"Going solar" sounds like a no-brainer. It's true that tapping in to the power of the sun has multiple advantages in the best cases. You can lower your energy costs and also do your share to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, contributing to a cleaner environment.
However, going solar requires you to consider, a number of important factors. Take a moment to consider the following factors before you answer the question, "Does solar make sense for you?"
Solar systems are not inexpensive, so if your monthly energy bill is less than $100 there may be other more economical ways to reduce it than going solar. You should do a quick self energy audit to determine how much energy you use, and then research what steps you could take to reduce the amount. Part of understanding the cost of solar is figuring out how much you will be saving.
Although a solar system can save you hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years that initial investment is a large one. There are however, various, state and federal incentives that can reduce the financial impact, by up to 50%.
If your roof is under shade for a good part of the day, this will reduce the efficiency of the panels. To reduce system size and cost it's advised that there be no shade cover over the panels during prime sun hours. If there are trees causing such cover, you will have to determine if they can be trimmed or removed.
Southern roof exposure remains the most effective orientation for your solar electric panels. Other orientations may work, albeit less effective 90-95%, leading to a larger, more expensive solar system. However it is always best to consult with your solar installer during his onsite visit, as the cost increases may be minimal.
The decision to go solar provides a lot to think about. You need to get a good picture of what your current energy usage is, and learn how you can reduce your energy consumption in low, and no, cost ways. A reputable and professional installer will take any worry off your shoulders, and your costs will come back in big savings over the life of the installation. A good solar installer will also help you navigate through the permit procedures and rebate applications that differ state to state. Professional installers keep current on all of the various incentives that can dramatically lower your initial costs