Solar panels are becoming a more accessible option for energy savings. Homeowners who want to “go green” can enjoy a bevy of benefits when using solar, including financial savings and feeling better about their contributions to society. You can reduce or even eliminate energy bills because of the amount of sunshine you’re collecting and the energy you’re storing. For this reason, as of 2019, Pew Research found that 6 percent of U.S. homeowners had installed solar panels at home, and 46 percent said that they are considering it -- and those numbers continue to rise.
The Energy & Environmental Building Alliance takes a look at several things you should know before you make the decision to enjoy the energy savings that solar panels can bring:
Before the install: A checklist
Prior to having a solar panel installed on the roof, you will need to obtain approval for your design from your local government, which depends on several things. For one, you need to make sure your roof is the right kind of material and has the proper pitch for an installation of this nature. According to Roof Maxx, asphalt shingles are the best kind of roofing material for solar panels -- and they also happen to be the most popular kind of material for roofs in the first place. The installation is fairly simple and only requires you to drill studs through the shingles and attach the mounts to these studs. Metal roofing is also a good option. You should also make sure the roof is at a 30- to 45-degree angle for maximum efficacy.
You also need to ensure that any gutter work you need to have done is completed by the time you start work on the solar panels. Most residential panels weigh about 40 pounds, which means that they add around 2.8 pounds of weight per square foot on a pitched roof. You don’t want your older roof or gutter to deteriorate under the weight, so it might be time to look into affordable repair services.
During the install
Now that you have determined whether your house is ready for a solar panel installation, you can get going on the project! As you look into where to purchase the equipment and how much it costs, don’t forget that you may qualify for the FHA’s Energy Efficient Mortgage program. This program is for homeowners who do eco-friendly home modifications and helps finance these projects by incorporating the cost into your mortgage.
As far as what you should expect during the actual installation, you don’t have anything to worry about. Once you obtain approval from the local government, it may take anywhere from one to seven days depending on the company or contractor tasked with the install. This time is spent making sure your structure is sound enough for the panels, and then the wiring and actual construction of the panels may take a couple of days as well. After this step, you’ll need to have another inspection done and obtain approval to turn your panels on!
After the install: Enjoy your new panels!
Once your solar panels are set up and you have all the logistics squared away, there’s nothing left but to enjoy your panels and the energy -- and money! -- savings that come with them.
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