4 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Installing Solar Panels

FiberTite on Apr 6, 2016 8:00:00 AM

Solar Panel Installation at Kent State UniversityWhen it comes to installing solar panels on existing roofing systems, there is a decent amount of upfront work and consideration that needs to be done prior to signing the check. Before going all in with your decision, you need to do your due diligence and determine if installing solar panels is really feasible for you and your roofing system. Below are several questions to ask yourself in order to determine if installing a solar array system is right for you.

1. Who do I need to talk to before beginning my project?

There are a number of entities that you must talk to before jumping into your solar panel project. First, you’re going to want to talk to your local electric company. Electric companies tend to have different ‘tier’ systems that determine your rates. By finding out how much you are spending now, you’ll be able to determine a more accurate expectation for your return on investment.

Second, As with any construction project, the local authorities need to be informed prior to the start of your installation. They’ll be able to inform you of any local building regulations that need to be followed. Lastly, you should discuss your options with a number of panel manufacturers in order to find the best fit for both you and your roofing system. This point is discussed in great detail later in this article.

2. What is the condition of my current roof?

While installing a solar array system in conjunction with a new roof is the best option for success, you can also install solar panels on your existing roof as long as it meets some basic qualifications. You’ll want to have an inspection performed in order to uncover any deficiencies that might be hinder your project.

The expected lifespan of your current roofing system also needs to be determined. It generally takes about 20 years for people to see a return on investment for their solar panel systems. If your roofing system won’t survive that long, it’s best to forgo your project until new construction can occur. Other roofing considerations can be found here. 

3. How do I determine the best solar panel system?

Typically, solar companies will be able to recommend the best solution for you and your building. An expert will either come to your building or view it on Google Maps to determine the number of panels that can realistically fit on your roof as well as the expected electricity that will be generated. They will also be able to help specify a type of solar array system, such as film or large panels mounted on metal stands, etc.

4. How am I going to pay for this?

Solar array systems are a pretty hefty investment, but there are a variety of steps you can take in order to make the payments less burdensome. You should do research around any government subsidies, rebates, or tax credits that may be available to you. You should also consider leasing agreements with panel manufacturers. You will still have a relatively high initial payment, but you’ll be able to alleviate some costs.

Are there any other initial questions you ask prior to installing a solar array system? Share it with us in the comments.

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