When I decided to install solar panels in my home, I went in largely blind because I had heard I could save some serious cash and I wanted to take a few more steps to go “green.” While in the long run, I haven’t really regretted my decision, there are a couple of lessons I learned during the installation I wish someone had told me ahead of time. Because of that, I’ve decided to do you a bit of a service and offered up the most important lessons so you can go in a little more informed than I was.
So can you actually save money by installing solar panels? The short answer is yes. The longer answer is “it depends.” The real answer depends an awful lot on how much you are paying for electricity now. A smaller home, that is already energy effiicent isn’t going to need to transfer over to solar panels. You need to keep the cost of installing and switching over in mind as well.
The general rule of thumb is that if your power bill is costing you more than $150 a month then you can indeed save some serious cash. After taking into account the cost of installation, I’m now saving about $30 a month on average. That’s $360 a year. It’s not a ton, but it’s money in my pocket.
Some people think adding solar panels is going to raise or lower their property value. I went in thinking I could actually get a high valuation on my property. The fact is most states don’t up valuation because of something like solar panels. You might be able to sell your house faster if the people buying it are into going green as well.
This is one aspect I luckily made sure to check, or rather the contractor I hired checked for me. You want to make sure you have the right permits, depending on your area. If you don’t you might have to start over or junk the project altogether.
Warranties and Insurance
Despite the fact that solar panels have been around for quite a while, you still want to treat them as totally new tech. That means you need to make sure you are covered when it comes to insuring your home and system. Make sure the solar panels are added to your home owner’s insurance because most companies won’t cover it automatically.
As far as warranties, there are some pretty decent coverages, some going as far as 25 years. Just make sure you know what you are dealing with in this area. Don’t go in blind. Make sure you know and update your coverages as soon as possible.