Now that my house has become a solar-powered home, I’d like to think I’ve learned a thing or two about how it all works. In fact, many of my friends have been asking me if I think they should make the leap to convert their home to solar. There are so many reasons why you should do it, but if it’s one thing I’ve learned along that way, it’s that solar isn’t the right choice for every family or situation.

So if any of these apply in your case, then solar panels aren’t for you:

You have an older roof that you aren’t ready to replace.

You need to think about your roof’s age, condition and the cost involved for repairing/replacing it when you start to consider adding solar panels to your home. An experienced roofing contractor can look at your roof to see if the roof can support solar panels as is, if minor repairs need to be made, or if replacing the roof entirely is the best option for you. Remember, if a solar panel installer has to remove the panels so roof work can be done, you will not have solar power during the repairs, making your energy bill go up; plus, you will be paying additional fees to have the solar panels removed and reinstalled again once your roof is fixed. If you aren’t ready to make changes to your older roof in the near future, solar is not for you at this time. However, if you are ready to replace that roof, you will most likely be eligible for an extra tax credit.

Your roof is covered in shade but you don’t want/can not remove the trees.

If you are going to invest in solar panels, you want to make sure they are working at 100 percent capacity for you. This can become tricky if your roof is shaded by trees. Often, people aren’t willing to take down trees near the home or may not be allowed to remove the tree at all because of property lines. If you can trim back some branches to allow for more sun to hit your panels, you may be able to generate more power than if you left the branches alone. The same thing needs to be considered if your home is shaded by a bigger building or structure that is non-moveable. If you have no control over increasing the direct sunlight your roof gets, then roof-mounted solar panels are not right for you at this time. However, if you have control over the trees that are blocking your light, you will most likely be eligible for a tax credit when you remove them. You can take your savings and plant a new tree in another part of your yard.

Your home is of historical significance.

Adding solar to a home significantly alters the look of any property; that’s not news to most people. However, if your home is of historical significance, you may not be allowed to alter the look of your home at all. You may be allowed to add panels to parts of your home that are out-of-sight but that is not a suitable solar solution for everyone depending on what way that part of the roof faces. If you are only allowed to put solar on the back part of your house, and in doing so, won’t generate enough power to make the investment worthwhile, solar panels are not right for you. The same needs to be considered if you have homeowner association rules and regulations to abide by.

You plan on moving within three years.

Solar program “payback” periods vary from state to state, but in Massachusetts, the average is four years. This means that four years is the average amount of time it will take you to completely pay off your solar power system. If you plan on moving from your home in 4-5 years and you own your panels (not lease), they could add value to your home. However, for the investment you are about to make, you want to reap the full benefits of it and be in the home beyond that “payback” period. If you are planning on moving or think a job-related relocation is in your future, solar panels are not a good fit for you.

You do not pay taxes.

If you do not pay taxes, then you are not eligible for the federal tax credit. So in that case, you would have to lease, not own, your solar panels. Leasing panels is not right for a lot of people because of the fine print such as losing control of your roof, what happens when it is time to sell, and modest savings overall.

Even if after looking over all of these, you still aren’t sure if solar is right for you, reach out to qualified solar professionals like we did with Isaksen Solar. They can answer all of these questions and even come up with some more you haven’t considered.

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