With energy prices rising steadily over the years, many homeowners are now exploring the option of powering their properties with renewable power systems. One common green energy system is solar panels that absorb energy from the sun to generate heat or electricity. Investing in a panel can increase your home value and lead an eco-friendlier lifestyle. You can also get the advantage of higher profits and savings. It is because solar power systems cut costs incurred in electricity. In this article, Sun Solar Electric, a seasoned solar panel installation company in Glen Ellen, discusses how the panel works, its benefits and costs, and how it increases your home’s value.
How Solar Panels Work
A solar panel generates electricity when particles of sunlight (protons) knock electrons free from atoms, setting them in motion. The flow of electrons is electricity, and a solar panel is designed to capture the flow, turning it into a usable electric current. The process is known as the photovoltaic effect.
Is Solar Panel Installation Worth It
Solar energy is renewable, plentiful, and sustainable. As the cost of solar power reduces annually, most people are increasingly enjoying numerous benefits of solar electricity, including:
- Reduce your energy bill costs — The widely known benefit of a solar panel is that it reduces your electricity bill cost. You will ultimately purchase less power from the grid by producing your power.
- Renewable Energy Source
- It is environmentally friendly
- Low maintenance costs
- Helps you become energy independent
- You can sell excess solar power to the grid
- Solar panels come with warranties
- The cost of solar panels is becoming more cost-effective year after year
- Technology in the solar power industry is constantly advancing, and improvements will intensify in the future.
How to Know Your Property is Ideal for Solar Panel Installation
Below are critical questions that the skilled team at Sun Solar Electric asks any person interested in leasing or purchasing a solar energy system to ensure their property is best suited for solar panel installation.
The Amount of Sunlight the Roof Receives
Use a solar panel suitability checker to determine whether your home qualifies for solar installation. Then schedule an appointment with a professional who will visit your property and inspect orientation, tree shading, and roof angle. The more sunlight the property receives, the more power your Glen Ellen solar panel will produce.
To ensure optimal output, avoid areas that have shade from obstacles like vents, buildings, cables, antennas, and chimneys. You can also trim trees that block sunlight.
The Local Climate
Solar energy can be generated in every extreme climate, including hot climates like Glen Ellen. A solar suitability checker tool can assist you in understanding how this can affect solar on the property.
A high-efficiency solar panel converts sunlight into electricity. Therefore, it works efficiently even on cloudy days.
Is Your Roof in Good Shape?
The best roof type for installation is metal with seams that you can drill into. Additionally, composite roofs are ideal. It is tricky to install your panel on tile roofs. The tiles are fragile, and installation can destroy the waterproof barrier under your tiles.
You should not install your panel on your wooden roof because it can be a fire hazard. Nonetheless, you can install it elsewhere on the property like a ground-mounted system.
Generally, a solar panel is effective when mounted on an inclined roof slanted towards the sun. While it can vary depending on the latitude, the ideal angle of a solar panel installation is a 30-degree angle. If your roof is flat, you will require additional brackets to tilt it.
How Long Will Your Roof Last?
Your solar panel can last about forty years, so your roof should be ready for it. If you require new roofing after your panel installation, you will have an expert take the entire system off and then reinstall it after your roof is renovated.
If you require new roofing, you might want to mount the solar panel during renovation. If your installation is done simultaneously, there will be no challenges attaching your framework or drilling through roof membranes.
How Much is Your Electricity Bill?
First, find out how much you spend on electricity monthly to answer this question. It assists you in gauging whether solar power will save you money. You are an ideal candidate if you pay at least $75 monthly.
Solar Panel Installation Increases Your Home Value
A home improvement project like plumbing or new roofing can increase a home’s value, and installing a solar panel is no different. The United States Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory conducted a solar homes study between 2002 and 2013 in 8 (eight) states to check how solar panel installation affected home buyers. The researchers found that potential clients and buyers in six states were willing to pay fifteen thousand dollars more for properties with solar energy systems than homes without.
Another study found that the home-value increase is directly proportional to your continuing energy savings and electric bill. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory shared research details available in the Appraisal Journal. The scientists discovered that property value increased by twenty dollars for every one-dollar reduction in annual utility bills. That means a Glen Ellen solar panel that saves you $200 annually can enhance a home value of $4,000.
The increased value allows real estate companies and sellers to increase their asking prices.
However, solar panel installation does not always lead to an increased market value for the property. Numerous external factors can affect the value, including:
- Location — The value of a home with a solar panel changes depending mainly on the house’s location. Not all states have clear laws on what is required to make the investment lucrative for homeowners. Fortunately, California has readily available and encouraging solar energy conversions. The state also offers solar credits and incentives that reduce the cost.
- Electricity rates — Solar energy lowers the dependency on utility firms to offer power to the home. You can use a solar panel to power your home for fewer funds, cutting your overall energy costs. The saving is more effective in a state with a high electricity rate like California. That means you can sell your solar-powered home at a higher price because the buyer will benefit from the savings.
- Solar panel ownership — The solar panel ownership system can also affect your home’s sale amount. If you purchased your panel, you could include it in your home sale. Nevertheless, the situation becomes complicated if selling a home with a leased system. Since you are not the legal owner, the buyer should decide how they will take over the ownership, either a transfer or a buyout.
Does Installing a Glen Ellen Solar Panel Affect Your Property Taxes
Per the California solar property tax exemption, a homeowner that installs a solar panel will not be taxed on the amount that the panel increases the property value until 2025. In layman’s language, installation on your home can neither increase nor decrease your property’s tax assessment. The exemption allows you to realize savings linked to the panel before you begin paying taxes on the home improvement.
You should install an active solar system to be eligible for this exemption. An active solar system is thermally isolated from living space or a zone where the energy is used to provide for the storage, distribution, and collection of solar energy. It includes solar mechanical energy systems, electricity-producing systems, heating and air conditioning systems, and water heating systems.
The exemption does not apply to:
- Wind energy systems
- Passive solar energy systems like sunrooms and greenhouses
- Hot tub heaters
- Solar swimming pool heaters
How Long Does It Take to Install a Glen Ellen Solar Panel?
When installing solar, you want to know how long it will take to complete the process. While the installation can take a day or two, the process involves more than contractors getting on the roof. The section below discusses the Glen Ellen solar panel installation process, plus additional factors you should keep in mind.
After your initial consultation, our trained site assessor will visit the property and examine your roof to ensure it can support the solar system. Key areas the assessor will look at include:
- Roof condition
- The existing service panel
- Shading, vent locations, roof dimensions
The aim is to ensure the roof will handle the solar panel’s weight and that the panel will safely take the amount of energy you want to produce. Moreover, the expert will ensure nothing obstructs the panel from receiving maximum sunlight exposure.
During your site assessment day, the assessor will collect homeowner’s Association (HOA) documents, survey your home, take sunlight and roof measurements, and identify possible upgrades and repairs required to accommodate the solar system.
The site assessment can take approximately one week.
System Design and Engineering
Engineers will validate your design using your assessment data and ensure the plan meets local code requirements. Then your engineer will prove and approve your solar building plans to be submitted to the city for a permit. It reduces the time the city requires to analyze your plans and the chances for mistakes.
The engineer will consider your roof characteristics, utility requirements, building code requirements, and electricity usage when designing your system.
Your design and engineering process can take three weeks. Nevertheless, it can take longer if the roof is more complicated.
Applying for Solar Permit
As with any home improvement project, you should obtain the appropriate permit before installing your Glen Ellen solar panel.
The permitting process is the most extended phase of going solar. Depending on the permit you require, it can take two months. Your experienced solar installer should handle your paperwork on your behalf.
After the authorities issue the permit, the solar installation firm will schedule the date to mount your panel. Generally, the installation is the least time-consuming step, taking about six hours. However, the process can extend to a couple of days if:
- Your roof is complicated
- The solar energy system is on different roof plans
- The solar system comprises many solar panels
Your installer should have all the required requirements, including racking, wiring, cables, solar panels, and a solar inverter. They will first work on your electrical wiring and finish by mounting the solar panel.
City Inspection and Approval
While the installation can be complete, it does not mean the homeowner can generate electricity yet. They require approval before they are up and running.
An inspector will come to your property to ensure your Glen Ellen solar panel is installed correctly and meets the proper building requirements. The inspection is a safety measure that identifies all issues before your system is turned on.
The inspection can take a week.
How Much Does a Glen Ellen Solar Panel Cost?
The cost of installing a solar panel varies depending on various factors, including:
- Solar system size — Your solar panel system’s size significantly affects the installation cost. Solar system size is measured in kilowatts (kW) which tells the maximum amount of power your panel will deliver under normal circumstances. On the contrary, kilowatt-hours (kWh) represent the power your panel can produce and how much you use. The size of your solar power system will depend on the amount of kWh your property uses and how much you want to save. The higher the solar power you need, the bigger the system you require, which means the installation will be expensive.
- How much sunlight does your area receive — The more sunlight your home receives, the fewer solar panels you require to cover your energy needs and the lower the price you will pay.
- Solar panel type — Monocrystalline panels are more efficient but costly than polycrystalline panels.
- Market conditions — Competition between local installers, job volume, labor costs, business overhead costs, and job volumes also affect solar panel costs.
Solar Tax Incentives
Solar tax incentives significantly reduce installation costs. The federal solar tax credit is an exception that offers a tax deduction of 30% of the installation costs.
California’s Single-Family Affordable Solar Housing (SASH) program also offers incentives to eligible low-income single-family homeowners. The program offers one up-front incentive of $3/Watt to all applicants to qualified households within investor-owned (IOU) territories (PG&E, SCE, and SDG&E).
Different Solar Panel Financing Options
Installing your solar panel is expensive. Therefore, most seasoned Glen Ellen solar panel companies offer various payment options to suit their client’s budgets. Major financial options include:
- Full payment.
- Solar loan — The option allows the homeowner to make your small payment over an extended payback period.
- Solar lease — The option permits the homeowner to make fixed monthly payments. The solar firm retains the system ownership.
- Power purchasing agreement — With a PPA, you only pay for the energy you use.
Contact a Seasoned and Skilled Solar Panel Installation Firm Near Me
Installing a Glen Ellen solar panel on your property promises the rarest of opportunities, reducing your dependence on utility companies and offsetting most of your monthly energy costs. It also offers an effective method to curb environmental footprint, creating cleaner and healthy communities. However, solar panel installation is not always cost-effective. Before committing to the greener energy source, consider contacting Sun Solar Electric. We can create a custom solar system based on your home energy consumption, budget, and budget that would be affordable to you. Please get in touch with us at 707-658-2157 to learn more about our solar energy solutions and financing options.