Homeowner's Guide — Education

How to Convert to a Solar Power Home

Over 1 million homeowners in the United States have made the switch to solar this past decade and that number is expected to reach almost 14 million (1 out of every 7 homes) by the end of this decade.

If you’re one of the many homeowners who plan to go solar, we recommend you follow this process to convert your home to a solar power home.

01 — Determine if you can install solar panels on your home

The first thing you need to do as a homeowner is to determine if your home is suitable for going solar. You need to evaluate and confirm the age and condition of your roof and if you can install a solar array on your roof.

It is best to have a south-facing roof with little to no shade, so you can get the most sunlight and get the best performance from your new solar panel system.

We highly recommend against installing solar panels on a north-facing roof.

02 — Speak with multiple solar installation companies

Educating yourself about solar is the most important step you can take when making your decision to go solar.

We recommend that you speak with multiple solar installation companies, so you can learn the most about your solar options as well as pricing, rebates, incentives, and overall system needs.

Getting the most bids will help you get the best deal for your home.

03 — Research Your Solar Installer

You’ve spoken with multiple installers, received multiple bids and now need to decide which company you are going to hire to install your home’s solar system.

Before you sign a contract with a solar installer, you need to research and find out as much as you can about your installer. Any good solar installer will be happy to provide you with references and testimonials.

We recommend you research the following about your solar installer:

  • Google Reviews: Google Reviews and other online review platforms are the first place to begin your research. We recommend you look at an installer’s Google Reviews before you even schedule an appointment with them. This will give you the best idea of what it will be like to work with this installer and how satisfied their customers are with their service.
  • Better Business Bureau: Contacting your local Better Business Bureau is another way to learn more about your installer and if there have been any complaints filed against your installer. If your installer has an A or A+ rating this is a good sign that you can trust this company with your solar installation.
  • Ask for Proof of Licensure: You should always ask a solar installer about their current licensing and for them to provide proof of licensure. We also recommend that you contact your county and state government to confirm that your solar installer is in good standing.
  • Contact Your Local Utility Provider: It is also a smart idea to contact your local utility provider to ask them for requirements about going solar for your home. Your local utility company can also provide you with a recommended list of questions you should ask your solar installer.

The key takeaway is that you need to do your own research about your solar installer and look into as many outside resources as possible to confirm that you have found the right solar installer to trust with your home installation.

04 — Research Your Tax Credits and other financial incentives

The federal solar tax credit allows you to deduct 26% of the cost of your system if you install it in 2022 and will be 22% if you install it in 2023. It is crucial for you to research and learn as much as you can about other state and local tax credits, rebates, and other incentives that are available to you.

A good solar installer will know what incentives are available for where you live and with your utility provider. This is one more reason why we recommend you speak with many solar installers and get multiple bids. Some installers are more knowledgeable and can find the most incentives for you.

We recommend that you also visit the DSIRE Incentives Database. The Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) is a comprehensive database where you can search for and find the solar energy incentives available in your state and across the country.

05 — Decide which system and system size is best for your home

Just like you should get multiple bids from different installers, you should compare multiple solar panel options for your home and decide which is the best option for you. Your installer should provide you with a variety of options in order to determine what will work best for you individual home as well as generate the biggest offset of your current utility usage.

Once you are comfortable with your available options, the next step is to decide which system and system size is best for your home.

06 — Choose a Solar Installer and Schedule Your Installation

You’ve done a lot of research about solar installers in your area, gotten multiple bids, and quotes about the best solar panel systems for your home. Now you need to choose who your solar installer will be.

It is crucial to choose a solar installer that you can trust and has an excellent reputation and is in good standing with your state and local governments. Once you’ve selected your solar installer, they will be able to schedule your installation and help with permitting and getting your system installed.

Your solar installer should also be able to help you with applying for any manufacturer rebates or local rebates that might be available to you.

07 — Get Connected on the Electric Grid

This is your final step in converting to a solar power home. It may take several days depending on your state and local utility company to get your new solar system connected to the local electric grid.

An assessor will come to your home to check out your new system. Once they approve your system, you can now switch on your system.

Congratulations! Your home is now a solar power home.

  • Federal Solar Tax Credit: How It Works

    If you’re considering going solar, you have most likely heard about the federal solar tax credit. The investment tax credit (ITC), which is frequently called the federal solar tax credit, allows you as a homeowner to deduct 26% of the cost of installing your solar system from your federal taxes.

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  • How Solar Tax Credits Work

    Going solar is a significant investment, but it is also one of the smartest investments you can make as a homeowner. If you are researching how to go solar, you have most likely read about the different state and federal solar tax credits available to homeowners.

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  • How Solar Rebates Work

    Solar rebates are an easy way to reduce your cost of going solar. Rebates are incentives you receive upfront when you install solar panels for your home. States and utility companies can provide rebates at a fixed flat rate regardless of the size of your system. Other utility rebate programs will depend on the size of your home’s system - the amount of kilowatts (kW) you installed for your home.

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  • How Solar Property Tax Exemptions Work

    According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a home’s resale value increases by $15,000 when a solar system is installed. Most states offer solar property tax exemptions as an incentive for homeowners to go solar. Solar Property Tax Exemptions remove the added value of a solar system from the valuation of your home for tax purposes. While the value of your home increases due to installing solar, your state property taxes will be for the pre-solar value of your home which is lower.

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  • How Net Metering Works

    You may have read about or come across the term “net metering” while researching if you should go solar. Net metering allows you to sell surplus energy produced by your home’s solar panels back to your utility company. It is essentially a billing tool that uses the electric grid to store surplus energy generated by your home’s system.

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  • Should You Go Solar?

    Many homeowners are currently asking themselves “Should I go solar?” The cost of switching to solar has dropped 70% over the past decade while the average utility bill has increased by 15%. The huge drop in price along with the many tax credits, rebates, and other financial incentives available to homeowners has made solar into an attractive option.

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  • How to Convert to a Solar Power Home

    Over 1 million homeowners in the United States have made the switch to solar this past decade and that number is expected to reach almost 14 million (1 out of every 7 homes) by the end of this decade. If you’re one of the many homeowners who plan to go solar, we recommend you follow this process to convert your home to a solar power home.

    Read Article
  • How to Choose a Solar Panel Installer

    We recommend that you do research about potential solar installers before you schedule a meeting with them. This will save you a lot of time and ensure that you are speaking with a solar installer who you can trust.

    Read Article