When you begin the process of getting residential solar panels there can be a lot of conflicting information floating around. Some might say one manufacturer is better than the other, while others may rave about how important it is to have a backup battery. However, getting solar panels for your home ultimately depends on your overall energy needs. While there are plenty of factors that can be left up to personal preference, these are our top three tips when going solar to get you started on your clean energy journey.

These tips are meant to be a starting point for anyone looking to invest in solar for their home. The market is saturated with solar installation companies, so it’s important to have some knowledge prior to contacting them. This will reduce your chances of feeling rushed or ultimately taken advantage of.

It is important that you do as much research as you can prior to going solar. While most companies promise a trustworthy sales person will walk you through the entire process, having a firm foundation in the basics of solar will help you and your family make the best decision. This could potentially mean the difference between being undersold/oversold and obtaining the right amount of solar energy for your household consumption.

3. Options Matter When It Comes To Residential Solar

There are several preferences you should consider when seeking out a company to handle your residential solar power needs. Investing in top-of-the-line equipment doesn’t always provide the best value and going with a nationwide installer may not be the best choice for you and your family.

Nationwide solar companies tend to have fewer solution and operate with a much larger sales department. This results in less equipment options, finance options, and a general lack of integrity when it comes to their tactics. Unfortunately, this can have a negative impact on a customer’s overall experience. The chance of having more cost-saving options to chose from while also speaking to a specialist you can trust is much higher with a locally-owned installation company. Smaller companies have more interest in decreasing your electric bill and less focus on their bottom line.

A local-based solar installer will be truthful with you from the beginning, and they generally refrain from puffing and using fancy language to make their products sound more enticing. They prefer to do it right the first time and are serious about setting expectations so there are no surprises. Another benefit is that there’s a higher likelihood that you’ll speak to the same specialists every time you inquire. Locally-based companies also provide better customer support and service while giving you the opportunity to help the community by supporting local.

With that in mind, going with a nationwide solar company does have its perks. You get the name and this can come with peace of mind for many people. A nationwide company is a generally perceived as a trusted brand that lots of customers associate with security and company stability (although this is not always the case).

2. Different Homes Need Different Solar Panel Considerations

There’s no system or setup that works across the board. The weather in your area can affect what types of panels you need, as can the size of your house and whether or not your house is shaded. In addition, the amount of energy you need will vary.

Based on your household size and energy goals, your solar system can be completely different from your neighbors or friends. This is why it’s important that the solar company you chose for your home does their due diligence by getting your kilowatt hours, averaging out how many hours of daylight you can expect, and studying the position of your home to the sun.

You should find a residential solar company who is experienced in working with the type of roofing you have, as well. Do your research and compare several providers over the internet as well as in person. This will help you feel out which one may be best for your particular situation.

1. Understand Net Metering and Other California Solar Rebates

Net metering is a solar incentive that allows you to store energy in the electric grid. When your solar panels produce more electricity than you need, that energy is sent to the grid in exchange for credits. Then, at night or other times your solar panels are under producing, stored energy from the grid is used. The credits help to offset the costs of that energy.

With the right size solar panel system, you produce enough electricity to match your home’s use for the entire year. However, the amount of electricity your residential solar panels produce will vary throughout the year. Net metering will credit you for the excess electricity your panels produce so you can use it later.

There are laws that govern net metering for residential solar in California.

Find out what the laws are in your state to better understand the return on investment of your solar system. In some areas where net metering laws are changing, existing solar system owners are grandfathered in under the old system. California is one of the states that still offers this benefit to residents that decide to go solar. Go Solar California has a great breakdown of how this works for California, and is a great resource for anyone looking to get residential solar.

Going solar can be a daunting task, so having a company walk you through the process makes a huge difference. Knowing what to expect from start to finish can significantly cut down on the stress such a large investment can potentially have.

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