost of tree removal to your solar project and receive state and federal tax incentives on the total cost of your project.
What type of roof do you have?
The type of roof you have will affect how easy it is to install solar panels and how much money you can save. If you have a pitched roof, installing solar panels will be easier and cheaper. If you have a flat roof, we will need to install additional equipment to optimize the efficiency of your panels.
Your roof material can also affect the cost of going solar. If you have a roof made of asphalt shingles, you’ll be able to get a system installed at a lower cost than if your roof is made of metal, tile, or wood shake shingles.
Does your roof need repairs before installing solar panels?
As you weigh the pros and cons of solar panel installation, don’t forget to factor in the condition of your home’s roof. Here are a few questions to help you decide if your roof needs repairs before installing solar panels.
Do you have any missing, cracked, or curling shingles? Is there any sagging or rotting? Are there any cracks in the flashing? These are all signs that your roof is nearing the end of its lifespan. If you have significant damage, you may need to completely replace your roof before going solar.
A roof inspection will always be done during the solar sales process to determine if any repairs are necessary. These costs can also be added to your project, and we can connect you with a licensed and certified roofing company to make repairs.
How much electricity do you use?
It’s important to think about how much electricity you currently use. This will help you determine if solar is the right choice for you and if you’ll see sufficient solar savings.
The average U.S. household uses about 914 kWh of electricity per month, but your usage may be higher or lower depending on a number of factors. These include the size of your home, the climate where you live, the number of people in your household, and how energy-efficient your appliances are.
If you’re not sure how much electricity you use, take a look at your most recent electric bill. The amount of electricity you use will be listed in kilowatt-hours (kWh).
If your average monthly bill is less than $80 per month, then solar panels probably aren’t the best option for you.
Should you finance or lease your solar panels?
The upfront cost of solar panels can be expensive, so financing or leasing may help make the costs more manageable.
Financing allows you to own your solar panels, which means you can take advantage of any available state or federal tax credits. Leasing typically doesn’t offer these same benefits.
Leasing may have a lower monthly payment than financing, but you’ll likely end up paying more in the long run since you don’t own the panels.
Either way, the payments for your system will almost always be lower than you are currently paying your local power company. These payments also won’t change, which means that as energy prices continue to increase, your monthly payment stays the same, saving you even more in the long run.
Interest rates for financing solar are also significantly lower than you can expect to pay for a mortgage or HELOC. At the time of writing this article, our best solar interest rates are just 1/5th of those on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage.
How long do solar panels last?
When it comes to solar panels, one of the most important considerations is how long they will last. Solar panels are a significant investment, so you want to be sure that they will provide years of power for your home.
Most solar panels have a warranty of 20-25 years. However, this does not mean that they will stop working after this time. Many panel manufacturers guarantee an efficiency of at least 80% after that time. The exact lifespan of your panels will depend on the type of panel and the conditions in which they are installed.
Why should I go solar?
As the cost of residential solar continues to fall, more and more homeowners are considering making the switch. It is a great way to save money on your electricity bill, increase the value of your home, and reduce your reliance on power companies and the electrical grid.
Other non-fiscal related reasons to go solar are reducing carbon emissions, helping to create and sustain hundreds of thousands of American jobs, and promoting the future of renewable energy.
Understanding these questions will ensure you make the right decision about whether solar panels are a good option for you. Leave a comment below if you have any more questions regarding adding a system to your home, and we will be happy to help you out.
If you’d like to learn how much you can save by going solar, you can get an instant savings estimate here.