Solar to the People – Helping you get the best price on solar

Is Solar Right for my Home?

Discover how much you can save today with our solar calculator

Your average monthly electric bill

If you are debating whether installing a solar system is the right decision, you may be wondering if you have to live in a sunny, warm climate in order to see significant savings with solar power. How long can a solar panel last and are the lifetime savings really worth the cost?

As it turns out, solar is a smart investment whether you’re soaking up the sun in California or paying through the nose for electricity in the Northeast.

Things to Consider

  • Available incentives and rebates
  • Direction your roof faces and angle of roof
  • Age of your roof
  • Obstructions or shading on your roof
  • Current cost of electricity

Incentives and Rebates

There are a variety of incentives and rebates offered for homeowners switching to solar power. Currently, these exist at the federal, state and local levels, but vary depending on your region. While incentives and rebates can reward residents with significant cost savings, as solar prices are steadily decreasing, these financial incentives are becoming less important for homeowner.

Orientation and Age of Roof

Ideally your home will have a south-facing roof, however you can still produce sufficient energy with west or east facing roofs. A pitch of 30 degrees is also ideal, however solar can be installed on roofs with angles from 0 to 45 degrees. Do you have a flat roof? That’s ok too! Your installer can mount the panels at the perfect angle to maximize your energy production. As for the age of your roof, it doesn’t have to be brand new, however you shouldn’t be planning on replacing it within the next few years. As a general guide, if your roof needs to be replaced within the next 5 years, it would be best to have your roof replaced before having your panels added.

Size of Roof and Obstructions

It’s best if your roof is free from obstructions like chimneys, skylights, and dormers. If these are present on your roof, the installer may be able to design the system around them, depending on the roof layout and size.

You’ll also need to consider how many solar panels to run a house. A general rule of thumb for a solar PV system is to reserve 100 square feet of roof space for each kilowatt. The average system in the United States is between five and seven kilowatts, though your system may be bigger or smaller depending on your electricity consumption.

Shading on Roof

Shadows cast on solar panels from trees or neighboring buildings can significantly decrease their electricity production. While a building’s shadow may not be something you can change, tree branches can be trimmed to decrease their effect on your panel’s production.

Electricity Rates in Your Area

The price of electricity in your area is a key factor in the decision to go solar. Installing solar panels makes sense almost everywhere, but the savings you receive will vary, due in large part to the price you are paying your utility for your energy. In fact, because of the variations in energy prices, in some of the cloudier areas of the US, solar homeowners are seeing greater savings than homeowners in sunnier regions, who have lower utility prices.

Average Electricity Prices in US 2014

Characteristics of an Ideal Home for Solar

While solar works for almost all homes, the “best of the best” homes for solar panel installations have the following roof characteristics:

  • South or west-facing roof
  • Roof angle of 30 degrees
  • No obstructions on roof surface, such as chimneys or skylights.
  • No buildings or trees casting shadows onto your roof
  • Relatively new roof

 While the above qualities would fit an ideal solar home, you can still benefit heavily from a solar installation even if you can’t check off everything on the list. The following factors are important to consider when assessing whether your roof is appropriate for solar.

Every Year, More and More Americans Choose to Go Solar

The amount of solar installed each year in the US is growing extremely fast. In 2014 alone, enough solar was installed to power 180,000 homes!

Residential Solar Installations from SEIA Data

Ready to See How Much You Can Save with Solar?

Interested in getting exact prices for the cost solar for your home? Get competitive solar quotes from qualified, trusted installers in your area. To see an estimate for how much you could expect to save and how much a solar system would cost, try our solar calculator.

Discover how much you can save today

Your average monthly electric bill

Start typing and press Enter to search