What do you Need to Know before Installing Solar Panels

Solar Panel
We’ve been hearing for years about the many benefits of installing solar panels in our homes. The technology in the solar industry continues to improve each year, making the viability of powering our houses with energy from the sun increasingly appealing. If you want to modify your home or include panels in a new construction project, there are some facts to consider first. Here is what you need to know about photovoltaic cells.

Location, Location, Location

Although many people focus on the amount of sun they get each year as the most important logistical question about solar, there are many other factors at play. Despite the recent boom in the northeast, you do need to live in a place that gets a decent amount of sun, but you also will want to check out the types of tax incentives you can earn to help cover the cost of installation and what kind of credits you can get to reduce your electricity bills. Also, check out your roofline. If you get a lot of shade from trees or other houses, you might need to consider another panel mounting site.


Installing a solar panel array on your home or property is an expensive endeavor. The general expectation is that the system would pay for itself in electricity costs within about 10 years. There are several factors that affect this estimate, of course. First, the cost of solar panels has been decreasing yearly even as their effectiveness is increasing. Secondly, depending when you install your system, you might be eligible for significant tax breaks, up to 30 percent of the initial cost or more.


This is one of the current sticking points of residential solar systems. Ideally, when you weren’t actually drawing much power from your panel, you’d be storing it for future use. However, the technology that allows for excess storage is still out of reach for most homeowners. Batteries are being developed, but right now they are very expensive.


Homeowners might worry that installing panels on their roofs would damage the structure, but this is not often the case. In fact, having a roof protected from the weather by panels can extend its life. And the panels themselves are very durable, designed with impact-resistant glass that can weather a storm. You’ll still want to have the system covered by your homeowners’ insurance policy, though. Plus, if the roof is not your preferred place to install the array, there are lots of other location options you can choose.

Energy Creation

The percentage of your daily electricity usage that the panels can generate will depend on how much power you need in a day. If you don’t tend to draw a lot of electricity, you might be able to get almost 100 percent of your needs met by the panels. But if you run a power-intensive business out of your home, you’ll likely get closer to 25 percent sourced from the solar system.

Many homeowners are likely to consider whether adding solar panels to their roofs make sense in their location. These factors should be part of the decision-making process.


  1. A lot of good points here. Especially about checking your roof line – if you have too much shade you won’t get the sun needed for the panels. It is possible you can remove a tree maybe, but you would need to weigh the pros and cons on that. Very informative post, thanks for sharing!