The Best Roof Type for Solar Panels

Solar Panel EfficiencyYou’ve done the homework and, like a growing number of North American homeowners, reached the conclusion that solar power for your home is a smart move. The next step is to take a look at your roof and determine if a solar installation is feasible. What are the best roof types for solar panels? Let’s answer this question and several other important ones.

Best types of roofs

Shingled roofs with asphalt shingles are ideal for installing solar panels, and coincidentally it’s the most common type of roof on homes in our region of the world. Panels install fairly simply on flat roofs, although a little more work may be required to angle them in the direction of the sun. Most tile and metal roofs can accept solar panels. For other types of roofs, consult with a professional installer.

Roof age can be a factor

Installation of solar panels is best on roofs that still have about 10 to 15 years of life left in them. With an older roof that needs to be replaced now or soon, installation can be problematic and result in damage. Removing solar panels during a re-roofing project will increase the bill. If your roof is nearing the need for replacement, it might be best to do both jobs at the same time.

Talk with a solar contractor about this. He or she can determine if your roof is suitable for an installation at the present time. If a roof replacement is necessary in order to install the panels, it’s possible that this expense will fall under the federal solar Investment Tax Credit.

Direction of the roof

The section of your roof where panels are installed should face a direction in which optimal sunlight can be absorbed. Typically south-facing roofs are exposed to the most sun hours every day. East- and west-facing roofs also can work. This is another point to discuss with a contractor, who will be able to see your home in person and offer practical advice.

Roof terrain

Solar Energy DevelopmentIn a perfect solar world, every roof would have ample, unobstructed space for laying down solar panels. In the real world, obstructions such as skylights and vents can complicate the process. The overall size of the roof is a factor, as well. Once again, consult with a professional to determine how well your roof is suited to a solar installation.

There are many great reasons homeowners are converting to solar power. Beyond the obvious reduction in utility bills, solar panels are friendly to the environment, add value to your home and get their energy from the most renewable source of all: the sun.

The experts at North American Solar Stores are ready to help with information and professional solar installation for your home. Use our handy store locator to find a NASS member store near you.

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The Impact of Solar Panels of Home Value

Solar and Home ValueThe huge movement toward residential solar power in North America is powered primarily by two very important benefits: reduced utility bills, and making a positive impact on the environment.  But another benefit that shouldn’t be overlooked is the way a solar-powered home performs on the real estate market.

Solar = higher home value

The experts agree: Installing PV solar panels can significantly increase the value of a home.  Boosts in property value vary depending on where you live and the size of the installed system.  A rule-of-thumb figure, according to a U.S. Department of Energy study, is a $4 increase in resale value for each installed solar watt.

This translates to $20,000 with a five kilowatt system, which is a fairly standard size.

Another set of figures, from the Appraisal Institute, estimates that the resale value of a home will increase $20 for every dollar of savings on the electric bill throughout a year.  This means that a $42 reduction in electricity costs would work out to $20,000 more on the home’s sale price.

As homeowners across the continent – and around the world – become more knowledgeable about the clear-cut benefits of having solar power in their homes, these figures for property value increases aren’t surprising.  Buyers are simply willing to pay more for a home equipped with clean, consistent solar energy.

Furthermore, sellers of homes are finding that their solar PV system does more to increase the value of their property than virtually any other type of home-improvement effort, such as adding another bedroom or bathroom or a full kitchen remodel.

Solar = faster sales

In many North American real estate markets, homes seem to never sell as quickly as the sellers would like.  It’s not uncommon for a home to sit on the market for three months or six months or longer before the right buyer comes along.

If the home for sale is solar-equipped, however, it will sell in 50% less time, according to the Department of Energy.  If you’ve ever sold a home that languished on the market, you know what a major plus this is.

Solar leasing

Benefits many not be as great in cases where a homeowner leases the solar system as opposed to buying it outright.  While the owner of the home will begin reaping the cost savings of solar right away, the lease agreement technically ends when he or she sells the home.  Some homebuyers aren’t interested in assuming a solar lease, but others are, so if you’re going the leasing route, you’ll want to look for buyers who favor that kind of arrangement.

In the long run, the outright purchase of a solar system will likely bring you the fastest and largest returns on investment when you sell your home.  Leasing is more an ideal option for those who plan to stay in their homes for a longer period and simply want to enjoy the benefits of solar power.

Get all the expert advice and information you need on going solar from North American Solar Stores retail outlets.  From project planning to installation, we’re here to help.  Find a NASS location near you with our handy store locator.

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39% of U.S. Energy Needs Could Be Met with Rooftop Solar Panels

burlington-solarTalk about an untapped resource. Solar energy is definitely making headway in communities across North America, but the capacity being used to generate electricity for homes and businesses is still, many believe, in the infancy stages.

Study reveals huge potential in the solar market

A March 2016 report from the Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory revealed the findings of a study that looked at large and small rooftops in 128 American cities to judge how suitable they were for solar panels. The study also estimated the level of electricity generation the rooftops could sustain.

Naturally potential solar capacity varied by state and region, but the bottom line, the study found, is that 39% of electricity needs in the United States could be met with solar panels installed on rooftops.

Robert Margolis, a coauthor of the study, said 39% is only a fraction of the overall potential for solar power in the U.S. That figure was determined by considering only rooftop solar panel generation. When you factor in ground-mounted installations as well as systems installed on canopies over open spaces, integrated into walls and placed on other, less-suitable rooftop areas, the generating capacity would certainly exceed 39%.

In looking at these projections, it’s important to keep in mind that the study involved solar modules operating at current performance levels. Those levels have consistently improved year-to-year, and it’s reasonable to assume the improvement will continue.

In a nutshell, the study tells us that there is justification for the solar “craze” that’s sweeping the country. We’re only just beginning to tap into the awesome, never-ending energy of the sun with rooftop solar panel installations, which account for the majority of solar energy currently being produced. And if you want to get astronomical about it, consider the capacity if self-replicating solar panels were set up on the moon, which is being talked about already.

Now is the time for solar

commercial-solarWe’re in an era of technological advancement that’s making converting to solar power more than just a smart decision. A reduction in solar technology cost, inventive financing options, government subsidies like the federal solar Investment Tax Credit and a growing number of installers have conspired to bring down the overall cost of household solar systems 45% between 2010 and 2014. Cost reductions have continued since then and experts agree we should see greater affordability as we move into the future.

The government’s tax credit, mentioned above, allows homeowners a tax break of 30% on installed solar systems through 2019. It goes to 26% in 2020 and then 22% in 2021, the final year the credit is scheduled to be available to homeowners. But don’t be surprised if it is extended. The original legislation called for the credit to end on the last day of 2016, but lawmakers managed to get a five-year extension.

If you’re interested in learning more about getting off the grid and onto the power of the sun, contact the experts at a North American Solar Store near you. We offer professional installation and all the advice you need. Find a location near you with our handy store locator.

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7 Ways Solar Energy Saves Everyone Money in the End

Home Solar Panel InstallationSolar power in North America is quickly transitioning from a “trend” or a “movement” into a normal part of life.  In the United States alone, about a million solar installations are in place, accounting for approximately one percent of all generated electricity.  Solar brings many benefits to homes, businesses and communities, including money-savings.  Let’s look at seven ways solar saves money for everyone who uses this amazing energy source.

  1. Some states are now offering sizeable rebates to homeowners and business owners who install solar systems.
  2. The federal government has extended its solar Investment Tax Credit through 2021 for residential installations and indefinitely for commercial installations. For both types of installations, the credit is 30% through 2019, with drops to 26% and 22% in 2020 and 2021. The credit will stay at 10% for business installations from 2022 onward.
  3. While you do pay for a solar system, you can completely or nearly eliminate your monthly electricity bill, a nice perk for many people.
  4. Solar systems generate and store electrical power. If you don’t use all the power your system has stored, many utility companies will buy the surplus from you.
  5. Solar is growing, and so are electric and hybrid vehicles. If you own one, you can use the solar power you generate to charge it. Owners of these vehicles who self-charge often save hundreds of dollars each month on fuel costs.
  6. When it’s time to sell your home, it’s very likely that an installed solar system will increase its value. With advancing public awareness about the benefits of going solar, more and more home buyers put solar-powered homes high on their shopping lists.
  7. For residential systems in 1998, the average price per watt (within an installed system) was $12. Sixteen years later, in 2014, that number had dropped to just $4. Experts who watch the solar industry believe that the cost will continue to go down as more efficient technologies are developed.

Along with the financial incentives, another reason so many people are turning to solar energy is because it’s the most renewable energy source known to man: the ever-burning sun.  Environmentally minded individuals enjoy doing their part to reduce the world’s dependence on fossil fuels that damage the atmosphere and cost us big money in many, many ways.

Is it time for you to look into solar power and discover its long list of benefits?  There has been a sharp rise in solar installations recently, with the extension of the federal solar Investment Tax Credit.  You can join the large numbers of homeowners and business owners in going solar and reaping the rewards now and into the future.

North American Solar Stores installs solar systems.  We can help you get the information you need on moving off the grid and using clean solar energy to power your life.  Use our handy store locator to find a NASS member store near you.

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