Did you know that our planet receives enough energy from the sun that it can power the whole world? All the energy that the world uses every day could be replaced with solar. It is no wonder then that more and more people want to take advantage of this valuable natural resource. By going solar, you will significantly reduce your carbon footprint on this planet and will be surprised with how much money you could save on utilities.
But before you jump on the solar wagon, there are some important things to consider and inform yourself about.
1. There could be some codes and regulations in your area
Before you start planning anything, calculating costs and researching where to buy, you need to do some homework. There can be some rules and codes in your local area that regulate or restrict the usage and installation of solar panels. For example, fire codes can be put in place where the number of solar panels on roofs is restricted due to potential fire hazards. Firefighters will need to have a certain amount of space to walk on roofs in case of fires to make holes or to use as an entrance into the building or a house.
2. You might need to acquire permits
There can also be certain permits you will need to have. Get informed on what kind you need to get. They can be permits for the installation itself, for the kind of solar panels you want, a permit that regulates in which areas you can install them and how many you are allowed to install.
3. The amount of sunlight you receive is important
First, consider how much sunlight your part of the country receives. The number of sunny days per year will play a big role in how much power the panels will be able to generate, whether that is enough for your household needs and, in the end, how much money you will be able to save on utility bills.
4. The position of your house is important
It is also important to consider the position of your house in relation to the sun. There should be no major obstacles around your house that create shade and block direct sunlight, such as tall trees and branches on your roof.
5. Your roof needs to be suitable for solar panels
If your roof is older and will need some repairs soon or replacement, think carefully about installing the panels. The best option would probably be to wait until the roof is upgraded or replaced so that once the panels are installed, you will know that everything is in order and will be for years (or decades) to come. Along with the condition of the roof, its slope and orientation are also important. The ideal would be if the roof is facing south and the panels are oriented that way. When it comes to the slope of the roof, ideally it should be between 15 and 40 degrees.
6. Hiring a contractor
If you are wondering if it is possible to install the panel yourself, yes it is. If you are a handy and skilled person with some experience with similar work you can do it yourself. There are many guides and DIY instructions, and if you study them well and are careful, it is possible. However, to go back to the local regulations and codes, there are some areas that require an expert or an electrician to install the panels or to do certain parts of the job. Check with your authorities and make sure everything is done by the book.
If you decide to hire a contractor to take care of the whole process, make sure you hire properly licensed and authorized roofing professionals. Check for some recommendation and experience in installing these kinds of systems.
7. Buy quality products
There are many kinds of products available on the market and many companies pitching to sell, offering you higher or lower prices. Don’t go for the cheaper one just because it’s cheaper. You should inform yourself about the price and quality ratio of the product. Some of the best products when it comes to solar panels are European, so try to look for European brands and providers that have been certified by the TUV.
8. Supplying company should be close to you
This may not seem like an important thing to consider, or as important as the other factors, but it should be. This is even more important if you are buying from abroad. The supplying company should be somewhere in your area and easily reachable because you will be doing a lot of work with them, and there will be a lot of documentation to go through. If things get complicated, if something goes wrong, or there are some technical issues with the panels, you will be happy when the supplier is near you and easily accessible.
9. Understand warranty terms
It is important you completely understand the terms of your warranty, so you should ask your supplier to go over them in detail. You have to know what they include and don’t include, what kind of services they offer in case of any malfunction. There are some terms that could even make or break the deal, so make sure to know all of them.
10. Are there any financial incentives?
Even though the solar system pays off in the end in more ways than one, it can be a costly process. The panels themselves and the installation can be very expensive, and you may need to take out a loan. But first, check if there are any incentives offered in your state or local area. There are many government tax breaks, financial incentives, and rebates, and you might just be in luck.