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When Is the Best Time to Go Solar?
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When Is the Best Time to Go Solar? image

When deciding whether or not to invest in solar energy it is important to consider several different factors. First, the best time to add solar to your building is during new construction, renovation or re-roofing. Having a brand new roof gives you an advantage when installing solar PV panels. Today, solar panels are warrantied to operate for at least 25 years, which means that you want to make sure your roof will not need to be replaced in the short-term. Ideally, installations are the most cost-effective on roofs that are less than five years old or more than 20 years old, in which case a new roof is required before the installation begins.

In addition to age, the material of the roof is also a significant factor to consider when deciding on solar power. For example, roofs made with synthetic membranes or asphalt shingles allow for an easy and more reliable installation, rather than those PV systems that are installed on materials such as slate.  It costs more time and money for solar installers to deal with slate roofs because they have a difficult time supporting the racking and mounts.

For a PV system to work, the solar panels need to receive direct sunlight throughout the day. When adding solar to your building, you should scope out the areas of your roof that do not fall under the shade with the exception of early morning and late afternoon. Shading could be caused by neighboring buildings, trees, or gables and pipes on the roof itself. To maximize the amount of electricity produced by the PV system, it is best to install the solar array in a place where it will be exposed to sunlight at a southern orientation (180°).

Currently, there is a federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) that offsets for 30% of the total cost of a solar energy installation for a tax-paying homeowner or a tax-paying commercial enterprise. However, the ITC is up for renewal at the end of 2016 and there is a possibility that it will not be extended. Strong incentive programs in Massachusetts, like the MA Department of Energy Resource’s (DOER) Solar Renewable Energy Credit (SREC) program, will continue to help the solar industry grow until 1600 MW of PV capacity has been installed throughout the state. The time for solar is now.

For more information, contact us at info@zapotecenergy.com. We are happy to discuss your commercial solar energy needs.


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