You’ve probably heard a lot of talk about solar energy. But if you’re considering making a switch, your head might be swimming in questions. Will switching to solar energy allow me to save or spend more on bills? Can solar energy generate enough power for my home? Will I need to drain my savings account to get started? Is my house even a good candidate for solar panels? Lucky for you, we’ve had these same questions and, as a result, we’ve put together a guide to deciding if solar panels are right for you and your home.
1. Figure out how much you pay for energy
While solar energy is clean and plentiful, for most of us, if switching over doesn’t reduce your monthly energy bills, it’s not the right decision. Before evaluating if your home is a good choice for solar panels, you need to understand how much you pay for energy and how quickly you expect to see a return on investment. In some cases, homeowners will see the savings on their monthly electricity bill will not provide enough savings to outweigh the initial cost of set up.
2. Google it
No, we don’t mean typing these questions into the popular search engine! We’re referring to Google’s Project Sunroof, instead. Project Sunroof, evaluates your home, taking in facts such as day-to-day analysis of weather patterns, 3D modeling of your roof, and average monthly electricity bills to give an estimated net saving over 20 years and the number of years until payback. The best part? To get started, all you need to do is type your address and average monthly bill into the system and Google takes it from there.
3. Evaluate the condition of your roof
Solar panels will work best with a strong, durable roof, in good condition. Materials such as composite or asphalt shingle, concrete tile, and standing seam metal are ideal, but other materials, such as wood shake and slate tile can also work if you choose a professional with experience in installation on those specific types of roofs. Any roof that is nearing the end of its life should be replaced before installing solar panels. If your roof is not in the best condition, consider the cost of making those repairs in addition to the cost of installing solar panels.
4. Get an expert opinion
Beyond those found on Google’s Project Sunroof, there are some other factors to consider when deciding if solar panels are right for you and an on-site survey will allow a professional to assess the roof size, pitch, and direction, any potential obstructions on the roof, the electrical wiring, and of course, the local regulations. Solar energy is a long term commitment and decision you don’t want to make without first consulting an expert.
Once you have completed the 4 steps above, your decision to switch to solar energy should be an easy one!