Have you finally decided that it is time to make the move and add a solar panel array to the roof of your home? If so, get ready to enter the preparatory stage, because going solar for any homeowner is a big step. It takes planning, financial discipline, and a decent amount of investigation and cost comparison. As is the case with other major home improvements, this one comes with several essential phases of planning and preparation. And even though every home is unique in terms of structure, location, size, and adaptability, there are some common questions that need to be addressed by most anyone who chooses to make alternative energy part of their lives.
Consult With an Energy Expert for your solar panel array
Step one is making a connection with a local energy consultant. Look for agencies or individuals who charge modest rates for their time, and who bill by the hour. On a single visit, they can check out your house and evaluate how well, and whether it can be adapted for panels. These professionals can also help answer questions if you are debating between smart shingles or panels for your home. In some rare instances, it is either impossible to install a system or the cost-benefit factor rules it out entirely.
Cut Monthly Expenses ASAP
If you decide to go ahead, as most homeowners do after the consultation, get right to work on your monthly budget. Carefully trim out waste. For example, if you currently pay on a student loan, refinancing it is a smart way to free up capital you’ll need to purchase and install the energy panels. It’s important to work with a private lender on a student loan refinance agreement. Not only can you get more favorable rates and a longer repayment period, but the effect on your budget takes place as soon as you refinance.
Answer the On-Grid or Off-Grid Question
Another consideration you will need to address early in the process is whether to be an on-grid or off-grid user. Most of today’s systems work well for owners who choose to remain on the energy grid and receive financial credit from utility companies for months when net energy use is negative. If you opt to go off-grid, there will be an added expense of battery storage for all the electricity produced by the solar panels.
Check Your Roof
Your roof is a major factor in the project. If it’s old or too weak to support panels, there’s a chance that a new one might be in your future. Have a licensed and experienced roof contractor do a thorough inspection. The cost shouldn’t be more than a few hundred dollars, and it’s worth every penny. Should you opt to buy a new roof, be sure the contractor knows that you’re going to be installing a solar power array on it. Some roofing materials and types are not well suited to supporting panels. Others are excellent choices.
Decide Whether to Lease or Buy
Buying a solar power array can be a pricey affair, but if you are able to get a good financing package, it is well worth the added cost. However, many homeowners opt to lease the panels instead, which can mean small upfront costs.