We’ve already discussed finding and installing the best available solar energy system, but the process of selecting and buying them is a little more complicated than that. Solar panels systems are a big commitment, so every decision you make when it comes to them should have a valid supporting reason. Here’s your master guide to everything you should be looking at and considering when making the decision to transition from regular electricity to solar-powered electricity.
Assess Your Current Energy Efficiency
Take a look at how your home is currently using energy by performing a home energy audit. This will help you understand how efficient your home is running, and see how much energy is being used and where, and if a solar panel system will fit in with your usage. This will also help you better understand your usage habits and identify energy waste within your home.
Things you’ll want to look at when conducting your energy use audit are your heating and cooling systems, and insulation. When auditing these, things to look for include water usage, leaks in your air ducts, windows, and doors, and of course any issues with your central air conditioning system. While you can conduct an energy audit yourself, you also have the option to hire a professional assessor to make sure you’re getting the most accurate results.
Evaluate Your Solar Energy Potential
How well would a solar panel system perform in your current location? This is something else you need to determine before shopping for a solar panel system. The energy each home generates from solar panels varies depending on roof orientation, roof size, weather, and more.
Roof orientation, also known as the Azimuth angle, is a vital component of determining how much sun your solar panels will receive throughout the day. If you have a south-facing roof, then you’ll be happy to hear that this angle is optimal for solar panels, allowing them to perform at their highest efficiency. If your roof faces east or west, your panels will still be able to generate electricity, but not as much as south-facing panels. Panels on north-facing roofs will have the hardest time generating electricity, and it would be better to consider other forms of solar panel setups if this is the case for your rooftop.
Determine Your Energy Needs
Circling back to energy audits, these are great tools to assess and determine your energy needs and what type of panel system should be installed. You’ll also need to look at your energy bills to see how much energy you’re consuming, as well as look ahead and factor in any future plans that could impact your energy usage, such as more people living in your home, or buying an electric car.
Calculate Your Solar Energy Budget
While calculating your budget, you need to take into consideration the installation costs, the cost of the system, maintenance costs, and more. There are a lot of extra details to consider upfront that can impact you later on. For example, higher-quality solar panels tend to yield higher results, which means you’ll have to spend more upfront when buying them, but in doing so you’ll have a more efficient system that can save you more money in energy costs.
Compare Solar Energy Systems and Lenders
Comparison shopping is important not only because it helps you better understand what you’re looking for, but you can also save a lot of money. Lenders and PV panel systems vary around the country, so it’s important to shop around and make sure you’re finding the best available rates. It can also help you negotiate prices once you have a better understanding of pricing and rates. This can perhaps be one of the more time-consuming parts of going solar.
Consider Other Solar Energy Options
Sometimes buying and owning your own solar system just isn’t feasible, but that doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from solar energy. There are many other solar options available that you can benefit from, such as a shared solar program (aka community solar).
Shared solar programs are when groups of people co-own solar installations and share the electricity generated by the panels. There are no upfront costs associated with a shared solar program, and the hardware is owned by the community as a whole or by third-parties. Community solar is ideal for those who cannot afford their own solar panel systems, those who rent, and for those with roofs that aren’t big enough for solar panels.
Feeling overwhelmed? You’re not alone! Just like any other big purchase you’d make, you want to be sure of your choice. Contact Direct Solar of America so they can help you conquer buying a solar panel system all while saving you money.
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