The New York Times just released an incredibly important article covering solar installation expenses and logistics. If you’re in the market for solar, there are a few must-know tips to educate yourself with before installing that rooftop array of your dreams.

Technology is always pressing forward, and a greatly beneficial outcome for homeowners when it comes to solar is that prices have dropped dramatically in the past few years. Unfortunately, there’s still a lot of confusion surrounding solar panel installation.

Solar panels are a substantial investment, although they can also be set up without paying a penny out of pocket if you qualify for a zero down installation. Utility bills tend to drop substantially with solar panels, meaning serious savings on electric costs pretty much from day one.

Solar As a Failsafe

When there’s a power outage of any sort, solar panels can act as a kind of failsafe in that homeowners typically retain power capabilities. Even if power lines are knocked down by a storm, for example, if you’re a solar homeowner, your electric may be totally fine throughout the outage’s duration.

As inflation hits record numbers, and energy costs continue to rise throughout the nation, more and more homeowners are looking for ways to circumvent their current, fossil fuel power companies which typically act as monopolies in most districts.

Climate change is another concern, not only in terms of protecting the environment, but also for the rolling blackouts extreme weather events can oftentimes cause. In 2019, Pew ran a survey that found over 6% of Americans already had solar panels installed, while another 46% were seriously considering the proposition.

Environmental Educational Nonprofits Chime In

Anika Wistar-Jones, Solar One’s director of affordable solar, recently put it like this: “The biggest thing is that solar is a lot cheaper than it used to be even in places like New York City and Boston, where it tends to be more expensive than in the suburbs.”

Case studies back this up, as it seems more often than not, solar panels will completely pay for themselves within a five to seven year window. After that, you’re looking at thousands, even tens of thousands, in total savings over the next several decades your panels last.

The question becomes, what does it take to add a solar system to my home’s roof? Despite seeming like a simple question, the reality is many factors come into play. Is your roof shaded by too many trees in your yard? You want to make sure your panels can get enough sunlight to really produce a good deal of electricity. If anything, some tree trimming may be in order.

End of the day, your system most likely will produce much more energy than you and your family consume, giving you surplus energy that can be stored in a battery or paid back to you directly in credits.

What Will Your Local Government Allow?

Your current utility provider may not be so happy with your decision to go solar. They lose, you win, in a nutshell. They want you making them rich, not the other way around. But going energy independent with solar is just smart, savvy, and saves you big in the long run.

It may take a good bit of research to ensure you can get permits to install solar on your home’s roof. In bigger cities, like New York and Los Angeles, the city may want you to have a large, clear area on a roof that is also relatively flat to house the panels themselves.

In a very densely populated city, the local government may want to ensure firefighters can always walk on a building’s roof, for example. Canopies can be another sticky issue, as some cities won’t like the idea of a rooftop framework that elevates panels above a certain height.

The wisest move for homeowners is to consult with multiple local installers to get a solid grasp of all the rules and regulations, and see what rebates, incentives, and tax credits you can take advantage of to install your system with no upfront costs at all. Pretty soon you could be looking at energy bills at a 70% lower cost than what you previously paid. That’s the power of solar, and that’s why more and more homeowners are making thes switch this summer and beyond.