When you install a solar power system, your professional photovoltaic contractor will handle just about everything for you. You will, however, have to make three important decisions.
No. 1: Grid-Tied or Off-Grid Solar Power?
Most home photovoltaic arrays in the Intermountain West remain connected to the municipal power grid.
A grid-tied home PV system makes sense if you want the financial savings and benefits of going solar and the security of having access to utility power whenever you need it. With a grid-tied photovoltaic system, your solar panels create electricity when the sun shines, and the grid provides energy when it doesn’t.
But if you’re looking to cut ties with the utility company, off-grid solar power is for you. You will, however, need extra equipment to power your home at night and during inclement weather, so expect your photovoltaic costs to be slightly higher.
No. 2: Rooftop or Ground-Mounted Solar Power?
Most homeowners opt to install rooftop solar energy systems. The roof is often the best place for a photovoltaic array, and the streamlined appearance is aesthetically pleasing.
Rooftop solar power systems are cost-effective and efficient, but this option isn’t right for everyone. Roofs with space limitations, shading or obstructions aren’t well-suited for a home PV array. And aging or damaged roofs may be unable to handle the extra weight and stress without repairs — an added cost some homeowners aren’t prepared to pay.
If your roof situation doesn’t allow for solar panels, you may prefer a ground-mounted photovoltaic array. A home PV system can work effectively in any sunny spot on your property.
A ground-mounted solar energy system be installed at the perfect tilt and orientation to capture the maximum amount of sunlight.
No. 3: Lease or Buy Your Solar Power System?
Homeowners are often tempted to choose a solar lease, since some plans require no money down. However, purchasing a photovoltaic array is a smarter financial decision for almost everyone.
Go with a lease, and you won’t be eligible for the many lucrative financial incentives for going solar. Because the leasing company will own your home PV system, they get to claim the federal solar tax credit as well as any state or local tax credits, grants and rebates.
Leasing also locks you into a contract, typically for 15 to 20 years. If you decide to sell your home, you may have trouble finding a buyer with the willingness (and credit score) to take on the lease.
If you don’t have cash to pay for a photovoltaic array installation, don’t worry. Many financing options are available today, and some plans require little or no money down.
The professionals at Intermountain Wind & Solar, the region’s leading photovoltaic provider, can explain all your financing options and offer advice on other important home PV project decisions. Contact us to schedule a free solar power consultation today.