The solar energy industry is booming in the United States; it has a great deal of diverse and sustainable uses. Many credit the Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) that passed in 2006 for the quick growth of the use of this technology. Over the last decade, solar usage has experienced an insane annual growth rate of 59%. The policy was set to expire in 2016, but was extended through 2021. On top of the incentives to use solar energy, the cost of installation has dropped more than 70% since 2010, so the systems have been implemented at a staggering rate.
If you’re thinking about pulling solar technology into your home, you are certainly not alone as there are now over 1.3 million solar installations across the United States. Experts estimate that there are enough suitable homes for solar panels in the United States that rooftop solar energy could produce nearly 40% of all of electricity. Should your home be included in this figure? It may seem attractive, but it’s a big commitment that requires a bit of planning, so let’s go through the common considerations when it comes to solar panels on your home.
Your Trees Could Mess Everything Up
This is a great environmental struggle; trees, of course, are wonderful, but if they heavily shade your house, you might want to rethink solar panels on your roof. People have cut down trees to use solar panels, but this is almost ironic considering the intended purpose behind solar energy. When you cut down trees to install solar panels, you’re not only destroying an environmental resource, but you’re removing the shade that was likely keeping your energy bill down much further than you expected. Instead of cutting down trees in your yard, you might want to consider installing a few more panels to compensate for the extra shadowing.
Solar Panels Work Best on Already Efficient Homes
If you live in a house that is full of inefficient features, your solar panels will not offer as much benefit. Before installing solar panels, do a little handy work around the house to seal any cracks, opening, etc. where cool air is escaping. Replace dated windows with newer windows to help keep the climate outside from impacting the temperatures inside, and make sure your insulation throughout the house is sufficient.
SPI Borescopes recommends that at this point in the planning process, you do a full inspection through your walls, attic, ducts, and vents with one of the modern articulating borescopes. This way, you can spots light through the video feed that will show you where your inefficiencies are. It’s also a good idea to get inspection tools like this on hand as a soon to be owner of a solar panel system.
Solar Panels Require a Good Roof
If your rood is in dire need of repair, it will need to be fixed before solar panels are installed. If you wait until after your solar panels are installed to have the roof replaced, you can expect to pay around $2,000 just to move the panels to the roof technicians can get to work. If you are waiting to have your shingles replaced, it’s a good idea to wait on your solar panels as well.
Could Solar Panels Causes Issues with Your Homeowner’s Association (HOA)?
This is something you might not have even thought about, but many people have been sorely surprised to learn that their HOA is going to take action against them after installation solar panels. If you live in an HOA regulated neighborhood, check your contract very carefully. In certain states, like Arizona, they have ruled that action by the HOA against homeowners over solar panels is null and void, so you might be lucky enough to not have to worry about complaints from the HOA.
Consider the Value Change of Your Home
If you are considering selling your home soon, having solar panels on the home might add value, but not straight value. For instance, if you bought your system for $15,000, that does not mean your house is worth $15,000 more. It’s best to get solar panels if you plan on living in your house for long enough to take advantage of the energy savings.
Installing solar panels on your roof is generally a good idea, but it’s not a perfect situation for everyone. The best way to approach this is to get several professional opinions about the cost and viability of using solar panels. Even just exercising a little preparedness can make your at home solar panel initiative a lot more successful.