Solar Panels – A Homeowner’s Guide

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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, 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.

Want to read more about Mark’s work.  Check out his website at Awareness Toolkits.  A few other links that Mark likes:  fast food chains going green and a composting share site.

Thanks for reading!

pam lazos 10.3.20

About Pam Lazos

writer, blogger, environmentally hopeful
This entry was posted in climate change, solar power, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

26 Responses to Solar Panels – A Homeowner’s Guide

  1. Thank you, Pam Lazos, for an insightful article.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jayden says:

    This is a nice shot. This homeowner’s guide is a game changer to those who have invested in solar panel systems. All folks should come and see this.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for sharing this, Pam! It’d be awesome if there were tax incentives for this, I agree–I’d love having a greener way to power up my home!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Good info, Pam. Someday, everyone will run their lives with solar panels. The sooner the better.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Linda Schaub says:

    That’s great info Pam. For sure, if you’re staying somewhere the rest of your life, it sure is a wise investment, or I’m sure resale value would be good as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. cath says:

    Nice post, Pam. We had solar panels installed a couple of years ago, and give them a definite thumbs up. Installation was painless, and the payback has been not only feeling that we’re putting something back into the grid, it’s been good to have the payments to put against our bills. It’s a long-term rather than short-term investment, but I can’t think of a better place to have put our money.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. lampmagician says:

    It is a great treat, dear Pam, though all governments through the world are blind; blinded by money!! Thank you for your wonderful explanation. Efcaresto 😉🙏💕✌

    Liked by 1 person

  8. hilarymb says:

    Hi Pam – we’ve had tax incentives here … my brother installed some and seems to think they work for him. I too live in a rental … but there are lots of people having them installed … also they’re being used out in the fields … I’m not sure about the damage to the environment with all these new installations … eg wind farms on land and in the sea. To be proved – not in my lifetime I suspect … still it’s good technology is looking to change (hopefully improve) things. You could consider putting a wind turbine up perhaps … or a heat pump – which a church here has installed. Heavy costs … but something to put on the back burner for the time being … take care – Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

    • Pam Lazos says:

      Hi Hilary – We actually tried doing a wind turbine in the back yard that my husband built. It worked well for awhile but we had trouble getting the right paddles – the wood ones kept breaking and we really didn’t know how to get titanium or whatever the big turbine blades were made of. Still it was a fun experiment. 🥰


  9. Ally Bean says:

    Solar panels aren’t popular around here. My understanding is that we don’t get enough sunlight to justify the cost of installing them. Could be wrong. Still they are cool to see when I see them when we [used to] travel. The future is here, in some places.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Pam Lazos says:

      I put this in the category of failure in the part of the government. Every town has sun. You may live in the woods (like me), but some neighbors not sure much. More tax incentives would help, Ally.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I would love to have those!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Thanks for the info, Pam. We live in a rental apartment complex with a flat roof, perfect for the installation of solar panels. Regrettably, our management has yet to make the investment in switching to solar energy.

    Liked by 1 person

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