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10 Things You Need to Know Before Going Solar

by Andra Hopulele
4 min. read

At a time when renewable energy sources often make the headlines, installing solar photovoltaic (PV) panels seems to be the way forward in terms of home improvements. Yet what does going solar actually entail? If this is something you’re considering, here are some of the things you need to know.

Your electricity bill will be impacted

Apart from being environmentally friendly, one of the main incentives for adding solar panels is the fact that your electricity bill will be lower. Having a system that generates electricity in your home will see you protected from fluctuations in prices, yet the rate at which you will be seeing a return on investment may vary depending on your lifestyle and where you live. So before making this move, take a moment to discuss with a solar installer and find out all you can about the projected figures.

Federal incentives to help with costs

Across the US, there are some federal and state tax incentives set in place to encourage homeowners who are considering installing solar panels. The amount of savings will vary depending on where you live, yet you can expect up to 45% of the installation cost to be covered by state rebates.

You don’t need a south-facing roof

Ideally, a solar panel should be positioned so that it gets as much sun exposure as possible, yet you shouldn’t worry if your home does not have a south-facing roof. West-facing facades are also a great alternative, as are south-east and even east-facing roofs.

Solar panels can be installed in any climate

You don’t need to live in California or Arizona to have a solar panel installed. Even homes in rainier cities can benefit from them. True, a home in a place that gets a lot of sun will have more electricity generated by the solar panels, yet you will still be saving on your monthly bills.

You have electricity even when the sun is not shining

Tying in with the point above, you shouldn’t worry about your home not having electricity during the dark, winter months. If you remain on the grid, your home will still be connected to the local electricity supply. Additionally, solar systems come with a rechargeable battery, which stores the additional electricity produced by the panels, to be used when needed.

You don’t need a new roof

Solar panels rely not just on exposure to the sun, but also the tilt of the roof, to ensure that they work at optimum capacity. This is why most installers will prefer to work on a roof that has been replaced in the past 5 years; however, this is mainly due to ensuring that the rack will be fixed in place securely. Which takes us to the next point:

Professional installation is crucial

Installing solar panels is hardly a DIY job, so always rely on the advice and expertise of a professional when having one set in place. Improper installation can not only damage your roof, but also the life of the panels and how much power they generate.

Solar panels have a long warranty

Going solar is a home improvement that should last for life, and the warranty is on par. Most solar panels have a manufacturer’s warranty of 25 years, and some can even go up to 30. It’s good to bear in mind that solar panels lose an average of 0.5% conversion efficiency each year, yet with proper cleaning and maintenance, they will be providing you with electricity well into your old age.

Your home value will increase

We live in a time when it pays to be environmentally minded and going solar is the kind of investment that will benefit you not just in the shape of lower monthly bills, but also improved market value for your home. In fact, having solar panels installed can increase the appeal of your home among other listings, and tip the scales towards selling it faster.

What happens if you move?

Although you can technically take your solar panels with you when you sell or move house, it’s not really advisable, as the costs of removal, transport, and reinstallation are very prohibitive. Not only that, but you also risk damaging the panels in transit. So if it comes to it and you’re thinking of relocating, leaving the solar panels behind is the best choice. If you got them through a lease, the contract can be transferred to the new homeowners, or, if you bought them, you can simply add their cost to the selling price of your home.

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