7 Common Mistakes to Avoid Before Making the Switch to Solar Power

How to Ensure the Perfect Solar Experience

Common Mistakes to Avoid Before Making the Switch to Solar Power

Solar energy has many benefits: it’s affordable, it’s great for the environment, and it can help you save a ton of money. Plus, solar can even increase your home value.

But before you install a solar array on your home or business, there are a few things you should consider. Don’t make these mistakes when going solar.

1) Installing Solar on a Shoddy Roof

Your solar installer should be able to tell right away whether or not your roof is up to the task of serving as a solar installation site, but if you’re going the DIY route, you might not be certain.

If you install your solar panels on a roof in need of repair, you may end up having to remove them to make roof repairs in the future. And worst-case scenario, the weight of solar panels could put too much stress on a dilapidated roof, causing further issues.

Before installing solar, make sure your roof is up to snuff.

2) Not Taking Advantage of Incentives

In addition to the Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit, you may find that you’re eligible for lucrative state or local incentives. For example, some states exempt solar arrays from property tax gains. But you won’t automatically receive these perks unless you jump through the hoops first.

So make sure you know which incentives are available to you. If you need help, your local solar installer can offer guidance.

3) Waiting Too Long to Go Solar

As consumers, we’re often faced with a frustrating dilemma: will we buy the gadget that was new a few months ago, or will we wait for the even better one that is surely on its way? If we buy now, we run the risk of being disappointed when the hot new thing arrives. Then, as soon as that moment comes, we’re left with the same conundrum.

If you’re applying that same sort of thinking to solar panels, it’s time for a reality check. Yes, solar panels are high tech, and they’re subject to periodic upgrades and improvements. But you don’t have to worry about the next year’s solar panels outperforming this year’s models by some staggering percentage.

We’re currently in a sweet spot where solar panels are more affordable than they’ve ever been, federal and many state incentives are still generous, and retail-rate net metering is still available in many markets. The sooner you go solar, the sooner you can start saving money. Stop playing the waiting game.

4) Choosing the Wrong Location for Your Solar Panels

Not all solar installation sites are created equally. The potential energy production can vary greatly even among sites on a single roof. Ideally, your roof will have plenty of available south-facing real estate for solar panels, but that’s not always the case.

What if your roof’s pitches face east and west? Or what if the south-facing pitch is shielded from the sun by a giant tree or a neighboring condo? Well, those inconveniences won’t prevent you from going solar, but you may need to get creative with panel placement. Again, this is a case where the assistance of a solar expert will come in handy.

5) Not Knowing Your Financial Options

You know that you can buy solar panels outright, but did you know that you may be able to go solar with no money down? That’s right: through solar leasing and power purchase agreements, solar companies in many states will install solar on your roof with very little (or zero) up-front cost.

What’s in it for them? They get the incentives, and you purchase your power from them. But you’ll start saving money on day one, and you’ll get the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’re doing your part to help ensure a better tomorrow.

6) Choosing the Wrong System for Your Needs

Install a solar array that’s too small to meet your electricity needs, and you won’t notice much of a dent in your monthly bill. Install a system that’s too large or advanced, and you’ll end up paying more than you really need to. That’s why it’s important to analyze your energy needs and to choose a solar array that fits them perfectly.

7) Hiring the Wrong Solar Installer

A trustworthy, professional solar installer can make going solar a much easier and more pleasant experience. And while we respect those of you who prefer the DIY method, this is one case where we’d recommend that you enlist the services of a pro.

Enjoy the Sunshine

With your new solar system, you’ll be able to enjoy the sun in so many ways. Every time you turn on a light bulb, it’ll be like a little ray of sunshine. Enjoy your new solar array!

[Photo via: Flickr]