While the world of solar panels may appear daunting and technical, we can assure you it’s not as complicated as it seems. After you spend a little time researching, you’ll get the best setup for your home and start saving tons of money on your monthly energy bills. Here’s how to choose the right solar panels for your home.
Determine Your Energy Usage
Energy efficiency is about more than solar panels. Before jumping headfirst into a sizable investment, analyze your current energy usage and see if there are ways to make your home more efficient without solar panels. While solar power is an incredible way to reduce your bills and help the planet, you can try a few low-cost ideas first.
First, consider swapping out appliances and lights with Energy Star alternatives. These equally effective versions will drastically reduce the energy required to power dishwashers, washing machines, and lamps. Upgrading your windows can help you save a lot of money on heating and cooling since older homes are susceptible to indoor temperature fluctuations based on the exterior weather.
Assess Your Home’s Solar Potential
If you’ve already addressed these energy-saving options and are looking for ways to further reduce (or even negate) your electric bills, switching to solar power is the right option for you. The first step in your journey to smaller bills is determining the potential solar energy you can produce at your house.
While any home equipped with solar panels will generate some energy (yes, even houses in cloudy locations), a few factors make an address ideal for solar panels. Contact a solar installer directly, and they’ll assess your home’s solar potential.
Some important considerations when determining solar potential are:
- Trees That Cast Shade onto Your House. Solar panel output is affected by any trees that shade your roof, so take note of nearby trees. This includes any that are still growing and could affect your solar panel output when they’re tall enough.
- The Quality of Your Roof. Solar panel installation is included in the initial quote from your solar installer, but if your roof is dilapidated and requires repairs in the next few years, removal and reinstallation are not included. Consider replacing an old roof before adding solar panels.
- Local Homeowner Association (HOA) Restrictions. If your HOA or neighborhood has any rules or approval requirements surrounding solar panels, take them into account at this stage. Certain states limit the restriction capabilities of HOAs regarding solar panels, so refer to laws in your location.
Review Options for Using Solar Energy
Solar energy is more accessible than you may think. You have more options than simply purchasing a system to maintain. Before deciding, talk with local installers about community or shared solar options and determine if solar leases or power purchase agreements (PPAs) are right for you.
If you want the benefits of solar power but are unable to purchase a system, a PPA could be perfect. A solar company installs a solar system at your address and affords you the opportunity to buy back any energy generated. This reduces your energy bills at a limited up-front cost with no responsibility for ongoing maintenance or repairs.
Estimate Your Energy Requirements
When you speak with a contractor, they’ll want information regarding your current energy usage to recommend the optimal system for your needs. Gather your energy bills from the past year and note the kilowatt-hours (kWh). Remember that your energy needs may vary month-to-month depending on your heating and cooling.
Additionally, tell your contractor about any upcoming changes. Additions to your home will likely come with an increase in energy usage, as will the purchase of an electric vehicle. However, if you’re working on switching all your appliances to Energy Star alternatives, your energy needs may decrease in the coming months.
Get Quotes From Solar Installers
Ask friends and family who have installed solar panels which installer they went with and whether they’re satisfied with the services they received. When you’ve found a few different installers, contact them and get a quote from each so you can compare their offers. There are a few variables that will determine your overall price tag. If you’re looking for quotes on solar panels in Las Cruces, we can help!
The two main types of solar panels are monocrystalline and polycrystalline. Monocrystalline panels are more expensive, more efficient, and have a dark blue (almost black) color. Polycrystalline panels are cheaper, less efficient, and have a blue color. When you’re deciding which panels to choose, remember that this is an investment that stays with your home for over a decade. You get what you pay for.
While solar panels can work with just about any roofing material, some roofs may incur a steeper quote. Metal roofs with standing seams mean that drilling isn’t required during installation, which brings down your bill. Tile roofs, however, require a bit more work during the installation process and can increase your quote.
The most common roofing material is asphalt shingle. When studs get drilled into your roof, the rest of the installation becomes quick and easy. If your roof is flat, don’t worry! Experts advise installing panels at a 30-degree angle. With a mounting device and a little extra money, your solar panels will be installed at the optimal angle.
If any of your potential installers don’t offer a warranty, then avoid them like the plague. As we mentioned before, solar panels are a multi-decade investment, and you deserve to work with installers who’ll stand by their products. Look for installers offering warranties from 10 to 25 years to ensure your panels remain protected for as long as possible.
Choose Your Installer
Once you have all the quotes from your various options, decide which company offers you the best mix of quality and value. Solar panels are a sizable investment, but they’ll stay with you for years, and the average household pays them off before a decade has passed. Additionally, remember there may be local incentives for solar panel installation. Check to see if you’re eligible for any tax credits!
Now you know how to choose the right solar panels for your home, do your due diligence to ensure you’re getting the best deal possible. Enjoy the rewards of reduced energy bills and increased eco-friendliness!