How to Get Started with Solar: Planning Your Home’s Solar Energy System

Getting a solar energy system for your home is a smart investment: you lower your monthly electricity bill, get long-term savings, and help save the environment. You want to install solar energy for your home, but you don’t know how to start! Don’t fret. We run you through basic but essential items you need to consider before installing solar and storage systems in your home:

Evaluate Your Home

Is your home a good candidate for a solar energy system? Consider where your home is located. Check your surroundings to make sure there aren’t tall trees or high buildings that block your rooftop. You want the most amount of sunlight for optimum solar performance.

It’s also important to research local laws and regulations regarding solar energy on your property. Do not be afraid to contact your local utility company on their website for any questions and concerns you have on renewable energy consumption for your home.

Once you consider your home’s solar potential, consult a solar installer for a professional assessment. Solar installers will visit your home to evaluate its compatibility with solar energy and ensure a safe installation. Here are a few things your solar installer will assess:

  • The amount of electricity your home consumes
  • The structure, inclination, and weight capacity of your rooftop
  • If your home needs repairs or upgrades
  • The wiring and electrical systems of your home
  • Recommended solar technologies
  • Roof orientation

Getting a professional home assessment from a qualified solar installer is critical. Don’t skip this step. Qualifications may vary by state or country, so most utility companies will list their certifications and licenses on their website. Here are some recommendations of solar installers in your area.

Decide Which Solar Technologies Are Right for You

Solar installers will give you recommendations on products that are the most compatible and efficient for your home based on their assessment. Installers also have solar products available in their inventory for purchase. However, you could also buy solar products directly from manufacturing companies and distributors, so it’s also important to do your own research on solar products.

There are different types of products for different energy systems. For example, there are specific technologies for whether you prefer Grid-Tie, Off-Grid, Hybrid, Grid-Tie with Backup, or Self-Consumption systems for your home. Another depends on which inverter systems you are most interested in, such as PV, Micro, or Hybrid inverter systems. Read about The Beginner’s Guide to Residential Solar Inverters here.

Don’t forget to consider solar accessories, such as smart home energy management devices, as they may make your experience with solar energy a lot smoother. Examples of accessories to consider are energy and system management devices, including monitoring control.

Whatever products you decide on, take into consideration its power capacity, longevity, quality, and warranties.

Financing Your Solar Energy System

Solar energy is a smart way to save money long-term as you save on monthly electricity bills. There is, however, a relatively high initial cost of installing a solar energy system. Fortunately, there are many incentives available for a more affordable installation. Your regional and federal governments, as well as your local utility company, may offer rebates, grants, and tax credits for residential solar energy systems, so you can get some of your money back and save more. Learn more about how you can save money with solar energy in the Money Savings section here.

Consider Post-Installation and Maintenance

Solar energy systems require minimal maintenance after getting installed. However, regular maintenance work is still crucial for maximum power performance.

As the homeowner, it is recommended that you do some surface cleaning of solar panels a few times a year to ensure your solar panels are free from debris and are receiving optimal sunlight. The frequency would depend on your home environment. Your installer may also conduct on-site visits for any detailed cleaning of your system to check that it’s running smoothly. The installer will look over your entire system, including your panels, inverters, batteries, and wirings.

Since contracts vary, make sure to thoroughly review your agreement with your solar installer beforehand. It’s important to understand all your terms, as well as your rights, in every step of the installation process including the home assessment, post-installation work, and any warranties.

Planning your solar energy system can be time-consuming, but nonetheless a rewarding experience. With the right planning, you can expect a smoother process of getting started with solar for your home.


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