10 Vital Facts to Know Before Installing Solar Panels to Your House

The concept of using solar power to generate energy for your home has been around for a while. Most of us have a basic understanding that solar panels or shingles can be used to “catch” the sun’s energy and transform it into free electricity.

What many of us still don’t know is what a solar system installation really looks like and whether our homes are even solar-compatible. Read on to learn some key facts that might help you answer these concerns.

1. Enquire about the codes and regulations in your area

Are you considering taking the first step towards going solar? Wait, don’t shop for your solar panels just yet! Before anything else, check whether your area enforces any sort of restrictive laws or regulations regarding to solar systems. For example, areas with strict fire codes might limit the number of solar panels because a sure amount of roof space needs to be kept free for firefighters to walk on.

2. Find out whether you need a permit

Whether you’ll need to obtain a permit for solar installation depends on your location and the type of property you own. In case the property is not yours, a request for issuing a license can be submitted by the property owners themselves or the contractor performing the installation.

3. Calculate the amount of sunlight your home receives

The amount of sun your roof is exposed to will depend on your location, the time of the year, and obstacles that might be casting shadows.

A home where the sun shines all year round without anything blocking it will have nothing to worry about. But those who experience frequent cloudy days should definitely request a sun exposure reading from the installation company. The installers will use precise measuring tools to calculate how much sun your roof receives on a daily and yearly basis and how many panels you would need to install for efficient results.

4. Consider the orientation of your home

Orientation and direction of your home’s roof play a key role in determining the amount of solar power your panels will be able to generate.

South-facing homes receive the most sunlight, which makes their solar efficiency greater. However, this does not mean that north-facing houses cannot benefit from solar. There are many solutions that can help with achieving maximum efficiency, such as adding more solar panels or using tracker devices that allow panels to follow the sun.

5. Make sure your roof is in great shape before adding solar

Solar panels are very durable and some can last up to 30 years or more. Therefore, adding them to a roof that is at the end of its lifespan might not be such a good idea. Not only is taking the panels off and putting them back up again a fuss, but it can be costly as well.

The best option is to first have your roof inspected and find out how much time it’s got left. Then, if necessary, you can replace the roof at the same time when you plan to add the panels and avoid higher cost down the line.

6. Choose the right person for the job

If you consider yourself handy and the best person for the job, then go ahead! Solar panel installations can be a DIY project as well. As long as you keep regulations and codes in mind, you are good to go.

Many DIY solar guides can be found online, but it is still advisable to call an electrician for certain parts of the job. If you decide to hire a professional contractor, make sure they are licensed and authorized to do solar panel installations.

7. Choose quality products according to your taste

If you’ve already decided to make such a significant investment, make sure to thoroughly research the product, read reviews, and even ask social media users for their opinion. The most popular installations are roof mounted, but there is an option to mount panels on the ground as well. Whichever solution you choose, make sure you always opt for quality.

8. Choose suppliers who are close to you

Even though solar panels are generally durable, unexpected technical issues can always arise. In that case, you will be glad to have a supplier located close by. Now, even suppliers in your area might be hard to reach at the exact time when you need them so make sure you choose a trustworthy company with an excellent service rating.

9. Understand your contract and warranty

Generally speaking, a solar contract should state the financing plan, ownership, product expectations, and warranty terms. You should make sure to have a good understanding of all of these items – especially the warranty terms. That way, you can know what to expect if something goes wrong with the product.

For example, if the contract states that the installation company is liable for maintenance when a malfunction occurs, you might be breaking the deal if you try to fix the problem yourself.

10. Get informed about your right to incentives

One of the best things about owning a solar system is that you know it will pay for itself as you keep saving on your energy bills. Although, it would not hurt to find out whether your government offers tax breaks, rebates or financial incentives to solar system owners. This would help cover some of the upfront installation costs or the costs of panels themselves.

In case you choose to lease solar panels instead of purchasing them, you will not be entitled to incentives. But you’ll still be saving money on energy bills!

Final thoughts

Now that you’ve learned all this, you might feel that switching to a solar-powered energy system requires a LOT of research.

While this is true, it’s becoming increasingly easy to access the information you need thanks to the rise in solar sales in the market.

So, devoting some time to researching an investment you’re probably going to make only once in your lifetime will definitely pay off.


Author: Matthew James

Short bio:

Matt James is a freelance writer specialized in home improvement, smart technology, architecture & design. He has a love of outdoors and spending time with his dog Cooper. You can reach him on Facebook and Instagram.

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