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Getting Started with Solar Energy: A Comprehensive Guide

Are you considering using the sun's energy to run your house?

If so, you are not by yourself. According to the website, hundreds of thousands of solar panels have been put on homes around the nation since 2008.

PV panels use photovoltaic cells to convert sunlight's photons into an electric field and current of electricity. The quantity of carbon and other pollutants released is decreased when solar energy is used instead of conventional energy sources, leading to cleaner air and water. According to Becca Jones-Albertus, director of the Solar Energy Technology Office in the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Office, installing solar on new homes or during roof replacement over the coming years would significantly reduce the nation's carbon emissions and its contribution to climate change.

According to the experts, even if switching from conventional energy sources to solar energy can help both the homeowner and the environment, there are a lot of things to take into account before making that decision.

Is my roof appropriate?

Solar panels can be used in any environment, but they typically perform best on roofs that face south and have a slope of between 15 and 40 degrees. Another element is the degree of shadow. Another factor is the age of the roof. Will a solar array fit on it? Is it soon in need of replacement?

What amount of energy is produced?

The PVWatts tool, created by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to determine the energy output and price of grid-connected PV energy systems for any address in the United States, can be used by a solar installation to provide a customized estimate for your home.

I'd save how much money?

That depends on how much power you use, how big your array is, and how much power it can produce given the orientation of your roof and the amount of sunshine it receives. The utility's fixed electricity tariffs and the amount it will pay you for any surplus solar energy you feed back into the grid are further considerations. Appliances and other products with the Energy Star label use less electricity and increase savings.

Would solar panels lower the value of my house?

According to a survey from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, home buyers across the nation are ready to pay an additional premium of around $15,000 for a house with an average-sized solar array. Solar panels are seen as enhancements.

What would the price of a solar system be?

According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, installing a solar array on a residential rooftop typically costs around $19,000.

What about a solar and roof combination project?

Jones-Albertus uses an example from her own life. "When I received quotations for the rooftop solar array on my home, the installation business offered me a 30% discount on a new roof if I chose a replacement at the same time," she says, adding, "Solar panels last about 25-30 years, which is similar to the lifetime of a roof. You can avoid having to have your solar panels put again after replacing your roof by doing both at the same time.

What if I don't have a roof that can support solar panels?

Think about investing in a shared or community solar scheme that enables users to access solar energy produced at a site other than their residences.

But, gives some advice to get you started if you believe a solar array may benefit your property.

Choose a solar installer

Locate a certified installer that is licensed and has received their certification from a respectable body like the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioner. Ask for referrals from people you know who have switched to solar or search online for certified, insured installers. Peruse reviews carefully. Get different installers to evaluate your roof so you can compare costs. Make sure you comprehend the conditions of your contract when evaluating it. Pose inquiries.

Decide what you need.

Examine your electricity bills to determine how much power you require annually and consider seasonal variations. Can you make any house upgrades that conserve energy? Your installer might be able to assist with figuring out your needs.

Consider your financial possibilities

A system can be bought outright or with a solar loan, depending on the buyer. You get solar tax credits and incentives if you own a system. Similar to home improvement loans, solar loans work in the same way, and some jurisdictions even offer subsidised solar energy loans. Using loans from the Federal Housing Administration and Fannie Mae, new homeowners can include solar in their mortgage.

Leasing is an additional choice. For the use of your PV system, you can either sign into a power purchase agreement (PPA), in which case you would purchase the electricity your system produces at a fixed price per kilowatt-hour.

A Homeowner's Guide to Solar Finance is available from the Clean Energy States Alliance and the Department of Energy's Sunshot Program, and it has details on leases, loans, and PPAs. See the homeowners' guide to solar finance at

What about rewards?

For systems built in 2020–2022, the Solar Investment Tax Credit, or ITC, offers a 26% tax credit, and for systems placed in 2023, a 22% tax credit. Without an extension from Congress, the tax credit will expire in 2024. A 25% tax credit is also provided by New York state. Visit to see the website of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).

What incentives you might be qualified for can also be ascertained with the assistance of a participating NYSERDA licensed contractor.

Inspections and permits

To secure the necessary permissions and make arrangements for the requisite inspections, your installer will need information from you. To get an approximate sense of how long it could take to complete the permitting, inspection, and interconnection procedures in your location, use the SolarTRACE tool from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

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After installation, which often only takes a few days, your system will likely improve your financial situation while also reducing carbon emissions.

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