|If you’re interested in home solar panels, you’ve come to the right
place! This post covers the decision-making process. The decision-making
process for solar panels and wind turbines is pretty similar; what
makes each unique is the resources you’ll consult.
When considering home solar panels, first assess your solar resource—a fancy way of saying how much sunlight your area gets. Check out this solar map from the Department of Energy to find the solar hours per day in your area. To estimate how much electricity you could produce with home solar panels, try our solar calculator. Living in an area with less intense or abundant sun doesn’t necessarily preclude you from installing home solar panels, but it will change the economics.
Speaking of the economics of home solar panels, mull over the type of solar electric system you want. Will it connect to the grid or be stand alone? What type of photovoltaic technology will you use? What system size will be best? Another factor in determining the up-front cost of solar panels (and how long they’ll take to pay for themselves) will be federal solar panel tax credits and state, local, and utility rebates. A solar installation pro can walk you through some of the financial and technological considerations for home solar panels.
Keep in mind that ultimately you will decide how much to spend on home solar panels. Use the solar calculator to estimate the system size needed to offset 10%, 50% or 100% of your monthly electric costs with renewable energy. It’s OK to start small. You can buy a 1 kW or 2kW (kilowatt) system for $4,000 to $7,000 and save money on your electric bill every month. There is no rule that says you have to spend $50,000 for a 50 kW home solar system. You can find affordable home solar kits at solar panels online. Another option is a home solar cabana. It looks great in your yard and you won’t have to get up on your roof.
Next, consider any local codes, covenants, or ordinances that might apply to your home solar panels. Talk to your homeowner’s association, check local building codes official, and local government to ensure everything’s ship-shape and you know the regulations.
Most solar pros won’t be interested in an attached property like a condo or townhome, so be sure to have your homeowner association approval. If you have a mobile home or manufactured home, most states won’t allow solar panels on the roof due to the weight restrictions. There are some lighter, affordable thin-film solar kits available that might work if you want to do-it-yourself. Thin film solar panels are great for most any home. The general rule of thumb is they cost less (30% to 50% less), but they also produce less power by roughly the same amount.
Finally, there’s no such thing as a free lunch, so you’ll have to pay to harness the free power of the sun. interested in renewable energy, but not up for the cost of solar panels? Check out these solar loan and lease options.