Electricity is one of the biggest utility expenses most homeowners face each year. In fact, the average homeowner spends more than $1,200 on electricity every year.
Installing solar panels is a great way to help you cut or even eliminate your electric bill each month for years to come.
While the savings are great and will last as long as your solar panels, there are a few things you need to think about before considering adding panels to your roof. Here are a few key things to know before you commit to an installation appointment.
1. Determine How Old Your Roof Is
Before you can start exploring your solar panel options, you’ll want to determine how old your roof is and make sure it’s in good shape before installing solar panels. If you use a reputable solar company, they should be able to inspect your roof before installing the solar panels. During this inspection, they’ll check for any underlying damage that could make installation unsafe or impossible.
During the inspection the materials themselves should be checked for wear and tear, as well as the support structure underneath. If everything is in good condition and the structure is strong enough to support the weight of the panels, you’ll be ready to get the panels installed on your roof.
However, if your roof has underlying issues or isn’t capable of supporting the panels, you’ll need to explore your options. Often, roofers can repair and strengthen the roof, but sometimes, your roof just won’t be up to the task.
You also may be able to add in a roof replacement cost to your solar tax incentives in order to get a higher tax credit.
2. Consider How Much Electricity You Use
Take a look at your home’s electric bills over the last few months and see how many kilowatt-hours you used on average. Ultimately, most homeowners want to have enough solar to cover that energy use. However, doing so might not be as cost-effective as you hope.
Remember, installing any number of solar panels on your roof will help decrease your home’s dependence on the electrical grid. You’ll end up saving money on those regular bills every month, even if you just add a panel or two.
Think about what your realistic goals are. If you have a small space, think about how much you want to cut your home’s energy use and talk to your solar installation team. They’ll help you figure out how many panels and what types of energy storage systems will help you reach that goal.
3. Space Matters
Unfortunately, the surface area of your roof largely determines how large your system can be. If your roof is relatively small or only gets direct sunlight on a small portion of the roofline, you won’t be able to install a lot of panels.
If you’re not sure how many panels your home can support, schedule an estimate with an installation team. They’ll be able to give you an idea of what’s realistic and can help you figure out the best solution for your home.
4. Think About Where the Sun Hits Your Home
Solar panels work best when they’re in direct sunlight. This helps them produce the maximum amount of energy per square inch of panel possible.
If you’re not sure where the sun hits your roof most throughout the day, head outside. Start by seeing where the sun hits in the late morning and check on it throughout the day. Make a note of those spots and consider installing solar panels there.
Keep in mind that direct sun exposure doesn’t have to last all day long. Most panels can produce electricity even in lower light conditions.
5. Trees May Need Trimming or Removal
Low-hanging tree limbs aren’t just damaging to your roof. They can do serious damage to your solar panels.
If you have trees near your home or ones that shade a large portion of your roof, it may be best to get them trimmed. This will help improve the amount of sun that hits your house throughout the day.
Keep in mind that increasing the amount of sun exposure that your home gets will increase your cooling costs during the summer. You may want to plan on increasing the size of your solar panel arrangement to help compensate for the increase in electricity use.
6. Installing Solar Panels Is a Long-Term Solution
Installing solar panels on a house is a wonderful way to lower your electric bills for years to come. That said, it can take several years before you see a full return on your investment.
If you’re planning on staying in your house for the next few years, panels are a great investment. However, if you’re planning to move in the next year or so, you may want to wait to install panels until you move into your new house. This way, you’ll be able to get more from the installation and can recoup your installation costs more completely.
Keep in mind that if you do end up selling your home, the solar panels can increase your home’s resale value by at least 4 percent. This means you’ll be able to command a higher price no matter when you sell.
7. Your HOA Has the Final Say
Homeowners associations do a lot for neighborhoods and homeowners, but they can derail your plans to install panels on your home. Before you start looking for installation pros and getting estimates, check with your HOA for any restrictions.
They may specify how many panels you’re allowed to install or could ban you from installing them at all. Finding out ahead of time will save you money and countless hours of frustration. Schedule an Estimate Today
If you’re asking yourself, “should I get solar panels for my home?” don’t wait. Schedule an estimate with an experienced professional and let them assess your roof and your solar needs.
Once your panels get installed, you’ll start saving on your monthly electric bills for months to come.
Ready to schedule an appointment or want to find out more about how installing solar panels can benefit your home? Contact us to speak with a member of our team today.