Whether you’re looking to save on electricity bills, lower your carbon footprint, or add resale value to your home, solar energy is the way to go. However, before you start saving, there are some important things to consider.
First, you’ll need to receive online quotes based on a remote solar audit, a process that can be done completely online through the Solar Marketplace.
How It Works
There are many benefits to converting your home to solar energy, including lower electric bills, decreased carbon footprint, and potential increases in your home’s value. However, the initial investment required to make this change can be steep and may not be feasible for all homeowners. Luckily, there are ways to reduce the cost and still reap the rewards of solar power.
One of the best ways to reduce your upfront costs for a residential solar energy system is through the Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC), which was recently extended by Congress until 2024. This credit is a significant incentive that allows you to deduct 30% of the installation costs of your solar panels from your federal income taxes.
Another way to save money on a solar energy system is through a utility program called net metering, which lets homeowners sell their excess electricity back to the grid at the same rate they buy it from the utility company. This is a great way to cut your utility bill significantly.
If you’re thinking about going solar, the first thing to consider is whether or not you need a grid-tied system. Most people who switch to solar energy are grid-tied, which means that they connect their systems to the electrical grid so that they can pull electricity from the grid on cloudy days or at night when their panels don’t produce enough power.
Solar Panels are made up of small units called photovoltaic cells that convert sunlight into electricity. Each cell is made from semi-conducting materials such as silicon. When rays of sunlight hit the cells, they knock electrons loose from atoms, which creates an electric current. Solar panels capture this flow of electrons and turn it into usable electricity for your home.
Some homeowners choose to add batteries to their solar energy systems so that they can store excess electricity for use at night or during stormy weather. Batteries are expensive, though, and will eat into your return on investment. You can also purchase backup generators to provide electricity during a blackout, but this is a costly solution and should only be considered as a last resort.
If a homeowner does not wish to make a cash purchase, they can still invest in solar energy by leasing a system or signing a power purchase agreement (PPA). The type of financing option selected can impact how much homeowners spend up front and over the life of the system, if they qualify for solar rebates or incentives, and their responsibilities when the time comes to sell. Homeowners should carefully evaluate solar companies, products, costs and benefits before deciding.
A typical solar installation costs between $16,000 and $35,000, with the majority of the cost related to the hardware. This includes panels, inverters, and all the wiring needed to get the system connected to the home. Soft costs, such as labor, permits, and utility interconnection fees are also included. The total costs vary from location to state, as well as what type of equipment is installed at the house. For example, homes with gas appliances typically use less energy than homes with electric ones and therefore may need a smaller system.
When choosing a solar installer, homeowners should request online quotes from several reputable local companies. These quotes are based on remote solar audits, and will include the estimated size of the system, roof layout, shade analysis, and recommendations for any upgrades to the home that may be needed to accommodate the system.
Homeowners should also consider the local climate and how much sunlight their area receives. They can use online calculators to determine the size of a system they need to meet their average electricity demand, as well as how much it will produce per year.
Once a homeowner decides on the size of the system, they can find out if they qualify for any solar incentives by contacting their local utility or asking their chosen installer. Many utilities offer programs like “net metering” that pay homeowners or give them credit for any excess solar power they produce, which is then used to offset their monthly electric bills.
Once the system is installed, it must be inspected and approved by the local government. This usually takes just a few days, and your installer will manage the process with town representatives. The representative will double-check the work and ensure that the system is compliant with all setback and electrical codes.
Solar energy isn’t just for experimental race cars and the International Space Station anymore. It’s now a mainstream way to power your home, reduce carbon emissions and help the environment. It’s also a great way to save money on your utility bills. And, if you choose to purchase your system instead of leasing it, you can benefit from tax incentives.
But, before you decide to take on the project yourself, make sure you do your research. There’s plenty of do-it-yourself information on the Internet, including solar calculators and websites that allow you to experiment with different setups. You may also want to check with local governments and utilities to see what they recommend. For example, some states have programs that encourage solar adoption by paying homeowners or giving them credits for the electricity they produce during the day and return to the grid at night.
The actual installation process can take several months, so you’ll need to be patient and committed. In addition, you’ll need to have a good understanding of how your home uses energy, since your usage will vary from month to month and season to season. This is why it’s important to have copies of your recent utility bills nearby. You can also use a home energy monitor like Sense(link is external) to track your consumption, which will show you how much of your current bill can be offset by a solar power system.
Before you install your solar system, you need to determine how large of a system you need. Generally, guidelines recommend a system that can generate about 1 kilowatt per 1,000 square feet of your home. In addition, you’ll want to consider meteorological data, as well as the average daily sunshine in your area.
Once you’ve figured out the size of your solar energy system, you need to select your mount type. There are three main options: roof mounts, ground mounts and pole mounts. Each of these options requires a specific type of mount, and each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Before you begin installing your system, read the installation manual for your equipment carefully.
A solar energy system can produce a lot of electricity, but it may not always be enough to offset your home’s total electricity consumption. This is why many homeowners choose to invest in additional energy-saving measures, such as performing a home efficiency audit and making energy-efficient upgrades. These measures can help you save money and make your home more comfortable, all while helping the planet.
You’ll also want to make sure you have a reliable solar provider that’s willing to provide support throughout the process. This includes helping you file for rebates and tax incentives, as well as answering any questions you might have along the way. A good provider will also be transparent about their installation processes and provide you with detailed documents so you know what to expect.
The best way to find a good solar provider is to ask around for recommendations from friends and family members. You can also look up reviews of companies online to see what other customers have had to say about their experience. Another great resource is Greenmatch, which helps homeowners find renewable energy solutions for their homes. They review everything from solar to energy efficient pumps, boilers and windows.
Solar panels are easy to maintain, with most of the maintenance centered on clearing away any debris that could block sunlight from reaching the solar cells and hinder production. This is especially important in cold climates where snow can build up, and in dry areas where dust might settle on the panels. It’s also a good idea to wipe down the panels a few times a year in order to keep them clean.
Investing in a home solar system is a smart choice. It will not only help you lower your utility bills and reduce your carbon footprint, but it will also add value to your home. In fact, a 2021 Zillow housing trends report found that 67% of buyers were willing to pay more for a home that was powered by solar energy. And as fossil fuels become increasingly scarce and expensive, the value of solar energy will only increase.