Few would argue that solar panels are not an important part of our future when it comes to generating more sustainable and clean energy, but that doesn’t mean solar doesn’t have its problems. This is true of any new technology that presents a significant change to the way we live, but it is those early adopters who pave the way for more widespread adoptions.
If you are looking to become such an adopter, we have seven things for you to consider before taking the plunge.
7 Things to Consider When Having Solar Panels Installed on Your Home
1. Can Your Roof Support Solar Panels?
The very first thing you should consider when deciding whether or not to get solar installed on your home is if your home can take it. Most roofs should be able to take the weight if they are undamaged and looked after, but if your roof requires repairs, adding solar to it could be a recipe for a very expensive disaster.
Of course, a roof that needs a little work isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker, you just need to factor in the cost of repairing your roof when pricing up the overall project. And, ultimately, you should want to get your roof repaired anyway.
2. Is Your Home’s Location and Position Suitable for Solar?
There are two things to think about when it comes to the position and location of your home. The location is significant because solar power is only effective if it is getting sunlight. If you live in a region that doesn’t get much sunlight due to long months of overcast weather, solar may not be the smartest way to go greener.
Similarly, if you are in a region that gets enough sunlight to make it worthwhile, you need to ensure that your solar panels are going to be facing the right way. If you don’t have an appropriate surface on your roof to get optimal exposure to sunlight, you can still go ahead with the project, but you may have to accept a somewhat unsightly configuration.
3. Are You Making a Wise Investment?
It is often tempting to just find the cheapest quote and go with it, but when it comes to solar, you do get what you pay for. Solar energy is a long-term investment, so try to avoid putting too much significance on the upfront costs. You will often find that the more expensive (and thus, better quality and larger capacity) systems will pay for themselves more quickly.
4. Have You Made Your Home Energy-Efficient?
Solar power is an admirable step in the right direction towards a more sustainable future, but it’s not the only step. An average home solar installation today is rarely enough to provide all of the power needed for that home. The technology is improving all the time (solar tiles, anyone?), of course, but in the meantime, the best thing you can do is ensure your home is efficient as possible.
One example of this is ensuring your home is well insulated, reducing the need for things like hot water or electric heating. Even switching to energy-efficient light bulbs will lower your electrical requirements a little.
5. Have You Chosen the Right Kind of Solar?
Most people think of solar as panels that produce electricity, but there are two kinds of solar energy that are common in home installations. Photovoltaic is the kind that generates electricity, whereas thermal uses sunlight to generate heat. That heat can then be used to heat your home or water.
Depending on your particular circumstances, one of these types of solar energy may be more useful than the other. It can help to think of it in terms of return on investment. How long will it take your system to recoup the cost of installation in savings? The one that pays for itself the quickest is usually the wisest investment.
6. Have You Found a Trustworthy Contractor?
This is not unique to solar installations, but you always want to make sure you have hired a trustworthy contractor to carry out the work. Solar installations can be dangerous in several ways if the installation work is subpar, whether it’s from things falling off of your roof or faulty wiring giving someone an electric shock. In the best-case scenario of poor installations, you won’t get anywhere near the amount of benefit you should.
7. How do You Connect to the Grid?
Assuming you are not going entirely off-grid—in which case you have a lot more research to do than what is contained in this post—you will want to look at the specifics of connecting your new solar system to the grid.
The details will vary from region to region, and even between utility companies. Will there be a fee to get connected? How and when will you be credited for any excess electricity you generate? These are all questions you will need to ask, as the answers will need to be factored into your overall budget.
While new options could come along at any time, solar certainly seems to be the most practical and effective option for the average homeowner to start generating renewable energy. It’s not cheap by any means, but the long-term benefits are undeniable. Not to mention the implications for our environment as a whole.
Author Bio: This article was written by Martin Desmond of Wizer Energy. Martin and his team provide comprehensive Domestic and Commercial PV Systems installation services across Ireland.