Solar Installation for Homeowners: A Complete Guide

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Solar installation is a big decision for any homeowner. There are many things to consider, such as cost, roof type, shading, and more.

But solar installation also comes with many benefits, such as lower electricity bills, tax credits, and helping the environment.

In this article, we cover everything you need to know about solar installation for homeowners.

1. Cost

cost of solar panels

The cost of solar installation has come down significantly in recent years, with the cost of solar installations dropping by more than 70% since 2010. In fact, it’s now cheaper to install solar panels than ever before, making solar an increasingly attractive option for homeowners.

According to Energy Sage, the average cost of solar panels in the United States is around $3 per watt, making the total cost of a solar panel system for an average home around $18,000.

However, several factors can affect the cost of solar panels, including the size and location of the home, the type of solar panels used, and any government incentives that may be available. As a result, solar panel costs can vary significantly from one home to the next. Solar installation for an average-sized home in the United States ranges from $10,000-$30,000. However, with the help of solar panels, homeowners can save money on their electricity bills and help to protect the environment.

Solar installation generally consists of solar panels and solar inverters. Solar panels turn sunlight into DC electricity while solar installers ensure that the solar inverter correctly converts the DC electricity into AC electricity.

The cost of solar still remains a significant barrier for many homeowners. As a result, government incentives and financing options, such as tax credits and rebates, are often essential for making solar panel installation affordable.

If you’re thinking of installing solar panels, you may be eligible for a tax credit or rebate. The federal government offers a tax credit of up to 30% of the cost of installing solar panels. Some states also offer additional tax credits or rebates. For example, California offers a rebate of up to $1,500 for solar panel installations. A tax calculator can help you get a better idea about how certain tax credits will impact your overall tax return.

You may also be eligible for other incentives, such as tax-exempt financing or performance-based rebates. Contact your state’s energy office or the Solar Energy Industries Association to learn more about solar panel incentives in your area.

2. Roof Type

The type of roof you have will impact the solar installation process. Solar installation can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. The good news is that solar installation is relatively simple and can often be done as a DIY project.

solar panel on shingled roof

Solar Installation on a Flat or Metal Roof

If you have a flat or metal roof, solar installation is relatively straightforward, but there are a few things you need to keep in mind.

First, make sure the roof is clean and free of debris. This will ensure that the solar panels have a good surface to adhere to.

Next, measure the area where you’ll be installing the solar panels and mark the location of each panel. Once the panels are in place, use solar clips or sealant to secure them to the roof.

Finally, connect the solar panels to an inverter and mount the inverter on the roof.

With these simple steps, and a little planning and effort, you can easily install solar panels on a flat or metal roof.

However, if you have a shingled roof, there are a few things to consider.

Solar Installation on a Shingled Roof

First, you or your solar panel installation professional will need to remove the shingles from the portion of the roof where the solar panels will go. This will usually be a strip about three feet wide running along the length of the roof.

They will remove the chosen number of shingles from your roof and install flashing, or a solar panel mounting system. After the flashing has been installed, solar panel installation professionals will then attach the solar panels to the flashing.

Finally, they will reinstall the shingles that were removed and connect the solar panels to your home’s electrical system.

Solar panel installation on a shingled roof is not as difficult or time-consuming as you may think. With the help of solar panel installation professionals, you can have solar panels installed on your shingled roof in no time.

3. Shading

solar panel on roof shaded by tree

Shading is another important factor to consider when deciding whether or not to install solar panels. If your home is shaded by trees or other buildings, it’s not ideal for solar installation. This is because shading can reduce the amount of sunlight that reaches the solar panels and decrease their efficiency.

Before you decide to install solar panels on your roof, you’ll want to measure the amount of shade your house receives throughout the day. This will help determine whether or not solar panels will save you money.

Solar panels need direct sunlight to work effectively, so if your house is shaded for most of the day, solar panels may not be the best investment. On the other hand, if your roof gets plenty of sun, solar panels could help you save money on your energy bills.

So take a few minutes to assess the amount of shade at your house before making any decisions about solar installation.

4. Energy Audit

man performing energy audit in home

If you’re considering solar panel installation, it’s a good idea to have an energy audit conducted on your home. An energy auditor will be able to identify areas where your home is losing energy and recommend ways to improve your home’s energy efficiency.

The solar installation process will be more efficient and less expensive if you take the time to do an energy audit first. An energy audit can be as simple as walking around your home and checking for drafts or air leaks. You can also use a digital thermometer to check the temperature in different rooms of your house. If you find that certain rooms are warmer or cooler than others, that’s an indication that your home is losing energy.

Once you’ve identified areas where your home is losing energy, you can take steps to improve your home’s energy efficiency before installing solar panels. By taking the time to do an energy audit, you can save money and make your solar installation more efficient.

5. Environment

solar panels on roof of a house

One of the best reasons to install solar panels is to help the environment. Solar energy is a renewable resource that doesn’t produce harmful emissions like traditional forms of energy generation (coal, natural gas, etc.). Solar energy also doesn’t require water to generate electricity, which further reduces its environmental impact.

The use of solar panels and renewable energy is one way that people are working to help the environment and protect against climate change. Renewable energy is also produced from sources such as wind, water, and geothermal heat. This type of energy is considered more environmentally friendly because it does not release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

Greenhouse gases contribute to climate change by trapping heat in the Earth’s atmosphere. As the climate continues to warm, we can expect more extreme weather events, like hurricanes, floods, and droughts.

In addition, solar panels and renewable energy help create jobs and stimulate economic growth. Investing in solar panels and renewable energy is a smart way to help protect the environment and fight climate change.

By using solar panels and renewable energy, we can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and slow down climate change.


There are many factors to consider when deciding whether or not to install solar panels on your home. However, the benefits of solar installation (lower electricity bills, tax credits, helping the environment) far outweigh the costs and drawbacks.

If you’re considering going solar, we recommend doing your research and contacting a reputable installer in your area.

Let us know about any questions you have in the comments below!

  • Luke Rooks

    Luke is a passionate environmental advocate based in upstate New York. When he's not sharing tips on sustainability and wellness, you can find him hiking with his dog, Max.

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