If you've been considering taking your home in a green direction, April is the perfect month to make an environmentally friendly update.
Installing a solar energy system may be a very smart way to help the environment.
Plus, solar panels turn sunlight into energy that can save you money!
The federal government and many states are now providing tax incentives and rebates for installing solar panels in 2013 which make this an excellent opportunity to go green this spring.
However, there are many installers that might not have the necessary experience, so be sure to ask the questions below when searching for your solar energy system.
How many solar panel systems have they installed?
You want to make sure to find a reputable company that has significant solar experience and has successfully completed at least 50 installations.
Ask for references before you sign anything.
What is the output in kWh per year?
Many times, solar panel brands will claim to be more efficient than others.
You'll want to weigh the annual output against the price to determine what system is going to be the most cost effective for your Washington, DC home.
It is important to note that you should do an energy audit to see how you are using the power in your home before sizing the solar power replacement system.
You may be able to install a significantly smaller, and less costly, system if you learn how you can cut your power consumption prior to installing your new solar panels.
How long is the warranty on the panels?
Most high quality solar panel systems have a warranty of at least 25 years.
Top-of-the-line panels usually guarantee an output of no less than 90 percent after ten years and no less than 80 percent after 25 years.
Be wary of any company whose panels don't come with a warranty.
Do they include a warranty on labor?
Many states require a warranty on labor in order to receive your rebate.
Reputable installers should have no problem including at least a 10-year warranty.
What is the final price?
Don't get separate pricing for the parts, labor and rebates. Get a comprehensive price, so you can directly compare the total cost and kWh per year among providers.
Also, pay attention to the difference between purchasing your solar power system versus the leasing options available.
Leasing has become popular due to the low -- or possibly no-- up-front cost, but most experts agree that purchasing the system leads to a quicker payoff and return on your investment.
Taking into consideration warranties and servicing fees, the outcome should be that you choose whoever can give you the most output at the best price.