Even though the benefits of solar energy sound great, committing to solar panel installation is still a tough decision.

After all, it’s a big investment and there are plenty of facets to consider.

At Greenlife Solar, it’s our mission to make going solar simple. That’s why we offer an upfront look at what to expect before you buy.

You’ll want all of the facts before committing to solar panel installation, so before you start your search, take these three steps.

Step 1: Understand the Advantages and Disadvantages of Solar Energy

Since you’re considering getting solar panels for your home, you’re probably already aware of some of the benefits of solar energy, both to the environment and your wallet.

Solar is great for the planet, acting as a pollution-free and emissions-free energy solution that doesn’t require any dependence on fossil fuels. In addition to helping the environment, solar powers the economy, supporting over 200,000 jobs in America.

Solar panels also offer a return on investment that you’ll never find with a typical utility bill. Cutting your electricity bill for long enough will cover the initial cost of the panels themselves. Besides the initial monetary investment, solar panels require virtually no maintenance and typically will continue to function for over 30 years.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Solar Power Energy

On top of these advantages, solar is safer than traditional electric current, and there are federal and state incentives to assist with the upfront cost.

On the other hand, even with this assistance, solar panel installation involves high initial costs and a long ROI.

There are some payment plans, like solar power purchase agreements, that reduce the initial costs and allow you to pay over time. In these situations, however, the company owns the panels while you simply purchase the energy they produce.

Because of this, you won’t get the advantage of increasing the value of your home and you might not save as much as you would if you owned the system outright.

To enjoy the benefits of solar energy, you’ll also need ample space for installation and a qualifying roof that is exposed to sunlight. The climate where you live will also affect your solar panel efficiency. In addition, you’ll likely experience less production during the winter.

Things like net metering and monocrystalline panels can help with these issues, but you should still be aware of them before you commit to solar.

Step 2: Set a Realistic Budget

Solar panel installation is a big decision. These panels will last for decades, and hopefully save you lots of money.

That’s why it’s important to prioritize quality when finding solar panels for your home.

The average cost to install solar panels on your roof will depend largely on which state you’re in, but here are the national averages:

System Size Cost Per Watt Cost Before Tax Credit
4 kW $3.72 $14,869
6 kW $3.40 $20,373
8 kW $3.21 $25,712

Note that these prices are calculated before tax credits, without taking solar incentives into consideration. Keep in mind that both federal and state solar incentives can reduce these prices by over $5,000.

Much like purchasing a car, buying solar panels for your home is an investment. Because of this, you’ll want to make a decision based on efficiency and longevity.

Let’s say you find two cars for sale that you really like - one is $12,000 and the other is $15,000. If the $15,000 car gets better mileage per gallon, thereby saving you money on gas, and has fewer miles, that car is a much better investment, even though the price tag is higher.

Set your solar budget with that mindset.

Step 3: Compare Your Options

So, how will you know if you’re actually getting a good deal? Solar panel installation costs vary, as do solar panel incentives by state.

Well, let’s look at the car analogy again. If you found the $15,000 car at a local dealership and then 2 days later found the same car elsewhere for $10,000, would you still think the first offer was a good deal?

Probably not.

In the same way, the best way to get a handle on which solar panel setup is right for you is to compare your options.

Get free quotes for a variety of solar companies to weigh your options. Compare the solar panel installation cost from each and don’t make a decision until you’re completely confident.

Remember - Greenlife Solar is here to help.

If you need assistance at any step of the process, check out our free resources.