Thinking of Going Solar? These are 5 Questions You Must Consider

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Thinking of Going Solar? These are 5 Questions You Must Consider
Rooftop solar panels

Photo by David TREBOSC

The popularity about going solar often creates a misconception amongst home owners as to the true benefits of installing solar panels at their home. If you are considering a solar panels investment for your home, there are certain key factors to consider before taking a final decision. The variables for each case are custom specific and relate to climatic conditions of your location, the orientation and design of your home, your current electricity bill andavailability to financial incentives for solar power. To help you evaluate such a decision we have prepared the following list of questions:

1. Is your location’s climate suitable for solar?

Photovoltaic panels require sunlight to generate electricity. The clearer the sky with more sunlight intervals the more electricity you will be able to produce; thus have a higher return on your investment. However, solar panels come with different specifications that suit a range of conditions. If you leave in an area with cloudy weather and sparse sunshine, it is recommended that you seek professional advice from your local solar installers. It is always a good idea to cross check any information regarding this with state authorities such as your local municipality or governmental authorities – for the US you may refer to Dsire

 

2. Is your home suitable for solar panels?

Once you’ve established that your climate is suitable for solar panels, you should then take a look at your house orientation. Normally you will need to have a clear view to the south at an inclination of 27-35 Deg.  Whether to install roof or land mounted solar panels will depend on your home specific circumstances. Apart from orientation and type, you will also consider space availability for your solar panels. Space, as well as size (capacity of solar panels), is much related to the type of solar panels you will choose.Provided your house can accommodate solar panels, it is highly advisable to check, before commencing on any installation, with authorities for town planning restrictions, such as solar panels height, size and aesthetics attributes relating to your building but also to the environment.

 

3. Do you have access to solar financial incentives?

Although solar panel costs have gone a long way down, they are still relatively high compared to conventional energy systems. Financial incentives provide justification in renewable investment, setting-off the extra cost. Depending on your location you should check with local authorities on the types of financial incentives available to you for solar panels. Once again we recommend that you double check that any available incentives are cross checked and verified within your discussions with solar panel installers.

 

4. How much do you pay for electricity?

Apart from being environmental, the main reason you may be considering going solar is cost saving. Provided that all answers to above questions give the option to go solar, the question of how much you spend on electricity will be the decisive factor to your decision. The more you pay on electricity, the more benefits you will realize from going solar. To fully assess yourelectricity consumption you need to consider your bills on an annual basis to overcome seasonal fluctuations. Also, your average monthly electricity consumption in kilo-watt-hrs (Kwh) is a measure of what size of solar panels installation you are looking for. Typically, residential solar panels range between 4 to 10 kw of installed capacity.

 

5. Have you found a solar installer?

We highly recommend showing your electricity bills to various potential solar panels installers and ask for professional consultation;a detailed assessment of the potential cost savings to your specific case. Professional Solar panel installers should be able to provide you with a quotation of your home solar panels and a detailed report with analysis of your solar panels cost and potential revenue on an annual basis. It is always advisable to seek advice from a number of installers and make a common sense evaluation of who suits you best.

In assessing you solar panel installers we give you some guiding tips: Ask for customer references or easily accessible installations they have undertaken that can provide proof of their competence and quality of work. Experienced and well trained installers can provide you with reliable solutions andgood customer service.To assess level of experience you may ask to see any licenses and accreditation that the company possesses in order to make sure the services you will purchase will meet with the required standards. Finally, your final agreement should clearly state and assign responsibility of the whole project under the installer / contractor that you agree with. As it is commonly practiced that an installer may hire sub-contractors for a certain part of your project, nonetheless accountability is non-transferable to any third parties. Consequently, you can simplify the process by assigning the job to a trustworthy installer that will undertake responsibility and deliver your installation from start to finish.

 


Dino Green is a Mechanical Engineer and a qualified accredited expert in certification of energy performance of buildings. He is a green technology fan and an advocate of environmental sustainability. He is an editor www.RenewableGreenEnergyPower.com

Greener Ideal is an independent environmental news and lifestyle publication that has been curating content since 2008 to further the green movement. The views expressed by contributing authors are their own and may not reflect those of Greener Ideal.