Solar could be for you!
If you're increasing your electricity load by replacing gas appliances with electric, installing an Electric Vehicle charger, etc - then solar could help you reduce costs in the long run.
Have you insulated your home yet?
Before exploring solar, make sure that your home has great insulation
Insulation is a two-way shield that limits the amount of energy that is lost by escaping through the attic, ceiling, vents, floor, or walls.
A well insulated home uses less energy, allowing for a smaller (less expensive) solar system to be able to meet all of your home's energy needs.
How much is your energy bill?
When do you use the most electricity?
If the timing is out of synch, you will be selling your electricity back to Alameda Municipal Power during the day and throughout the summer, and buying it back at night and in the winter.
You can always invest in a battery storage system to help line up the timing better, but this technology is still young and costly. Work with a solar provider to do the math to figure out if Solar makes sense for the way you live and use energy.
Is your roof suitable for solar panels?
Do you have strong, durable roofing material, such as composite or asphalt shingle, concrete tile or standing seam metal? These are the ideal roof surfaces that most installers are comfortable working with.
How many more years of life does your roof have? Since solar panels are expected to last 30 or 40 years, you want to install them on a roof that is relatively new and in good condition.
Does your roof receive enough sunlight at the right time of day? Use Google’s Project Sunroof to find out what your roof looks like from above and how much usable space you are likely to have. You will still need an on-site consultation with a solar professional to determine whether your roof is solar-friendly. The things that will be evaluated include the direction the flat surfaces of the roof face - south is best, but west is good for producing electricity in the afternoon - and whether you have shade blocking your roof.
Also, some roofs have many pipe, chimney or skylight penetrations, getting in the way of panel installation. If your roof is particularly steep or has many gables or dormers, it is more difficult (and expensive) to install solar.
Does your budget allow for a big ticket item like solar photovoltaic that may have a long payback?
If you are thinking of moving, it is difficult to predict whether the solar panels will add value to your home at selling time. It depends on how old the panels are and how much potential buyers value the solar panels.
Other options exist that allow you to avoid the big initial investment, and instead pay a flat monthly fee for the use of your solar panels with an annual true-up charge. Work with a Solar provider to find out which options works best for you.
Do you have other reasons to install Solar that are less tied to economics?
Is Solar Right for You?
Can I install a battery storage system with my solar system?
Will my solar system generate all the power I need?
How much space will my system need?
The amount of space needed is based on the size, or generating capacity, of the solar energy system. Residential solar energy systems can vary in size from 50 square feet to 1,000 square feet. A rule of thumb is that a square foot of photovoltaic module area produces 10 watts of power in bright sunlight. For example, a 2,000 watt system would require about 200 square feet of roof area.
How big should my system be?
How much will it cost?
Are homes able to run during blackout events if they have solar panels and on-site battery storage?
No, it’s not enough to have both solar panels and a battery in order to island and run independently of the grid. They need to be connected—and once they are, that’s called a “microgrid.”