The Beginners Guide to Going Solar!

Jessica PirroDecember 17, 2019 3731 2

The Basic Guide to Going Solar

Solar power can help homeowners save a lot of money! If a homeowner is looking to save money on their electricity bills, getting a solar panel installation is a good option. But a common question that a lot of homeowners have is, ‘how do I go solar?’ Here’s a list to help homeowners figure out how to go solar!

How Does Solar Power Work?

Two primary technologies can harness the sun’s power and convert it into solar power. The first is going to be the one that most people are familiar with, photovoltaics also referred to as PV. These are the solar panels that are most commonly seen on rooftops or in fields. When the sun’s rays hit the solar panels, photons from the sunlight will be absorbed by the photovoltaic cells in the solar panels, which will then create an electric field across the layers and causes electricity to flow.

The second technology is called concentrating solar power (CSP). It is going to be used primarily in large power plants and is not appropriate for residential use. This technology is going to be reflected and concentrated sunlight onto receivers that will collect solar power and then convert that into heat, which can then be used to produce electricity.

Is Your Home Suitable for Solar Panels?

The good news is solar panels are built to work in all climates, but in certain cases, rooftops might not be suitable for solar-powered systems due to age or tree coverage. If there are trees that will create excessive shade on your rooftop, a rooftop solar panel installation might not be the most ideal choice. Another important consideration is going to be the size, shape, and slope of your rooftop. Typically solar panels are going to see peak performance on south-facing roofs with a slope between 15 and 40 degrees, though other roofs might be suitable too. You should also consider how old your roof is and how long until you are going to need to replace it.

If a solar installer determines that your roof isn’t going to be suitable for solar panel installation, if you don’t own your own house, you are still able to benefit from solar power! Community solar allows multiple people to benefit from a shared solar panel installation! Costs that are associated with purchasing and installing a solar-powered system, are going to be divided among all of the participants that can buy into the shared solar-powered system.

Find a Solar Installer

The next step in the process of getting a solar panel installation is going to be finding the solar installer that you want to work with. Ask your neighbors, friends, or even strangers with solar panel installations, which solar installer they worked with. Customer references are important! Then once you find a solar installer to come to evaluate your property, do some of your research into the solar panels they recommend.

Don’t expect an exact price quote at this preliminary stage. Each home has a different layout roof pitch and orientation to the sun; trees and other obstructions that are near the roof; and different types of roofing materials (all of which will make each solar panel installation unique). A reputable solar installer is going to send a representative to evaluate your home in person and build a custom design especially for you.

Financing for Solar

Next, you are going to want to think about how you will pay for the solar-powered system. It’s a common misconception that the solar-powered system is going to need to be paid for upfront. Several payment options can help you go solar. There are loans for solar panels, leases for solar or cash.

A lot of homeowners don’t realize that getting solar panels on your homes can be a tax break, turning into tax savings, thanks in part to the (soon to be decreasing) federal investment tax credit (ITC) that is available to those who purchase a solar panel installation. Thee 30% investment tax credit begins declining at the start of 2020, so if you are thinking about getting a solar panel installation, now is the perfect time to do so! This tax credit can be combined with state and local tax credits, solar incentives, rebates for solar and easements. The ITC can help make solar-powered systems more affordable.

The Solar Panel Installation

Finally, it’s time for the actual installation process. Rooftop solar panel installation is typically going to take one to two business days. A small crew of solar installers will deliver your solar panels and the installation equipment to your home. The solar installers will then install the mounting hardware, wiring, solar panels, and monitoring hardware. Once they’re done, you won’t even know that they were there!

The last and final step is going to be an inspection done by the utility or the local electric authority. Once permission to operate is given, your solar panel installation can go live and you can start saving!

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Comments (2)

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