Solar Panels on Rooftops: 8 Things (2024) You Need to Know

Ready to take your energy game to the next level?

Say hello to solar panels on your rooftop!

Not only will you be doing your part to save the planet, but you’ll also be saving some serious cash on your energy bills.

But before you jump in headfirst, it’s important to know the ins and outs of solar panels.

1. What Are Solar Panels?

At their core, solar panels are devices that convert sunlight into electricity.

They work by using photovoltaic (PV) cells to capture the energy in sunlight and convert it into direct current (DC) electricity.

This DC electricity is then converted into alternating current (AC) electricity using an inverter, which can be used to power the electrical devices in your home or business.

PV cells are made of materials such as silicon and are typically flat, thin, and rectangular in shape.

When sunlight hits a PV cell, it causes the electrons in the cell to move and generate an electric current.

PV cells are often arranged in modules to form solar panels, which are then installed on rooftops or in other areas with access to sunlight.

Overall, solar panels are a powerful tool for generating clean, renewable energy.

With advances in technology and decreasing costs, they are becoming an increasingly accessible option for homeowners and businesses alike.

2. The Benefits of Solar Panels on Rooftops

When it comes to making a positive impact on the planet, few things are as empowering as generating your own clean energy.

By installing solar panels on your rooftop, you can take a big step toward a more sustainable and environmentally friendly lifestyle.

Not only do solar panels help to reduce your reliance on non-renewable energy sources, but they can also provide financial benefits and increase the value of your property.

Most importantly, they allow you to make a tangible and meaningful difference in the fight against climate change.

Here are some of the many benefits of solar panels on rooftops to inspire you to take action toward a brighter future:

bulletEnergy Independence

Solar panels on rooftops offer a myriad of benefits, but one of the most compelling is the ability to generate clean, renewable energy.

By capturing the power of the sun, you can say goodbye to relying on grid electricity that’s often generated from dirty sources like coal or natural gas.

And let’s be honest, who wants to be dependent on those outdated energy sources anyway?

With solar panels, you can take control of your energy consumption and drastically reduce your carbon footprint, all while enjoying significant savings on your electricity bills over time.

It’s a win-win situation for both your wallet and the planet!

bulletMake Money

Not only can solar panels on rooftops help you save money on your energy bills, but they can also help you earn money through net metering.

This system is like a high-tech piggy bank that lets you store your excess energy in the form of credits.

Think of it as a way to bank some extra sunshine for a rainy day!

When your solar panels are generating more energy than you need, the excess is sent back to the grid, and you earn credits for the energy you generate.

Then, when your panels aren’t producing enough energy to meet your needs, you can use those credits to offset the cost of the energy you consume.

In some cases, you can even earn money by selling your excess energy back to the grid.

It’s like being paid to be environmentally friendly!

Net metering is a game-changer for homeowners and businesses alike, as it allows them to reap the benefits of solar energy without any of the hassles.

It’s a simple and effective way to harness the power of the sun and turn it into savings.

bulletSell Your Home For More

Solar panels on your home can also increase the value of your property.

A study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that homes with solar panels sold for an average of $15,000 ($20,000 in California) more than comparable homes without solar panels.

And, it’ll sell about 20% faster too.

This means that installing solar panels on your rooftop can not only help you save money on energy bills but can also be a smart investment in your property.

bulletSave the Environment

Solar panels on rooftops are a great way to show your commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship.

By generating your own clean energy, you are helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change.

Plus, with advances in technology and decreasing costs, solar panels are becoming an increasingly accessible option for homeowners and businesses alike, making it easier than ever to make a positive impact on the planet.

3. What Are the Different Types of Solar Panels?

If you’re considering installing solar panels on your rooftop, one of the first things you’ll need to decide is what type of panel to use.

There are three major types of solar panels available on the market today: monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and thin-film panels.

Each type has its own unique characteristics and benefits, so it’s important to understand the differences before making a decision.

bulletMonocrystalline

Monocrystalline solar panels are made from a single, pure silicon crystal, which gives them a distinctive look with rounded edges.

These panels are known for their high efficiency and performance, which means they can produce more energy per square foot than other types of panels.

However, this efficiency comes at a cost, as monocrystalline panels tend to be more expensive than other options.

Pros: Powerful

Cons: Expensive

bulletPolycrystalline

Polycrystalline solar panels, on the other hand, are made from multiple silicon crystals, which give them a more uniform look with a blue tint.

These panels are less expensive to produce than monocrystalline panels, which makes them a popular choice for homeowners on a budget.

However, they are less efficient and have lower performance than monocrystalline panels, which means you may need to install more panels to produce the same amount of energy.

Pros: Cheaper

Cons: Not as powerful

bulletThin-film

Thin-film solar panels are the most recent addition to the solar panel market, and they are made from a variety of materials, including amorphous silicon, cadmium telluride, and copper indium gallium selenide.

These panels are incredibly lightweight and flexible, which makes them ideal for portable solar applications like RVs, backpacks and tents.

However, they are also the least efficient and have the lowest performance of the three types of panels.

This means you’ll need more space to install enough thin-film panels to produce the same amount of energy as monocrystalline or polycrystalline panels.

Pros: Portable

Cons: Not as powerful

The type of solar panel you choose will depend on your individual needs and budget.

It’s important to weigh the pros and cons of each type of panel to determine which one is the best fit for your rooftop solar installation.

4. How to Install Solar Panels

bulletHiring A Professional Vs. DIY Installation

If you’re thinking of installing solar panels on your rooftop, you might be tempted to tackle the project yourself.

But before you break out the toolbox and start climbing up your roof, ask yourself: do you really have the chops to handle this job?

Installing solar panels requires a fair bit of technical know-how, not to mention a healthy respect for heights and electricity.

Unless you’re an experienced electrician or a seasoned DIY pro, it’s probably best to leave this job to the professionals.

bulletConsiderations Of Installing Solar Panels

Besides the safety concerns, the orientation of your roof can have a significant impact on the performance and energy production of your solar panels.

Ideally, solar panels should be installed facing south in the northern hemisphere and north in the southern hemisphere, since this provides the most direct exposure to sunlight throughout the day, allowing your panels to capture as much sunlight as possible and convert it into electricity.

If your roof does not have a south-facing aspect, other orientations can work as well, but the energy output of your panels may be reduced.

For example, east-facing panels will generate the most energy in the morning, while west-facing panels will produce the most energy in the afternoon.

Panels facing north will generally produce the least amount of energy, as they receive the least amount of direct sunlight.

Shading is another important factor to consider when determining the orientation of your panels.

Even a small amount of shading from nearby trees or buildings can significantly reduce the amount of energy your panels can generate.

A professional installer will take these factors into account when designing your solar panel system and will work with you to find the best orientation and placement for your panels to maximize energy production and efficiency.

bulletGet Your Permits

Don’t forget about permits and regulations!

Depending on where you live, you may need to obtain permits and meet certain building codes to install solar panels.

A professional installer will be familiar with these requirements and can help ensure that your installation is up to code and compliant with local regulations.

So, while it may be tempting to save a few bucks by going the DIY route, the peace of mind that comes with a professional installation is well worth the investment.

5. How Long Do Solar Panels Last on Your Roof?

Curious how long those solar panels on your roof will last?

Well, solar panels are built to withstand the elements, so you won’t have to worry about them falling apart, but just like any other piece of technology, they do have a lifespan.

The good news is that most solar panels come with a warranty of at least 25 years, and they can last even longer than that with proper maintenance.

In fact, some solar panels have been known to keep generating solar power for up to 40 years or more!

That’s longer than most relationships these days.

Of course, the lifespan of your solar panels will depend on a few factors, such as the quality of the panels, how well they were installed, and how you maintain them.

So, if you want your solar panels to last as long as possible, it’s important to choose high-quality panels and have them installed by a professional while properly upkeeping them.

6. How to Maintain Your Panels

While solar panels are a relatively low-maintenance technology, they still require some level of upkeep to ensure they continue to function at their best.

One of the most important steps in maintaining your solar panels is regular cleaning.

Over time, dirt, debris, and other contaminants can accumulate on the surface of your panels, reducing their ability to capture sunlight and produce energy.

A simple cleaning with soap and water or a specialized cleaning solution can help to remove these contaminants and restore your panels’ efficiency.

Regular inspection is also important to catch any potential issues early on.

Inspect your panels at least once a year for any signs of damage or wear, such as cracks, scratches, or discoloration.

Addressing these issues early can prevent further damage and extend the lifespan of your solar panels.

In some cases, repairs or replacement of components may be necessary.

It’s important to work with a qualified professional for any repairs or replacements to ensure they are done correctly and safely.

Your solar panel installer or manufacturer can provide guidance on the proper maintenance and repair procedures for your specific system.

Monitoring your energy production is another important aspect of solar panel maintenance.

Many systems come with monitoring tools that allow you to track your energy production and identify any dips or changes in output.

This can help you catch any potential issues early and ensure your system is operating at peak efficiency.

7. How Much Will It Cost?

The cost of solar panels can vary depending on several factors, including your location, the type and size of the system, the installation process, and any additional equipment needed, such as energy storage systems.

Generally, the initial cost of installing solar panels can be high, but the savings on energy bills and potential incentives and tax credits can make them a worthwhile investment in the long run.

According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the average cost of solar panels has decreased by 82% since 2010.

In 2023, the cost of a residential solar system can range from $14,000 to $40,000, depending on the size and location of the installation.

However, some financing options, such as loans and leases, can help homeowners spread out the cost over time and make the upfront cost more manageable.

On average, the price of solar panels in the United States is $20,000 after tax incentives.

8. How to Pay for Your Solar Panels

Installing solar panels on your rooftop can be a smart financial decision, as it can help you save money on your energy bills and increase the value of your home.

Although there are several financial considerations to keep in mind before making the investment.

The cost of solar panels and installation can vary depending on several factors, including the size of your rooftop, the type of panels you choose, and the cost of labor in your area.

It’s important to research and compare different installers to find the best price and quality.

Not sure how to pay for solar panel installation? Worry not, multiple financing options are available for you to make the process easier.

bulletOne popular option is a solar loan, which allows you to borrow money to pay for your system and pay it back over time with interest.

bulletAnother option is a solar lease, which allows you to lease the panels from a solar company and pay a fixed monthly fee for the electricity they produce.

bulletA power purchase agreement (PPA) is a similar option where you pay for the energy your panels produce, but the system is owned and maintained by a third party.

In addition to financing options, there are also several incentives and tax credits available to help offset the cost of solar panel installation.

The federal government offers a 30% tax credit for the cost of solar panel installation through 2032, and some states and localities offer additional incentives such as rebates and property tax exemptions.

It’s important to research and take advantage of these incentives to maximize the financial benefits of your solar panel installation.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, installing solar panels on your rooftop is not only a smart financial decision but also a planet-friendly choice.

From generating your own clean energy to earning money through net metering, the benefits are as clear as the sun in the sky.

Of course, the installation may cost a bit of money and the maintenance process may require a bit of elbow grease, but the long-term savings and positive impact on the environment are worth it.

So, don’t be shy, take the plunge, and join the solar revolution!

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Erika Gokce Capital

Disclaimer: we are not lawyers, accountants or financial advisors and the information in this article is for informational purposes only. This article is based on our own research and experience and we do our best to keep it accurate and up-to-date, but it may contain errors. Please be sure to consult a legal or financial professional before making any investment decisions.

Erika

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