What is the First Question I Should Ask?
The first question people usually ask, is how much will installing solar panels on my roof cost? That’s really like asking: “how long is a piece of string”. Before asking about price, you really need to find out whether your home is suitable for solar power.
Adding solar energy to your home is in itself not a difficult process. Start by getting professional advice before making any decision.
Where Do I Go to Get the Right Advice?
An experienced solar company will have all the necessary know-how to get your home switched over and up and running with solar power. But how does one go about finding the right company? Fortunately, this has become relatively simple. A professional company with years of experience installing solar panels, will also have a comprehensive online website presence. Typing “installing solar panels” into your browser search page will bring up a whole range of companies to choose from, and they’ll all have plenty of information for you.
Choose a Solar Company that Offers a Free Consultation and Quote
Arranging a convenient free home consultation, is as easy as filling in a simple online form. This is the first step you should take right now.
Sit down with the representative of the company and clarify exactly what your needs are and whether they can satisfy them. Get them to explain exactly what is involved in installing solar panels for your home and any other details you need to know before deciding.
How Do They Determine the Number of Solar Panels I’ll Need?
The number of solar panels you will need depends on two things:
- Your daily power needs
- The system required to deliver this amount of power
Determining this is a straight forward calculation for your installation company. Using the data from your electricity bills over the past 12 months, they will arrive at your monthly usage in kWh and divide this figure by 30 to arrive at your average daily power usage.
They can then accurately determine the type and number of panels your specific home will need to generate this amount of electricity.
Do I Have to Supervise the Solar Panel Installation?
Rest assured that once you have made the decision to move forward, the solar company will handle everything for you. They will suggest the best panel design to meet your budget and energy requirements and handle the complete installation process from beginning to end. Regular system maintenance and 24/7 monitoring of the panels output will all be part of the package.
What Are the Main Advantages of Installing Solar Panels?
The primary reason for switching to solar generated power for your home is of course the massive savings benefit in monthly utility bills.
But there are many more benefits:
- Solar power is a completely free energy resource.
- There is no need to pay increased electricity tariffs year after year.
- It is a 100% renewable energy source.
- It is absolutely clean, with no carbon footprint, unlike the traditional fossil fuels that your utility company sources to provide you power at present.
- Installing solar panels on your roof frees you from an absolute dependence on the commercial power grid.
- During sunny periods your panels will be producing more power than your immediate needs. These are exported by your solar system back to the grid, gaining you regular electricity credits.
- So, with a well-designed system, you may be able to reach a point where your panels supply your entire electricity needs at no cost to you
- There are tax rebates available when you install solar.
- Panels are easy to maintain
- They are very strong and long lasting. Most companies will guarantee decades of good service.
- 24/7 monitoring is available to you so that you can see exactly how the solar panels are performing.
- Battery backup is available as an optional extra from your solar installation company, ensuring you 100% uptime for essential processes, even if the grid goes down.
There Must be Some Disadvantages?
- Solar panels cannot supply electricity at night, so you can’t simply switch off the grid completely as you need to maintain continuous power at all times.
- You need the backup from the grid in case anything causes your system to go down.
- If the grid goes down, your panels will also automatically be switched off for the duration of the time that the line-men will be working to restore grid service. This is for safety reasons.
Are Many Homes Switching From the Commercial Grid to Solar?
It’s amazing how large a share solar power has gained in the energy market over the last 10 to 15 years. From virtually zero installations at the turn of the century, there are now more than 1.6 million solar panel installations in the U.S. and this figure is growing daily. Statistics show that there will be 2 million homes with solar power by 2019, and 4 million by 2023.
Are Other Countries Also Moving to Solar Energy?
This trend is rapidly gaining momentum world-wide. Naturally, regions with more sunshine are outpacing the others, but as the technology develops, this becomes less and less of an issue as solar becomes extremely efficient.
As an example, the British city of Manchester U.K. which is situated in a northerly latitude and is renowned for being cloudy for most of the year, has a growing number of homes switching very successfully to solar power! The two homes below in Manchester U.K. are side-by-side neighbors, both with successful solar panel installations!
Successful Solar Installations in Mostly Cloudy Manchester U.K.
How Do I Know That Solar Will be Cheaper Than the Grid?
Solar power is produced by PV (Photovoltaic) panels. “Grid parity” is the point at which the cost of producing solar power is equivalent to the cost of buying it from the commercial grid.
This depends on a few factors:
- the geographic location of the installation
- the direction in which the property faces
- local climate and weather conditions throughout the year.
There is no across the board answer to this question. Your installation company though will assess the savings you’ll make by switching.
Is Solar Gaining Popularity Year Over Year?
The amazing 70% decline in solar costs over the last decade has seen the industry really take off in the United States and Europe, as well as in countries such as China and India.
Here are some interesting facts about solar power:
- Statistics show that it has become the cheapest energy source in the world
- It is now cheaper than wind power as well as traditional fossil fuels
- It is the fastest growing energy resource in the world
- Solar panel efficiency has risen in line parallel to the decrease in cost, making it extremely attractive
- With the cost of grid electricity rising year by year as fossil fuels become scarcer and more expensive to source, some solar home owners in the U.S. are experiencing break-even after as little as 4 to 7 years, including repaying the cost of the solar installation
- The cost of installing solar panels has dropped to below $3 per watt in certain U.S. states, down from $8 a decade ago!
How Long Should the Whole Solar Panel Installation Process Take?
From the time you first meet with your installation company, until your system is connected to the grid and delivering power, should be between two to three months
What About All the Paperwork?
There is a range of logistical paperwork that needs to be handled. Building permits, and permissions need to be obtained from local authorities. Fortunately this is all part of the service your installation company attend to for you. They will also guide you in applying for your local and state tax breaks and grants.
Solar Power Means Benefits to Others Too
By powering your homes with clean renewable energy, you are benefitting the environment around you and encouraging others to do the same. Can there be any question that installing solar panels is the way to go?