The Questions You Should Ask Before Going Solar
Going green is all the rage these days, as people find ways to cut their own personal carbon footprint with everything from electric cars to renewable energy that powers your home. Before you take the leap and get solar panels for your home, there are a few questions you should ask your solar company to make sure you’re getting the best value and the best options based on your home and your needs.
Is My Home in the Right Location?
The truth is that not every house is set up properly to get solar energy. You probably already know that your home needs to first be in a climate that gets plenty of sunny days throughout the year, but equally important is the direction your home faces, and the presence of other obstacles that could block sunlight. The ideal situation for a home is one that has large sections of the roof that are south-facing and doesn’t have anything that would block the sunlight during peak hours of 9 am to 4 pm each day, such as shade trees, retaining walls, or other structures.
Is My Roof Ready for Solar Panels?
Solar panels will be installed on your roof, so your roof needs to be in good condition prior to installation. Older roofs, those that are in disrepair, and those made of certain materials can make installation impossible altogether. The best roof is one that is less than 10 years old and made of tile, asphalt shingle, or standing seam metal. More delicate roofing materials like wood or slate likely won’t work, but in some situations you may be able to opt for solar panels mounted on the ground; your solar installation specialist can advise on whether that is possible.
Do I Own My Home?
Most people who own their home, condo, or apartment can choose to install solar panels. However, before you take that step, you should check to find out if there are any local building restrictions (from your city or county). If you have a homeowners association (HOA), make sure it doesn’t have any codes, covenants & restrictions (CC&Rs) that would prevent you from having solar panels on your roof. If you rent, you will need your landlord’s permission before you can get solar panels.
Will This Save Me Money?
For most people, the answer to this is unequivocally yes. Capturing your own energy from the sun and storing it or selling it to the local energy company for credits toward your bill will save a lot. To find out exactly how much, get an estimate from your solar company prior to installation.