Installing solar panels on your roof is a major undertaking. It’s a significant investment and one that needs to be considered carefully. Here are three important things to consider before investing in rooftop solar panels.
Are They Right for Your Roof?
The obvious first step before installing rooftop solar panels is making sure your roof is able to support the type of solar panels you want. Is your roof shaded the majority of the time? Is it made from a material other than composite shingle (like metal or cedar)? If so, or if only a small portion of your roof is useable for solar, you may not have enough sunlight to make up for the cost of putting those panels on your roof. Most solar panel companies only work with composite shingle roofs. A solar panel installation company can assess the suitability of your roof.
Additionally, make sure your roof is in good condition before installing the panels. If your roof needs a major repair or full replacement in the near future, it’s in your best interest to take care of those issues before installing solar panels. Another thing to keep in mind is landscaping, realizing that any trees you plant or that already exist on your property will need to be pruned to allow as much light as possible to reach your solar panels.
Which Solar Type is Right for You?
There are two major types of solar panels: thermal and photovoltaic. Thermal solar panels uses sunlight to heat air or water that you use inside your home. Photovoltaic solar technology uses solar cells to transform sunlight into electricity. Solar thermal panels may be your best choice if a lot of the energy you use goes toward heating your home or if you live in an area where heating fuel is expensive in relation to electricity costs. Photovoltaic solar panels are the most common type of solar panels, so it may be difficult to find an installer who is able to install thermal solar panels.
How Will You Connect to the Grid?
Details vary depending on your location, but if you have solar panels you have to work out the ins and outs of connecting to a utility company. Some things to consider are how long it will take for the utility to get you hooked up to the grid, if you have to pay a fee, and how you will be credited for the electricity you generate via your solar panels. These terms vary from state to state, so be sure you are fully aware of how your connection will work before installing your panels.