For most people, a home represents the investment of a lifetime. Not only is it a site for many enduring memories, but it also serves as a refuge from some of life’s uncontrollable events. For example, your home can offer you security during yearly power outages, as well as extreme fluctuations in energy prices based largely on speculation.
Fortunately, you can avoid these contingencies by using an alternative energy source. Over the past five years, the cost of solar energy has decreased by 11%, while the solar energy market has seen an average annual growth of approximately 42% in the last decade. These favorable trends, which are predicted to continue for the foreseeable future, are causing many homeowners to ask, “Will solar panels work on my house?”
Misconceptions About Solar Power Generation
Prior to exploring whether your house is ready for a solar installation, it may be helpful to bust a few common myths that prevent homeowners from learning more about installing a solar power system. Common myths about solar energy include:
|Only rich people can afford solar panels
False. While this once might have held a grain of truth, with the credits and solar options available today, most homeowners can install solar with no upfront costs and as little as $89/month. Learn more about solar financing
|Solar systems will damage your roof
False.Reputable solar installation companies use high-quality, warranted panels, inverters, batteries and monitoring equipment. Most solar installation warranties are for at least 20 years.Learn more about solar products.
|Myth: Using solar energy means you have to go “off the grid”
False. Almost all solar energy systems installed in urban areas–like most houses in Southern California–are grid-tied. This allows you to optimize with solar during the day and run off the grid at night. Including battery storage provides additional security in case of power outages. Learn more about your utility’s role.
Now that some of the myths about solar energy have been exposed, let’s take a serious look at whether your house is suitable for a solar installation.
Why Will Solar Panels Work on My House?
Before you decide whether a solar installation is a viable option for your house, you should know a few things first about how solar works. The photovoltaic (PV) effect–the phenomenon of converting sunlight into electric energy–makes solar energy generation possible, similar to the way plants convert sunlight into energy using photosynthesis. Prior to researching panel installations for your house, there are five basic things you should know.
5 Things to Know About Solar Panel Installation
1. Solar panels can be installed on different roofing materials
Although shingles (asphalt or composite), concrete, and steel beams are considered the best materials on which to install solar panels, clay, stone and other composites can be used as well. To ensure solar panel safety and security, find an experienced installation company with a good reputation for installations on your roof type.
2. Solar panels can be installed facing in multiple directions
For the best results, solar panels should be installed facing south. However, as long as your roof has a pitch (how much the roof slants upwards) between 18% and 43%, you will get solar insolation (the amount of radiant energy emitted by the sun) in Southern California for east- and west-facing panels. Due to the lower energy generation, installing panels that face north is not recommended.
3. Solar insolation occurs on cold and cloudy days
Obviously, clear sunny days are best for maximizing the cost benefits of solar generation, but they are not a requirement. Energy can be generated from direct and indirect sunlight, which means your system still saves you money on cloudy days, when it rains, and if it’s cold.
4. Trees and nearby buildings can prevent you from generating solar power
Shade from trees, buildings, and other obstructions prevent sunlight from reaching your panels, and therefore significantly reduce or prevent them from generating solar power.
5. Roof replacement may be necessary, prior to solar installation
If your roof needs repair or replacement, it should be done prior to having solar panels installed. For nearly half of all solar installations, roof replacement is advisable to avoid the unnecessary expense of removing the solar panels prematurely to repair the roof within the warranty period for the installation.
As the list above shows, solar installations are possible for most houses, provided the roof is in good condition and there are no obstructions that can’t be removed. The question of how much you can benefit financially from a solar installation depends on additional factors, such as how much energy you currently consume, what you pay for energy, your roof’s surface area, and other specifications. You should consult with a reputable solar installation company with a track record of excellent service in your area to help you answer these questions accurately,.
Baker Electric Home Energy has served the Southern California area for over 15 years and provided clean energy solutions to more than 17,000 of your neighbors. Our way of doing business, The Baker Way®, which includes delivering extraordinary service and building customer confidence, is exemplified by receiving the Torch Award for 2021. If you are interested in learning about potential solar savings, a free consultation, or more information to help you decide if solar panels will work on your house, contact us.