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Are Solar Panels Right For You ?

If you’ve been thinking about switching to solar energy you might be having trouble deciding if buying and installing solar panels is the right thing for you. After all, the up front cost to purchase and install solar panels isn’t cheap and for some people the short term costs of investing in solar panels can be a burden. Here are some questions to ask yourself that will help you decide if solar energy is the right thing for you:

Can you afford the up front cost to buy and install the solar panels?
Most people either add the cost of solar panels into the cost of their new home or use money from the mortgage to pay for the solar panels or take out a home equity loan in order to pay for them. If you’re taking out a loan then you need to go over your finances and figure out if you can really afford the required monthly loan payment. Eventually the solar panels will pay for themselves but the up-front cost is such that at first you might be strapped financially after buying and installing them.

Can you live with the inconvenience?
Solar power is variable. If there is no sun or very little sun on a particular day then you won’t get any power from the solar panels and you may have to use grid electricity or go with reduced power for a time period. Are you willing to put up with little inconveniences to have a greener household?

Is your home set up for solar energy?
Do you have the necessary space requirements and land requirements to support a solar array? If you’re going to choose solar roof shingles do you have the necessary permits for building? Make sure that your home is properly set up for solar panels or solar shingles before you invest in a big purchase of solar panels or solar shingles.

Are you willing to do the maintenance?
Solar panels are low maintenance but they still do require some maintenance. You will need to occasionally clean off the solar panels. They will gather dirt and debris over time and anything that blocks the sunlight from reaching the solar panels will decrease the amount of energy you will receive. If you live in an area which gets snow in the winter that means every snowfall you have to clear of the solar panels. Also, the electrical equipment required to run the electricity from the solar panels into the electrical grid of your home does require some watching. There are stringent requirements for this because of the variability of the energy coming from the solar panels. So, it requires some monitoring.

The Three Main Requirements for Using Solar Power in Your Home
Solar energy will work in almost any home that physically has the space to support an array of solar panels. With the wide selection of solar panels available it’s not that hard to find solar panels that are the right shape and size to fit into any building. Still, there are certain things that your home has to have in order to effectively use solar panels and solar energy. The main things that your home needs in order for solar power to work at your home are:

Enough space to put the solar panel array.
If you don’t have enough land or roof or wall space to put the solar panels on the house then solar energy isn’t going to be effective for you. Depending on the type of solar panel that you choose you might have to have a large solar array in order to generate enough energy to power your home which would make it necessary for you to have some open space. If you live in a crowded city you might not have room for solar panels although solar shingles might be a good option for you. Local building codes may also restrict your options of solar panels. Be sure and check with your local government as to any restrictions they put on the size and location of solar panels on a building.
Since solar shingles go on the roof of the home just like a traditional roof solar shingles make it possible for homeowners that don’t even land to support a lot of solar panels to gather and use solar energy. Some types of solar panels can be installed on your roof without damaging your existing roof shingles but if you decide to install solar panels on your room you should have a professional do the installation to make sure that your roof isn’t damaged during the installation.

Enough sun to make the panels work.
If you live in a climate that is cloudy most of the time or dark a great deal of the time then you will not be able to use solar panels effectively. Unless the solar panels are exposed to direct sunlight for most of the day everyday they will not generate enough energy for you to use. The more sun there is the more power you can generate.
If you live California, Arizona, Florida, or a state where it’s bright and sunny most of the time then solar energy is a great option for you. If you live in a state that sun part of the year and lots of storms or snow the rest of the year then you can still save money using solar energy for some things but you’re better off using grid electricity during the winter.
Another factor is how far north you are. The farther north one is on the planet, the lower the sun is in the sky. This means that the rays of the sun are hitting the solar panel at a more oblique angle so less actual light energy is hitting the solar panel. In northern states like Minnesota or Maine solar panels are going to be less efficient than in southern states like Louisiana and Florida.

A way to finance the price of the solar panels.
A solar panel isn’t cheap. A high quality solar panel array plus installation could cost in excess of $20,000. It’s important to make sure that you have worked out a way to afford the cost of buying and installing the solar panels before you go to purchase them. Remember that you don’t have to pay the entire cost of the panels out of pocket in most cases because there are lots of grants and incentives you can get to help cover the cost.

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