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Are Solar Panels Right For You?

Are Solar Panels Right For You?

By now, you have probably heard about some of the energy issues that are arising all over the country. In California, rolling blackouts have caused serious issues for many families. In Upstate New Yorkgas and electric are set to steadily increase over the next three years. Now more than ever, solar energy is becoming a more affordable option. Wherever you may be living, different types of energy may be a better option for you. If you are struggling with deciding on making the switch to solar, keep reading to see some tips on whether or not this may be the right option for you.

family standing outside of home with solar panels

Roof Qualities

Your roof is most likely where solar panels will be installed, so it is helpful to know all that you can about it when deciding whether or not your home may be suitable for solar panels. There are many factors that determine the productivity of your roof in relation to solar panels. If you live in the United States, south slanting roofs will be the most optimal for sun absorption while north facing roofs are the least desirable. If you live in an area with a lot of tree coverage or other objects that will shade your home, your roof may not get adequate sun exposure. It is ideal for solar panels to have 5 hours in the sun a day. 

The angle and type of your roof are also contributing factors. The space for your solar system needs to be at an angle anywhere between zero and fortyfive degrees. If your roof is too steep, the system will not be able to be accurately installed. What material your roof is made of will also determine the cost of installation. Solar panels are easiest to be installed on asphalt shingles or corrugated metal roofs. Putting them on slate or tile roofs is more complex and costlier. Solar panels may also not be installed on a wood roof because that’s a potential fire hazard. 

Local Climate and Sunlight Quality

When determining if you should switch to solar, most people think that they have to live in a warm sunny place to optimize their sun exposure. This narrative is false; solar panel output actually improves in colder temperatures. The energy production efficiency of solar panels declines as temperatures climb between 87 and 91 degrees. This means that photovoltaic solar panel production works most efficiently in colder temperatures. High efficiency solar panels convert direct and indirect sunlight into energy, so they work on cloudy days as well.  

Before fully committing to making the switch to solar, we recommend that you check to see how much sun your house is getting. The average days of sun that your state gets will help you determine how productive your system will be. This will also allow you to determine if any addition parts are needed for your system.  

Regulations and Local Rates

It is likely that there will be different regulations on choosing a solar system depending on where you live. If you live in a neighborhood governed by a homeowner’s association, there may be regulations about solar panel installation. It is likely that there are local requirements for permits as well, whether they are coming from the city or county building department. Depending on your state, the cost of your electricity will vary. Solar panels are more valuable to you if you live somewhere with high electricity rates. You can check out this map of electric rates so you can see how your state compares.  

Also depending on your state, there may be different incentives for switching to solar. There is a federal tax credit, but many states offer other benefits on top of that. You can look up your state in this database to see what options are offered for you. Another way to earn money from solar is if your state offers net metering. This process occurs when you generate more electricity than you need, the power company will buy it back from you. You can see if your state offers this option here. Lastly, if your state is an SREC state, you can earn even more money. These states require power companies to generate a portion of their electricity from renewable sources such as solar, and they will pay you to help them. For every 1,000 kilowatt hours of solar power you generate, you earn one SREC which your utility will then buy from you.  

Other Options

If you can afford it, buying your solar panels outright will bring you the biggest return on your investment. If not, then you could get a solar loan. However, you still aren’t convinced that solar is the best option long term, or if you are planning on moving houses, there is another option. Solar leasing is available in many states. Much like leasing a car, you don’t pay much, if anything, upfront, but you pay the company a monthly rent for as long as 20 years. 

All in all, there are many reasons to look into making the switch to solar. If you are overwhelmed with weighing all of the options, reach out to us! We would love to help you figure out how to save as much money as possible and find the right solar system for your home.