(And More Important Questions to Ask Your Solar Installer)
Solar power is on the rise, and for good reason. Installing solar panels on your home is a great way to save money and help protect the environment from harmful carbon emissions. Here are five questions that will help you decide whether or not making the switch to clean energy is right for your home (and your roof).
Do I Need a New Roof to Go Solar?
Panels should be installed on a rooftop that’s in good condition, so having your roof assessed is an important first step in determining a home’s potential for solar power. Depending on how old your roof is, you may want to consider replacing or repairing it before installing solar panels.
The good news is that most roofs can accommodate solar panels. When you are looking into solar, most contractors will verify the type of roof you have on your home. Plus, a good installer will also assess your roof’s viability early in the process.
While most solar companies don’t offer roofing services, many have roofing contractors they work with often, or you can reach out to a local roofing company you trust. Regardless, if your home needs re-roofing, it’s commonly done at the same time as a solar installation. Your solar contractor can hopefully recommend a good roofer in your area and perhaps even get you a discount on replacement costs.
Because the lifespan of solar panels can extend for decades, pairing them with a newer roof is more cost-effective than installing on a roof that will need updating in the next few years. This can help you keep your costs down, as removing and reinstalling the solar panels on a roof can be very expensive down the line. While less common, if a new roof is essential to install solar but the homeowner isn’t quite ready to make the full investment, some may choose to reroof the area where the solar panels will be installed. This will come down to the team you are working with and the options available. We recommend discussing your options with your solar sales representative during your consultation to find the best solution for you and your home.
Do I Need to Rewire My Home to Get Solar Power?
In most cases, you will not have to do extensive rewiring work in order to power your home with reliable energy. However, when considering a solar energy system for your home, you need to make sure that the electrical service panel has sufficient space to accommodate the solar input. Your solar installation company will determine this during your site evaluation and will most likely offer to do the panel upgrade as part of the installation process.
Is My Roof Facing the Right Way for Solar Energy?
Solar panels should not be installed on roofs facing north .The more direct sunlight your roof receives, the more energy your panels will produce.
That’s why homes facing south are considered the best sites for solar panels because they capture the most energy from sunlight. Advancements in solar technology have enabled high-performance panels like SunPower’s to collect plenty of clean energy from east and west-facing roofs that are not optimally oriented toward the sun.
Because some utilities pay more for solar energy generated at peak demand times, such as late in the day, western or southwestern-facing roofs can capture more of the setting sun and generate a greater value for homeowners.
Do I Need to Cut Down Trees to Generate Enough Solar Energy to Power My Home?
In order to maximize the amount of solar energy your roof absorbs, you may need to trim some trees to let more sunlight in. Fortunately, thanks to advancements in solar technology, extensive tree removal is no longer necessary.
For example, the SunPower Equinox system’s AC panels are able to capture optimal sunlight—even in areas that are prone to shade. Your solar installer will help you choose the right solar panel for your home. If your home is completely covered in shade throughout the day, your rooftop may not be the best location for your solar panels.
Will Solar Power Lower My Home Value?
No and in fact, studies show that adding solar panels to your roof increases the value of your home. Specific factors will determine how much a homeowner can save, such as the home’s location, availability of performance-based solar incentives and the age of an existing PV system.
How Much Money Can I Really Save With Solar Power?
The big question homeowners ask themselves when considering a solar installation is: how much money will it really save me?
The amount you pay for your solar panels and the value of their output depend on a variety of factors, including:
- how much space is available on your roof,
- how much electricity you need,
- which solar panels you choose,
- the value of solar power to your utility.
Solar installation costs have dropped significantly over the last decade, making solar energy a smart investment no matter where you live.
Many homeowners are ready to invest in a new roof and solar system at the same time, since they see it as an opportunity to protect their largest single asset—their home. However, others may have questions about this approach and we’re happy to address them so those customers feel comfortable making such a significant investment.
Contact us today for answers to your questions about installing solar and/or roofing and for a free customized quote.