3 Options for Installing a New Solar Energy System
Compare the Pros and Cons of Each Option
So you’re ready to install new solar panels.
You understand the huge savings you’ll reap in the long run because of power bill savings and tax incentives. You love the idea of energy independence and inflation-proof electricity from the sun. You appreciate the small but vital contribution you’ll be making to reduce pollution and help the earth.
But now, you’ve got a new question to answer:
What type of solar panel is right for my situation, and what are my options?
There are three types of solar panel arrays you can choose from, each with pros and cons. And this may even impact how many solar panels you need to begin with. Take a look at each installation option, and decide which one is best for you.
Solar System Option 1: Rooftop Array
Probably the most common type of solar energy system, especially for residences, rooftop arrays have the advantage of not needing any additional land. They become part of your home. They’re also the most attractive option and are generally the easiest to install. That means faster and less costly.
On the flip side, you’re limited by the size and orientation of your roof. A roof with lots of angles and slopes may allow only partial coverage with solar panels, if some sections don’t face the right direction. See photo for an example of this – panels have to receive enough direct sunlight to justify being placed on a section of roof.
Also, any roof repair issues will be complicated by having panels on the surface. You can plan ahead for this by taking care of any repair or replacement issues before installing solar panels. And, if done in conjunction with a solar panel installation, your roof repair costs may count as part of your federal solar tax rebate calculations. Consult your tax professional to get official answers on this question. But part of your roof replacements costs might count as part of the Investment Tax Credit (26% until 2020).
Here’s a quick list of the pros and cons of rooftop solar arrays: