Ready To Go Solar? Here’s All You Need To Know About Solar Installation
Over the last decade, solar energy systems have become exceptionally popular as a power source since generating electricity through sunlight is cost-effective and eco-friendly. In addition, it has now become general knowledge that renewable energy is a long-term solution to power shortages. After all, the sunlight our planet gets in one hour can theoretically power its entire population for around one year.
Of course, there’s also the benefit of generating energy through a renewable source rather than burning fossil fuels, which is the biggest contributor to all kinds of pollution. For these reasons, solar energy systems are sought out among homeowners to a great degree – however, the prices for complete home solar kits are pretty high.
Think of it this way – solar energy is a one-time investment. Here are some things you should ask yourself before installing solar panels in your home:
Can Your Roof Support Solar Panels?
If your roof is covered with shade for most of the day despite season changes, there may be a better location for costly solar panels. But if your roof doesn’t get enough sunlight, or you can’t decide because you live in a multi-story building or apartment, don’t worry – you don’t have to give up just yet.
You can look into shared or community solar energy systems instead of installing your panels. This is more convenient as community solar energy systems let different customers buy a stake in solar installation for their homes and receive benefits on their electric bills.
On the other hand, if your rooftop is sunlit, you must make sure it’s structurally sound and in good shape. Nowadays, solar installations come with 20-25 year warranties.
So if you feel like your roof will need to be renovated in the upcoming years, it is better to get that done before the solar panels are installed. This would save you extra time and money because otherwise, you’d have to pay extra to get the panels removed during the renovation and reinstalled after.
Where To Position The Panels
It is best if your solar panels face southward; they receive the most sunlight when turned south. Of course, roofs are the best place to install solar panels in urban areas since less sunlight reaches the ground as buildings get in the way. But if you live in rural or suburban areas, you can also install them on the ground.
It’s worth mentioning that one square foot of a solar panel yields around 5-10 watts of power. Hence, you’ll need about 100-200 square feet of area if you want to generate up to 1000 watts, for example. Ensure your roof has enough room to create the power you require.
Lastly, remember that you should not install solar panels if your area is prone to strong winds, storms, or cyclones.
Which Solar Should You Go For?
There are two predominant solar technologies you can pick from. The first is photovoltaic, and
the second is thermal. Here is a table breaking down what you need to know about both.
Name Energy Generation Best Fit
|Photovoltaic||Arrays of cells convert sunlight into electricity.||If you require an efficient system of panels to turn sunlight into energy. More common in homes|
|Thermal||Uses sunlight to heat water or air for indoor use||If heating fuel is expensive compared to electricity, or if you require lots of energy for heating. Rarer for homes|
If your home uses extra energy for heating, and if heating fuel is more costly than electricity, a solar thermal system would be better suited to your needs. However, solar thermal is less common for homes, and finding a qualified installer may take time.
Connecting To The Grid
Of course, how you connect to the power grid of your area depends on where you live. However, there are several logistics you must think about, e.g. a potential fee you may have to pay, the time the whole process will take, how you will be credited for the electricity you generate once you’re connected, and so forth.
The process through which you will receive credits for the energy you generate is called net metering. This is how utilities reimburse rooftop solar systems at the same rate they charge for electricity.
Keep in mind that this process has different political policies in different states; in Nevada, for example, utilities pay less for surplus solar energy, which makes it more difficult to reimburse the installation cost. Do your research to know where your state stands on this procedure.
Net metering allows distribution companies to purchase units of electricity generated by their customers by crediting them against the units consumed from the power grid. Simply put, homeowners are required to feed the extra solar energy to the grid, and in return, they get a reduction in their utility bills.
The process, however, is a little lengthy. Once you’ve installed your panels, you’ll need to prepare an application according to the Net Metering Regulations of your area. After your application is approved, a team from your area’s energy department will evaluate it, and if they are satisfied with everything, you’ll be issued a NOC.
After that, you will sign a net metering agreement with your local electricity distribution company. If they verify and approve everything, you will soon receive a renewable license for energy generation.
Finding A Reliable Installer
To install a solar energy system, you need an installer familiar with both the logistics of a home improvement venture and the risks of electrical work. Make sure you check for credentials and references under your installer’s name. Look for accreditation from the North American Board of Certified Energy (NABCEP).
Remember: this is a big expense on your part. You have every right to collect a few quotes before signing a contract. The ideal outcome would be finding a company that will remain trustworthy for the lifetime of your solar installation. Solar cells don’t have moving pieces, so they need negligible maintenance, but just in case something malfunctions during your warranty period, you want to make sure your installer is there to remedy it.
Leasing Vs. Buying
To decide whether leasing or buying suits you best, you’ll have to run a cost-benefit analysis based on your needs. For example, buying your system from the get-go is costly initially but pays bigger dividends. On the other hand, leasing gives you access to cheaper electricity with little to no money down but with limited benefits.
If you choose to lease, the company owns the system while you pay them a certain electricity rate. Therefore, there is always the chance of them taking the systen away once your lease is up.
On the contrary, when you own the system, it can continue working for you long after reimbursing the purchase cost. So, make sure you compare the total lifespan cost of leasing while weighing your savings against the advantages you’d get from owning your system.
Installing a solar energy system in your house has several benefits, both for you, your environment, and the planet. If you know how to move forward with the installation in a budget-friendly way, we highly recommend it.
Here at the CMC Roofing Services, we offer solar panel installation by our team of experienced professionals. We design quality solar systems by maximizing your savings while minimizing the environmental impact and offering comprehensive warranties and flexible financing. So head to our website and fill out the form to get a free quote. You can also call us at (214) 501-5679 or visit us at 11496 Luna Rd Suite 100, Farmers Branch, TX.