Many people like the idea of installing a solar power system on their home and it is easy to understand why. Solar energy is green energy, making it good for the environment. And sunlight is free! However, adding solar panels to your home requires time and money. Follow these steps before you choose solar for your home.
Conduct an energy audit
Conducting energy audits and replacing old appliances, lighting and HVAC systems with modern energy efficient products are important first steps a homeowner should take before considering solar. By implementing these easier efficiency measures and then tracking total electricity usage, you’ll be in a better position to decide how much solar you’ll need. For example, weatherizing your home and ensuring that your heating and cooling system is energy efficient will reduce the amount of electricity you’ll need produced by solar.
Assess your solar power potential
The amount of power generated by a solar energy system depends on how much of the sun’s energy reaches it, and the size of the system itself. Although there are mapping services and tools online to help determine your home’s solar energy potential, the most accurate way to ensure that all variables are considered for your unique situation is to work directly with a solar installer who can more closely assess your solar potential as well as provide detailed recommendations, estimates and equipment expertise.
Some considerations: nearby shade trees (your own and your neighbor’s); your roof’s age (if you need a new one, wait to install solar panels); neighborhood or HOA restrictions or approval requirements (they vary from state to state and by municipality).
Consider shared options
You don’t have to go it alone anymore! There are other options available for using solar panel energy at home besides buying and installing a system that you fully own and maintain, such as Community or Shared Solar Systems and Solar Leases. Explore these shared options too.
Understand financing and incentives available for solar systems
According to energy.gov: Small solar energy systems are eligible for a 30% federal tax credit through 2019. The tax credit decreases to 26% in 2020, then to 22% in 2021, and expires December 31, 2021.
If you opt for a solar lease or power-purchase agreement, remember that you will not be eligible for this tax benefit, since you will not own the solar energy system. You should consult a tax advisor for more details.
You can search for additional state, local, or utility incentives on the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE).
In addition to incentives, be sure to explore all the available solar panel financing options. Every situation is different, and what is best for your property depends on a wide range of factors. The Clean Energy States Alliance guide helps homeowners understand their options, explaining the advantages and disadvantages of each.
If you need help financing your solar upgrade, read about your home remodeling loan options or contact one of Freedom Mortgage’s home loan specialists at 877-220-5533.