FACTORS TO CONSIDER WHEN GOING SOLAR
Factors to consider when going solar include the solar installation’s cost and feasibility. There are key questions that must be answered before you make the financial investment in a solar energy system for your home or business. For example, how do you evaluate whether a solar energy system can be installed on your home or business? How do you know if the benefits of this alternative energy source will outweigh your costs? How can you be sure this option is going to work for you?
WHAT DOES THE RESEARCH SAY?
Fortunately, there are many resources available to you – both on line and locally – to help you decide if you should go solar. The internet highlights current solar research, provides you with practical considerations related to installation costs, and connects you with local firms with expertise in your specific locale. There are countless government agencies that regulate and oversee the solar energy industry in the U.S. and all of their data is accessible. So, there is a lot of information out there to help you learn about the factors to consider when going solar.
Once you start investigating solar energy options, you will learn immediately that this alternative form of energy is becoming increasingly popular. Factors to consider when going solar include the accessibility and affordability of solar energy. According to the US Department of Energy, solar power is more affordable, accessible and prevalent in the US than ever before. Since 2008, U.S. installations have grown seventeen-fold from 1.2 gigawatts (GW) to an estimated 30 GW today, enough to power the equivalent of 5.7 million average American homes. Since 2010, the average cost of solar PV panels has dropped more than 60% and the cost of a solar electric system has dropped by about 50%. Clearly, the industry is growing by leaps and bounds. Why is that, you might ask?
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF SOLAR?
First of all, solar energy attracts those who want to make a positive contribution to the environment by reducing the carbon emissions associated with coal and natural gas production. These solar energy advocates know that if we use the sun as our primary energy source, we can not only stop worrying about future oil and natural gas shortages, but we can lower our utility costs as well. For many, choosing alternative energy isn’t just good global citizenship—it’s a smart financial investment too.
Your research will also show that governments and public utilities are moving quickly to create the incentives and infrastructure needed to help home and business owners continue to adopt solar energy at what has proven to be an exponential rate. As the number of solar installations expand, both state and local governments are providing tax incentives to help defray the costs of installation.
You will find data to support that fact that going solar increases your home value and your profits when you sell your home. A multi-institutional research team of scientists led by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory published a report in 2015 that documented the fact that home buyers will consistently pay more for homes with solar photovoltaic (PV) energy systems —averaging about $4 per watt of PV installed—across various states and types of homes. This translates to an increased resale value of about $24,000 for a home with a typical PV system.
So, that is a lot of positive momentum and sound rationale for going solar in terms of the “big picture.” Factors to consider when going solar include helping the environment, saving money on utilities, getting a tax break and increasing the value of your home. What’s not to like?
ARE YOU A GOOD CANDIDATE FOR SOLAR?
But before you decide to move forward, there are some additional factors to consider when deciding if solar makes sense where you live, factors that can best be assessed by contacting a local solar expert like us. You need to think about your specific situation. For example,
- Location – Residential and commercial solar installations have been installed in every state, but solar panels require direct sunlight to work most efficiently. If you live in an area with significant cloud cover or if it rains much of the year, solar may not be the best option for you. States like California, Nevada, and Arizona are top contenders for solar energy consumption. There are resources available online to help you review your state’s solar status so you can learn about what is happening locally.
- Roof style – Roof panels need to meet specific requirements to support a solar installation. Many contractors will not install solar on older roofs or ones with overly-steep pitches. A totally flat roof can also present challenges. If you have trees around your property that cast a shadow on your house, this can limit sun exposure and reduce a solar system’s efficacy. Assessing the specifics of your site is important.
- Financing Options – There are several financial incentives through state tax breaks and government rebates to help offset the costs of installation. Some solar companies even offer free installation with term agreements to make solar energy systems more affordable. Whether you own or lease your installation impacts your ability to qualify for a tax break and you need to determine up front costs versus long term savings – a calculation related to your energy usage and current utility bills.
It is recommended that you contact a professional installer or solar expert when you get to this point in your research. Get help determining if your property is a good candidate for solar by contacting one of our solar experts. We’re the local experts who get jobs done quickly and cleanly – just ask your neighbors. We can help you assess your site and pencil out your long term energy savings.
We are proud of our accomplishments and of our commitment to clean energy. We stand ready to help you explore your solar options.