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Newbie solar panel questions! Please help!

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  • Newbie solar panel questions! Please help!

    Hello solar panel people!


    I am new to this forum and wanted to get some advice. For years I’ve been interested in adding solar panels to my house and wanted to get some advice on how to navigate the solar panel waters. What ultimately made you commit to installing solar panels? Was it for the financial impact? Was it to help save the environment? As I said, I am really interested but I’m constantly on the fence in regards to the large financial endeavor. Please let me know what ultimately made you commit to installation.

    Based on the direction of my house, it seems it will make the most sense to put solar panels on the front of the house. However, this will affect my house appearance with the shingle roof and then potential panels. Do people do anything to improve with the aesthetic/ appearance of the house? I’m worried it will dramatically alter the exterior look of the house and not aesthetically fit in. I also wonder if anyone has tried to sell their house with solar panels on it. Do people tend to have difficulties reselling their home? Has anyone experienced reselling their home after installation?

    I am trying to work through the overall cost of the panels. I’ve been reading about federal tax credits and local/ state rebates. I want to make sure I don’t miss any possible credit/ rebate. Will installers help me with finding all possible tax credits/ rebates I might be able to apply for? For those of you who have recently installed solar panels, were you surprised by your first set of bills after installation? Was the impact of the solar panels financially as impactful as you expected? I want to make sure my calculations are realistic. Additionally, how do I get the energy company to update their bill to reflect my panels?

    What type of warranties do the installers and manufacturers typically offer? Are these warranties substantial in that they cover most accidents? Has anyone ever had a bad experience installing solar panels? What's the maintenance process like? Do I have to clean the solar panels monthly to maintain the same amount of production?

    I apologize for the large list of questions. As I said, my husband and I have been considering solar panels for a while and I really want to do it.

    One last random question I’ve been really curious about… if you owned a townhome managed by a HOA, can you still get solar panels? Do people have trouble with HOAs and solar panels? As I drive around, I’ve realized that many HOA housing complexes around me don’t have any solar panels and was curious why they don’t.

    I welcome any advice and personal experiences. Like I said, I want to make sure I’m prepared for all possible realities.


    Jenni
    Last edited by jcfearing; 10-24-2016, 03:25 PM.

  • #2
    Start here: Question everything everyone says. Then read " Solar Power Your Home for Dummies", a free net download or ~ $20 for an updated hardcopy. Question everything everyone says until you understand what's being said. Return here for answers to fill in gaps you cannot fill on your own, mostly from folks with no skin in the game.

    Comment


    • jcfearing
      jcfearing commented
      Editing a comment
      Thank you! I will definitely look into the book. I'm assuming you have solar panels... what made you finally make the purchase? Are they placed on the front of the house near the street? Did the look of the panels themselves bother you since they might be visible from the street?

  • #3
    Originally posted by jcfearing View Post
    One last random question I’ve been really curious about… if you owned a townhome managed by a HOA, can you still get solar panels? Do people have trouble with HOAs and solar panels? As I drive around, I’ve realized that many HOA housing complexes around me don’t have any solar panels and was curious why they don’t.
    It depends.

    If it's a condo complex, then almost certainly the owner of the unit doesn't own the roof. And since they don't own the roof they can't put panels on it.
    IF it's not a condo complex, but rather a PUD or something like that, the roof may still be maintained by the HOA - and getting buy-in from HOA board may be difficult.
    Or it may be that it's not cost effective because of limited roof space. Or because of lower electric bills for the smaller space it may not be very cost effective. Or the people living there may mostly be planning to move in 2-5 years and may not want to put that much money into a system that'll stay with that property. Or possibly they are there, but you don't realize it.

    I'm sure there are some townhouse style homes with HOAs where some of the owners have installed solar.

    I'm assuming you have solar panels... what made you finally make the purchase? Are they placed on the front of the house near the street? Did the look of the panels themselves bother you since they might be visible from the street?
    The fact that my installation will pay for itself in 3-4 years is what drove my purchase. (final cost after tax credits is 3-4x the amount I will save in electric bills)

    Mine are mostly visible from the street.
    The look doesn't bother me at all. I like the look - every time I look at those sections of roof I see dollar signs.
    And if my neighbors don't like it and think it's tacky or something, that's their problem, not mine.

    Comment


    • #4
      Originally posted by jcfearing View Post
      Thank you! I will definitely look into the book. I'm assuming you have solar panels... what made you finally make the purchase? Are they placed on the front of the house near the street? Did the look of the panels themselves bother you since they might be visible from the street?
      You are entirely welcome. Knowledge is power. Start your education with the book and get some of both - you'll get screwed less by peddlers if/when you decide to get any solar devices. As for my solar equipment, you assume correctly. I've also got a solar H2O heater. As for why I made the purchase: Solar energy was the initial reason I changed careers 40+ yrs. ago. Long, mostly boring story, and a long, strange, convoluted trip. My array does not face the street. It faces mostly south, but I give less than the north end of a south bound rat about what it may look like to anyone. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Same for ugliness. Some of my neighbors have rose bushes that, to me, look about as appropriate as saguaro cactus under glass in Brunswick, ME. NOMB.

      Read the book and also learn something about the time value of money and solar process economics. You will not be sorry.

      Comment


      • #5
        Jenni, I agree with JPM though in a less gruff way. I think beauty is very arbitrarily defined by current culture. There's nothing to stop a moving, targeted renovation of homeowner's impression of solar panels as "beautiful"; nothing but accustomed-ness and choice.

        Clearly you've long favored PV for political if not aesthetic reasons (me too); I see no reason folks can't just decide to call them "pretty" or "necessary" or "uninteresting" or "background" or whatever. In any event, if you don't align your convictions, politics and aesthetics, certainly the world won't. To me it seems a reasonable direction to assert "I don't have a problem with this" and see what happens. Build it and they will come.


        Comment


        • #6
          Originally posted by aliris View Post
          Jenni, I agree with JPM though in a less gruff way. I think beauty is very arbitrarily defined by current culture. There's nothing to stop a moving, targeted renovation of homeowner's impression of solar panels as "beautiful"; nothing but accustomed-ness and choice.

          Clearly you've long favored PV for political if not aesthetic reasons (me too); I see no reason folks can't just decide to call them "pretty" or "necessary" or "uninteresting" or "background" or whatever. In any event, if you don't align your convictions, politics and aesthetics, certainly the world won't. To me it seems a reasonable direction to assert "I don't have a problem with this" and see what happens. Build it and they will come.

          More bottom line: What do you care what other people think ?

          Comment

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