Steps to Solar: What Happens First?
Because you are a homeowner, statistically, you will be confronted with the opportunity to convert to Clean Energy. Here’s the list of what you need to prepare:
What is the condition of your roof? Meaning does it need to be serviced or repaired…you can imagine the frustration someone would have if they installed a new, shiny clean-energy system on a roof that leaks water. That is one reason. Reason Two: Tax incentives for roof replacement and roof repair are allowed in conjunction with the solar tax incentive this year. I’m just suggesting that if you plan correctly – you can have the government pay for over 20% of your roof repair/replacement. Call your favorite roofer…or sit on your porch for 30 minutes and a sweaty fella with a roofing business card if bound to be walking through your neighborhood. (as well and 6 or 7 Solar Salesmen). Make sure you address this in your plan to convert to clean energy.
You will need to have the orientation and size of your roof-space calculated and factored into the equation when they engineer your system. Typically, there is no easy way to change this – but know that it will be a factor.
Similarly, the amount of Sunlight Interference will affect the same calculation. This just means that if your roof is shaded – you may be forced to make adjustments or ‘trim-back’ your expectations.
NOTE: there is also the option to use the same tax credit exception to purchase new windows for your dwelling. If a new roof & new windows are on the ‘list of things to do before 2025’ – then you’ll obviously want to get a window quote. (from my personal experience: look for a good mid-sized remodeling contractor…they will be 40-50% less expensive than a Home Depot or Lowes quote… and 150% less than the Anderson Windows Salesman)
Your actual bill may be necessary to calculate your usage. In some areas – this information is available directly from your provider (NV Power in Nevada is one example) just know that you will use your historically usage data to calculate the actual size of your system. The number you will be using is usage based on Kilowatt-Hours or ‘kwh’. It should be surprisingly easy to find this on your bill.
NOTE: if your future plans include an electric vehicle – please make a note of that to whomever is designing your system. The only other events that may increase your usage drastically would be – installation of a jacuzzi or pool that uses electric equipment. Another would be if your grandson is going to move-in with you and he fancies himself a professional gamer and prefers the name dragonslayer99 to his given name of Matthew. In the event Matthew (dragonslayer99) if moving in – you can expect greater usage of power as well an increase in the amount of Mountain Dew and Hotpockets you purchase monthly. I know, I know…he used to just want to play soccer on the porch with you.
It has become more and more popular to include battery back-up systems to store your excess energy (rather than being forced to send it back to power company at a discount). Yes, there will be times when you produce more power than you need. So, you may want to prepare yourself for that discussion when designing/purchasing your solar system. I can only say that statistically usage per person in America has changed drastically since the 1970’s – I believe mostly because the iPhones we use have such terrible battery life…but I digress.
(Cost to Convert)
Most systems are setup and designed for each specific homeowner. Also, every city and state have their own costs and regulations. But the listed steps above – combined with your solar advocate should direct you down the path so you know exactly how it will impact you financially to install your system. This may be the most determining factor of all. America still lags behind China and the European Union for Solar Conversion – but we are making good progress. There should be several options for financing and/or leasing systems that will make things less painful than they have been historically. Like other efforts to clean our cities and streams… it just takes time. But ultimately, we all need to do our part – however insignificant we may seem to be to the overall equation.
If/when you decide to convert-to-clean – please be vocal. It has been reported that entire neighborhoods have become clean-energy after one homeowner shared their experience.
Conversely, I knew one elderly couple that was concerned that adding solar panels would reflect the energy back to the Sun thereby causing damage to the Sun. I do not mention that to illustrate ignorance – it only illustrates the need for us to talk to our neighbors and encourage them to do those things that benefit us all.
Good Luck and Go Green.
Bart J Bowe
Green Marketing Partners