What Does it Mean to Be a Good Candidate for Solar?
When determining if a home is a good candidate for solar, we must consider more than just how much sun your home gets. In addition to how many hours of direct sun you get a day, you also have to consider the configuration of the home on your property, the roof and existing energy usage habits. You also need to consider your budget, how long you plan to stay in your home and your goals when installing a solar energy system.
If all of these concerns are in alignment, you likely stand to gain a lot from installing a solar photovoltaic (PV) system.
The Ideal Residential Solar Setup
The goal of installing a solar PV system is to improve your home's energy efficiency and ultimately, to save money by generating your own clean energy. How do you achieve this? The optimum solar setup will look different for each property but have some of the same fundamental attributes.
The ideal setup for a residential solar system includes:
- A roof that is in good condition, strong and durable, such as asphalt shingles
- A roof that has plenty of space for the solar system to be safely mounted
- A place to install the solar panels that gets five to six hours of direct sunlight a day
- You live in a climate where you receive consistent sunlight most days throughout the year
Additionally, if you are currently paying $75 or more a month in utility fees (in addition to meeting the above recommendations), you will likely benefit from a solar PV system.
What Is Considered a Good Return On Investment for Residential Solar Panels (ROI)?
The average solar PV system costs around $20,000. While this is a significant investment, if you are a good candidate for solar, you will likely start seeing a return on your investment in less than ten years. The current average ROI for residential solar systems is eight years. Still, for those who are good candidates (like many people living in California are), they may start seeing a return much sooner.
Additional ways to increase your solar ROI:
- Take advantage of the federal solar tax credit
- Participate in energy buyback programs
- Improve the energy efficiency of your home
How to Get a Good Return on Your Investment in Solar
The decision to install a solar energy system is exciting. You are probably looking forward to enjoying a reduction in your energy expenses while knowing that you are doing something positive to help the environment. But, how can you ensure that you will get a good return on your solar investment? Below, we've provided three helpful tips for maximizing your system's output and getting the most out of your solar panel system.
#1: Make Sure You Purchase the Right Solar PV System
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to installing solar energy systems. When selecting and installing your solar PV system, you must purchase the system that will work best for you and your home. The size of the system, the configuration and the backup battery should all be designed with your specific property in mind. This is the only way to ensure that you will get the best output possible.
#2: Use Your System During the Day As Much as Possible
Just as you rely on the local power grid, it is good to use your solar panel system during the day. When you're on the electrical grid, the daytime is an off-peak period when fewer people are drawing from the system. However, when you're on a solar energy system, using your power during the day can help you utilize the sun's energy right when it's being produced - without depleting your backup battery as quickly.
The following large appliances tend to use a lot of energy:
- Air conditioning systems
- Washing machines
- Water heaters
The more you run your major appliances during the day, the less reliant you are on your backup battery. This can help ensure that you don't run out of power in your backup, which then will cause you to switch over to the local power grid, costing you money. Furthermore, the less you drain and recharge your backup batteries, the longer they will last.
It is also a good idea to remember to charge your cell phones, tablets, other rechargeable devices and even your kindle during the day, again sparing your back-up battery.
#3: Keep Your Solar Panels Well-Maintained
A solar PV system in good condition will work at optimum efficiency levels, helping you see a faster return on your investment. Part of keeping your system in good shape is scheduling routine maintenance and inspections with Valley Heating, Cooling, Electrical and Solar. We recommend that you schedule a yearly maintenance visit with us. We can also help maintain systems that we didn't install.
The second part to keeping your solar energy system running smoothly is keeping it clean. If dirt and debris are allowed to build up on your panels, not only will the debris block the panels from absorbing the sun's energy, it can also lead to premature wear and tear on the system. When this happens, you may need to spend extra money on repairs and you may even see the lifespan of your system shortened.
Curious about whether your home is a good candidate for solar? We are here to help! Reach out to the solar experts at Valley.