What to Know Before Installing Solar Panels on Your Roof

In the last couple of years, the number of roofs with solar panels on them has steadily increased. You’ve likely noticed them on a neighbor or two’s roof and wondered if the panels were worth it, or if they make that much of a difference in your utility bill. Finding accurate information from an experienced buyer can be difficult and the number of homeowners who have owned a solar system for its full lifecycle is even more sparse. Installing the panels isn’t cheap, but the price of solar energy is pretty low overall. With the number of solar panel installations steadily increasing, you may find yourself wanting to jump on the solar energy bandwagon. However, there are a few things you should consider prior to taking the plunge. Check them out below!

Ensure Your Roof Can Support Solar Panels

This is probably the most important thing you need to know going into the process. If your roof is shrouded in shade throughout most of the day, you may not have enough sun exposure to justify the installation cost of the panels. If your roof isn’t cut out for solar panels, or you live in an apartment building where installing panels isn’t much of an option, you can still get in on solar power in the form of shared or community solar. By joining a solar community, you can purchase a stake in solar installation and receive credits for your personal electricity bill.

If your roof does get a hearty amount of sunlight each day, ensure that it is structurally sound prior to going through with solar panel installation. This way, if you need to replace or renovate your roof, you won’t have to cough over extra money to remove the panels and then re-install them once the roof repairs have been completed. Another important thing to note for those who have to pay a fee to a homeowner’s association is to make sure the solar panels aren’t banned for aesthetic reasons.

Research Your Installer

As goes with any other work you get done to your home, look into the credentials of the company who will be installing your solar panels. After all, would you hire a plumber to fix your plumbing system if they didn’t have much experience? Most likely not. When researching installers, be sure to keep an eye out for a contractor certified by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners. This certification proves your contractor has a bevy of experience installing solar panels. Panels typically come with warranties anywhere between 20 and 25 years, so it’s in your best interest to find a company who will continue to provide service for the entire warranty period. While solar panels don’t need much maintenance, it is nice to know your installer is available to fix a problem if anything happens to stop working.

You Have Two Options, Lease or Buy

This decision is ultimately up to you as the homeowner, but both come with their pros and cons. If you elect to buy your solar panels, it’ll be a higher up-front cost but comes with greater returns. Leasing, on the other hand, allows for cheaper electricity with little money down but comes with fewer returns. With a lease, you pay them a particular rate for electricity since they essentially own the system. When your lease is up, the company can take your panels away. If you choose to buy your solar panels, they can continue to pay off for a long while after you pay off the cost of the purchase. Your best bet is to compare the benefits of owning against the savings of leasing and make your decision from there.

A bit more goes into installing solar panels on your home than you may have thought, and it’s definitely not a decision that should be made lightly. It is a highly viable power option, especially when you’re trying to make your home more efficient. Just be sure to do your research before diving into the project. If your roof requires structural repairs prior to solar panel installation, count on REI Roofing to solve the problem! Call us at 781-848-1999 or fill out an online contact form.