Many things in the economy are making the average homeowner shaky at best in investing any more into their home. The only improvements that are likely to increase its value are those that make it function better, increase the square footage, or make it run more cost effectively. That is why many are considering the option of installing solar power roofing systems.

The biggest drawback to the installation of solar powered roofing is that it is a hefty investment and one that a lot of people know very little about. The reviews, even from homeowners themselves, can be confusing and not lend much to those who are in the market and looking for some energy savings to their monthly budget.

The good news is that as the technology improves and more people are using solar power to heat and cool their home, the price of installation and materials continue to drop. In fact, the current price of employing a solar powered roofing system to your home is at the lowest cost ever in history. That may make it a bit more enticing to invest in. If you are going to use solar power, however, there are many things that you have to consider to estimate whether they will reduce your energy costs and be worth the investment.

There are six major considerations that you need to make before you install a solar power roof. It is the checklist to estimate whether the cost of using solar power is worth it for you personally and whether your home, its placement, and conditions are right to either make it a good addition, or a poor choice.

1. Is your roof in the right space and strong enough to maximize its efficiency?

The efficiency of solar power is relevant to the amount of solar energy it can capture. In essence, it is all about the number of hours that it is exposed to the sun. If your roof resides in a location that sees shade throughout most of the day, then it may not be the ideal candidate for solar energy. Not being able to reap any solar energy will render the solar panels useless. Obviously, if it is shaded by foliage that can be removed, then it may not be an issue. Just remember that cutting trees down can be a very expensive proposition and may change the aesthetics and the curb appeal of your home. You have to look at the big picture when considering solar panels.

The age of your roof is going to be a huge consideration to determine the timing of adding solar panels. Once they go on, they are expensive to take off. The average life of solar installation is between twenty to twenty-five years. If your roof is already nearing the end of its warranty, then you have to determine if it is better to replace the roof with solar panels included now or wait a while and let your warranty run its course. The last thing you want to do is have them placed and then tear up the roof in a couple of years, only to have them replaced at your expense.

2. Do energy audits before you add the solar panels

If you have a house that is leaking energy everywhere, then taking steps to improve its efficiency, makes very little sense. If you haven’t corrected the places that are wasting and leaking energy, then adding solar power is going to do nothing but throw more out the window. Before you consider putting solar panels on your roof, make sure to do an energy audit. That includes upgrading your windows, finding out which things are the biggest energy eaters, and assessing your home to ensure that, if you are going to invest in solar power, once in place, you will have the energy efficiency you are working toward. It will also make sure that you receive a quicker return on your investment.

3. What type of solar energy is best for your situation?

There are two different types of solar energy currently available for your home. They are thermal, the type that uses the light from the sun to heat air and water for use internally and photovoltaic, which works by turning arrays of cells into electricity. If you are in a region where you want to cut down on the heating costs of your home and fuel is expensive, then using solar thermal may be a better return in a quicker time. The biggest problem with the choice of solar thermal is that it isn’t as popular or as readily available as photovoltaic.

4. How will you connect to the grid?

This consideration will be region determined. Any time that a homeowner is connected to a utility, there will be logistics to sort out. You have to talk to utilities you currently use to find out if there will be a fee involved, how long it will take to get the utility hooked up, and, once it is, how long before you will be credited for the electricity that your home generates. Some states and utilities have something called “net-metering”. It is a practice where utility companies will reimburse those who use rooftop solar energy at the same rate that they charge those who use electricity. Complex and varied, it is about the location you live in. Some places will be easier to recoup your investment while others may take a significantly longer time.

5. The goodness of your installer…choose wisely

If you are going to install solar panels, make sure to use someone with an accreditation from the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners. Once the solar panels are installed, you want to make sure that they are integrated properly, so that you are gaining the maximum benefit. You also want to ensure that if there is a problem, someone will be around to fix it, ideally the installer. Finding someone who deals with solar panels on a regular basis is key to maximizing its potential.

6. Should you lease or buy?

It is a bigger expense to buy the system up front, but it may be more beneficial in the long run. If you are leasing the solar panels, then you are going to get less benefit from them and end up paying for use, specifically because they aren’t yours. To determine which is best for you, do a cost-benefit analysis and determine how long it will take to pay off the cost of the system. Weight that against how much you will save monthly, to best decipher which is better for your individual case.

The decision to add solar energy to your home is a hefty one and one that shouldn’t be entered into lightly. Taking all factors into consideration will guarantee that you are gaining the maximum benefit, adding equity and saving yourself money in the long run. If you are looking for a reputable solar panel contractor to help you through the complexity of installation, call Tamesol today. Experts in the solar roofing industry, they can help to walk you through the steps and ensure that solar roofing is the best option for your needs.