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What Every Consumer Needs to Consider Before Installing Solar

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Jane Marsh's picture

Jane Marsh is the Editor-in-Chief of She covers topics related to climate policy, sustainability, renewable energy and more.

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  • Sep 13, 2022

Solar power is the fastest growing energy source in the US, with over three million solar systems across the country. In fact, according to the US Department of Energy, people installed an estimated one million solar systems between 2020 and 2022 alone.

There has never been a better time to consider investing in solar energy. Consumers have a variety of providers to choose from, making this resource both affordable and accessible. However, there are a few things they need to think about before signing off on a solar system.

Home Orientation and Sunlight Direction

The number one thing consumers need to consider before installing solar power is the orientation of their home. If a house is simply not situated the right way, solar panels might not be able to collect any significant amount of energy. Tree cover and roof angle could potentially help or hinder a solar system.

The US Department of Energy recommends using a south-facing roof with a slope of about 15° to 40°. This kind of roof will receive the optimal amount of sunlight possible due to its angle and the direction sunlight moves overhead. As a result, consumers will get the best possible return on their investment.

If a homeowner is unsure how to determine roof orientation or angle, local solar providers can often help out. They will usually be able to send a representative to survey the house. Conveniently, a local solar expert will also be able to confirm the home’s prospective solar system will be able to connect to the power grid.

Roof Health, Age and Drainage

The roof is the foundation of any solar system. So, it’s crucial for consumers to make sure theirs is ready to support a system for the long haul. Before installing solar, homeowners should do a thorough analysis of their home’s roof, including age and overall health.

For instance, roofs need good drainage to keep the solar panels in top shape. Homeowners need to look at the type of gutters they have and the gutter guards — such as brush or foam guards — to make sure they are in good condition. It may be helpful to call a roof or gutter expert to give a health estimate.

If the roof needs replacing soon, the homeowner may want to get that done before installing solar panels. The same goes for drainage systems. Replace any gutters and gutter guards no longer in top condition before installing the new solar system.

Home Value and Appearance

Finally, consumers must consider their home’s value and appearance before installing solar panels. Some homeowners may be surprised to hear that solar panels will actually increase the value of their property. Buyers across the country often view solar panels as an upgrade to a house.

For one thing, solar panels help homeowners save on energy costs. Plus, there are a growing number of government incentives and tax credits for residential solar systems. These programs are part of efforts to help reduce renewable energy barriers in the United States. They can save homeowners money and help them sell their property one day by saving buyers money as well.

Some consumers worry solar panels could ruin the appearance of their house. Installing solar panels on the back of the home so they’re not visible from the street can sometimes mitigate this. If this isn’t possible due to shade or home orientation, other options exist.

Solar shingles are gaining popularity for their seamless appearance. These panels are disguised as typical shingles so the roof maintains a normal appearance. While these can be more expensive than conventional solar panels, they may be the perfect option for some homeowners.

Installing Solar — A Smart Move for Consumers

Installing solar panels is usually an excellent investment for consumers. They can increase a home’s value and save homeowners money on energy bills. Before investing in a solar system, consumers need to make sure they take vital factors into account. With the right preparation, anyone can have their own solar panels soaking up sunlight in no time.


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