Are Solar Panels Right for You?

September 8, 2016

Have you seen your neighbors’ roofs and thought, with envy, that you too would like to have solar panels on your roof? If you have been struggling to decide whether or not solar panels are the right choice for your home, you’re not alone. Many Arizonans, sun-drenched though we may be, are still startlingly on the fence about solar panel installation for their property. 
Solar panels are not right for everyone, and that, coupled with the still fairly high cost of installation or the prospect of taking out a loan, is what makes the decision to switch to solar a really difficult one for many. 
The choice to add solar panels to your home may not give you the thrill of a bathroom remodel or adding an extension to your garage, but it is a major overhaul to your home that requires careful consideration, planning, and bidding to find exactly which company you want to work with to install the solar panels. 
There are undoubtedly many upsides associated with installing solar panels, like the return on investment, a 60% drop in the cost-per-watt compared to 2011 rates, greener living habits, tax rebates, and incentive programs, and of course, a reduced monthly energy bill. Solar panel leasing has seen a sharp uptick in the past few years as well, taking the burden of upfront costs out of the equation.
A large part of the decision to add solar panels to your home will come down to a few key questions that you need to answer before you begin your solar search. These questions include:
  • Is there a chance that you will be moving to a new home in the next 3 – 10 years? 
  • Can your roof support the structure and installation of solar panels in their current condition?
  • Does a large portion of your roof face East, South, or West where sunlight is most prominent from morning until early afternoon?
    Is your property up to code?
  • Do your average monthly energy costs exceed $100?
  • Quality of your roof, years intended to be spent in the home, and the quality of sunlight available on your property are all essential elements that should be factored into your decision about whether or not solar is right for you. 
In Arizona, grabbing all of that solar energy seems like a no-brainer, but there are still a lot of reasons why solar power may not be the right choice for your home. Based on where you live, your long-term homeownership goals, and the amount you spend on your home’s energy each month, many homeowners in Arizona are opting to stick with their energy provider and choose monthly budget-style billing to ease their monthly costs during the hot summer months. 
Additionally, installing solar panels does not yield any big results for homeowners at the onset of installation. It can take anywhere from three to five years before you begin seeing a return on investment.
Right now, Arizona is undergoing some growing pains when it comes to solar energy, and many residents who bit the bullet and invested in solar panels for their homes years ago are now seeing reduced state and federal tax credits.
Energy companies are also asking the Arizona Corporation Commission to alter the net metering rules to account for solar owners adding electricity to the grid and being credited for doing so. At the moment, there is no opportunity for residents to sell back their solar power to the grid. 
According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), Arizona is expected to double its numbers of solar installations over the next five years from the previous five. Arizona ranks as the second most solar installed capacity state, and there is no doubt that all of that sun we receive has an upside beyond year-round tans. 
Whatever you decide is best for you and your home regarding solar power, be sure that you weigh your options carefully and choose wisely. Meeting with and getting bids from multiple solar providers before you commit is also a must to ensure that you are getting the very best return on your green energy investment. 


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