If you’re looking for a way to cut energy costs and live a greener lifestyle, rooftop solar panels are becoming a popular solution.
Residential solar power usage the U.S. is growing by an average of 40 percent, as more homeowners begin to understand the benefits of harnessing their energy directly from the sun.
Depending on the size and style of rooftop solar panels, you could produce enough energy to simply heat your home or even give your excess power back to the grid.
This could help you save money on your electricity bill – you could even be paid for the amount of electricity you are sending back.
But before you go solar, there are a few basic questions you need to consider determining if rooftop solar panels are right for you.
First things first, check with your homeowners’ association to ensure you’re allowed to install solar panels on your roof. Certain HOAs and covenants have very strict rules regarding modifications to your home, or at the very least may require approval first.
If you install without checking your neighborhood’s rules, you could be slapped with a hefty fine or even be forced to remove your panels.
Solar panels aren’t light (no pun intended). The average solar panel weighs 2 to 4 pounds per square foot. That might not seem like a lot, but it adds up when you consider the total area you plan to cover.
If you have an older or damaged roof, we recommend making those repairs before adding solar panels. Remember, it’s a lot easier and cheaper to replace or repair a roof before the panels are added.
South-facing roofs tend to get the most sunlight and are the best locations to install your rooftop solar panels. But you need to consider how much shade your roof receives because that will impact the performance and efficiency of your solar panels.
There’s not much you can do about tall buildings if you’re in a city. But if there are tall trees in your yard, you might want to consider trimming the branches to reduce the shade on your roof.
Purchasing your solar panels outright will save you the most money in the long run. The average system could cost upwards of $20,000 – but they’ll pay for themselves in five to seven years.
You’ll start saving money immediately with a lease option, but your savings will not be as large over time.
Solar panels aren’t a cheap investment. But when you consider the long-term financial and environmental benefits, solar panels might be the perfect option for your home and lifestyle.
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