733190813_c53d9b14e1The great thing about solar power is that there is no end to the supply (as long as the sun doesn’t become a red giant and consume Mercury and Venus). As long as it stays in its current state, it will continue to send free power our way. A lot of people are taking advantage of this by putting solar panels on their roofs to bring in this cost-free energy. This is by no means a minor task, though; here are some things to consider before beginning.

Consider how much sun your home receives every day. Check with your state or county government’s energy department; there will be a representative who can answer questions about the benefits of solar power in your area, as these offices often distribute rebates and tax credits to homeowners who install a variety of green devices on their homes, ranging from energy-efficient appliances to geothermal heating systems to solar panels. This person can advise you as to whether you have enough sun to merit an installation of panels.

This is where a contractor can help you. Call a licensed, bonded solar panel installation contractor to come out to your house and suggest a system size. Then, call two more companies; having three opinions will give you a good idea of what you really need. Once you have figured out the size that you want, be sure to follow up with all of the references of that contractor, to ensure that you will get the quality of work that you need.

Currently, the life span of a solar panel array varies between 10 and 30 years, depending on the quality of panels that you have bought. It is important to remember that it will take several years for even the most inexpensive array to pay for itself, in the form of utility savings, and so the durability of your array should be something that you include in your calculations about whether or not to have the panels installed.

A good thing about having a solar array installed is that you will be sending power back into the utility grid when your panels convert solar energy into electricity. If you live in a sunny enough area, then you can, in some months, even have a negative power bill. However, during the winter months, particularly if your furnace is powered by gas or heating oil, you will not see much benefit, particularly if the climate you live in is cold. Frigid temperatures affect your panels’ ability to convert solar rays into power.

4323586866_3089ea9d03If you are going to put in a solar array at your home, you are starting out on a major project. If you plan on living in your home for a very long time, the rewards will make it worthwhile. And you will also be making a difference for the environment. Use the facts presented in this article to help you make an informed decision at the outset of your new solar project.