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Experts report that, in many parts of the United States, residential solar panels can save homeowners over $100 per month on their energy bills. Over time, these savings can add up to thousands of dollars. In fact, in Hawaii it’s reported that the average homeowner saves $64,000 in the first 20 years of solar panel ownership. That’s huge!
Many homeowners are intimidated by the process of getting solar panels. They’ve heard that solar panels can be expensive and complicated to install, and they often wonder what solar panels will do to their property value. In this blog post, we’ll talk about the solar panel installation process and what you can do to get started. Knowing how to take those first steps and what happens as the process progresses can help you decide if solar panels are right for your home.
Solar Panel Installation, Start To Finish
Many homeowners start the solar panel installation process by calling multiple installers in their area. Looking at different companies can help you get the best deal and can also help you find a solar panel company that meets your home’s particular needs. When calling solar panel installation companies, start by asking questions that will help you understand the process. Every company is different. Good questions to ask include:
- When would the solar panels be ready to install?
- How long does the installation process take?
- Will the solar panels be leased or owned?
- Is there a warranty?
After the first phone call, the solar company you choose to work with will send a representative to your home. He or she will take measurements of your roof and discuss factors that can impact the effectiveness of your home’s residential solar panels. There are many factors that can affect how much power your solar panels will generate over time. In addition to local weather patterns, there are many variables to consider, including:
- Orientation of your house. South-facing and western-facing rooftops get the most sun exposure throughout the day. Northern and eastern rooftops are less helpful. If your home has predominantly north-facing and eastern-facing roof panels, then the amount of power that your solar panels are able to generate may be limited.
- Placement of trees on your property. Shade tries can have a big impact on your solar panel’s functionality. Sometimes homeowners on shady or wooded properties choose to prune trees or even take down trees that are in the way of the solar panels to ensure that they will have the functionality they need.
- Placement of nearby buildings. Homeowners in urban settings must take into consideration the placement of other buildings in their area and where the shade from those buildings will fall.
After the initial consultation and meeting, documents must be signed if the homeowner is ready to proceed with an installation. After the paperwork is complete, the installers will schedule the installation appointment. Most residential solar panels can be installed in one day, but on some homes the process might take two days.
Financial Benefits and Options
A typical solar panel installation will cost anywhere from $15,000 to $40,000, depending on a variety of factors including the size of the roof, the position of the roof, accessibility and special features the homeowner requests.
Some homeowners will choose to buy their solar panels outright, which means that they can take advantage of all the tax benefits and rebates from the government. Homeowners who do not have the money to purchase their solar panels will sometimes take out a loan.
Special agreements between the solar power company and the homeowner make it easy and affordable to get solar panels installed, and many homeowners are able to install solar panels for little or no money down. Leasing is a popular option for homeowners who have little cash on hand to invest in their system.
In some cases, homeowners choose the “Pay as you go” option. In this arrangement, the solar panels are owned by a solar panel company that provides maintenance on the panels. Homeowners then pay for the solar power generated by their panels at a reduced rate compared to what they would pay the power company for energy from the grid.
When trying to decide which payment options are right for you, talk to your customer service representative at the solar company to decide what makes the most sense. Take into account how much you have on hand, whether or not you would like to take out a loan and how much money you are hoping to save over time.
The testimonials speak for themselves! Customers are happy with residential solar panels after they’re installed, and the savings are great.
“I have about 40 solar panels on my roof. Its great. I have net metering so I end up paying the minimum bill every month, about $15.“
“Have had solar panels for a few years now, it’s pretty good, pay less for power, though depending on what time of year, it might generate more or less power, and if it puts power onto the power grid, you will provide green energy for your town and depending on your electric company, you may even get paid for the power you generate!“
“Have 10 panels on my house. …We added them 8 years ago, and although they’re not the most efficient panels, everything is paid back now and we earn some money selling it back to the grid.“
“I have 30 panels on my house for a total 7.5 kW system. It creates about 75% of my energy in the summer and around 60% in the winter. I love it. In addition to being neat, it’s also cash-flow neutral now and when the solar panels are paid off in 10 years, will be a savings of about $100 a month for another 15 years. The more electric rates go up, the higher the amount of savings.“