Thinking about going solar? These four questions will get you started.
1. How do I know if my property is suitable for solar?
You’ll want to assess how efficient solar panels will be on your roof. The higher the efficiency, the more benefit you’ll receive. Consider these three factors:
- Orientation. Roofs facing directly south receive the most sunlight, making them extremely efficient and productive. East- or west-facing roofs don’t receive as much direct sunlight, but still can be a viable option.
- Shading. Even the most beautiful, unobstructed south-facing roof will lose a significant amount of efficiency if trees or other structures cast shadows over your roof’s surface.
- Space. How big is your roof? Are there ventilation pipes, a chimney, or sky lights throughout the open space? You can place solar panels around these obstacles, or consider ground-mounted solar panels.
2. Will solar panels affect my roof?
Solar panels have no effect on your roof. In fact, because they cover the surface, solar panels can act as protection from the elements and help preserve the longevity of your roof. If your roof is in good condition before you install solar, you should not have any issues or concerns.
Also, residential solar energy systems have no moving parts, so they don’t require much maintenance. For extra confidence, make sure your installer has product and performance warranties that guarantee the integrity and output of your solar array for at least 25 years.
3. Is it better to own my solar array or lease it?
Buying your solar system is a good choice if you want to maximize your financial benefits, and you have cash or financing options.
When you own your solar panels, you get the direct benefit of tax incentives, solar renewable energy credits, and net metering credits you qualify for. When you lease, you are not eligible for tax incentives.
Owning can add value to your home. A 2015 study funded by the Department of Energy shows owning your solar panels can increase the value of your home by about $14,000.
4. How do I choose a solar panel brand and installer?
Hanscom FCU is helping consumers interested in tapping solar power for their home with a new service, Own My Solar. Powered by NRGTree, this service provides homeowners with an anonymous online tool to better understand solar installations.
Start with an instant, free online estimate of how much you can save with solar. With just a few details about your home, OwnMySolar will design a system for you. Review offers from vetted installers that can manage your solar installation from start to finish. You can schedule installation right from the site.
OwnMySolar makes it simple to understand how solar works, and determine your best option. They do the background work for you – installers are screened on over a dozen criteria.
A solar energy system can add value to your home while saving energy costs. Using the equity in your home to fund solar panels helps you manage upfront costs, so you start enjoying the benefits of solar right away.
Talk with a Hanscom FCU lending expert about the 3 in 1 Advantage Plan. It’s a line of credit with an option to easily and economically fix a portion of your equity. It’s ideal for one-time expenses such as a solar array. Learn more at www.hfcu.org/equity.