All over the United States, people are becoming more and more interested in solar energy. And it’s no wonder — with solar panels becoming more and more financially viable for everyday folks, such an investment could mean decent long-term savings in electricity bills.
In the past couple of years, solar power has experienced incredible advancements — many of which have lowered the expenses of solar equipment to the point where it’s not the luxury it once was. If you want to lower your carbon footprint, generate energy for your household or business, and reduce your dependence on the grid — you’re on the right track.
But the question is: now that you’re interested in solar, where do you go from there?
Don’t worry; we’ll give you some tips on the stuff you need to consider before you install solar panels — as well as the steps you need to take to complete that process!
Is my home suitable for solar panels? Fastest way to find out here
Once you start thinking about going solar, there are certain factors about your home that you need to consider. Firstly — how old is your roof? People who know that their roof is damaged, or at least feel like it will need to be replaced or renovated soon shouldn’t consider solar
installations before that.
Apart from this, you also need to compare the warranty on your solar panel (depending on whether your installer offers any) and the warranty that you have on your roof. If your roof has a warranty for the next ten years and your solar panels are supposed to last you at least twenty,
this might increase the overall maintenance cost.
While we’ll get into the finances of solar energy below, you need to remember one thing — this is a long-term investment, and you need to think about all of its aspects well enough in advance.
For instance — roofs come in more shapes and sizes than you know — or, at least, more than you’ve noticed before you started thinking about solar panels. So, the size of your roof will be a key factor as you calculate your potential return on investment.
How to prepare for a solar appointment
Before you decide on a single solar provider, it’s a good idea to shop around — there are plenty of high-end solar companies that are rip-offs; hoping that you won’t get other quotes and see how overpriced they are. Generally, it’s a good idea to see what half a dozen companies offer before settling on a single one. In our experience, most reputable solar companies will provide a free estimate
And once you do, you will need to make adequate preparations for your solar appointment — the day that a solar specialist will come to examine your household and make a professional estimate.
If you want to make the process quicker, we recommend finding out your roof’s square footage, if you don’t already know it. Furthermore, you’ll need the square footage of the entire house as well, and the age of the roof.
These factors are necessary to determine if your home is suitable for solar power — and how a system will be installed if it is; along with the level of shade coverage and sun exposure. The more sunlight exposure you have, the better.
Ideally, you want a roof with an east-west ridge line and minimal interference caused by other buildings or nearby trees; this will allow the solar panels to gather as much energy as possible.
When it comes to the size of the panel system, it will mostly depend on the energy requirements of your home. If you want solar to cover just a part of your electricity bill, you will probably be fine with a smaller solar panel system. On the other hand, completely switching to solar will likely require a larger panel system or the installation of higher-efficiency panels with better generation rates.
Can I afford to go solar?
As we’ve already mentioned, solar energy is not a simple renovation or a short-term change — it’s an investment. And when you make any sort of investment, one of your key questions will be: does it pay off?
Well, in the case of solar — yes. If your roof can physically support solar panels, and your home is positioned to get enough sunlight; there’s practically zero chance of you not getting your return on investment, given enough time.
With that in mind, there’s only one other thing to wonder about — can you afford the initial investment?
Luckily, there are plenty of ways you can finance your switch to solar energy:
- Cash purchase
- Solar loan
- Solar lease
If you can afford to buy your solar system outright with cash, you’ll have the most benefits to reap — while it’s a costly up-front payment, your system will start paying for itself in less than a decade.
That way, you’re setting yourself and your family up for predictable (and non-existent) energy costs. Plus, with state rebate programs, local and federal incentives — you can find more affordable options to become the owner of your solar setup than ever before.
Apart from this, there are also solar loans. The great part about them is that you might find a zero down payment option — though this can entail bigger monthly payments for the foreseeable future. When you calculate the interest on the loan into the equation of your solar savings, you will probably save less than with a direct purchase — but there’s a flip side as well!
Not only do you not have a huge up-front amount to pay, but you’ll also eventually pay off the loan — and then your solar savings will truly begin. Plus, responsible solar companies like Sunlynk often provide ways to make your solar loans even more affordable.
For instance, if you sign up for a solar loan through Sunpro by the end of June — Sunpro Solar will cover the costs of your solar loan for an entire year! And Sunpro does it for free; an entire 12 months of payments taken care of, forever!
Finally, there’s also the option of solar leasing — you simply lease the solar equipment and let your solar company take care of the rest. This option means a more affordable upfront installation (with varying interest rates), and not having to consider maintenance costs as the solar company will cover those.
Still, you’re likely to have higher monthly payments — and since you don’t own your equipment, you don’t qualify for cost incentives that you can get with a solar loan or an outright purchase. Whichever you decide, contact Sunlynk for access to the most cost-effective local financial incentives, as well as solar options with $0 down payments.