When you install solar panels on your home, you’ll save money and help eliminate harmful carbon emissions from your local environment. It’s easy to get excited about the prospect. But before you add solar panels to your roof, what questions should you ask to make sure solar energy makes sense for your home and your situation?

Do I need a new roof to go solar?

Solar panels should be installed on a roof that is in good condition. Assessing your roof condition is an important step in determining your home’s viability for solar power. Depending on the age of your roof, you may want to consider replacing or repairing your roof before adding solar panels. The good news is that nearly every type of roof (asphalt, shingled, clay tile) can accommodate solar panels. Our professional solar installer will address your roof viability early on in the process.

Do we need to rewire our home to get solar power?
In most cases, you will not have to do extensive rewiring for solar power. You do, however, need to make sure you have adequate space in your electrical service panel to accommodate the solar input, and your SunPower solar installer will determine this during your home visit.
Is my home facing the right way for solar energy?

Historically, homes facing south were considered optimal for solar panels because they harnessed the most energy from the sun. But advancements in solar technology enable high-performance solar panels like SunPower’s to harness plenty of clean energy from a roof that’s not optimally oriented to the sun—even on cloudy days. And since some utilities pay more for solar energy sent to the grid during times of peak demand such as late in the day, western or southwestern-facing roofs that capture more of the setting sun can often generate solar energy that’s actually higher value to the homeowner.

Do I have to cut down trees to generate enough solar energy for my home?
Getting the most solar energy from your roof does sometimes mean trimming some trees to let the most sunlight in. But the good news is that advancements in solar technology have made extensive tree removal a thing of the past. For example, the AC solar panels in a SunPower Equinox system enable every panel to capture optimal sunlight, even in shade-prone areas. Your SunPower dealer will help you choose the right solar panel for your home.
Will solar power lower the value of my house?
No. In study after study, energy upgrades such as solar power have been shown to increase the value of a home. Specific factors will determine by how much – such as the home’s location, availability of performance-based solar incentives, and the age of the PV system.
What is the best way for solar panels to face?
Every house has a different orientation to the sun, so every solar installation presents its own opportunities and challenges. The trick is to install the solar panels in a way that not only collects the most sunlight but collects it in a way that strategically helps the homeowner save on their electricity bills.

South-facing solar panels have another advantage for homes that have access to net metering, which allows homeowners to get reimbursed for power they send back to the electrical grid. South-facing solar panel orientation collects the most energy around mid-day when there’s lots of sun. But that’s also when the home’s consumption is typically lowest because everyone’s off to work, school, etc. That means there’s lots of solar-generated power left to go back to the utility.

How much can we really save with solar power?
The big question on home solar is this: how much can you really save? This is determined by the available space on your roof, the amount of electricity you need, the solar panels you choose, and the value of solar power to your utility. Fortunately, solar installation prices have rapidly dropped over the last decade, and solar energy is now considered a great investment no matter where you live.