Solar power is a tremendous way to save money while reducing our dependence on imported oil, and while solar panels are cheaper, more efficient, and easier to come by than they have been in years past, there are still some things you’re going to want to know before you get started.
The Details Matter
It may seem obvious that solar panels are going to be more effective in a place like the Southwest that gets a lot of sun than in the Pacific Northwest that gets comparatively less, and it’s true, but only part of the picture.
How much electricity you’re going to be able to generate is will be determined by how much sun actually reaches your solar panels. That means things like trees, the shape of your house, and the directional orientation of your house will have an impact.
In addition, if you’re looking to save money—and who isn’t—there are tax incentives and relative costs to consider as well as connectivity and rebate options. In order to take into consideration all of these different costs and incentives, check out ThinkSolar to see how conducive your home is to using solar energy.
It’s Not Really a DIY Project
Installing solar panels requires two special skills that most DIYers don’t possess. The placement of solar panels can have an enormous impact on their effectiveness. If they aren’t places to maximize their exposure to the sun at the peak hours of the day, your savings won’t be what you expect. In addition, there is significant electrical wiring involved. Unless you have those skills, you should probably leave the installation to a pro.
Paying For It
While prices are coming down, and in many communities there are rebates and tax write-offs to make them more attractive, the installation of solar panels isn’t a trivial cost, with installations routinely costing between ten and twenty thousand dollars. While the resulting reduction in electricity costs will eventually pay for the cost of the installation, it’s more likely to take eight or nine years than two or three.
Still, there are options. Interest rates are at historically low levels, so financing an installation is something that can make sense. Many communities allow for the leasing of solar panels which reduces the installation cost significantly—you’re not buying the panels—while shifting maintenance costs to the company you’re leasing them from. On the other hand, should you sell your home, you’ll miss out on the value that already-paid-for solar panels add to your home.
Speaking of which, solar panels do increase the value of your home, which means your homeowner’s insurance will likely increase, but only by a few dollars per month.
How Long it Takes
The actual installation of solar panels generally takes a few days, but permits are required in most jurisdictions so there is going to be some lead time before the installation can even be scheduled.
The bottom line is that solar panels can be an excellent investment, but there is some homework you’re going to need to do first. We can walk you through all of it if you contact us today.