Solar Panels 101 for Homeowners
Solar Panels 101 for Homeowners

Solar Panels 101 for Homeowners

Written by Lisa Walker

If your considering installing solar panels on your home, you’ve picked the perfect time.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, solar power is more accessible and affordable
than ever before. Solar energy is also more prevalent than it was in the past, meaning you’ll
have easier access to the resources you need to install panels than you would have in
previous years. Sounds straightforward enough, right? Not so fast. Installing solar panels requires careful research and planning. Further, this is a job that’s best left to a professional, as it requires technical expertise. Find out more below.

Recognize the benefits of solar panels
If you’re going to invest time, energy, and—of course—money into solar panel installation,
you want to make sure it’s worth it. Rest assured, there are many advantages. The most
obvious benefit is cost savings. You can significantly cut your reliability on a municipal
energy grid and reduce utilities costs. However, there are also environmental advantages, as
solar energy is a clean source of power, allowing you to reduce your carbon footprint.

Determine whether your home is a good fit for panels
Unfortunately, not all homes are a good fit for solar panels. First of all, your home needs to
be oriented correctly to trap the suns power. If you live in the northern hemisphere, that
means your roof should be oriented south or southwest. Otherwise, it won’t get enough sun to generate significant power. The roof type also makes a difference. Some of the most
common types of roofing for solar panels include tile, composite, wood, tar, and gravel.
Know what to expect from the installation process

Solar panel installation is a lengthy process. Depending on the size of the roof, it can take
anywhere from one day to a full week. Also, note that you will likely need local government
permits to approve solar panel installation before you start. This can further extend the
required time frame. In many municipalities, you can only start using your solar-powered roof
following a final government inspection.

Decide how to fund your panels
Cost is another thing you should keep in mind when you’re thinking about installing solar
panels. According to NerdWallet, fees can range from $15,000 to $25,000 for residential
installation. Luckily, there are some programs available to help offset the costs. The FHAs
energy-efficient mortgage program can help you pay for approved, eco-friendly home
renovations by incorporating the expenses into your mortgage.

Find a qualified installation expert
Solar panel installation should always be left to a certified expert. They will know exactly
what licenses you need from your local government, can advise as to whether solar panels
are suitable for your roof type, and will complete the installation process safely.

Prepare your home for the installation process
Before you can install solar panels, you need to confirm the integrity of your roof. This is to
ensure it can bear the weight of the panels. You can also help prepare your roof by investing
in gutter cleaning. Find local gutter cleaners to get the job done safely and quickly via an
online review site. Finally, make sure there is space in your lawn and driveway for solar
panel technicians to drive up and unload the panels and tools they need.

Installing solar panels is a major decision. The process is costly and time-consuming, and
should only be done by a professional. That said, the benefits are well worth the effort. Solar
power can help you reduce utilities costs and help the environment—a win-win for all.

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