3 Important Steps to Know Before You Go Solar

3 Important Steps to Know Before You Go Solar

Solar energy helps homeowners save money, especially during high-producing summer months. Those of you who don’t have solar are probably dreading the months of high summer bills. With another hot summer just around the corner, you’ll be cranking up the AC sooner than you think. If you’ve been curious about how solar might help lower your bills, we’re here to tell you how solar panels can be installed in three simple steps.

“How do I go solar?” is a common question our team gets. Photovoltaic (PV) solar power is the fastest-growing type of energy in the world. The U.S. alone has more than 2 million rooftop solar systems on homes and businesses and will add 1 million more this year!  

We’re here to explain a few simple steps to installing a solar energy system on your rooftop.

Locating a Solar Installation Company

The first step? Find a solar company with know-how in solar panel installations. Talk to your neighbors who already have solar panels. Did they have a good experience with the company they used? You could also ask any company you’re researching for customer references.

SunPower by esaSolar, with locations in Florida and California, was recently named a SunPower Residential Regional Dealer of the Year thanks to our excellent performance and customer service record. We have more than a decade of experience providing trustworthy solar solutions to thousands of residential, commercial and industrial clients.

As you’re doing your research, ask your installer about the quality and efficiency of the solar panels that they install and check to see what their maintenance program and warranty includes.

The warranty is important. Not all solar installers offer a 25-year power and product warranty like SunPower’s. Other companies provide individual warranties for each part of the solar system, which presents a possible headache for the homeowner if anything goes wrong with the system.

Also, don’t look for an exact price quote quite yet because each home has a different design. Factors that will influence the cost of your solar system include: roof pitch and bearing to the sun, foliage and other obstructions near the roof, and your roofing materials. Look for a solar installer who will custom-design your system so you save the most money on your electricity bill.

As part of our process, we’ll send a solar expert to your home (socially distanced of course!) to produce a custom design just for you. SunPower’s solar design software program will give you an accurate preview of what the solar panels will look like on your roof and tell you how much you’ll save based on how much energy you use and the wattage of the panels you choose.

Your solar advisor will discuss your present and future energy needs and examine things such as whether the shade from your trees will require you to add a few extra panels. (One benefit of SunPower panels is their efficient design allows them to still generate energy even in low-light situations.)

Review Solar Panel Financing

For your second step, we’ll talk about options for financing your solar system. Many people think that a home solar system has to be paid for up front, but that’s not the case. While you can pay for your system with cash, you can also choose a solar lease or we’ll help you choose the right loan package.

Our solar consultants are experts at crafting a loan payment program where the payments are lower than your current electric bill. That’s also an option via a no-money-down lease that allows homeowners to “rent” the system and benefit from the solar energy it produces.

There are other ways to assess how solar will impact your pocketbook. Going solar can qualify you for a tax break thanks to the federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC).

The ITC is a 26 percent credit (based on your solar system cost) that’s applied toward your taxes owed. Don’t delay: the tax credit will be reduced to 22 percent in 2023 and is currently set to be eliminated after that.

The credit, in addition to state and local tax credits, incentives, rebates and easements, makes going solar a wise financial decision. A quality solar installation company will make sure you can take advantage of all the incentives offered in your area.

There’s also the benefit of net metering, which credits solar homeowners for excess power the solar system sends to the utility. Net metering can save homeowners hundreds of dollars on electric bills each year. 

Check out dsireusa.org for more information on your local area.

Install Your Solar System

Finally, the third step. Once you pick a solar installer and a solar financing option, it’s time to schedule your solar installation. We’ll also handle all permitting, applications, utility needs and working with your HOA, if necessary. A project manager will also keep you up-to-date on the process and answer any questions you have along the way!

Installing a home solar system is usually a two-day process. Your solar equipment is delivered ahead of time so that when our crew arrives, they can get to work installing the mounting hardware, panels, wiring and monitoring hardware without delay. The next day, it’s then a smooth process to snap the solar panels into our plug-and-play racking system. 

Just ask our happy customers: We have a reputation for leaving our work sites in tip-top condition and we’ll surprise you with some extra touches. You won’t be able to tell we were there when the project is complete — except for that much lower (or $0) electricity bill.

The final step in the solar process is an inspection by your utility company or the local electric authority. When permission to operate is given, you’re set to start saving money on your electric bill!