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Is your house a good fit for solar panels?

Every day, more homeowners decide to make the switch to solar. The combination of prices which are lower than ever, and the added federal, state, and local incentives make going solar an easy choice, even for some skeptics. Unfortunately, not all homes are created equal when it comes to suitability for a solar system. There are some specific characteristics about certain homes which can make them more or less suitable to install solar. So, what questions should be answered to decide whether or not your home is right for a solar system?
  • Does Your State Promote Financial Incentives?
  • Does Your Utility Allow For Solar Installations?
  • What Is The Layout Of Your Home?
  • Is Your Roof Easily Accessible?
Does Your State Promote Financial Incentives?
At the end of the day, many homeowners are making the switch to solar for no reason other than that it saves them money. While we all know solar energy is cleaner than getting electricity from a local grid, a financial feasibility study is often what moves the needle. While every homeowner is eligible for the federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC), some states offer additional financial incentives. Many states allow solar owners to generate Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SREC’s) which can then be sold back to utilities which are mandated by a state law to source a certain percentage of their energy from renewable resources. This can help the homeowner gain a steady stream of additional income over time on top of the energy savings of the solar system. If you live in a state that offers additional solar incentives, your home may be a better candidate than those who love in states that do not.  Does Your Utility Allow For Solar Installations? While utilities are not allow to outright ban solar installations, there are certain areas in the country which cannot accommodate the cyclical nature of solar systems. This is because the utility will end up receiving far more power during the day than they will at night. The cost to upgrade your electrical infrastructure to allow the local grid to accommodate a solar interconnection is often too high to make installing a solar system cost effective. To ensure that your home is eligible to interconnect a solar system with no additional costs, you should speak with your local utility to ensure that there are no restrictions on the electrical lines by your home.  What Is The Layout Of Your Home? Perhaps the most important aspect of a home seeking to install solar is the roof. The most ideal roofs are large and have the entire face facing due south. This is because solar systems which face south in the northern hemisphere receive the most total sunlight. If your home is in the southern hemisphere, the ideal direction for your roof to face is due north. While solar panels will still operate if they are facing in any other directions, the shortest payback period are on panels that face directly toward the summer sky. Is Your Roof Easily Accessible? While there is always a way to access a rooftop, some are easier than others. Typically, because solar systems usually remain installed for up to 25 years, you will need to replace parts and have annual maintenance checks performed by a solar installer on the system. If your home’s roof is extremely difficult to access, access by a solar installer may be delayed which limits the amount of energy production that your home can benefit from. If your home does not have an easily accessible roof, there are ways to remedy this making maintaining the system much easier. Every home is unique in some way which means some are more suited for solar than others. By understanding the ideal home characteristics for a solar installation, you can make a more informed decision as a consumer about making the switch to solar.