With so many solar installations throughout the Bay Area and California, many people have a general idea of what is needed to qualify for solar. The obvious qualifiers are homeowners who live in a single-family, stand-alone home with a south-facing roof that gets plenty of sunlight and very little shade throughout the day. If this describes your home and you’ve thought about saving money on your utility bills with solar, we can give you a custom solar quote!
But those are only a few factors that help determine if your home is a good fit for solar! We’ve got five questions that will help you decide whether solar is a viable option for your home.
1) How much do you spend on electricity every month?
While there’s many factors that go into determining how much you can actually save with solar, the most impactful one is how much you currently spend on your utility bill each month. The more electricity you use, the more you can save when you go solar! Plus, with utility rates going up every year, switching to solar power and generating your own electricity with the power of the sun can lead to big savings.
2) What kind of home do you live in and do you own it?
Another big factor that helps determine if your home is a good fit for solar is the type of home you live in and whether you rent or own the home. It’s generally more difficult to install solar panels on your home if you don’t own it. That’s why living in multi-family properties, such as apartments and condos, makes it difficult to take advantage of solar savings.
3) Is your roof suitable for solar panels?
There are some important details that will help determine if your roof can support the equipment and technology that comes with solar panels, including: roof age, material, space, shading, tilt and orientation.
How old is your roof?
Solar panel systems can last for three decades and sometimes longer. If your roof is near the end of its lifetime, you may want to replace it before installing a solar energy system. If your roof is in great condition, then you’re all set and solar panels can actually extend the life of the portion of your roof they cover.
What’s your roof made of?
Solar panels can be installed on nearly any type of roof material, but there’s certain materials that are easier than others to install on. Two difficult materials to install on are slate and wood because of how brittle they are. Because of this, it can be difficult to find an installer with the special equipment and experience needed to install solar panels on these roof types.
How big is your roof?
Is your roof wide open with plenty of open space that’s free of obstacles like vents and chimneys? Or does it have a unique shape with dormers, vents or other obstructions? Large, wide open roofs are ideal for fitting the maximum number of solar panels but even with limited roof space, you can still install a smaller amount of high-efficiency solar panels to produce the maximum amount of power possible with the roof space you do have available.
Does your roof get a lot of shade?
You can have plenty of roof space, but if you live next to tall buildings or trees that shade your roof for most or all of the day, you’re unfortunately not a great fit for solar panels. If your home gets shade most of the day, you can look into trimming or removing the surrounding trees so you can install solar panels. A small amount of shade isn’t cause for concern though because your home doesn’t need to have constant sunlight the entire day to benefit from a solar energy system.
How is your roof angled?
Optimal tilt for your roof angle for most solar panels is anywhere between 30 to 45 degrees, which is the angle of most standard US roofs. Solar panels installed on steep roofs generally produce less power and are more difficult to install. Solar panels installed on flat roofs typically require more space and make sense for larger solar installation projects, like on top of factories.
What direction does your roof face?
Your roof’s orientation can impact how much energy your solar panels will produce. Ideally, you want your solar panels to face south for maximum sunlight exposure but it’s not a necessity. East and west-facing panels still receive more than enough sunlight to make solar a good investment for your home.
4) Can you take advantage of available solar incentives?
Many states, utilities and cities offer financial incentives for customers who go solar to help with the costs and speed up the payback period for your solar investment. Since California has plenty of sunshine year round and some of the best rebates and incentives available, going solar is a smart financial move in the Bay Area.
The best financial incentive for going solar is the Federal Investment Tax Credit or ITC. This tax credit returns more than 20% of what you pay for solar back to your pocket as a tax credit and is only available to people who have enough tax liability.
5) How much does solar cost in the Bay Area?
Solar comes down to a financial decision for most homeowners. The amount you pay for solar upfront influences how quickly you’ll break even on your investment. Solar costs can vary in different parts of the state because of labor, permitting costs, equipment availability and more. No matter how much it costs to go solar, you don’t have to pay for the entire system upfront and there are plenty of financing options available to help you go solar for $0 down.
Ready to find out how much you can save on your utility bill every month? Contact us today for a free solar quote!