Concern for the long-term health of our environment has been growing over the past decade as more people than ever before have made the decision to “go green.” One of the better ways to contribute to a greener world is installing solar panels at your home or business. However, there are a few questions that you will need to ask yourself before you make the switch to solar power. In order to ensure you are making the right decision, take a look at the top eight questions that you need to ask yourself before going solar.
Do you have a lot of storms in your area?
Solar panels are typically fitted to the roof of your home or business. In most areas of the world, they sit undisturbed for years, soaking up solar energy without any day-to-day attention from you. On the other hand, if you live in an area that has the capacity to experience regular tornados or hurricanes, your solar panels run the risk of being compromised.
In order to ensure you will not need to replace them periodically, you will need to invest in extra materials that affix your solar panels permanently in place. There are also specialized solar panels that are meant to be used near beaches and other areas that experience frequent high winds. With these precautions, storms are unlikely to cause the same issues to solar panels as they did 10 years ago. When all else fails, please check your homeowner’s insurance policy to ensure that it covers damage to solar panels.
Does your local community allow solar panels?
In most areas of the country, you shouldn’t have too many issues with having solar panels installed. Nevertheless, if you live in a gated community or a deed-restricted neighbourhood, solar panels may be restricted. While you may not be able to have solar panels on top of your roof, other alternatives might be available, and there may also be a way to conceal solar panels from the street view. We recommend that you check with your Homeowners Association to learn what is and is not permitted regarding solar panels
Where will the solar panels go?
Most people will put the solar panels on the roof of their home, since the roof is the closest point to the sun generating all that solar energy, but they can be installed other places. As an alternative, some people with extra acreage can use portion of your yard, while others might the top of the garage. For homeowners that live in the country, using an empty field along with a barn or outdoor building with a metal roof is often the best solution.
Do you need a new roof?
Before you install solar panels, you will need to have a stable place to put them. In most cases, the roof of your home or business should be sturdy enough for this task. Regardless, you will need to have your roof checked for rot by a specialist before the solar panels are put in place. We’d recommend not installing solar panels if you have roof issues, since it would be costly to remove them in order to have roof repairs done at a later date. Get the roof fixed before installing the panels.
Will you be able to produce enough power?
No matter how energy efficient you think you are, there’s always something in your house that needs to be powered. Keeping your energy consumption low can be a challenge, especially true if you have children. Frequent power needs can cause some homeowners to think that they may not be able to produce enough solar power in order to power their home. The biggest misconception here is that you do not need to solely rely on solar; instead, we suggest that you use a combination of electrical utilities and solar to ensure you always have the power your home needs.
Should you lease or own your solar panels?
It is not uncommon to find homeowners that want to buy solar panels or switch to solar, but they do not go through with it because they cannot afford the upfront costs. In these scenarios, one option available in many areas is leasing, where you pay a solar panel company a small instalment each month. One of the advantages of leasing solar panels is that you don’t need to be responsible for maintenance. When the solar panels wear out, the company comes in and switches them out. Most of the time, the price of the monthly solar bill is far less than the typical utilities bill.
Are you prepared to turn a profit?
Solar panels are directly linked in to your current electrical system. When too much energy is produced, it can be stored in batteries or sent back to the utility company that services your area. When the meter is read by the utility company each month, if you generated more electricity than you used, the difference is credited back to you as the homeowner. Although this can vary by region, it’s best to check with your utility company to determine if they will buy back the extra solar energy you collect.
Does the cost outweigh the benefits?
When you see how much it costs to initially install solar panels, the numbers can be shocking. Regardless, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the average solar panel lasts for 25 to 40 years. Along with that, there are several tax breaks for installing solar options in your home. In addition to the federal tax breaks, state and local tax credits may be available.
In the end, several studies have shown that installing solar panels is cost-effective. By consulting a solar panel installation company, you can review your needs and concerns with a professional to determine if your home is fully ready to make the transition. Of course, if your main goal is to protect the environment, going solar is one of the best, most sustainable ideas available.
This article is written by Jayde Ferguson who writes for Infinite Energy – a market leader in quality solar power systems and solar hot water in Perth, Australia.