How to Know if Solar is Viable for You

Estimated read time 3 min read

With multiple solar installations across the nation, you might already have an idea of what makes a good fit for solar: a single-family, standalone home that you own, featuring a south-facing roof in good condition, with minimal shading during the day. 

If this description matches your situation, what’s holding you back?

But even if your circumstances don’t perfectly align with that description, don’t worry. Here are five factors to help you determine whether solar panels are a suitable choice for you and your home:

The Type of House You Have

A major factor that influences your suitability for solar is the type of house you reside in and whether you own it or not. 

In essence, installing solar panels becomes more complex if you don’t own the property. Consequently, if you’re in a multi-family setting like apartments or a condominium, whether as a tenant or an owner, harnessing on-site solar might prove challenging.

Ability to Avail of Solar Incentives

Numerous states, utility companies, and even municipalities provide financial incentives to individuals to encourage the adoption of solar energy. 

These incentives can help offset costs and accelerate the payback period for your solar investment. If you’re located in an area that offers such incentives, seriously considering solar is a wise move.

Among these incentives, the federal investment tax credit (ITC) stands out as a significant financial boost. This credit refunds over 20 percent of your solar expenses back to you as a tax credit. 

However, it’s crucial to note that the ITC is only accessible to individuals who have sufficient tax liability. In simpler terms, if you’re retired, you might not fully benefit from the ITC.

fitting photovoltaic panels on a roof of a building

Your Roof Condition

Several factors can determine whether your roof is suitable for solar installation. While it may seem like a lot to consider, these factors play a significant role in determining the viability of installing solar panels on your roof.

If your roof is nearing the end of its lifespan, you want to replace it before installing solar panels. Alternatively, you could combine the roof replacement with the solar panel installation. 

On the other hand, if your roof is already in good shape, that’s fantastic! Solar panels can even contribute to prolonging the durability of the area they cover on your roof.

Cost of Solar Installation in Your Area

Ultimately, solar installations are often driven by financial considerations for homeowners. The initial cost of solar impacts the time it takes to recover your investment, known as the payback period. 

Solar costs can vary based on factors such as labor, permitting expenses, equipment availability, and regional differences. However, it’s important to note that you don’t necessarily need to pay the full system cost upfront. 

Luckily, various financing options exist which allow you to go solar without any initial payment.

Your Utility Bills

The potential savings from solar power are influenced by several factors, but none are as significant as your current electricity expenses. 

The higher your electricity usage and costs, the greater the potential for savings through solar. If you reside in a state with elevated electricity rates, transitioning to solar can result in substantial savings. 

Even if your electricity consumption is low or you’re in an area with lower rates, solar can still provide savings. However, the most substantial savings typically occur when you’re already paying a significant amount for electricity (e.g., more than $100 or $150 per month for your household).

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