When it comes to solar power, it really does involve going green – and by green, we mean not only environmentally conscious, but also prudent with cash.
Installing rooftop solar panels can slash your electricity bills and produce a substantial savings over the long run, but you need to exercise patience because it takes time to make back the cash you spend to buy and install the panels. Check out our top-rated solar panel choices from SunPower, Kyocera and CanadianSolar MaxPower to see which might be the best selection for you. To get more information, take a look at our articles on solar panels.
Electing to install rooftop solar panels presents some complex decisions for any homeowner since there are so many variables for you to evaluate – the angle of the roof, which way the sun rises and sets on the house, local laws and HOA restrictions on home renovations, whether rebates are available in a particular community and much more.
However, the benefits can be outstanding. Your utility bills – even while remaining on your local electrical company grid – can be cut greatly over a 25-year period. In addition, it is quite possible that you will boost the value of your home. A 2011 Berkeley National Laboratory study of 72,000 California houses that were sold between 2000 and 2009 showed that homes with solar power generally increased in value by about $17,000.
Aside from financial considerations, if you choose carefully, you can get solar panels that do not detract from the aesthetic appearance of your home, but instead blend in nicely. You also will make a smaller carbon footprint and enjoy the satisfaction of knowing that even with one home improvement, you have done a great deal to protect the environment.
When examining roof solar panels for residential use, it is good to look at as many factors as possible before buying. An important factor in this decision is a solar panel's efficiency rating. This indicates how much electricity a panel produces per surface area.
In addition, you will want to determine how financially worthwhile a particular product will be by comparing the electricity savings you can get from a panel to the cost of buying and installing it.
You also will no doubt want to check out the dimensions of panels, product warranties and more. Here are some characteristics we evaluated:
This percentage rating indicates how much electricity a single panel produces per surface area. The more efficient the panel, the smaller the surface you will need. That could make a big difference as far as choosing a particular brand since some are quite large and might not fit on your roof easily.
Since buying solar panels will make a change in your home, which is probably the biggest investment you have, it is important to purchase solar panels that are backed by a solid warranty. If any panels are defective or end up malfunctioning due to no fault of yours, it is always reassuring to know that the manufacturer will back up its product and either replace or repair anything that is wrong. It also is helpful to know how physically durable the panels, especially when it comes to such things as hail and snow.
It is always signifcant to know the details about any product you might buy. In this case, you no doubt want to know what temperature ranges your solar panels can handle, depending on where you live and what the weather is like. You also will want to know the materials used to construct your panels. An intangible in all this is the very subjective area of what is aesthetically pleasing to you.
Learning about these measurements will help you decide how many panels of a certain brand you might want to install. At some point, you will no doubt want to contact a professional installer for a consultation, if nothing else, to determine whether your roof can handle the weight of a particular solar panel system, whether it meets local building and fire codes and whether it will work effectively.
Help & Support
Since this a big investment for any homeowner, it is important that you get customer support that you can rely on for answers to questions, support, trouble-shooting and any assistance that you might need after installation.
All this material might sound like information overload, but if you choose carefully, you will no doubt be happy with the result once those solar panels are in place and your utility bill is a mere pittance. You also can be proud that you are doing your part to reduce air pollution, harness natural energy sources and "be green."
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