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What You Need to Know Before Installing Rooftop Solar Panels

Energy costs seem to always be on the rise, and the recent advances in solar power have made rooftop solar panels more accessible to homeowners than ever before.

solar shingles on a residential house

But before you install rooftop solar panels there are some things that are worth checking into prior to making that investment.

Assess Your Roof

First, you need to assess your roof and determine whether or not it is suitable for solar panels. Most solar panel installations are warrantied for up to 25 years. If your roof is older and will need to be replaced sooner rather than later, you don’t want to install solar panels first. It would be best to replace the roof first. Part of assessing your roof is also making certain that your roof is structurally strong enough to support the weight of the solar panels.

Next, you must determine whether or not your roof is obstructed or will be in the near future. If you have trees that are or will soon block sunlight from your rooftop, you’ll have to make a decision whether it will be the solar panels or the trees that go.

There are essentially two types of solar technology, and it’s important to know which type of energy will most benefit your situation.

Photovoltaic (PV System) turns sunlight into electricity while thermal can be used to heat the air or water. So a homeowner should consider if they will benefit most from using solar to produce electricity, or if lowering heating costs is where they most have the opportunity to benefit.

Speak with Your Electric Company

Another issue that must be addressed is how you will connect your solar panels to your electric grid. Typically this is going to require that you get your electric utility company involved, and you will need to determine how you will be reimbursed by your utility company for the solar power you generate.

You should also be aware that some utilities will charge a fee to connect you to the electric grid.

This is an issue that varies from state to state, and you should thoroughly research the laws in your state and understand any additional fees you might face before making a final decision.

As with any large purchase, you should look into warranties and insurance options, and be sure you understand the contract with any installation contractor.

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