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7 Factors To Consider Before Installing Solar

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7 Factors To Consider Before Installing Solar

More and more homeowners are investing in solar power. And for good reason. Solar energy boosts home values, locks in long-term savings on electricity costs, maximizes tax incentives, and lessens the impact on the environment.

With so many benefits, installing solar seems like a no-brainer. However, like any important decision in life, it’s wise to consider all the factors in order to make sure that solar power is the right option for you.

1. Necessary energy to power your home.

The amount of energy your house requires depends on its size, how many people live in the home, the number of appliances and how efficient they are, and more. You don’t want to install too few solar panels, and therefore not have enough power to run your home; likewise, you don’t want to install more than you need — although any unused energy can usually be sold back to your utility company.

Your electricity bill gives some insight into how much energy a home requires, but an energy audit offers a far more detailed look at your family’s energy consumption and usage patterns.

2. Selling your house with solar.

It’ll take a few years for an initial solar investment to fully pay off. If you’re on the fence about installing solar because you plan to sell your home in five years or so, know that solar is still a wise choice. Not only will you reap the benefits of monthly energy savings while you’re living in the house, but solar actually increases your home’s value and overall sale price.

3. Sun exposure at your house.

Solar panels harness energy from sunlight. There’s a direct correlation to how much sun your property gets and how much power the panels can generate. Take time to follow the position of the sun in the sky as it moves over your home during the day. Note any obstacles to the light, such as trees, other rooflines, nearby buildings, or hills. Note, too, seasonal changes to where the sunlight hits; it will be different in winter than it is in summer. Once armed with this information, you’ll be able to determine the best place to install solar panels.

4. Placement of solar on your property.

Typically, solar panels are mounted on the roof since this is usually the most out-of-the-way location on a residential property and the part of the home that receives the most direct sunlight. Examine your roof. Is it in solid condition or does it need repairs? How old is it? If it’s 15-20 years old, you might want to get it replaced before solar installation. What type of shingles do you have? What is the size of the roof and in what direction does the slope face?

The good news is that companies can install panels on most roofs — small or big, angled or flat, with composite or Spanish tiles — but it’s helpful to know these details ahead of time so you can discuss them with a solar company.

5. Cost of solar.

Because of the growing popularity of solar, affordable options abound. Throw in federal tax credits, plus the tax incentives often offered by local utility companies, and the installation cost can be surprisingly reasonable. You can also choose between buying solar panels or leasing them. If you opt for the latter, you won’t enjoy the bigger dividends that come with buying, but your up-front costs will be less — and you’ll still see lower monthly energy bills.

6. Connecting to the grid (or not).

There are two solar system options: one that connects to the grid or one that stores the energy in batteries.

In the on-grid system, homeowners receive net metering, an incentive from the utility company that gives a credit on your electricity bill from any excess power generated by your solar panels. There may be fees involved with an on-grid system, so consult with a solar company for the most up-to-date information.

The off-grid system does not connect to a local utility company, and instead relies on self-contained storage to save any extra power.

7. Signing a contract.

As you shop around for the solar company that best suits your needs, ask the following questions about what goes into the contract:

  • Is financing available?
  • How long will installation take?
  • What are the ownership expectations?
  • Are there other entities that will have access to my usage data?
  • What types of warranties are offered, and for how long?
  • Is maintenance included?


Solar Made Easy

At Elevation, we’re committed to making the switch to solar as smooth as possible. From your first discussion with an Energy Consultant to the day we power up your new system, we’re by your side every step of the process. Start by getting a free online estimate today.

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