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It’s good to know there are eco-warriors out there providing content for free on some of the most pressing environmental issues of our time. From time to time, Mark Harris reaches out to me with some timely piece about how to improve our environmental footprint. Thanks, Mark, for today’s piece on solar panels. Take it away!
A Homeowner’s Guide to Benefitting from Solar Panels
Eco-conscious living is a growing concern among Americans, with nearly three-quarters of people surveyed saying they are worried about the environment. As a homeowner, one step you can take to support a healthier earth is to install solar panels. This allows you to tap into a clean energy resource that doesn’t pump ozone-damaging emissions into the atmosphere. Solar panels also have practical benefits for you as a homeowner, from safeguarding against rising electricity rates to increasing the value of your home by 4.1%. Find out how to reap the rewards of solar panels for your residential property below.
How will solar panels benefit you as a homeowner?
Solar panels will lower your electricity costs. One study revealed that homeowners installing a solar power system can save roughly $7,000 to $30,000 over 20 years. Additional research shows that in America’s 50 largest cities, single-family homeowners would pay less for power if they bought a photovoltaic system outright than if they relied on current municipal energy sources. What makes this data so impressive is the fact that it’s based on the assumption that homeowners will make a full-price investment in solar panels—which you may be able to avoid.
One option for installing affordable solar panels is to take part in the Federal Housing Authority’s Energy Efficient Mortgage program. With this initiative, you can finance eco-friendly updates with your FHA-insured mortgage. Such an energy package can cover other improvements, as well, like your HVAC system or insulation. To qualify, the home improvements must be cost-effective, as attested to by a qualified home energy rater, auditor, or assessor.
What type of roof do you need for your solar panels?
Before you jump on the solar power bandwagon, your current roof must be assessed for photovoltaic panel compatibility. The material, pitch, size, and orientation are all factors to consider, as is the amount of shade versus sun your roof sees on a day-to-day basis. Most roofing materials can accommodate panels; according to Solar.com, popular and appropriate options include composite or asphalt shingles, tile, metal seam, and tar and gravel. Slate or wood roofs are problematic, on the other hand, because of their brittleness.
Your roof must also be large enough to accommodate sufficient solar panels to meet your energy needs. Its pitch is another consideration. An angle of thirty degrees will save you about $1,094 per year if you are living in New York, for example, compared to $979 per year with a pitch of only five degrees. These numbers will vary depending on where you live. For instance, if you’re further south, solar panels will result in greater savings because you have the advantage of more sun exposure, thanks to a location closer to the earth’s equator.
What does the installation process look like?
The first step of solar panel installation is an engineering site visit to assess the suitability of your roof and the permits required. After ordering the equipment, the installation team will get to work. First, they will put in the electrical wiring that connects each panel to your home’s general power system. Specialized racking is then secured to the roof. The panels are subsequently installed, followed by the inverters, which take the direct current energy created by the panels and transform it into usable alternating current energy. You can find your certified solar panel installer using this online search platform; just plug in your zip code.
While the process will require some research and time (installation alone can take a few days), once you’re all set up, you’ll benefit from the energy and money savings of solar power for years to come. You will also have the mental comfort of knowing that you are doing your part to reduce your carbon footprint and create a more environmentally conscious future.
Thanks for reading!
pam lazos 10.3.20