Should you install solar panels on your home?
Many homeowners like the idea of installing a solar power system. Solar energy is green energy, which is 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 energy efficient products are first steps you should take before considering solar. By implementing efficiency measures and tracking electricity usage, you can better decide how much solar you’ll need. Weatherizing your home and ensuring your heating and cooling system is efficient will reduce the amount of electricity you’ll need from solar.
Assess your solar power potential
The amount of power generated by a solar energy system depends on how much sun reaches it and the size of the system. Although there are online mapping tools to help determine your home’s solar energy potential, working with a professional installer is the best way to measure how much energy a system might generate and get expert recommendations and estimates.
Shade trees near your home, the age of your roof, neighborhood and HOA restrictions, and state and local approval requirements can all affect the system you choose.
Consider shared options
You don’t have to go it alone! There are other options for solar panel energy at home besides installing a system you own and maintain, such as community or shared solar systems and solar leases. Explore these additional options as well.
Understand financing and incentives available for solar systems
Small solar energy systems are eligible for a federal tax credit through December 31, 2020. Tax credits for residential renewable energy products are available until the end of 2021. 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). To explore solar panel financing options, look at the Clean Energy States Alliance guide to understand the advantages and disadvantages of the options available to you.