The average homeowner’s electric bill alone comes to more than $104 every month and that’s just the average. If your bills are higher, the best thing you can do for your budget is to look for ways to lower your utility costs each month.
Though there are many options out there, few are as simple and long-lasting as installing solar panels on your property.
Once the panels are in place, you’ll keep your electric bills low every month, but the installation process isn’t as simple as you might think. Here are a few things you need to consider before you invest in solar panels.
- Look at Your Budget Carefully
Before you start looking for solar installation companies, you need to figure out how much you’re willing to spend on the system and installation. Look at your bank account and see if you’re willing to contribute any of your personal savings to the project.
The more you can pay upfront, the cheaper the installation will be.
However, if you can’t afford to pay for the full cost of the installation with your savings, don’t give up. Many companies are able to provide you with in-house financing options or can recommend local lenders to help you pay for the installation.
You can also approach your bank to see if you qualify for a home improvement loan to finance the project.
Keep in mind that you’ll want to shop around for a good loan before you commit to the installation. The last thing you want to do is end up paying too much in interest payments over the life of the loan. Get quotes from several lenders and compare their rates in detail.
Choose the lender that offers you the most money at the lowest interest rate.
- Consider How Long You’ll Stay in Your Home
Once the solar panels are in place, you’ll see instant savings on your home’s energy bill. However, you’ll want to be able to use those panels for several years to make up for the cost of the equipment and the installation.
Depending on the size of your system, you can expect your solar panel cost to be as high as $20,000. There are tax credits that you may be able to take advantage of that can lower your out-of-pocket expenses, but the longer you’re in your house, the more you’ll recoup that cost.
If you’re planning on staying in your home for a year or two, you may want to wait to install solar panels for home use until you’re in your new house. However, if you’re planning on staying in your house for the foreseeable future, it may be worth the investment.
- You’ll Need to Get Your Roof Inspected
Once you decide that installation is in your best interest, you’ll need to get your roof inspected by your preferred roofing contractor. Remember, solar panels are heavy and can put a serious strain on your roof and the support structure underneath.
Your roofing contractor will be able to inspect the materials, the sub-roofing structure, and your attic to determine if your roof can accommodate the panels in the first place. If they find any issues, they’ll be able to make the necessary repairs quickly.
During the inspection, let them know that you’re planning to install solar panels on the roof. This will help them better target their inspection to make sure the panels won’t hurt your home or increase your risk of water damage.
- Pay Attention to Alternative Placement Options
Though most homeowners choose to have the panels mounted on the roof, it’s not your only option. In fact, it’s not an option for some homes in the first place.
Before you schedule an installation consultation, think about where you want the panels to go.
If you have tons of trees surrounding your home and don’t want to cut them down, you may want to get the panels installed in a sunny part of your yard. If you love the way your roof looks and don’t want to change it, putting the panels on the ground may be a better choice.
There are many different configurations that will allow you to generate tons of power without mounting the panels to your roof. You just need to think about your preferences before you schedule your consultation. The more information you can give your installation team, the easier it will be for them to give you a fair and accurate estimate.
Always Check With Your HOA
If you live in a neighborhood with a homeowner’s association, you need to make sure that your solar panels won’t violate their bylaws. Unfortunately, some HOAs refuse to allow solar panels in the neighborhood.
If you install them without the HOA’s permission or willfully violate the bylaws, they can ask you to remove the panels at your expense.
- Figure Out Who Will Install Your Solar Panels
Installing a residential solar system is a big investment and you need to make sure you choose the best installation company possible. Start by searching online for “solar providers near me.” This will generate a list of companies that are familiar with your area and can handle the installation quickly.
Once you have a few names, research the reputation of each company. Read up on customer reviews and schedule in-person estimates with the companies you’re interested in.
During these estimates, each company will give you a quote for the cost of the installation and will be able to discuss any warranties associated with the products they use. Choose the company that offers you the best quality service at a price you can afford rather than choosing the cheapest option possible.
Keep These Things in Mind and You’ll Be Fine
Installing solar panels is a great way to improve your home’s energy-efficiency and reduce your carbon footprint. If you’re just starting to investigate the idea, keep these considerations in mind and you’ll be able to find the best system for your home and your budget.
Be sure to take your time and choose a company you’re confident in. Remember, they’ll be able to help you maintain and repair your panels and system in the future.
Looking for more tips to help you keep your home’s carbon footprint as small as possible? Check out our recent posts.