I decided it was time to get off the grid. It was time to start utilizing the power of the sun for my home’s energy needs. I felt ready to leave the guilt I experienced form getting my energy from a coal-fired electrical plant. I was going solar. If you think it’s as easy as getting some solar panels and hooking them up, you’d be wrong. Having solar panels installed on my home was a journey. It was an experience that provided some valuable lessons.
Lesson 1 – Incentives
Going solar is encouraged by the government. Depending where you live, there could be local as well as state and federal tax credits available for solar panel installation. Many places also offer something called “Renewable Energy Credits” (REC). In my area, when a homeowner’s renewable energy system creates 1000 kilowatt hours of electricity, RECs are awarded. These RECs can be sold to a utility company, or anyone who is willing to pay for them.
Lesson 2 – Solar Panels Requirements
The number of solar panels a home needs will depend on its energy needs, and goals for electrical usage. There are some people want solar panels to provide only a portion of their electrical needs. If you purchase a certain number of solar panels, and it isn’t providing enough energy, you can just purchase and install more. The solar panels don’t even have to be installed on your home. They can be placed an area of your yard that gets the most direct sunlight.
Lesson 3 – Choosing an Installation Company
This should be handled just like choosing a contractor for work on your home. Contact several companies and ask them to submit a bid. It’s important to research the company chosen. I heard horror stories and encouraging ones concerning companies who installed solar panels. Make certain the company has all the proper licenses and a good rating from the Better Business Bureau. I didn’t want a company that outsourced their work. I also wanted the most advanced solar panels with the best possible reviews. I didn’t choose the lowest bid, but I got what I wanted from the company I chose.
Lesson 4 – Results
It took some time from the idea phase to final installation. After everything was up and properly running, my electricity bill plummeted. Having solar panels installed in your home draws many questions and comments from friends and neighbors. I had a battery back-up system installed, but I will admit, it does require an investment of maintenance. I’m glad I had solar panels installed on my home. I wish I would’ve done it sooner.