Before You Buy Residential Solar Panels, Determine These Factors
Choosing to add solar to your home is a great decision that can help reduce your energy costs and make your home more valuable on the market. But before purchasing solar panels for your home, there are several important things that you need to be aware of that can impact your overall experience and satisfaction.
In this post, you’ll learn about the five most important things you need to know before purchasing residential solar panels.
#1: Solar Panel Location
While it can be easy to get excited about the prospect of having lower energy bills, the unfortunate truth is that not every property is automatically suited for solar panels. For instance, some homes simply don’t have enough space on their roofs to accommodate the number of solar panels they would need to deliver the results a homeowner may expect. Others may have too many trees blocking the sun’s rays from hitting the panels.
Most of these potential issues can be resolved, such as installing a ground-mounted solar panel array for the former or cutting down a few trees for the latter. But these extra measures will add to the cost of the installation, so having an idea of how and where your solar panels will be installed is something that you will want to know before purchasing your panels.
#2: Tax Credits and Rebates Aren’t Available to All Solar Customers
The Federal Solar Tax Credit is a tremendous benefit that can help make going solar much more attainable and affordable for more homeowners. But it’s important to know that not everyone who goes solar can take advantage of it. The reason is because the tax credit, and most other state or local energy efficiency rebates, is only available to those who purchase or finance their solar panels.
If you are planning on leasing your solar panels or signing a contract with a PPA, then you won’t be eligible to claim these benefits. This is important to know if you are including these benefits in your solar plans.
#3: There’s More Than One Type of Solar Panel Available
There are a few different solar panels to choose from, and not all are the same. The two most common types used in residential installations are photovoltaic solar panels and solar thermal panels. Photovoltaic panels are the most common, and these panels use solar cells to directly convert sunlight into electricity. Meanwhile, solar thermal panels use mirrors to concentrate sunlight, which is why they are usually used for heating water.
Of the two types, solar thermal is more efficient, however, PV panels are more versatile and longer-lasting. As a result, you’ll want to take into consideration things like performance, durability, and warranty to help ensure the panels you choose are appropriate for your particular needs. Before purchasing your solar panels, make sure to do your research, using reliable sources and other trustworthy information.
#4: Permits May Be Required
You might think that to go solar, all you need to do is contact a local solar installer and purchase your solar panels. But the truth is, a solar installation is a type of home modification, and every city, county, and state has different rules when it comes to installing solar panels on residential properties. Before purchasing your solar panels and starting installation, it’s important to learn more about your local building codes, zoning laws, and ordinances because odds are you will need to have permits or you’ll risk costly fines and penalties.
It is important to know what permits you will need to have as early on in your solar journey as possible because applying for your necessary permits may take some time, both to submit and to receive approval. In a lot of cases, it can wind up taking longer than expected before installation can start.
#5: Understand the Total Cost of Your Solar Installation
Your new solar system will help you save money on your energy bills from the moment it goes online, and the longer you have it as your renewable energy source, the more you will end up saving. But before you make the leap into solar, you need to understand exactly what the total cost of your installation will be.
For instance, there is not only the initial up-front cost of your solar panels, but you will also have labor costs, permit fees, and other possible expenses, such as costs associated with stabilizing your roof, trimming or removing trees, or any other essential modifications that need to be made.
While most solar systems require very little maintenance, none require no maintenance, so this is another cost that you might want to consider. And if you are planning to finance your purchase, then you also need to account for the interest rate and how it will accrue over time.
At the end of the day, going solar is an excellent investment that will usually pay for itself in under ten years. But to ensure your system is everything you’ve ever wanted and you aren’t taken by surprise, it is important to keep the above information in mind before you purchase your solar panels.