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Dos and Don'ts of Going Solar

Updated: Mar 27

Homeowners looking at their home with a solar panel on the roof
Rooftop solar can benefit homeowners if installed correctly.

Here comes the sun! Solar power is a popular way to go green, but there are a few things you should consider before making the decision to install photovoltaic (PV) panels on your property. Check out what you should do — and not do — before signing on the dotted line.


Gather your bills

To correctly size a solar system for your home, you'll need to determine how much energy you use. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, an average American home uses about 870 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity each month, but your home's total usage may be higher or lower. Without this vital information, solar contractors won't be able to give you an accurate cost estimate.

Examine your placement area

Determine if your roof has adequate sun exposure during the day and is prepared to handle PV panels. South-facing roofs are best, but panels can be installed to capture the sun if your roof faces another direction. If your roof is in need of repair, it may be best to take on that project first, so you won't have to remove the panels to replace your roof in a few years. If you are planning a ground installation, make sure there are no trees, buildings or other structures that will shade the panels and reduce output.