In order to determine if your home is a good fit for a solar panel installation, some key issues should be considered. First, it is important your home has a southern exposure that is not shaded by trees or other structures. You may need to remove tree limbs to provide adequate sun exposure to your solar panels.
How Do I Pay for Solar?
The switch to solar energy is a long-term investment. The upfront costs can be high, so it is important to weigh the options and determine the best way to finance the system.
If you choose to pay for your solar panels and their installation out of pocket, as an owner you may be able to reap any potential subsidy benefits of the system. There are many federal and state government-funded programs and incentives that can help homeowners reduce solar installation costs. Use the U.S. Department of Energy’s Tax Credits, Rebates & Savings website to determine savings in your state.
Prepare Your Home for Installation
It is important to consider other home improvements that may be necessary to accommodate the solar panels and power system you choose.
Start by having your roof inspected by a professional to assess its condition and load-bearing capacity. Not every roof system can support the new load presented by the solar array, especially if there are already several layers of roofing shingles on the roof. In addition, the roof covering should have at least another 10 years left. If not, the roof covering should be replaced before installation, as solar panels are not easily moved once in place.
Find a Qualified Installer
As with any home improvement project, you want to choose a company with the proper experience and licenses in your state. Each municipality has different laws and regulations, so it is best to contact your local authorities to learn if there are any specific licensing requirements. The installers should have at least four years of experience and they should be North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) certified. You can also search the NABCEP’s Certified Installer Locator. While not required in every state, the NABCEP provides additional certification for solar energy professionals.
Protect Your Investment
Solar energy systems are not maintenance-free, and you will need to hire a qualified solar company to perform routine inspection and maintenance. These systems are exposed to environmental conditions, such as wind and flying debris, which can put additional strain on the wiring and fasteners. The system should be inspected at least annually and repaired as needed. The industry does not recommend removing snow from solar modules as it may scratch and damage the panels, decreasing efficiency.
The installation should also be inspected from the attic, looking for any sign of staining from leaks in the mounting system. This is especially important for areas of the country that receive above-normal snowfall or in areas that may have strong wind storms. Extreme weather events can create extra stress on these attachment points and could eventually lead to water intrusion.
Once your solar panels are installed, it is important to speak with us to help make sure the panels are included in the coverage for your home.