What You Need to Know About a Solar Panel Installation

Jessica PirroMarch 5, 2020 1611 1

What You Need to Know About a Solar Panel Installation

Knowledge is power. The more you know, the better. When it comes to the solar power industry, the more knowledge that people have in regards to the solar panel installations, the more appealing it is.

Here’s some information homeowners should know in regards to solar power.

Can Your Roof Support Solar Panels?

First things first, you are going to want to see if a solar power system is even feasible for your rooftop. If your roof is shaded most of the day throughout the entire year, it might not have been favorable enough to justify the cost of solar panels. That’s going to be something that you are going to want to assess before you move forward. If your roof doesn’t cut it, or you aren’t able to make the call because you rent your home or live in an apartment, you should look into community solar. This addition will let many different prospective customers benefit from solar power and receive credits on their electricity bills.

If you do have a suitable roof, that receives a lot of sunlight, you are going to want to make sure that structurally, your roof is safe. Most solar panel installations have 20 to 25-year warranties. If your roof does end up needed a renovation a few years down the road, it’s going to be easier to take care of that before the solar power system is installed.

You are also going to want to gaze into the future. If the roof isn’t obstructed at this time, but you have smaller trees that will grow, you may run into trouble a few years down the road. You should be prepared to keep your trees trimmed to keep the solar panels clear.

What Happens When It’s Cloudy?

Contrary to popular belief, solar power systems can still generate electricity for your hose or your workplace when it’s cloudy, rainy, or cold. Surprisingly enough, the amount of solar power that your solar panels can generate rends to be a lot lower than on a sunny day, when you use more advanced solar panels and solar inverters, it could reduce the impact of shade or cloudy days, your solar installer is going to be able to help you as well.

While you aren’t able to do anything about the weather, you are going to be able to optimize the higher output by ensuring that your solar panels are free from the shade and the shadows from things like trees and buildings. You are also going to be able to spread your solar panels out on your rooftop having to face them in different directions, which could also help with more power output.

How Are the Aesthetics of Solar Panels?

Some people are going to like certain kinds of solar panels as opposed to others - this is going to be based solely on personal preference. As a general rule, thin-film solar panels are going to look more uniform and some people think these are going to look the best, although they take up a lot more space due to their lower conversion efficiency. Certain suppliers might integrate the solar panels into your roof, others can supply solar roof tiles. If you have a curved roof, you might even get flexible solar panels! But these sleek aesthetics of integrated solar power comes at a higher cost of solar.

How Do You Connect to the Grid?

These details are going to vary depending on where you live, but the principle is that any time you’re connected to a utility, there are going to be a lot of logistics to sort out. Do you have to pay a certain fee? How long is it going to take for you to connect to the grid? Once you are connected, how and when will you be credited for the electricity that your solar power system generates? Then there’s net-metering, which when utilities reimburse rooftop solar power from the same rate that they charge users for electricity.

Should You Buy Your Solar Panels or Get a Solar Lease?

Every household is going to need to run its cost-benefit analysis on this basic trade-off. Buying your solar power system costs more upfront buy pays bigger dividends; a solar lease is going to allow you to access cheaper solar power with little to no money down, but the benefits are going to be more limited. When you get a solar lease, the company that you have the contract with is going to own the solar power system, and you are going to pay them a certain rate for the solar power; then when the solar lease is up, they might end up taking the solar power system away. When you own the solar power system, the solar panel installation can continue to work long after it pays off the cost of the purchase. You should make sure to compare the total lifecycle cost of the solar lease and weigh the savings against the benefits that you would end up getting from ownership.

If your financial analysis, you should keep in mind that the solar panels can function for decades, but other electronic equipment in the solar power system, like the solar inverter, has a shorter lifespan. Don’t forget to factor in the replacements for those other solar power system components when you look at the cost of solar.

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