Here's What You Need to Know if You Want Solar Panels on Your Roof

Using solar power as a form of energy is fairly new and not a lot of people know how it works, so it makes it hard for consumers to find information from past buyers on what it’s like to purchase and own solar panels. The fact that solar panels are a long-term commitment that’s installed on your roof makes it an even harder decision to make. However, despite these challenges, the number of people who are willing to try out solar energy is growing, and as the demand for installations increases, the cost continues to decrease.

If you’re thinking of getting in on the solar power action but have some reservations about making the leap, here is some helpful info from the experts to help you make an informed decision:

Check if Your Roof Can Support Solar Panels

This is a very important consideration to make, because if your roof doesn’t have enough access to sunlight you won’t get much from the installed solar panels in any case. However, you don’t have to let this obstacle deter you from getting solar power for your home, because there are other options available to you, like buying a stake in a community solar installation that gets credited to your electricity bill. This approach is ideal not only for homes in forested areas that don’t have access to ample sunshine but also for those living in shared apartment buildings where individual solar panel installation is not allowed.

Improve Efficiency

Installing solar panels won’t do much to improve your energy bill situation if you’re not efficient with your energy use. Get a professional energy audit done on your home’s energy use to find the inefficiencies in your system so that you can replace them with energy-efficient upgrades like CFL or LED light bulbs and certified ENERGY Star appliances to name but a few.

Choose the Right Solar Option

solar panels technology comes in two forms; thermal and photovoltaic. The latter transforms rays of sunlight into electricity, while the former harvests heat from the sun for use in providing hot water and air, if necessary. Most people prefer photovoltaic solar energy for its versatility, whereas thermal is so rare that it’s often difficult to find a certified installer for it in most areas.

Grid Connection

Once the panels are installed, you’ll have to connect to a utility grid. The logistics around this step in the process differ from place to place in terms of the cost and the time duration it takes. You’ll also have to find out how you will be credited for the surplus electricity produced by your solar panels and how you will be reimbursed for such.  

The Credibility of Your Installer

It’s important to check the qualifications and references of the installer that you choose to hire. It’s recommended that you hire an experienced electrical contractor that will provide you with a superb post-installation service. Although solar panels are pretty low-maintenance, you may have questions about how they work at some point after the installation, and sometimes problems do occur but they’re often covered by the warranty policy.

Lease or Buy

This depends on your level commitment to the idea of going solar, and both options have pros and cons. Leasing solar panels is a cheaper option and it gives you the flexibility to try out solar panel installation before you commit to buying, but you can only access it for a finite amount of time. On the other hand, buying has higher upfront costs but the payoff is huge in the long run because it saves you a lot in electricity bills for 20 years or more, depending on the warranty period of the particular solar panels that you purchase.

The Contract

Read through the contract carefully and make sure that it has all the information you need to know including the panels’ expected performance, ownership, and financing specifics.