As energy costs continue to rise due to dwindling resources and environmental concerns, many people are looking for ways to reduce their energy usage. Generating your own electricity with solar panels is a great way to lower your utility bill and your carbon footprint at the same time. Learn how to provide your home with clean energy by installing rooftop solar panels.
Inspect and Repair Your Roof
Proper solar panel installation depends on the condition of your roof. Your roof needs to be free of any damage or decay and strong enough to support the weight of the panels. If your roof doesn’t pass inspection, repairs and upgrades will have to be made before they can be installed.
Establish a Budget
Although powering your home with solar can save a lot of money, the panels themselves are a big upfront expense. Decide how much you are willing to spend on your panels before you begin. An important consideration is whether you want to buy or lease your panels. Leasing is a more cost-effective option in the short term, but purchasing your own panels is cheaper in the long run and allows you to take advantage of tax credits.
Choose Your Panels
Now that you have a budget in mind, it’s time to start shopping. The best solar panels provide a good balance of efficiency, aesthetics and longevity. Remember that the most efficient panels may not be the best value. It’s also important to consider factors like the weather where you live, how much weight your roof can take and whether your homeowner’s association has any restrictions.
Hire a Professional or DIY?
It might be tempting to install your own panels, but professional installation is a better choice for most people. Many solar panel dealers offer installation at little or no cost, but be aware that purchasing from a discount seller and hiring your own installer may be cheaper. If you have enough construction and electrical experience to do your own installation, consider hiring a professional to inspect the job.
Now that your panels are up and running, monitoring and maintenance are essential to keep your system in good shape. Fortunately, solar panels are relatively easy to maintain with a yearly cleaning and inspection. Watch for a drop in power production, which is usually the first sign of a malfunctioning panel. If you’re hooked into the grid, your power company may notify you if they spot a problem with your system.