If you’ve ever had work done to your house, you know the anticipation and dread that comes with home improvements. When renovations are done, you’ll have a nicer place to live, larger or more efficient living space, and you’ll be one step closer to the home of your dreams. Depending on the improvements — for instance, new doors and windows or better insulation — you may even have lower electric bills. But while renovations are going on, your life feels like it’s in as much disarray as your walls and floor. The noise. The mess. The intrusion.
There’s one home improvement, though, that will raise the value of your home, lower your electric bills, and, when the contractors are done in a few days’ time, you’ll have barely known they were there.
A solar PV installation is just about the most non-intrusive home renovation you can purchase. (And we use that word, “purchase,” loosely, since incentives and tax credits can reduce the cost of your solar panels, and you might even be able to get your solar panels with no money down. If that doesn’t work for you, there are always solar leasing options to consider too.)
But let’s not get too far off-topic. Let’s look at the seven steps of a successful solar PV installation:
1. After you call a solar installer for an estimate, a site assessor will evaluate your roof and determine if your home is a good fit for a rooftop solar PV installation.
2. The salesperson will let you know about the pricing and financing options, including incentives and tax credits specific to your municipality. Your solar installer is local, so he or she will know exactly what you’re entitled to.
3. Once you decide to proceed, you’ll schedule a date for your solar installation. Solar installers work year-round and in most weather, unless rain, snow, ice or wind makes it too dangerous to go out on the roof.
4. In most cases, the solar installer will handle the permit process for you. These fees will be included in the price of your solar PV installation.
5. The installers will have to access your electrical panel, typically located in your garage or your basement. This will be the only time they enter your home during the installation. I had a 10 kW system installed, and it took five days; since my electric panel is in the garage, they didn’t enter my house once, not even to use the bathroom! You won’t really hear a thing when the installers are up there either. The installation techniques are quiet and non-invasive.
6. The installers will clean up any mess they might have made at the end of each workday. They will leave as quickly as they came.
7. The next time you receive an electric bill, you’ll have the happy experience of seeing a number that’s about one-third less than your pre-solar bills, depending on your own energy use and the size of your solar PV array. To find out how much you can actually save with solar, click here to use our free solar calculator.
As a Long Island homeowner who has had work done in different areas of my home over the years, I can say that a solar installation is the easiest home improvement you will ever experience … and the one that will save you the most money, too.