Getting Ready To Go Solar
Once you make the decision to power your home with solar energy, the next step is to prepare. The following steps are suggestions to help you ready your home and set plans in place so you can enjoy the most benefits possible throughout the life of your solar power system. Since the idea is for your solar array to last for decades, a few extra steps beforehand will better set you up for long term success. To enjoy the most benefit possible from your solar array, we suggest the following:
Ready Your Roof
First and foremost, before you schedule your solar installation, you will want to make sure the place it will be installed upon is ready for it. After all, that solar array is going to be up on your roof for decades, so a bit of preparedness will go a long way toward ensuring you get the most benefit possible without a great deal of extra care or effort. The RGS team will help you determine how large of a solar array you need and whether or not your roof is strong enough to support the additional weight. Before installation, however, we suggest having a thorough roof inspection performed and any repairs taken care of. Better to do so before the solar panels are installed, rather than needing to take them all down a small handful of years later.
Improve Your Home’s Efficiency
Another preparatory step we highly recommend is to take steps to improve your home’s efficiency. These steps will vary based on the age and upkeep of your home as a whole, but the overarching idea is to make it so your home requires less energy to run. Doing so may mean your home needs a smaller solar array, but it can also mean your system will produce more energy and provide you with years of better net metering. Take as few or as many steps as you choose; start with our video on improving home efficiency to see how changes both large and small can help. These steps include things like:
- Replacing insulation and repairing drafty areas, so your home takes less energy to heat or cool.
- Replacing your old hot water heater with a tankless option.
- Upgrading to more energy efficient electronics, from better power strips to Energy Star appliances.
- Repairing or replacing old doors and windows to retain temperatures better.
- Repairing or upgrading your heating and/or air conditioning.
There are a wide variety of different ways you can help reduce your home’s electricity needs, both large and small, to help your solar power system function better. Even something as simple as replacing light bulbs and unplugging more of your electronics when not in use can make a difference in your home’s energy consumption. And, each step you take means better savings as you power your home with a solar array.
In addition to the physical changes and tweaks around your house, the other key thing to do is get your financial plan in order. This includes determining how you will pay for your solar panel system, which efficiency updates are worthwhile for you to undertake, and the range of different solar incentives your household is eligible for and how much of a fiscal impact they will make. RGS Energy has been helping people make the switch to solar for nearly 40 years, so we have experience with every step of the process. Contact us to work with an Energy Broker, who can help you determine all of the details and develop your financial plan. We can discuss payment options and work with you to create the right payment plan for your needs, as well as finding as many solar incentives and other benefits as you are eligible for. Submit the contact form in the link below or give us a call to get started developing your financial plan to go solar!
Common Solar Panel System Myths Explained
As with just about anything out there, the more something is discussed, the more likely information is to be misheard, poorly explained, or just generally exaggerated. Solar power systems are no exception, and we have heard a few misconceptions repeated over the years. Since solar power was first conceived of in the 1800s, that is a good long while for a few myths to crop up and misdirect people. Residential solar power systems started becoming more widespread in the 1970s, and the interim years have generated a few incorrect ideas. It is high time to correct those misconceptions. The following are a few of the most common incorrect ideas about solar energy, and what the truth really is.
1. Solar panels only generate power when it is sunny.
Yes, we can see where this particular myth comes from; it stands to reason that you need plenty of sunshine to generate solar energy. Fortunately, this idea is not correct. While you do need the sun’s rays to power a solar array, it does not require brightly sunny days to work. The sunlight that filters through the clouds is generally sufficient for a solar power system to generate energy. Of course, if you are concerned about too many cloudy days affecting your home’s power supply, there are solar battery options so you can store a bit of extra energy—though, this is not generally necessary.
2. A solar panel system needs a lot of maintenance.
It would make a lot less sense to install solar panels up on roofs if they required constant upkeep and care. Fortunately, solar panel manufacturers take things like placement and the elements into consideration when designing and producing the panels. A solar power system is made to handle the wind, snow, and debris kicked up by Connecticut storms without a problem. While you may want to occasionally check on your solar array after particularly strong storms, a solar power system is designed to be installed on your roof and function perfectly well without any additional work on your part.
3. Having solar panels installed will damage my roof.
As with the question of maintenance, it would hardly make sense to install solar panels on the roof if they damaged the very thing offering them support. At RGS Energy, all of our solar installation technicians stay up to date on the most current installation practices, so you can rest assured that no damage will be done to your roof or your solar array. A few holes will need to be drilled into your roof, but they will be appropriately sealed and protected so leaks do not form and your roof will stay in good repair.
4. Aren’t solar power systems too noisy?
How often do you think to yourself, “My air conditioning is just too noisy; I should stop running it”? A solar power system is no different. The solar panels themselves do not produce any sort of noise as they absorb sunlight. The only noise you may hear would be from the inverter, as it converts AC to DC for your home to use, but that is a quiet hum. In scale, it is not any more noticeable than the quiet hum of a heater or air conditioner running.
5. A solar array will make my home worth less.
Given how prevalent the concern for our environment grows to be, this myth is one that is quickly fading away. When residential solar power was new technology just becoming publicly available, the aesthetics may have been a cause for concern. Today, however, a solar array is much more likely to increase a home’s value than it is to lower it. According to a study performed by the Department of Energy, this holds true across the country, not just in Connecticut. The study found that a photovoltaic system increased a home’s value by an average of $15,000. That number may change depending on the size of the array, the home, the neighborhood, and so on. Keep in mind that the added value to your home is in addition to the monthly savings and other financial benefits.
6. Solar energy is too costly for us.
This is another myth that has its roots in the early years of residential solar power. Back during the late 1970s, a solar array cost upwards of $100 per Watt, so it is understandable that solar energy got a reputation for high price. However, the price today is only around $5 per Watt, and that is for a larger solar array. If the drop in cost is not enough on its own, there are plenty of grants, tax breaks, and other financial incentives, which work in addition to the savings you can expect to see each month on your energy bill. It all adds up together to help make a solar panel system more affordable than ever for as many households as possible.
Do you have additional questions about solar energy? Get the truth from the solar company who has been in the business for nearly 40 years. Contact the RGS Energy team to learn more about how solar power systems work, and what they can do for your home.