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Many people across the United States are looking for a way to save money on their energy costs and reduce their carbon footprint. What typically comes to mind first is the option to use solar technology. It’s come a long way in the last decade and is much more affordable than it used to be. Sounds like an easy decision, right? Well, there are a number of things to consider to determine if solar is the right choice for your Des Moines home. Here are some questions to take into account when making your decision.
How old is your roof?
Adding a new roof to a home can really put a dent in your wallet, but when considering adding solar to your home, it’s very important that the installation of the solar panels be on a solid roof. You have to either have a strong roof now or look into investing in a new one if your roof isn’t up to date. Look at the warranty on both your roof and your panels as well, as the reinstallation will have to coincide as well. It makes no sense to install a solar system with a warranty of twenty years onto a roof that will need to be replaced within the next two years.
Will your panels get enough sunlight?
Not only do you need to determine if your roof is in good shape, you also need to make sure that you have enough space on your roof for the amount of panels you need and that the area of installation will receive optimum sunlight. If the largest section of your roof is facing north or east, you may not receive enough sunlight to charge your panels. The optimum direction for receiving the most sunlight is southwest, so you’ll need to verify that you have the space for the unit facing that direction. Lastly, if you have tall trees blocking your roof or live in the woods, that can affect the amount of sunlight your panels are receiving as well. Be sure there nothing will cast a shadow blocking the sunlight consumption.
Do you have proper drainage?
Because of the amount of equipment required to install your solar panels, the rainfall may need to take a different path prior to reaching the ground. You want to be sure that your gutter system can handle the rerouted water so as not to cause roof leaks or puddling around your foundation. It’s best to address these concerns upfront so your contractor can recommend a solution to avoid damage.
Are you in a high wind area?
Mother Nature can send some unexpected weather our way and that should be taken into account prior to installing a solar system. If you live in an area with high winds, hail, tornadoes or strong thunderstorms, your equipment is likely to be damaged or destroyed. Be sure to speak with your insurance company to see if your equipment will be covered for damage from a natural disaster or intense storm systems.
Can you afford it?
Granted, the goal to installing solar power is to lower your monthly bills, but the upfront costs are still rather high depending on the square footage of your home. Typically, the installation of a solar panel system and the batteries can run anywhere from $10,000 to $30,000. Don't let that deter you though, as many states and solar companies are offering rebates to those looking to go off the grid. Do your homework, talk to your contractor and your solar company and local energy department to see what rebates and tax deductions you’ll receive. Weigh that out against the initial costs to see if it is a fiscally responsible decision for you.
Do you want to go off the grid?
Having solar panels can allow you to go off the grid energy wise, but you’ll be reliant on Mother Nature for your electricity now. If you have a series of gloomy days, you may be dining by candlelight out of necessity, not romance. You do have the option of connecting your solar energy to the grid, allowing you to have the city’s energy as a backup. If you decide to connect to a local utility, you’ll need to get some questions answered. You need to find out if there will be any fees involved, how long it will take them to hook your energy into the grid, and how and when you will be credited for your generated energy.
Making the decision to go solar can have a lot of benefits as long as you make the decision after doing your research. Do you think going solar is right for your Des Moines home?