Many eco-conscious homeowners turn to solar power as a cleaner and more reliable energy source. In addition to being a “greener” option, solar panels have plenty of financial benefits for homeowners. Here’s more on those benefits, plus how installing a solar panel array works.
Benefits of Solar Panels
Solar energy is excellent for the environment, but it’s also a great benefit to homeowners for a variety of reasons. From saving money to avoiding power outages, here’s why you should consider adding solar power to your home:
Solar panels don’t project pollution into the environment. This means the energy they produce is cleaner than other sources. Solar energy is clean, renewable, and healthier than traditional power sources. It’s also less risky for residents than options like nuclear energy, for example.
Rebates and Credits
Many homeowners assume that installing solar panels is expensive. And while it’s true you must pay for a system (or rent), there are financial benefits. Government rebates and tax credits help offset these costs. Plus, special programs give discounts on home ownership.
For example, if you install solar panels, you might qualify for the FHA’s Energy Efficient Mortgage program. The FHA helps finance eco-friendly home modifications by adding the costs to your mortgage — costing you nothing up front. Plus, according to HUD, you don’t need to qualify for the total amount of the loan, only the portion for purchasing or refinancing the home.
Perhaps the biggest financial benefit of solar panels is the potential to eliminate your utility costs. Depending on how many panels you install and how much energy your household uses, you may not receive a bill from your local utility authority at all.
Photovoltaic panels still work when it’s cloudy or raining, too. Therefore, the local weather may not affect your solar performance as much as you might assume. Panels are most efficient in direct sunlight, but they can still glean power in rainy and foggy conditions.
Low Maintenance Demands (and Costs)
Solar panels are practically maintenance-free for most homeowners. A lack of moving parts means little to tinker with. Even if you outsource cleaning and maintenance costs, you can expect to pay only a few hundred dollars per year for professional help.
How to Install Solar Panels
The US Department of Energy recommends hiring a professional to oversee solar panel planning and installation. You will collaborate with the company or contractor to determine how many panels you need, where to place them, and the total cost.
What to Expect When Installing Solar
Before a contractor installs your solar panels, they will assess your home, roof, and current energy usage and efficiency. Using mapping tools, contractors estimate the solar potential of your property. They will consider elements like shade trees, roof age, and neighborhood rules and requirements (such as homeowner’s association limitations).
You will also need to decide what type of system to buy or lease. Community or shared solar is an option, and Power Purchase Agreements are common in today’s market. A Power Purchase Agreement involves a third party owning and maintaining the panels while you receive free or low-cost energy per a long-term agreement.
Best Types of Roofs for Solar
Nearly any type of roof can accommodate solar panels. A roof that faces south or west is ideal for light collection, while north- and east-facing types generated around 20 percent less energy. You also need around 300 square feet of roof to allow space for solar panels.
Flat roofs are ideal for installing panels at 30-degree angles. In general, installation is possible on roof types such as composite, tile, metal standing seam, and tar and gravel. A wood roof is less ideal for solar because of fire hazards. You can also choose ground-mounted solar for home use, meaning a wood roof doesn’t eliminate the possibility of enjoying solar at home.
Solar energy provides environmental benefits like helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improving air quality. However, it can also provide financial incentives and peace of mind for consumers and homeowners. And those are the most crucial benefits when it comes to living an affordable and comfortable life.
Photo via Pixabay
Guest blog by Bret Engle