Is rooftop solar right for me

Is rooftop solar right for me

Rooftop solar systems convert sunlight into electricity. You can use this electricity to power your home or business or any other building. The information below can help you determine if solar is right for you.

Is solar right for your home?

Assess your solar readiness

Consider the below questions before choosing solar for your home:

  • Does my home have clear and unobstructed access to sunlight for most, or all, of the day, throughout the year?
  • Do I have a large enough roof or area to accommodate the system I need?
  • Does my community or homeowners association (HOA) have any covenants in place that prohibit solar panels?

Download our solar energy checklist for more helpful information.

Calculate return on investment

Before choosing to install solar, we recommend learning the true return on investment for your project. This includes getting quotes and weighing the costs and benefits of rooftop solar:

Costs

  • Solar purchase and install: Solar prices will vary based on the contractor and the extent to which they are offering a turnkey service. We recommend that you obtain at least three quotes in order to make an informed decision. If you are looking for a licensed and insured contractor, you can visit our approved contractors list. When your contractor visits your home, make sure you are prepared to ask them the right questions, including how long you should expect your system to last and what maintenance may be required.
    • Depending on your specific need and location, there are a number of factors that affect the cost of a rooftop solar array. Your contractor will be able to help assess your home’s needs. This includes:
      • System size: Because of economies of scale, large systems cost less per watt than small systems. The size of system you choose will be based on your solar goals and physical attributes of your home.
      • Installation complexity: More complex installations, including mounting systems on racks, working around obstructions or on tile roofs can be more expensive.
      • System production: Installing your system at the optimal orientation and tilt will maximize system production. The more energy your system produces over time, the lower the cost per kilowatt hour.
  • Battery storage system: Many members who install rooftop solar also choose to purchase a battery storage system. These systems allow you to store the power produced by the rooftop solar panels for later use, such as at night when solar panels are not producing solar energy but the home is still consuming it. Battery costs will vary by contractor, so we recommend obtaining three or more quotes.
  • Roof replacement: Rooftop solar panels are drilled into your roof directly. It is very important that your roof is in good condition so it can physically support solar panels. It is better to replace the roof prior to installation if needed. It can be costly to remove the solar system after installation, replace the roof and then re-install the solar system. Roof replacement can cost $10,000 to $20,000 or more, so it is an important factor to consider.
  • Tree removal: You may decide that tree removal is necessary to get optimal solar output from your system. Tree removal can range from $100 to $5,000+ depending on the amount and size of trees that you want to have removed.
  • Your electric rate: A common misconception with solar is that you will no longer receive an electric bill, or that your electric bill will be $0. Even members who purchase solar panels and a battery storage system will receive a Cobb EMC bill each month. This is because solar arrays are not typically sized to meet the total energy needs of the home. Production can also be variable based on the weather. Solar members often rely on Cobb EMC for at least a portion of their power, and they depend on the reliability offered by the grid. Cobb EMC offers affordable rates that are among the lowest in the state. You can visit our rate selection tool to find out which rate works best for your lifestyle and energy needs. Members with rooftop solar are not eligible for Even Bill.
  • Energy efficiency improvements: By making your home more energy efficient, you can reduce your energy use and the number of solar panels needed for your home. Making improvements can help ensure that the solar power generated is being used as efficiently as possible.
  • Operation and maintenance: Compared to other distributed energy technologies, operation and maintenance costs of photovoltaic systems are relatively low. Costs may include occasional cleaning of photovoltaic modules, regular visual inspections and possible repair or replacement of the inverter and/or components after a number of years.

Benefits

  • Selling power back to Cobb EMC: If your solar system produces more power than your home consumes, or that you can store in your battery, Cobb EMC will buy it back from you at the rate outlined in our distributed generation policy.
  • Tax credits: If available, you should plan to take advantage of any tax credits applicable to your system. Your tax advisor can provide guidance or you can see a list of solar resources.
  • Non-tangible benefits: While many of the benefits and costs listed above have clear dollar values tied to them, you may calculate the return on investment on your solar project and find that solar does not make financial sense for you. Many members still choose to pursue an installation anyway due to the non-tangible benefits. These can include reducing your carbon footprint, supporting renewable energy, and being an early adopter of green technology. If you find that rooftop solar does not make sense for you but you would still like some of these non-tangible benefits, you may also consider participating in Cobb EMC’s Green Energy for a Penny program.

Need help assessing if solar is right for you? Contact Cobb EMC.

Our Solar Energy Advisors are here and ready to help you determine if solar is a fit for your home. Meet our energy advisors:

 

Jeff Mason
Building Performance Institute Certified Professional

 

Michael Blair
Certified Energy Auditor and Solar Analyst

Jeff is passionate about our members and enjoys helping them make the best energy decisions for their homes. Jeff specializes in solar energy and can help answer solar questions. Michael enjoys talking with our members to understand their needs to help them get the most out of their energy dollars. Michael can also help you determine if solar makes sense for your home.

Send an email to Jeff and Michael.

Want to know your financing options?

Ask your solar contractor if they offer financing. Cobb EMC has also partnered with Go Energy Financial to offer you an economical option to finance solar panel installation at home.

Your most frequently asked questions, answered.

Want to understand how solar works, what types of panels are available, and the common misconceptions? Read our solar FAQs.

Benefits of Rooftop Solar

What are the current benefits of solar power?

  • Highly reliable and needs little maintenance.
  • Environmentally safe technology.
  • Helps ensure our energy future.

What are the current limitations of solar power?

  • The payback period can be very lengthy depending on costs to install.
  • Solar energy output is not available all the time, so it is less reliable than other sources.
  • Battery storage backup is very expensive.

 

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