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10 Facts Before you Go Solar

Solar power information is always changing. By doing research you will be able to decipher a lot of the mystery, and be able to make an educated decision about solar installation in your area.

1. Understanding utility rates

Most areas have different tiers of energy usage, and there are different formulas for calculating usage and cost. Higher energy usage incurs higher rates. In other words, the more you use the more you pay. In the San Francisco Bay when you increase your usage you are raised a “tier” and subject to higher costs. A typical energy bill is $90, and when increased to $237 you are subject to increased rates. By going solar in this area, you remove the upper tiers of usage, saving you money while you enjoy your solar energy system.

2. No rebates on solar batteries

Unless you live in a self-contained dwelling or are living on a compound, do not worry about batteries. Staying “on the grid” will allow you to receive power at night from your local utility. Remember, rebate initiatives don’t kicked in unless your solar system is tied to a utility grid.

3. How much energy do you use each month?

Growing families require growing energy needs. However, if you don’t have children living in your home expect your energy costs to dramatically decrease. Make simple changes to your home, like using energy saving light bulbs to keep your costs down. Calculate your planned energy usage, as well as your current energy usage.

4. South facing roof

Solar systems benefit from having a south-facing roof, but this isn’t as important as you make think. Positioning your panels to face south or west will give good results as well.

5. Solar energy and property tax

Your property will not need to be reassessed because you are adding a solar system. In many states, if your property does need to be reassessed due to a solar system installation, your home will be subject to a tax exemption due to your solar system.

6. Insure your solar system

Once your system is installed, contact your homeowner’s insurance company and amend your policy. You may incur a small increase on your policy, but your solar system will be protected from fire and other damage.

7. Solar Warranties

Learn everything you can about the solar warranties available to you. Individual components, such as inverters are often given a manufacturer’s warranty of 20-25 years. Installers should offer warranties on their installation work, which will protect you against any damage done to your home during installation. These warranties do not cover theft or fire damage, so it’s important to contact your insurance carrier to amend your homeowner’s policy.

8. How long with my solar panels last?

Usually a solar panel will last 30 years, without much loss of conversion efficiency (around .5%). Keeping your panels clean and free of debris will ensure they last longer.

9. Are panels bad for my roof?

When properly installed, panels will not harm your roof. On the contrary, panels often protect your roof from light, heat, and weather. Usually, rooms located directly below the panels will experience cooler temperatures in the summer, and warmer temperatures in the winter. Home preparation and tedious installation will ensure no damage is done to your roof.

10. Roof type can affect cost

The type of roof you have will affect the cost of installation. Spanish tile and older shake roofs are typically more expensive than plain asphalt shingles, because it takes longer to install a solar energy system on brittle surfaces. Usually, a 10-25% cost increase is expected upon installation.

Talk to several solar companies before deciding on a panel installation. While pricing may be similar, things like reputation and customer service come in handy when deciphering rebates and government guidelines.

After conserving as much energy as you can, while researching solar energy systems, determine the best way to install your system. Do the research and take the time to get the right answers and make the right decision.

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