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Things You Must Consider Before Going Solar

Solar energy is a rapidly growing industry. In the past, the thought of installing solar panels at home and in buildings housing businesses and industries was never a practical one because everyone believed it was just too expensive. But today, the emerging catastrophe to the dependence on fossil fuels for energy use is changing everyone’s mind and perception towards solar power.

Now if you’re thinking about installing solar panels at home to obtain a safe and clean energy alternative, there are several things you need to first consider. This article is all about those things. So buckle up and let’s begin the tour.

(photo credit: ZahnDevelopment.com)

In the article “6 Things to Consider Before Getting Solar Panels” from U.S. News, the decision to switch to or add solar panels for home use requires an elaborate plan and some serious thinking and research on your part. Here’s a list of factors you are to consider:

Examine Your Property

You will need a property assessment by a construction professional before moving forward with any type of roof modifications or major installation projects. If you own an older property, you may need roof repairs or even an entire roof replacement before solar panels can be installed safely. If the property has any construction flaws or other structural issues, installing solar panels may pose a risk and end up being more expensive to maintain or repair than you anticipated. Take the condition of your property and your roof into consideration so you can make any major repairs before installation begins.

Explore the Types of Solar Panels

There are now dozens of solar panel manufactures out there offering everything from frameless solar panels to high-performance models that can withstand high wind loads. Take some time to compare different types of solar panels and brands to determine the perfect fit for your home or property. Shop wholesaler websites to access a large inventory of solar panels and request a quote for your purchase. You can then factor in shipping and installation costs to get your bottom-line price for a specific model.

Assess Installation Costs

Outside of the cost of the solar panels, the cost of installation may be your biggest expense when converting to a more eco-friendly lifestyle. You’ll need to find a reputable installer with a strong track record of good online reviews. Do your homework to find someone who has a long list of happy clients. While solar panels are durable and will rarely need to be replaced, you may need maintenance and repair services at some point. Find out if your installer provides these services for a discounted to existing customers so you can save on costs in the long term.

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So things get a bit more complicated here. We get it, you have a very honest intention of helping the environment and yourself in coming up with the decision to have solar panels installed at home. But it’s really easier said than done, especially if you have an old property with a particularly old roof. If that’s the case, it usually means you may have to consider fixing or even replacing your roof with a new one first so that the panels are placed on a more stable and secure surface.

(photo credit: iSustainableEarth.com)

Aside from the installation requirements, costs, and the type of solar panel to use, Energy.gov, in the article “So You Want to Go Solar? 3 Things to Consider When Installing Solar Power at Home,” also looks at three more factors to weigh on.

1. THE RIGHT CONTRACTOR MATTERS
Your solar electric system or Photovoltaic (PV) system needs to be sized, sited, installed, and maintained correctly to achieve optimal performance. It is best to have a professional solar contractor install your system. Make sure your contractor is properly licensed or certified to work with PV systems, and check to see how many years of experience the company has. If you are interested in an off-grid system, be sure company representatives have previously installed a stand-alone system. (The same is true for on-grid systems as well.)

2. SIZE MATTERS
When installing a solar electric system, you’ll have to figure out how big the system needs to be to meet your electricity needs. First, make sure you are already being as energy-efficient as possible; this means less energy needs to be generated and lower monthly bills! Next, think about how much energy you need your PV system to produce. The more energy you need, the larger your system could be. PV systems rated between 1 and 5 kilowatts are generally sufficient to meet the needs of most home and small business owners. Check out the table here to see the roof area needed for different PV module systems.

3. ORIENTATION AND TILT MATTERS
PV modules need to be oriented to gather the maximum amount of daily and seasonal sunlight. Typically in the northern hemisphere,this means the optimal placement is true south. However, you can face your PV modules up to 45 degrees east or west of true south without significantly decreasing performance. If you are planning to mount your modules on the roof, consider roof angle and condition, landscape features that could inhibit direct sunlight, and local weather conditions that may affect electricity production.

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Obviously, the three factors above are the more technical ones that you should consider. But just like the first bunch, these are as important, too because building a solar electric system in your property needs to be performed in the most secured manner possible. Everything must all be in place so that you no longer will have to worry about damage and deterioration issues for the next twenty years or so.

Now once you’re done considering and weighing all those factors, the next step is to find the right solar panel installer who is not just reliable but also well-experienced and well-versed in the job. Remember, the decision to use solar energy is an expensive investment, so you cannot mess it up by hiring an unskilled and inexperienced contractor.

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