Adding Solar Panels To Your House

 In House, Lifestyle, Remodeling

Probably since (and thanks to) the 2006 Al Gore documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth,” more and more people are concerned with climate change and the environment. As a result, solar panels have become a more common home renovation. And with government tax incentives benefiting those who improve their homes with more environmentally responsible gidgets and gadgets, it’s definitely a worthwhile investment.

Solar Energy

For starters, there are technically two types of panels. One to harness solar energy which is converted into electricity and provides power to your home. The other uses solar radiation directly or indirectly to heat water. The former uses photovoltaic cells (or PV cells) and the latter are called solar thermal collectors or panels, sometimes simply ‘solar panels.’ Therefore, it’s important to determine if you are harnessing solar energy to provide an alternate form of electricity to your home, or if you are looking to heat water through solar energy.

Photovoltaic Cells

Probably the most common form used is the PV cells. And by using PV cells, you can save hundreds of dollars on your annual electricity bill, if not virtually eliminate it altogether. PV cells are basically panels that act as batteries; they harness the sunlight and convert it into energy that is then used in the form of electricity in your home.

Costs

Depending on the size of your home, and the types of cells you get, as well as other factors, the up-front costs of installing solar panels can be a hefty investment. Remember that there are government incentives for doing so, but they certainly won’t cover all the costs associated. Plan to spend upwards of $10,000 to $20,000.  

Permits and Other Considerations

Whenever you plan on doing any additions or changes to your home, be sure to speak with your contractor about getting the right permits. An experienced and professional contractor will be able to know exactly what channels are needed and what the laws state to make sure your project can run as smoothly as possible.

Remember that although installation might only take anywhere from a few days to a week, there is pre-installation work that needs to be taken care before anything can begin. Your contractor can explain all the timelines to you in order to manage your expectations. Measuring the space, ordering the equipment, getting the permits, etc. all takes time to plan and make sure your installation runs smoothly.

Sunlight

OK, so this might seem a little obvious, but in order for solar panels to work, the panels need direct access to sunlight between at least 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. every day. Otherwise, they might not harness enough energy. Again, your contractor will evaluate the situation and advise you accordingly.

Hiring The Best

Contractors are the best way to ensure all the trades and workers are working efficiently and effectively and making the most use of your time and budget. When looking to hire someone to install solar panels, make sure you get a few things when you request quotes. First, look for a good warranty that will cover the panels for at least 20 years, and other parts for at least 10 years. Ensure you are hiring a company that is licensed and bonded and do a search with the Better Business Bureau to ensure there have been no formal complaints lodged against them. And don’t be afraid to ask them for references. Panels and equipment that has been manufactured here in the USA will be protected even if the manufacturer files bankruptcy and your parts are still under warranty.

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