Review these prerequisites before time, to make the installation process run much smoother
More and more people are thinking about alternative options for their home’s power due to the rising prices of electricity and gas. Solar power is one of them, as it has become more competitive in the recent years and gives a better return on investment. The installation of solar panels would also increase the house’s value on the market in case it is sold. But although the
installation of solar panels is a green and rewarding decision, which can make your home energy independent, sometimes it is not as easy as and cheap as getting your power from the electricity company. That is why you must first do some research and estimate the installation costs correctly. Then, if you have already decided to install solar panels on your home’s roof, be sure you have checked the following 5 points before the installation company arrives, in order to simplify the process.
- Your city’s rules
Some cities and states may require specific permits to install a home solar panel (building and/or electrical permit). Do your research in time, in order to obtain these permits before the installation, taking into account the time needed for the approval process. It might be the case that the installation company can also undertake the permit application and costs.
- Your past energy usage
In order to finalize your solar system’s size, analyze your past energy bills to see how much electricity you use. Last year’s archive can give you a good idea of the total usage, which varies between summer and winter. Add up the total number of kilowatt hours (kWh) you consumed for 12 months and compare with what your chosen system is estimated to produce. You may need to downsize your array choice, or realize that you may not be able to produce enough energy to cover all your needs.
- Notify your utility company
It is important to notify your utility company before installing and using your solar panels, as payment policies and net metering rules change for homes using solar power. Some utility companies install a net meter to measure the net energy (the difference between the energy your panels produces and the amount of electricity your home uses), while others use different rules and measurement methods. Electric companies that use net metering often switch traditional monthly billing to an annual True-Up bill, which allows energy consumption and production to be reconciled. At the end of the year, you will either get charged for the energy deficit or be reimbursed for the surplus.
- Remove obstacles blocking the sun
The solar panels should receive direct sunlight particularly during the peak energy production times of 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in order to be efficient. In case there is an overhanging tree, a satellite dish or even a roof vent shading the array, make sure you remove/relocate them well before the installation date.
- Audit your roof
The type of roof itself can have an impact on installation time, materials, and costs. Spanish tiles and shakes, for instance, are more delicate, making for a trickier installation than traditional asphalt shingles. Even though most solar companies can install panels on nearly any roof, some may prefer that the roof be cleaned or swept beforehand, so ask your installation company for more details on any preparation that may be required. And remember: solar panels last about 20–40 years, so in case your roof seems to need replacing within the next 10-15 years, it may make more sense to replace it before installing the array.
Source: The Energy Collective