Solar is a big investment! To help you get started on your journey to solar power, we have put together 7 questions to ask when considering solar.
1. Why Should I Go Solar?
Choosing to go solar is a big decision. It requires an upfront investment, with the potential for long-term savings. But the benefits of going solar include financial savings, a positive impact on the environment, and gaining energy independence.
When you install a solar energy system, you are investing in your future energy costs. Depending on how much energy you use, your savings could be substantial. But there are other financial incentives that make switching to solar even more attractive. Some states offer tax credits for installing renewable energy systems, and many utility companies offer net metering programs that allow homeowners to earn money from excess electricity generated by their solar panels.
As our world continues to grapple with climate change, it is more important than ever to take steps towards reducing our carbon footprint. Switching to renewable sources of energy like solar power is one way we can do this—every time you generate power from the sun instead of burning fossil fuels like coal or gas, you’re reducing your environmental impact.
Switching to renewable sources of energy like solar helps reduce your reliance on a utility company for energy production. This shift towards greater self-sufficiency makes you less vulnerable to grid disruptions and outages. Do note that a typical solar system is still tied to the grid. If local grid work is being done you may still experience power outages. Speak to a solar expert about battery options that are often required for your energy independence wants.
2. Is My House Right For Solar?
Answering this question includes ensuring that there’s enough sunlight, plenty of roof space, and local zoning and area considerations.
Is There Enough Sunlight?
The most important factor in determining whether or not your home is suitable for a solar installation is sunlight. If you’re planning on installing a photovoltaic (PV) system, then you need to make sure that there is enough direct sunlight hitting your roof to generate enough electricity. If there are large trees near your home blocking out too much sun, then it may be difficult to get the full benefit of a PV system.
Work with a solar expert to get an accurate estimate on sun coverage. Many sunlight obstructions can be avoided or altered. And solar installers will have access to software to simulate sun conditions throughout the year.
Do You Have Adequate Roof Space?
Another important factor to consider when determining if your house is right for solar is roof space. While it’s true that rooftop solar systems come in all shapes and sizes, they still require at least some usable roof space in order to be effective. The total number of panels needed will depend on how much electricity you plan on using, but generally speaking you will need at least 100 square feet of usable roof space in order to install an average-sized residential PV system.
What About Other Site Considerations?
In addition to the two factors mentioned above, there are other site considerations that must be taken into account before installing a residential PV system. This includes things like local zoning laws, building codes, homeowner association restrictions, and any other factors that could potentially influence whether or not your property is suitable for rooftop solar. It’s always best to speak with an experienced local contractor before making any decisions about going solar so you know what kind of restrictions might apply in your area.
3. Is My Electricity Bill High Enough To Justify Going Solar?
Many solar installers have minimum size installation requirements. Even though saving money is often cited as one of the biggest reasons people go solar, some home’s don’t use enough electricity to meet these minimum installation requirements.
Even small systems can be extremely beneficial. But oversized systems are almost always financially disadvantageous.
4. How Much Does Solar Cost?
Outside of PPAs and leasing contracts, a new solar system offsetting 100% of the average American household energy usage will typically cost around $22,000. However, the cost of a residential-scale installation can vary greatly depending on where you live, how much energy needs to be produced by the system, and other factors like government incentives or rebates available in your area.
What Determines the Cost of a Solar System?
The cost of a solar system is determined by two main factors: the size of the system and the provider you choose. Generally speaking, larger systems will be more expensive than smaller ones due to the increased number of panels required. Additionally, different providers will offer varying prices for their services. To ensure you’re getting the best deal possible, make sure you shop around to compare pricing from multiple providers.
Getting an Accurate Estimate
The best way to get an accurate estimate for your property is by consulting with a professional solar installer or energy audit specialist who has access to sun tracking software and six months worth of your energy bills. By gathering this information from you, they can build out an estimate tailored to your specific needs that takes into account any obstacles such as trees or other buildings in close proximity to your home or office building which could interfere with optimal sunlight exposure for your solar panels.
Here at SolarUnion, we can provide guidance on financing options available such as loans or subsidies which could help reduce the overall cost of installing a solar panel system at your property.
5. How Much Money Will I Save With Solar?
After determining how much a residential-scale installation would cost for your home, another important factor people consider when deciding whether or not they should go solar is how much money they can expect to save over time with their new system.
How much you’ll save with solar will depend on the size of your system, your typical power usage, expected offset, your purchase method, and available incentives.
Speak with a solar expert to get an accurate estimate on your expected solar savings.
6. How Long Will My Solar Panels Last?
Another important question people should ask themselves before going with a certain installer or company is how long their system will last once installed and operational.
Warranties & What They Mean
The majority of solar installation companies offer 25 year warranties for their products, meaning if anything breaks or malfunctions in that period of time, you won’t have to pay for any repairs or replacements out of pocket. Some companies even offer 30 year warranties, providing additional peace of mind that your system will be running smoothly for decades.
When you’re researching companies and products, make sure you read up on what kind of warranty they offer and what it covers. You don’t want to end up paying extra money if something goes wrong with your system down the line! It’s also important to note that not all warranties are created equal; some only cover certain components like the inverter or batteries, while others may cover the entire system. Be sure to ask each company about their warranty terms before making a final decision.
Maximizing System Lifespan
It’s also important to note that while your solar panel system may have a 25 year warranty, it doesn’t mean it will last forever—especially if it isn't properly maintained over time. To get the most out of your investment, it’s important to keep an eye on your system's performance and to service its various components as needed. Doing so can help ensure that your panels remain in good condition for as long as possible and continue generating power efficiently over time.
7. How Do I Know Which Solar Company To Trust?
Researching customer reviews online can give you an idea of how satisfied other customers were with their experience working with certain companies/installers which can ultimately help you decide who best suits your needs before moving forward!
Do Your Research
The first step in choosing the right solar power company is to do your research. Look for companies that have been in business for a few years and have good customer reviews. Check out their website, read through their services and offerings, and get an overall feel for what they offer. It’s also a good idea to call or chat with someone from the company to get more details about specific services or installations. If you don’t feel like you’re getting enough information, it might be time to move on.
Look at Their Portfolio
When looking at different solar companies, take some time to look at their portfolio of projects they have completed. This will give you a better understanding of what kind of work they do and how they approach each project. You can see firsthand the quality of work they produce as well as any awards or certifications they may have earned. It’s also important to ask if any previous customers would be willing to speak with you about their experience working with the company so that you can get an honest opinion before making your decision.
Check References & Certifications
Finally, make sure that any solar power company you choose is licensed and insured by the state where you live. Ask for references from past customers who had similar projects done by the same company so that you can ensure a high-quality job will be done on your home or business property as well as customer satisfaction after completion of the project. Make sure to ask about certification and licensure.
Making an informed decision about whether or not you should go solar requires asking yourself some difficult questions about cost, reliability and value for money, but doing so will ensure that whatever decision you make ends up being one that benefits both yourself and the environment in equal measure! With these seven questions in mind, you can rest assured knowing that no matter what choice you end up making it was an informed one based on facts.
If you have more questions or are ready to get started, give us a call today!