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Are solar panels right for my home?

Now that residential solar panels are becoming more common, homeowners are increasingly wondering if going solar is right for them or their homes.


If you’re thinking about going solar, consider a few things first:

  • Is solar cost effective in your region? Knowing how much you pay for energy is the first step in figuring whether going solar will save you money. In general, solar makes the most sense for someone with a monthly electric bill of at least $100. Why? A utility bill of $100 is the threshold at which residential solar customers will see a decent ROI.


  • Is your roof suitable for solar panels? Solar panels work best with strong, durable roofing materials, such as composite or asphalt shingle, concrete tile or standing seam metal. Also, solar panel systems can last for 25-40 years, so make sure that your roof is in good shape and won’t need to be replaced in the near future.


  • Does your roof receive enough sunlight to meet your energy needs? For solar installations in the northern hemisphere, the rule-of-thumb is the more south facing the surface, the more energy the system will produce. Systems on flat roofs or mounted on the ground are tilted to provide a south-facing exposure.


  • How much shade does your home get? Consider the amount of shading from nearby obstructions that might impact your system – like trees or taller buildings.


  • How much usable roof space do you have? Is your roof angular or does it have a lot of dormers? The more clear space the better.


  • What is your local climate like? Solar energy can be generated in all sorts of climates. High-efficiency solar panels can convert direct andindirect sunlight into electricity, so they work even on cloudy days. If your area is prone to severe weather, check the durability rating of the panels you’re considering.


Before you do anything, find yourself a reputable solar company. The last thing you want is an inexperienced installer ruining your roof or even the interior of your home.