Every homeowner that makes the switch to solar becomes part of the solution to sustainably meeting the world’s energy needs. To ensure that your residential solar system is not only kind to the planet, but to your finances as well, avoid these seven mistakes when installing solar panels.
1. Hiring the Wrong Contractor
Choosing the wrong solar contractor can lead to multiple mistakes. An awesome contractor will not only advise you about the right system to choose, where to install it and how many solar panels you’ll need, but can help with financing, incentives and other cost-cutting options. The right contractor will assess your home’s energy usage and show you how to make the system as efficient as possible.
2. Picking a Bad Location
Ideally, a home solar system should be installed on a south-facing roof that is not shaded by other structures or trees. In sunny areas, other roof locations can make a home a good candidate for solar as well. If a good roof location isn’t available, your solar contractor will provide you with information other alternatives, such as ground-mounted PV arrays.
3. Buying the Wrong-Sized System
Homeowners need to be clear about what percentage of their home’s energy needs they expect to be met with a new home solar system. Even a small system can save homeowners money, but it’s important to understand what they should expect before signing a contract. A good contractor will know the efficiency ratings of the solar panels that they install and can explain how efficiency ratings affect performance.
4. Missing Out on Incentives
Incentive and solar rebate programs offered on the federal, state and local level are always subject to change. While a great solar contractor will keep up to date on them, it’s important for you to do your homework as well. Depending on where you live, you may be able to save up to 60 percent on installation costs by taking advantage of incentive programs.
5. Not Getting the Most Out of Solar
Learning about how net metering systems work with home PV systems helps homeowners make the most out their solar systems. Since many utilities charge different rates at different periods of the day, you can enjoy additional savings by taking advantage of your solar array’s peak efficiency periods.
6. Missing Out on Financing
A careful assessment of your home’s energy needs and your household’s financial health can help determine whether it’s more advantageous for you to purchase or lease a system. Other types of solar financing options are available as well, including home equity loans.
7. Missing Out on Property Tax Exemptions
Home improvements can trigger a new tax assessment on your property, but many states exempt renovations that increase a home’s energy efficiency or that use renewable energy. Check with your state’s board of equalization department for details.