Go Solar Checklist—A Useful Guide For Buying Solar Panels

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So, you’ve decided that installing solar panels on your home or business just might be the way to go. Now what? Here’s a quick solar checklist that will help you to navigate the way from “I think solar panels might be a good idea” to “Hey, look how awesome my solar power system is!”

Determine if your roof is suitable for solar panels.

Although solar panels can be installed on the ground, on carports, etc., the most common place to install them is on the roof. It’s important to make sure your roof is suitable for solar as the features of your roof play a big role in determining how much power your panels will produce and what your return on investment is likely to be. Solar panels can be installed no matter where you’re located, so geography isn’t really a concern. For maximum production, solar panels should be installed on south-facing roofs with a pitch of 5 degrees or more. That being said, while south-facing roofs may be ideal, they aren’t absolutely necessary. East and west-facing roofs, although they will produce less energy, can still produce enough power to meet your needs. What’s important to know is you don’t need ideal conditions to reap significant financial benefits from your solar panel installation. You do, however, need to understand the conditions under which your system will be operating; and what, if anything, you can do to improve them; and the affect these conditions will have on your financial and environmental benefits.

Check out these EnergySage resources for additional help:

Get your electric bill

How much electricity you use and its cost will determine the size and cost of your solar power system, the available financing options and the associated costs and financial benefits. Start by accessing your electrical bill for the past 12 months to determine how much energy you use and what it’s costing you.  Most utilities allow you to download a copy of the bill from their website. You may also determine if you expect to use more or less energy over the next few years – for example, will the number of people in your household change? Will you be adding a plug-in electric car that might increase the amount of electricity you would need? etc.

Schedule an energy audit

Some utilities may require you to get an energy audit to qualify for rebates and incentives associated with installing a solar power system. Additionally, an audit also may uncover opportunities for you to make energy efficiency improvements to reduce your demand for electricity and potentially allow you to install a smaller, less expensive system.

Check out these resources for additional help:

Compare quotes from high-quality solar installers and solar companies

EnergySage makes it very easy for you to get and compare quotes from high-quality solar installers in your area. You can compare quotes for buying or leasing your solar panel system as well as for financing your purchase with a solar loan. Start by listing your property on the EnergySage Solar Marketplace. This listing will allow multiple solar installers to compete for your business and provide you with all of your quotes in a standardized format for easy comparison. Also, the EnergySage Solar Marketplace ensures that you compare your quotes in an apples-to-apples manner that adjusts for differences in system size as well as the underlying assumptions each installer used to calculate costs, savings and other financial benefits.

Check out these EnergySage resources for additional help:

Choose the Installer

It is important to select a high-quality solar installer for your solar system. As you evaluate the quotes, you also want to evaluate the installer providing the quote. Every installer providing quotes through the EnergySage Solar Marketplace has been pre-screened by us and has the right experience and qualifications to install your system. These installers will ensure your system is appropriately sized, that it will produce electricity at the optimal level, and that you will be able to take advantage of all of the available incentive and rebate programs. Additionally, they will offer multiple financing options including solar leases, power purchase agreements (PPAs) and loans. Our network includes a wide variety of installers. Some of them are local, family-owned businesses while others are large regional or national firms so if you have a preference for one type or the other, you will be able to meet your needs.

Check out these EnergySage resources for additional help:

Share Your Experience!!!

EnergySage.com includes many consumer-created resources such as case studies and ratings and reviews to help you through the process of shopping for solar panels. Now that you have accumulated some valuable information yourself, why not share your expertise to help out the next person?

Check out these EnergySage resources for additional help:

  • Create a case study, submit ratings and reviews of service providers, or answer questions on our Q&A board. Share your Experience!

Want to know more? Check out Go Solar Checklist—Part 2.

Ready to start comparison shopping for your own solar PV system? Visit the EnergySage Solar Marketplace and get a free instant estimate today.

5 thoughts on “Go Solar Checklist—A Useful Guide For Buying Solar Panels

  1. Sophia Slate

    Thank you for stating that you should first determine if your roof is suitable for solar panels. I am thinking about going solar. I will definitely keep all of your great information in mind if I do for sure decide to get solar panels installed in my home.

  2. Taylor Anderson

    I like how you mentioned that solar panels should be installed facing the south. My home is a bit older, but I’ve been thinking that getting solar power could be beneficial. Thanks for all the great information on installing solar panels.

  3. Evelina Black

    Thanks for these tips for installing a solar panel. I’m glad you explained that you should make sure you have the right equipment, especially for roof or ground mounting. It sounds like you should know where you want these panels to go in advance so you can get the right gear.

  4. Ellie Davis

    Thank you for pointing out that your electric bill will help determine the size of the solar panel you need. Solar energy seems like a great option for businesses. Hopefully, any business owner wanting to go green looks into finding the best solar company possible.


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