In this age of tax incentives at both the local and federal level, installing solar panels for the home has gotten increasingly popular. Solar panels have gotten cheaper and more efficient, making them an appealing option for consumers rather than a quirky option for the most progressive neighbor on the block.
By choosing solar panels for your home you can reduce your carbon footprint by an average 35,180 pounds per year. That’s the equivalent of planting 88 trees each and every year. Not to mention that once you get past the upfront costs, solar panels for the home can mean big time energy savings as well as cashing in on tax incentives. The Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit is a 30 percent tax credit on residential and commercial properties that convert to solar before the end of 2016. And depending on the state you call home, more tax credits are likely available.
If you’re considering choosing solar panels for your home, here are a few tips:
- You’re probably not off the grid.
If you live in or around an urban area you’ll still be depending on your utility company for power at night. Only self contained, off the grid homes have to fill in the gaps when the sun is not out. Plus, most rebate incentives require you to still be attached to a utility company.
- Have an accurate idea of how much power you use per month.
Before you install solar panels, it’s important to have an accurate idea of the amount of power you use each month. It’s best to conserve as much energy as possible and then fill in the gaps with solar energy. If, for example, you have a child going off to college, then the amount of power that you use will likely be reduced.
- Plan for solar panel installation.
Before you have your solar panels installed, there are a few things you should know. First off, your roof does not have to be south-facing for solar panels to work effectively. And while solar panels do not add to your property taxes, you should add them to your home owner’s insurance so they are covered in the event of fire or natural disaster.
- Choose the right solar panel company.
The average upfront cost of installing solar panels is around $17,000, so do your research and make sure you choose the best provider. First look at warranties and choose a company that covers their panels for at 25 years and covers the inverter for at least 10 years. Make sure the company is based in the U.S., so if it goes out of business, your warranty will still cover you. And check with the Better Business Bureau to ensure that the company doesn’t have any complaints against them.
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Image of solar panels on a home from Shuttershock