Energy usage and surrounding landscape are just two things to consider before installing solar panels.
Solar power is a great way for homeowners to offset their energy bills and reduce their impact on the environment.
To help you choose a solar contractor, and help you determine what to expect when switching to home solar power, keep these five tips in mind:
1. Consider your energy usage
Clearly, if you're choosing home solar power, you can expect a reduction or elimination of your electric bills. If you truly want to reduce your energy bill as much as possible, take a good look at your current electricity consumption. Do you regularly leave lights, appliances and other electronics on when not in use? Are your windows drafty, or does your roof need replacement?
Achieving net zero energy usage is a mix of solar power generation and energy efficiency. An energy audit is a great way to identify points of energy loss in your home, and sometimes a simple fix can make a huge difference.
2. Look at your landscape
Solar panels convert sunlight into electricity. To do this, they must be exposed to sunlight, so shading must be avoided. If your home is surrounded by trees, seriously consider whether or not you'd be comfortable having them removed.
3. Consider your roofing situation
Because a rooftop solar power system will be attached your existing roof, be sure that it's in good condition. A qualified solar analyst should be able to answer your questions and examine your home to make a recommendation.
Video: Are Solar Panels Right For My Home?
4. Research your contractor
Take a good look at your solar power installer of choice. Learn their affiliations, their licenses and be sure to have all of your questions answered. Browse for reviews of the company and look for not only the great reviews, but also how the company handles negative reviews and conflicts.
5. Learn everything you can about solar power
A solar analysis will give you the chance to learn what you can expect from choosing solar power. It's a time to learn about the financial incentives, costs, savings and everything else that solar power entails. This is also the time to ask questions, and address any concerns that you may have. Additionally, keep an eye out for other opportunities, such as classes or workshops that explain what you need to know about solar power.
About this Angi Expert: Solar Energy World is a solar power systems designer and installer headquartered in Elkridge, Md. The company provides commercial and residential solar power solutions, and offers free workshops for homeowners who are interested in solar power. You can follow this #ALExperts contributor on Twitter @solareworld.
As of June 30, 2015, this service provider was highly rated on Angi. Ratings are subject to change based on consumer feedback, so check Angi for the most up-to-date reviews. The views expressed by this author do not necessarily reflect those of Angi.
Editor's note: This is an updated version of an article originally posted on March 27, 2013.
Have you purchased a solar panel system for your home or business? Tell us about it in the comments section below.