Nowadays, there’s a lot of buzz surrounding renewable energy resources. It’s all a part of striving for more environmentally-friendly lifestyles. Residential buildings are no exception. When applicable, many homeowners may have been on the road to investing in a more sustainable and budget-friendly future: switching to solar panels.
Perhaps that’s why you’ve made it here today. If you’ve been thinking about switching to solar energy, it’s normal to have a lot of questions on your mind. After all, the initial cost can be quite pricey. Then, there’s a lot of technical work involved to make your roof suitable for solar panels. When you make that switch, you should at least aim to generate enough solar energy to power your home.
In this comprehensive guide, you’ll come across everything you have to know when deciphering whether or not your home is a good fit for solar panels.
Your Roof’s Condition Is Strong Enough To Withstand The Solar Panels’ Lifespan
How old is your roof? When was the last time you had it checked or maintained? If you’re serious about solar panel installation, it’s best to make that effort and have your roof inspected and maintained first.
Solar panels need to have solid and durable roofs to hold on to—moreover, the type of material used for the roofing matters. The best choices would include standing seam metal, composite or asphalt, concrete tile, and shingles.
Solar panels may still be installed if you happen to have old roofs made out of clay materials. But you may need to ask the solar installer first whether or not they have experience with those types of roofs.
Likewise, other factors surrounding your roof should help you determine whether or not it’s a good fit for solar panels. Those factors include:
- Roof’s direction. South-facing roofs are the most ideal for solar panels, as they can generate the most power for a longer period throughout the day. East- and west-facing roofs can still generate power, but they may only produce around 20% less energy than roofs that are already facing the south.
- Size and shape. The larger your roof, the better. That’s because bigger roofs are more ideal for solar panel installation due to the panel sizes involved. Your installer may also inform you that they will need at least 100 square feet of roof space for every kilowatt of panels you’ll install.
- Pitch angle. The optimal angle degree of roofs that solar panels need is 30 degrees. However, good installers can still make it work with 15 and 40 degrees. In fact, they can even install on flat roofs—just with more work and expertise needed.
- Shading and other obstructions. Say you live in a generally sunny location, and your property has a lot of trees surrounding it. The shade given by those trees and other obstructions may also reduce the amount of solar power you can generate.
In some cases, you may have to trim some tree branches depending on your installer’s advice. Apart from the shade it casts, those tree branches may also be dangerous to your solar panels if it’ll fall on your panels.
- A well-installed solar panel can last for an average of 25 years. So, your roof should also be durable enough and has a lifespan of at least 25 years. The last thing you’d want is to have your investment wasted, as your roof will need a replacement in a few years.
Along this line, visit https://www.smartsolarenergyco.com/solar-panel-lifespan-and-degradation-curve/ to learn more. You’ll have insights on solar panel lifespans to help shape your decision.
Your Energy Bill Is Too High
Depending on where you’re reading this from, some states and nations have more expensive electricity rates than others. If your electricity bill is consistently high, despite controlling your use, then that’s a telling sign your home is ready for solar panels. Your budget will thank you in the long run.
If you’re from a place with cheap energy, as your energy providers are also sourcing their power from renewable sources (like wind), it doesn’t make much sense to switch to solar power. You may not be able to enjoy a return on your investment.
The idea should be that when you switch to solar energy, you should be paying less than your current bill. If this won’t be the case through your calculation, it won’t make sense to switch to solar energy.
You Have Enough Savings For This Investment
It’s not just the physical facets of your home and roof that should be considered when deciding whether or not your home is ready for solar panels. You should also include your household budget and savings. While ideal, there’s no denying how having solar panels installed is a big investment. If you’re not ready for this financially, then the chances are that your budget will suffer.
Knowing how much will be spent on this is to ask around at least three different solar energy companies or installers in your area. Afterward, compare the price and quality offered of each. This way, you can determine which would be the best option that would fit your budget.
Like other home investments, you may also have local banks willing to offer financing options for your solar panel installation. Discuss this with your bank and other local credit providers. If you’re confident that this is the best for your household in the long run, then those financing options are worth looking into.
Your Home’s Size Is Quite Big
Does your home have a size that looks like a zip code? Or, perhaps you fear receiving your monthly bill? Even if you’re very practical about your electricity consumption, a higher electricity bill will be expected if your house size is quite big.
If that’s the case, then solar panels in your home might just be that kick you need to lower your bill. Remember this general rule: the higher your current electricity bill is, the more you’ll be able to feel a return on your solar energy investment. The turnaround will typically be longer if you have a smaller home, as your consumption would already be little to begin with.
Your Sunlight Availability Is Good
How much sunlight does your property receive in a day? If your sunlight availability is so low, your solar panels may not work at their best. To see if your house is a good candidate for solar, you can use solar panel suitability checkers online or from installers.
Typically, consultations with solar installers regarding your property’s sunlight availability are free, so make use of those to your advantage. In addition, a good and reputable installer will be able to provide you with honest insights on whether or not you have enough sunlight.
If you’re worried about living in a rainy area, keep in mind that it’s a myth that rainy areas aren’t a good fit for solar panel installations. Yes, solar panels in a sunny location are a plus; but if you live in areas that rain multiple times in the year, that doesn’t mean you can’t have it otherwise. What matters most is that you pass the solar panel suitability checks.
Additionally, rain contributes to cleaning your solar panels, preventing them from accumulating dust, dirt, and leaves that can block light and decrease efficiency. Without it, you’ll have to clean the solar panels manually.
Your Home Is Already Energy-Efficient
If your home has already been energy-efficient beforehand, that’s another good sign that you’re a good fit for solar panels. Energy-efficient appliances and habits are best paired with renewable energy resources. Using solar power isn’t an excuse to waste your energy usage. Otherwise, your panels may still not be enough to power your home. In that case, you won’t feel the positive cost-saving effects of using solar energy.
To reduce your energy usage, you can try out applying the acronym LAW:
- If you haven’t already, switch to LED bulbs. Now’s a good time to do so. They last longer, but they may also use lower energy consumption.
- Old appliances may not be as energy-efficient as the newer ones. While this doesn’t mean changing all of your appliances, you can at least practice energy-efficient habits.
For instance, avoid having an empty refrigerator. You’re running energy while not maximizing your fridge’s capacity. If you use a dishwasher and a washing machine, always run full loads. Use the clothesline to air dry your laundry when the weather is good.
- Stop wasteful energy practices at home. This includes habits like being mindful of switching off unused lights and unplugging unused appliances.
When your household is already energy-efficient, switching to solar energy will be good for you. You can maximize the cost savings as you’re sure that the energy you can produce from your solar panels will be more than enough to power your home.
Without a doubt, solar energy is one of the most wonderful ways to power your home. Prepping your roof with a few panels can give your household a greener carbon footprint and your budget a smile. However, before jumping right into it and flying too close to the sun, it’s crucial to determine whether your home truly is a good fit for solar energy. The guide above should now give you clear insights into whether or not your home is ready to make this big switch.