Installing solar panels is one of the most popular ways many homeowners are going green. Not only do solar panels help reduce your carbon footprint, but they can also potentially save you a lot of money on electricity costs.
We put together a list of the top six reasons to add solar panels to your home. Be sure to also check out our simple guide to maintaining your solar panels so they’ll help power your home for years to come.
Benefits of Solar Panels
Going solar could have big benefits for your home’s efficiency. See how solar panels could save you money, increase your home’s value and help the environment.
1. Save Money on Utilities
Solar panels reduce your dependence on traditional electric grid systems. You’ll likely see a decrease in your power bills after adding solar because you’re using less electricity from the grid.
While the initial costs of going solar might seem steep, most solar systems pay for themselves in less than 10 years. Since many systems can last over 25 years, you’ll be able to enjoy essentially free electricity for many years. You could likely finance your solar power system to break up the initial cost.
2. Environmentally Friendly
Aside from cost savings, most homeowners choose to go solar as an eco-friendly alternative to traditional power sources like coal. The production, delivery and installation of solar panels generally produce fewer emissions than running a home on the grid over a long period of time. Once installed, solar panels on your home create no harmful greenhouse gas emissions.
Solar energy provides one of the few clean energy sources readily available to consumers. This makes it an ideal option for homeowners who wish to reduce their carbon footprints.
3. Personal Power Source
Have you ever experienced a blackout due to storms, a natural disaster or maintenance by the power company? Wouldn’t it be nice to not have to rely on a power company to keep your appliances running and devices powered?
You get to enjoy independence from a power company with solar panels. Your level of off-grid independence usually depends on how your system is set up. A solar panel system that includes a battery backup allows you to store excess solar energy collected by your panels.
Your solar battery can kick on and start powering your home in the event of a blackout. In some cases, power companies might allow you to sell your solar energy back into the grid.
4. Renewable Power
Not only does clean energy from solar panels help the environment by reducing carbon emissions, but it also provides you with an infinite source of power. The sun isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Solar energy is already hitting your property almost every day. Installing solar panels lets you take advantage of that power.
5. Potential Rebates, Incentives and Tax Savings
You might be able to save money on your solar panel system through rebates and incentives. Many state and local governments offer tax savings for homeowners who choose to install solar panels. You could also potentially save money through federal government programs that encourage homeowners to go solar.
Even if you don’t qualify for government programs, some solar companies provide specials and incentives to help reduce the initial cost of solar panels. Be sure to shop around for different companies to get the best price.
6. Increased Home Value
Do you think you’ll sell your home in the future? Adding solar panels might help you generate interest from buyers and increase the overall value of your home.
A solar panel system generally increases the value of a home. Many potential buyers enjoy the idea of a home that is eco-friendly and self-reliant. Also, buyers may be willing to increase the price they’ll pay for a home because it’s usually less expensive to buy a home with solar panels rather than adding them later.
Unlike many home upgrades, solar panels almost always see a positive return on investment. Not only will you probably save money on electricity costs, but you could get money back when you sell the house.
Drawbacks of Solar Panels
While there are a lot of benefits to solar panels, you shouldn’t add them to your home until you understand the drawbacks as well.
1. Roof Damage During Installation
Solar panels added to the roof of your home require installation, which can potentially damage your roof. Tile roofs in particular are prone to be damaged when installing solar panels. If the damage isn’t caught and repaired, you might have to deal with water damage from a leaky roof.
Leaks can also happen if the entry points between your roof and the solar panel anchors aren’t sealed properly.
2. Debris or Water Buildup
Depending on the shape of your roof and the type of panels you install, your new solar power system could trap debris on your roof. The roof of your home is probably designed for a natural flow of water. Debris like leaves or sticks slides off the roof with rainwater.
Certain types of solar panels can catch debris as it slides down the roof. As debris piles up, it creates a dam that stops the flow of water. The water begins to pool and could lead to damage and potential leaks.
3. Expensive to Replace or Repair Roof
Solar panels often help you cut down on your monthly utility bills, but having them could cost you if you need roof repairs. When it comes time to repair or replace your roof, you’ll need to remove the solar panels. They’ll also need to be reinstalled after the roof repairs are completed.
This process includes coordination between your roof, solar panel company or electrician and the utility company. You might add thousands of dollars to an already expensive roofing project.
How to Maintain Your Solar Panels
Solar energy isn’t just clean — it’s also incredibly easy to maintain. Once your system is installed, solar panels generally require little to no maintenance. The biggest task to keep your solar power system working properly is cleaning your panels.
Panels on your roof, for example, may become exposed to leaves, dirt and debris. Panels on flat roofs are more prone to collecting debris than slanted panels. Rainwater often helps to keep slanted panels clean, whereas flat panels don’t allow debris to slide off. To ensure your system keeps providing clean energy to your home, simply remove any buildup of debris with a broom.
Panels installed on ground level require the same amount of maintenance. The perk of ground-mounted solar panels, however, is that they’re much easier to access than those mounted on a roof.
Regardless of whether you choose to roof-mount or install your solar panels on the ground, maintaining them is as easy as wiping them down when they get too dirty.
Protecting Your Solar Panels
A basic homeowners insurance policy should protect your solar panels if they are a permanent structure of your home. Be sure to talk with your Wawanesa agent to learn more about getting coverage for your solar panels.