Across the U.S., more and more people are beginning to invest in solar panels – and why not? Solar technology has seen some incredible advancements in recent years, with many that have been able to significantly lower the cost of obtaining the equipment involved. And, installing solar panels at your building is a great way to generate electricity for your home and business, plus the grid, while significantly reducing your impact on the environment.
However, before you jump in and get started with the installation process, there are several things that you will need to carefully consider. It’s important to understand all the various factors that are involved with a project such as this, so take the time to do some research and separate some solar panel myths from fact, too.
We’ve put together some of the main things that you will need to consider before getting solar panels, to help you ensure that they are the right choice for your home or business.
#1. Is your roof in good repair?
First of all, think about your roof – you should consider its age and condition before you even think about getting solar panels. If you know that your roof is getting old and you’re likely to need a new one soon, or that a part of your roof is damaged and in need of repair, then it’s not a good idea to put solar panels on it just yet. If you’re not sure, then it’s a wise idea to have a professional look over your roof first, so that you can take care of any necessary repairs. Ensuring that your roof is fully repaired – or replaced, if needed – before installing solar panels means that you won’t find yourself having to pay extra to remove and reinstall the panels in the future. In many cases, you won’t need to touch your solar panels for the next twenty years if your roof is in good condition.
In addition, it’s worth considering the warranties on both your roof and your solar panels. If your solar panels have a longer warranty than your roof, it can increase the cost of maintenance, so it’s a good idea to try and match the two.
#2. What shape is your roof?
Roofs come in many different shapes and sizes, and this will have an impact on the type of solar panels that you can get for your home or business. Before you get started with a solar panel installation, it’s important to ensure that your roof is large enough for the panels. If there isn’t enough room, then you are unlikely to get the return on investment that you’d expected. In this case, it might be worth looking into a different renewable energy option like a wind turbine.
#3. Which direction is your home facing?
It’s also worth considering which direction the slopes on your home’s roof are facing, because solar panels need to be placed specifically in order to be able to generate maximum power. Most professionals advise that facing south is the best placement for solar panels, although many others say that west-facing is also ideal. Whichever you prefer, this information is important for you to determine before you get started with any installation.
#4. Can your roof handle the weight?
Bear in mind that installing solar panels will be extra weight placed on the structure of your roof. If the solar panels weigh more than your roof is equipped to handle, then there’s a risk that it could collapse. Obviously, this is very dangerous and could lead to anybody in the house getting seriously hurt, but even if you escape injury, dealing with a roof collapse can also be seriously expensive. It’s simply not worth risking, so make sure that you avoid both situations by having a professional check over your roof and determine whether or not additional support will be necessary before solar panel installation.
#5. Where will the water go?
During rainfall, water will run down your roof, into your gutters, out and away from your home. But when you have installed solar panels, equipment such as wire harnesses and racking can prevent rainwater from flowing and draining correctly. And, in some cases, solar equipment can even move the water in a different direction, which can lead to a variety of problems including leaks. Any of these problems will need to be repaired quickly, so the solar panels will have to be removed. Therefore, it’s a wise idea to make sure that you avoid all of these issues by speaking to the contractor about any water drainage concerns you have before installation.
#6. What about battery storage?
You may be wondering whether or not getting battery storage with your solar panels is a good idea – and in most cases, it is. In fact, many contractors forget to mention that a solar battery storage system is able to counteract your utility company’s on- and off-peak hours. It does this by storing energy to use during the off-peak hours, and then selling any surplus energy your solar panels have generated back to the grid during peak hours. As a result, you won’t just be making some significant savings, but you could also be generating an over 50% return simply by adjusting to the changing utility rates. If you are interested in getting battery storage installation with your solar panels, it’s worth speaking to a professional battery storage company such as Semper Solaris who can help you choose the right options for your home or business.
#7. Do you have the right insurance?
Having the right insurance to protect both you and your property is important to most home or business owners, so make sure that your current insurance is still valid when you install solar panels. Many issues can arise during the installation of your solar panels that you may not have considered until it happens. And, bear in mind that many building codes, legal regulations, rebate requirements and certifications will require that your home is adequately insured before the work to install solar panels even begins.
#8. Did you shop around?
Finally, before you sign any agreement with a contractor, make sure that you have done your research and found the best option for yourself and your home or business. Choosing the first contractor or solar company that you find might seem like a convenient option at the time, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that you will be saving as much money as possible. If you are serious about getting solar panels installed, then you should always shop around and get a variety of quotes from different contractors, so that you can compare them all and decide which will be the right choice for you. And, do some research on each company you have a quote from to see that they are reputable and have satisfied past customers. It’s always worth asking contractors to see some examples of their past work, as this gives you a good idea as to what to expect from them if they work on your own home.
Last of all, make sure that you take advantage of any rebates and solar incentives available in your state!