With a rise in environmental awareness and economic advantage of solar power, solar panels are becoming a widely considered investment across the USA, and for a good reason too. Technological advancement has made the reduction in equipment cost possible. And so, this alternative serves well, on both individual and environmental levels. But before excitedly jumping the gun, one must know about its instalment, functioning, cost and care.

Average cost of solar panels as of 2021

The cost of solar energy is easily calculated in Dollars per Watt. Currently, this value stands at an average of $2.81/W. In 2008, this figure stood at $8/W, indicating how significantly technological advancements have helped in cost reduction and points to a promising direction for those considering this alternative.

Life of a solar panel

After installments, a panel lasts up to 25-30 years. Therefore, if one has to move out of their home soon after installing a panel, they can find solace in the fact that the value of their home is significantly higher now than before. Therefore investing in these panels is advantageous regardless of whether you reside in that home for the long term.

Does your roof qualify?
Before installing these panels, a careful inspection of the roof to check for any repairs or breakages is a prerequisite. Another thing to consider is the direction of the roof tilt (which is recommended to be towards the south),  given that these panels operate on how much sunlight they can receive. Look out for any trees or structures that block natural sunlight from falling on your roof. Your roof must also be wide enough to hold the entire structure of the panel.

When it rains, the roofs are the first place in the house to be affected. When a solar panel is installed, equipment like racking and wire harnessing the panel will prevent the water flow. Therefore, your contractor will need to plan the structure so that the water flow and uninterrupted electrical energy can co-exist.


Ways to finance your panels
With loans dedicated especially to solar electricity — like solar loans and solar leases — it becomes easier to fund this investment. Warranties on the panel also help in keeping your future repairs cost-effective. But these warranties are void if the installation is done yourself.

Grid or non-grid?
If not connected to a grid, the storage capacities and backup options for electricity need to be arranged. The grid system comes with a solar incentive of net-metering that helps ensure that you get bill credits when your solar panel overproduces electricity, like at night or when sunlight is absent.

While solar panel systems are advantageous and cost-effective, careful installation, consideration of the conditions of the roof, an inspection of wiring and overall compliance with safety standards are all integral before the installation. Therefore, while one must indeed consider this alternative, thorough background research and a trusted contractor to aid the installation are a must.

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