As of 2014, there are more than 645,000 homes throughout the U.S. with solar power units. Solar power can help a homeowner to save money on their energy bill, and while they are expensive to install, prices are dropping. Also, installing solar can help a homeowner to reduce their carbon footprint. As the technology continues to advance, solar power will only become more efficient. Tax breaks offered by the government currently make solar more affordable, so now is a great time to consider installing solar.
Here are a few things you need to know if you’re considering getting solar for your home.
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Last year, the solar industry in the U.S. grew by 34 percent.
The average price of a residential photovoltaic (PV) solar unit has dropped by 45 percent since 2010.
Since the federal government enacted the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) in 2006—a 30 percent tax credit for solar residential and commercial systems—the cost to install a solar unit has dropped by 73 percent.
Installing a solar panel on a home can decrease that home’s carbon footprint by 35,180 pounds of carbon dioxide annually (which is the equivalent of planting 88 trees each year).
The national average cost (up-front) to install solar on a home is around $17,000.
“Solar penetration” in the United State is only at less than 1 percent, but the amount of solar residential units could grow by 20-30 percent by 2020.
Forbes notes that solar can help a person to save $84 per month on energy bills.
Newly developed solar cells using a different kind of semiconductor are twice as efficient as current models.
How to Pick the Panels You Need:
According to Forbes, isolation and your energy demand will determine how many panels you need.
Isolation: This refers to the amount of solar radiation that hits an area during a particular time period. Some areas (like the deserts of the American Southwest) receive more solar radiation than others. You might need more, or fewer, depending on how much sun you receive.
Energy demand: Learn how many kilowatts your home uses each day. Take that number and multiply it by .25—the resulting number will determine the size of your panels.
Finance, Lease or Buy?
- Leasing panels is more affordable and include worry-free maintenance and monitoring.
- Buying panels and installing them permanently will allow a homeowner to get the tax break and other tax benefits. Installation may also increase the value of a home. Installing and buying is more expensive up-front.
- Obtaining a loan is fine for those with good credit, but will only works if the loan payment stands at a lower monthly amount than the electricity bill.
What You Need to Install Panels:
- Installing panels involve a lot of wiring and work, so it’s best to hire a professional installer or solar power company.
- Panels need to be placed in a way that won’t compromise your roof’s integrity—that’s why you need to hire a solar power company to install your panels and also inspect your roof!
- A professional will be able to help secure the permits required to install solar power (which is complicated), and they will know where the panels need to go on your home, for both safety and efficiency.
- Look for a solar company that offers a warranty, has in-house installation teams, is fully licensed and uses reputable solar panels.
- The company will pick a part of your roof that receives the most sunlight during peak hours (10 am to 2 pm).
- Pick solar panels that are best for your roof and your sunlight exposure. Some panels only operate in full sunlight and will shutdown when exposed to shadow. Others will operate well in sunlight and will reduce output when exposed to shadow instead of shutting down.
- The panels need to be placed where they can access unobstructed sunlight. Chimneys, satellite dishes, trees, and other buildings will affect sunlight exposure. Flat roofs are excellent.
- The more sunlight your panels receive, the better!
- The project should take a few days to install.