Should You Get Solar Panels?

Solar panels are increasing in popularity for homeowners alongside the increase in the desire to lead a more eco-conscious lifestyle. There are many benefits of making the switch, but they’re not for everyone. So should you install solar panels in your home? Here are the top factors to keep in mind before determining if solar panels are the right choice for you.

Location

The first and most obvious factor in determining if you should get solar panels is your location. Are you in an area that gets a lot of sun? If you live in Southern California or Arizona, it makes sense to install solar panels on your house, but if you live in Washington or Oregon, they may be more of a hassle than they’re worth. Do some research for yourself to see if the savings you would get from using solar based on the amount of sun your area gets would outweigh the costs to install the panels in the first place. Google’s Project Sunroof lets you put in your address and see your potential for solar savings. The calculations go beyond just whether you live in a sunny area. The benefits of installing solar panels can depend directly on your roof size, amount of shade, weather patterns, and local costs for solar and electricity.

You should also research your state’s policies on solar panels before installing them on your roof. Solar panel installation rules and regulations can vary by state, so make sure you look into the laws before installing. You can see your state’s “solar friendliness” report card for rankings compared nationwide and average solar payback period to get a good idea. 

Investment

Solar panels aren’t cheap. They are an investment that will pay you back over time, but make sure you can afford all that you’ll be putting into solar panels before you decide to go for it. Besides the costs of the panels themselves, there are also installation costs for the labor of a company to come out and put them on correctly. And while solar panels can be attached to most roofs, you may need to pay extra to install them on more difficult materials such as tile. You’ll also likely need to move up the timeline on any roof repairs that your home may have needed in the near future. You don’t want to install an entire system of solar panels just to need to uninstall and reinstall them a year later when your roof needs maintenance. 

After considering the cost of getting solar panels installed, you may be wondering how you’ll make back all that money. Once installed, solar panels require little maintenance and produce a lot of energy. You can often estimate the amount of power that your panels produce, as well as your short-term and long-term savings, through the solar provider that you select. You can also get an idea by plugging your info into PVWatts, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s estimator.

Incentives

When weighing the costs and benefits of installing solar panels on your home, make sure you look beyond just the savings on your electric bill. The government and local energy companies will often offer different solar incentives and rebates, which shorten the time you’ll need to wait to see a return on the investment. The IRS allows you to claim your solar panels as a tax credit, meaning you could reduce the amount that you’ll owe on your taxes. 

Additional credits will vary by location, but they can include incentives such as cashback, property tax exemption, waived fees, and expedited permits. In some states, you can even sell excess power to local utility companies! Check the incentives for your state by reviewing the database of state incentives for renewables and efficiency. 

Solar panels can also increase your home’s overall value. Many buyers are looking for homes that boast energy-efficient appliances and other eco-friendly upgrades. Solar panels can add up to 4.1% to your home’s value and may even help your house sell faster than your competitors. 

Overall, if you live in an area with high energy rates and a suitable solar rating, it’s worth installing solar panels in your home.  Galaxy Lending Group can help you finance the initial investment with a home construction loan or home refinance to pull out equity. Talk to one of our loan officers today to see how you can get started on making the switch to a solar-powered home.