So, you’re warming up to the idea of solar energy for your home as a way to reduce your energy usage AND your carbon footprint each month. That’s exciting! From some basic research, you know this will be a big step, but you’re not quite sure about the process. Luckily, going solar is easier than you think, so we want to help you streamline your journey towards energy independence for your home with these five steps.
1) Get a Home Energy Audit
To receive the full benefits of solar energy, your home needs to be as energy efficient as possible. The more inefficient your home – including insulation failures, faulty HVAC, and other concerns, the more solar panels you’ll need to accommodate that increased energy usage, which can lead to increased costs. We recommend hiring an energy professional to assess your home’s energy efficiency and identify problem areas.
You can also help this process by replacing your oldest and least efficient appliances with Energy Star-certified products. You can also apply a low-emissive film to your windows to prevent heat transfer, and you should replace your old light bulbs with high-efficiency LED bulbs.
2) Determine Your Return on Investment
If the financial savings of going solar are just as important as the eco-friendly benefits, start by comparing the rates for electricity and natural gas in your area with those of residential solar energy. You should also contact your utility company to see if “net metering” is available. This is an arrangement where you send the unused energy from your home’s solar panels back to the utility energy grid for credit on your energy bills. You can also visit Open EI for a better understanding of the rate structures applied to your utility company.
3) Learn About Incentives in Your Area
When calculating the return on your investment in Step 2, factoring in the available tax incentives in your area could be crucial. The current federal solar investment tax credit (ITC) of 30 percent helps many homeowners make the decision to go solar when considering all financial options. That means you could save up to $6,000 off a $20,000 solar system, but we also recommend you speak with your personal tax professional to ensure this tax credit is available for you.
Depending upon your state, county, and/or city of residence, additional credits might exist, so research this database of state incentives for additional information.
4) Consider A Lease
Not everyone can afford going solar – especially the upfront costs. If you want a solar system for your homes but the initial investment is out of reach, we recommend a solar lease! With this arrangement, the simple monthly fee covers installation and use, while the solar company owns the system and takes care of the maintenance.
Do your research before you choose to lease a solar system. Specifically, if your family is thinking of selling your house in the near future, the solar lease could work against you, as potential homeowners can be scared off by the lease contract.
If you aren’t planning to sell soon, call the solar installers you’re considering to confirm the total amount you’ll pay in monthly payments. You might find you’re better off getting a loan to pay for your solar system, because, since that loan makes you the owner of the system, you can receive the government incentives and other financial benefits.
5) Call an Installer
If you’ve progressed through Steps 1-4 and you’re ready to get started, you should call a professional solar company. This is not the sort of system that you and your buddies can get up and going over a long holiday weekend. Going solar requires specialized tools, equipment, and expertise that you just can’t find at your local home improvement store.
At Direct Energy Solar, we can guide you through the process, ensuring it’s straightforward and effortless. This includes designing a customer solar system that meets your specific needs, investigating payment options, and providing support throughout the lifetime of your system.
Request a free quote from us today, or call us at 1-800-903-6130! Learn how much you could save on your monthly energy bills by going solar, and we’ll also help you learn about all the tax incentives available to you.