Installing a Home Solar System? Here’s What You Should Know
Home solar systems can save you money on utility bills in the long term and help to sizably reduce your carbon footprint. However, there are many things you’ll want to consider before you go solar. If you’re deciding on a home solar system, you’re have to take into account a few key factors – like the up front cost, what the financial incentives are for homeowners, and whether or not it’s a worthwhile investment compared to your current power source.
There’s a lot to consider when deciding on a commitment to solar energy. Keep reading to discover how installing a home solar system can save you money, decrease dependence on traditional utility companies, reduce your carbon footprint, and benefit your family now and in the future.
Planning a Home Solar System
Many people who plan to install a solar power system are looking to reduce or eliminate dependence on the power grid and take advantage of more efficient and sustainable home solar systems. In 2019, the SEIA reported record highs in residential solar installations with growth continuing in the years to come. If you’re looking to capitalize on these new highly efficient home solar systems, you will want to consider the costs and benefits that come with installing solar power.
If you’re planning to install a solar power system, you probably have lots of questions. After all, there is a lot involved in planning the switch to solar power. You might be wondering:
What Equipment Is Needed For a Home Solar System?
Choosing the right equipment can help ensure that your home solar system is as efficient as possible. The main components of a residential solar power system include:
- Solar Panels – These photovoltaic modules collect the sun’s energy and convert it into electricity
- Inverter – This component converts the electricity collected by your solar panels into power your home can use
- Net Meter – This device tracks the output from your panels and your usage, allowing you to potentially collect money from your utility company for power produced but not used
- Electric Box (Main Panel) – A “big switch” that safely distributes the supply of solar power to your house. Also houses smaller sub-switches that connect with specific areas of your house
- Battery Storage – It’s optional to add extra battery storage to your home solar system, but often beneficial as it allows you to store energy you do not use now for future use
While solar systems are a relatively simple concept, installation companies must consider crucial factors like optimal panel placement and local solar regulations. Choosing a company with the necessary experience and reputation to install your new solar power system will help ensure that you get the best, most efficient setup for your home.
How to Choose the Right Solar System For Your Home:
When searching for the best manufacturer and installer for your home solar system, it’s important to compare companies. Consider factors like panel efficiency, reliability, and the length of warranty. Online solar calculators can help you determine your home’s “solar potential.” It’s important to know that the angle of your roof, sun exposure, your roof’s age, and even tree cover all affect the efficiency of your home solar system.
You can get help choosing the right system by finding a trusted solar contractor to evaluate your home and determine your solar potential. Contractors are trained to recognize whether or not your roof is right for a solar power system. Keeping a record of your annual energy usage can help determine the right solar system for your home as well. You can do this by contacting your local utility company for a record of past bills and usage.
Home Solar System Benefits
Installing a high-quality solar power system reduces or eliminates your dependence on the community power grid, resulting in an independent renewable energy source that will provide you with decades of free energy. There are many financial incentives to installing a solar power system for your home:
While there are upfront costs associated with Installing a home solar system, it will automatically reduce or eliminate your electric bill. Converting your home into an energy independent entity that doesn’t depend on the prices and burdens of a local power grid results in big savings! Your solar provider will help you calculate just how much money you will save with your new home solar system. There are other financial incentives to consider when you choose to install a solar system too which offset the initial installation costs.
According to the US Department of Energy, small solar energy systems are eligible for a 22% federal tax credit through 2021. However, to take advantage of this benefit, you must own your solar system. Therefore, homeowners who purchase solar systems via lease or power-purchase agreement are not eligible for this tax credit.
Exploring every available solar financing option can help you to make the right choice for your home and your solar power needs. Options include:
- Purchasing your own home solar system for full ownership
- Community or shared solar programs that don’t involve rooftop installation
- Leasing a solar system
- Power Purchase Agreements
- Solarize Programs for communities that want to go solar
Installing solar power can reduce or eliminate annual energy costs almost immediately. A home solar system also improves your home’s resale value, should you choose to sell in the future. You can expect a home value increase of at least $5.00 per kw of solar power produced by your system. Depending on the size of your system, you can significantly increase your home’s value by adding a home solar system.
Reduced Carbon Footprint
Solar systems provide clean renewable energy that can help reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. Traditional electricity systems are sourced by fossil fuels like coal and natural gas.
When fossil fuels are burned to produce electricity, they emit harmful greenhouse gases which cause air pollution and contribute to climate change. Not only are fossil fuels bad for the environment, they are a limited resource – so their prices will fluctuate greatly over time depending on supply and demand.
Choosing to install a renewable energy source improves public health. A home solar system reduces air and water pollution from coal and natural gas. If homeowners continue to choose solar power systems for their energy needs, we can replace fossil fuels with clean renewable energy while reducing healthcare costs (from the effects of air and water pollution) and saving the environment.
Considering the Cost of a Home Solar System
One of the biggest questions homeowners have when planning to install a home solar system is “What will it cost?” Here’s how to calculate the cost of a solar power system for your home:
Average Solar System Costs in the U.S.
There are many factors involved in determining the cost of a home solar system. The size of your system, components you choose, configuration, cost of labor, and any related permit fees all factor in to determine the cost of your system.
The cost of a home solar system is measured using dollars/watt. Currently, home solar systems cost $3 to $5 per watt. A standard 5 kilowatt home solar system typically costs $15,000 to $25,000.
It takes most homeowners 6 to 9 years to pay back the cost of installing their residential solar system. However, the length of time depends on the total cost of the solar system and how much money you save on your utility bill as a result of installing solar power.
First, it’s important to calculate your home’s current energy output. This will help you determine how much solar power your system will need to generate. One way to keep track of your energy usage is by obtaining a record of your annual energy usage. You can do this by recording or referencing the last 12 months of electricity bills for your home. If that’s not possible, monthly usage can be estimated based on peak winter and summer usage.
Don’t forget to consider impending changes that might affect your energy usage. For example, will you be getting an electric vehicle? Do you plan to get a pool? Are your children moving out soon? Are you working remotely for the foreseeable future? Once you know how much energy you need, you can determine what type of home solar system will be best for you.
There are certain factors that limit your ability to produce solar energy for your home. For example, certain types of homes like condos, apartments, and duplexes typically aren’t eligible for solar panel installation.
Another limiting factor you’ll need to consider is the size of your roof. Without enough eligible space to install rooftop solar panels, you’ll need to consider other mounting options that you may or may not have space to accommodate. Eligible roof space for solar panels must be free from obstructions, must not face northward, and must not be significantly shaded.
The amount of power you need to generate will directly affect the size of your system, but so will your roof space. While rooftop panels do vary in size, they all require a certain amount of surface area to function. You must ensure that you have enough space for the size system you require.
Contact Harness Power Today
Once you have considered all the costs, benefits, and steps involved in planning, purchasing, and installing a home solar system, you’re ready to begin consulting with contractors about installing your new solar system.
Contact Harness Power today – we’ll get you a free quote and help you choose the right solar power system for your home. Our territories served include California, Arizona, Florida, Nevada, New Jersey, Illinois, New York, Massachusetts, Utah, Texas, and Puerto Rico.