Experts in the United States (US) believe that solar energy is the future of energy. After all, with the growing threat of global warming and the increasing cost of traditional electricity, harnessing the free energy from the sun is the no-brainer choice for an alternative source of energy.
However, if you’re thinking of jumping on the bandwagon, there are various things you need to consider to maximize your investment. This post shares critical considerations before installing solar panels in your home. Keep reading to learn more.
Solar panels capture energy from the sun and convert it into electricity that powers your house. As such, it helps reduce or completely eliminate your reliance on the local utility grid. This helps save you money in the long run.
That said, the panels, system parts, and installation services will cost you a few thousand dollars. Thus, you want to consider how much you’ll spend for the switch to happen.
Generally, solar costs will depend on various factors, including the system’s size and location. Obviously, the bigger system you want to produce more energy, the most expensive it becomes. In terms of location, solar costs differ from state to state. For instance, the cost of solar panels Florida installers charge starts at about USD$13,900, whereas Hawaii contractors can go up to USD$19,500.
Aside from the general cost of the system and installation fees, you should also consider potential maintenance, repairs, and replacements over time.
- Energy Use
Before installing a solar panel, it’s vital to perform an energy audit to understand your energy use and determine the size of the solar energy system you need.
To do this, you can look at your energy bills in the past 12 months. This should provide you with an overview of your annual energy needs. Make sure to review every month to find out any power use trends. For instance, you may notice a higher energy usage during the summer months to keep your home cool.
Aside from your energy bills, it’d be best if you also considered any significant changes in the future. For instance, building a new room or buying an electric car next year can impact your energy use. Keep these upgrades in mind when planning for a solar energy system.
One of the most significant considerations when installing residential solar panels is your location. You need to understand how much sunlight your area can get. The most efficient solar panels need maximum exposure to the sun to produce clean energy. And your home’s location plays a critical role.
That said, it doesn’t mean you need to live in a tropical area or state with the most sunshine to make solar panels work for you. Generally, solar panels can work well in most climates. Nonetheless, it’s more effective in some areas than others. For instance,southeastern, western, and southwestern US states get optimum sunshine, especially in the desert and coastal regions.
Where will you install your solar panels? Generally, homeowners have several options for where they can place their panels.
Traditionally, panels are placed on the rooftop since they offer direct and maximum sunlight exposure. Plus, they’re out of sight, keeping your curb free of unsightly panels and other wirings. Aside from your home’s roof, you can install solar panels on other roof structures, such as garage or patio roofs.
If your roof can’t support the added weight of solar panels, another alternative is to opt for a ground-mounted system. As long as you have a vast open space in your backyard, a ground-mounted solar energy system can still capture sunlight and provide you with clean energy. Ground solar systems are often seen for rural homes and farm properties with hectares of unused land.
If rooftop and ground solar panels are out of the question, you can try wall-mounted solar panels. This is particularly suitable if you have a south-facing wall where solar panels can capture sunlight for a limited time. Although it may not be as efficient as other placement options, wall-mounted solar energy systems still allow you to take advantage of the sun’s energy and reduce overall utility bills.
- Solar Contractor
You may be an avid DIYer, but solar energy installation can be complex. As such, consider hiring an expert to make a successful and more effortless switch.
Take the time to look for a reliable solar installer. You can ask your family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors if they can recommend someone. A simple web search can also provide you with a list of installers in your area.
Make sure to check for their qualifications, credentials, and experience. Compare prices from at least three installers and ask about their insurance and warranties.
A solar energy system is truly a great addition to your home. It allows you to produce your own energy, reducing electricity costs while protecting Mother Earth. That said, installing a solar energy system is complex.There are many things to consider, from the upfront cost to the best contractor. The sooner you handle the considerations mentioned above, the sooner you can enjoy the benefits of switching to solar power.