Solar

How To Plan Your Home Solar Energy System

Wondering what it would take to get your own solar energy system? This guide should get you well on your way to saving the planet and your wallet.

If you’re not even thinking about solar energy, this is not your page. You might be more comfortable here.

If you’re curious about solar, if you’re looking to install your own solar power system, and if you’re looking for help installing a solar power system, this guide is specifically for you and only you.

Something as big and important as solar power needs a guide. Though much more affordable, solar power is still a big investment. You need all the best help today and all the way through the process.

That’s why we, your Home Professionals, are here. Let’s get started.

Get To Know Your Home’s Energy Efficiency

You need to know your starting point. Figure out your energy use, how much it costs you monthly, and where most of your energy is wasted.

A home energy audit can be a great way to get exact numbers from a professional. You can make small fixes that will make your solar power system that much more impactful when you finally install. Among your small fixes, we recommend upgrading your appliances to energy-efficient appliances (such as ENERGY STAR). These will be much kinder to your wallet and allow you to use your solar energy more effectively.

Consider your lighting and HVAC system. Most likely you use electricity for your daily use of these systems. Make them more efficient, and you will reduce the electricity you’re using now as well as when you use your solar electricity. Energy efficient lighting helps you save energy, and proper insulation of your home should help your HVAC system run effectively.

Get To Know Your Solar Possibilities

Discover your solar energy options

Just because you live in a state that has winter or which is overcast often, does not mean you can’t benefit from solar energy. That’s an old myth.

Solar energy uses both direct and scattered sunlight to create its electricity. So, it’s pretty sure you can benefit from solar. However, how much power you can get does depend on the amount of sunlight and the size of your solar power system.

This is where you’ll want a solar professional to visit your home (or even a couple different ones) so they can quote you. They have strong professional knowledge of the location, hours of sunlight, position of the roof, and how well other solar systems in your area are preforming. Your energy audit can really come in handy here, as you can more definitely tell what you’d be saving.

If you’re not quite ready for that, you can also check out this solar mapping resource from the Office of Energy Efficiency And Renewable Energy.

The important thing here is that you have a very good idea of how much you’d save with a solar power system, how big it would need to be, and how much it’s going to cost you.

Dig In To Your Solar Options

You have financing options for your solar energy system

Don’t be shy, ask questions and get the best deal. This is an important part of deciding which solar power route is best for you.

You don’t have to take out a huge loan to own your own solar system anymore. In fact, many would argue that’s maybe a dated way to get the benefits of solar energy.

There are many options and financial help for homeowners who want to switch to solar. Here are a few of your options today:

  • Power Purchase Agreements (PPA): You may essentially “rent” solar panels from a solar company and buy the electricity at a reduced rate. You can pretty much count on the fact it’s going to be a significant reduction from your current energy bill—if it wasn’t, this model wouldn’t be cost-effective for anyone. The PPA model is a great way for you to reap the benefits of solar energy without footing the bill yourself.
  • Solar Lease: A solar lease allows you to use power the solar energy system produces, but someone else owns the power system. You would pay to lease the power system. Leasing usually includes some amount of an upfront investment and fixed monthly payments. These payments are usually based around the estimated energy production of the system and is often less than your original energy bill.
  • Purchase: You may also purchase your own system with a loan or cash upfront. This model does provide the biggest savings on energy since you own the panels. However, it does have a steeper upfront cost and will take some time before it more than pays for itself. You can usually sell your excess energy produced back to the grid for a profit as well. You can look into state and federal tax incentives/credits to help you go solar.

Compare And Shop Around

solar worker
Flickr – Greens MPs

You should always educate yourself before you say no to solar.

You now have a good idea of your energy use/efficiency. You have a savings report from a solar professional (at least so you know approximately how much you’ll save). And you also know which kind of financing route you want to try. Great! Now it’s time that you get serious about finding the best professionals for you.

Even if you’re going to try DIY, you’re still going to most likely need a professional electrician to sign off to connect you to the grid. And you’ll want solar professionals to check out your roof and home set-up.

For a list of important questions to ask your solar professionals, go to this great article here! It includes things like which questions to ask about panels and inverters all the way to insurance and credential questions. Above all you want to know your chosen professional is ethical, has insurance and credentials, and will do a good job.

Home Professionals will connect you to the best professionals in the industry to help you out. So, fill out the form below for available quotes in your area.

Ready, Set, Go

You’ve got all the necessary tools to start. And we’re here to help you get the professionals you need at any step in your journey.

Got questions? Email us or comment below!

Need access to the best professionals? Need solid quotes from the best in the industry?

Fill out your information below and we’ll be more than happy to help.

 

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