Renewable Energy for New Utah Homes: A Quick Guide
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Solar energy for Utah homeowners has, in a sense, become its own form of social currency and social status: Homeowners with solar power in the Beehive State have a rooftop adornment that readily showcases their commitment to energy independence, financial intelligence, and commitment to environmental improvements — the final of these items being something of which Utah needs direly.
Solar Panels and New Builds in Utah
Although solar is a great addition to any new Utah home, there are pros and cons to installing an array on a new home. Before you install solar on your dream home, it’s wise to weigh the pros and cons of installation timing.
Benefits of Solar on a New Utah Home
In-roof systems, also known as roof-integrated solar, are solar panels that go up at the same time as the roof. They don’t stand on the roof like a rooftop array, making them blend better with the roofline.
Solar shingles are small solar panels designed to look like roof shingles or tiles. This solar power option optimizes the aesthetics of homes with solar.
Limitations of Solar on New Utah Homes
Although having solar installed and ready to go as soon as you move in would be great, there are some drawbacks. One of the major drawbacks is that solar installation types ideal for new builds are more expensive.
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has created a cost reduction road map. These new-build and re-roofing solar cost reductions, however, are set for 2030.
Another solar installation problem with new builds is usage. Usage is the amount of electricity you use. Ethical solar companies use the last 12 months of your electricity usage to determine proper solar array sizing.
Some Utah solar companies still tell prospects and customers square footage of a home is the correct way to size a system, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.
The problem with solar on a new home is that you don’t have any usage to work with. This makes determining the correct solar array size a little difficult.
Sizing Solar Installations for New Homes in Utah
Because no one has lived in a new home yet, there is no way to know exactly how much energy it will use, making an accurate solar assessment difficult to create. To compensate for this, different methods are used to size a solar array for the Utah home.
Method for Sizing Solar Arrays for New Utah Homes
Unfortunately, the square footage is not helpful, and the number of people living in the home is only loosely correlated with electricity usage. This is because everyone has different energy consumption habits. Without accurate usage, solar designs are actually based on the average amount of solar panels for the home’s calculated area.
If you live in an area that typically uses more energy, your array could be oversized. This design method isn’t accurate and so these systems will often either over or underproduce.
Why Undersizing Your Solar Array is Better
At Go Solar Group, we try to be as accurate as possible, but if we are guessing as we have to with new Utah homes, we try to underestimate energy needs. We underestimate it because it is less of a hassle for the customer to add solar panels later than it is to remove them.
When To Install Solar on Your Utah Home
When to install solar on your home is dependent on several factors. These include qualifying for solar, how accurate you want the system to be, and the type of solar install.
Having an accurately sized system makes all the difference. When a system overproduces, you are stuck with extra solar panels that you don’t need. In contrast, if you don’t have enough solar panels, your electric bill will be higher.
Lastly, the type of solar installation is paramount to timing. However, if you want a cheaper yet high quality system, it may be worth it to wait until you have enough usage after moving into your new Utah home, so it can be accurately sized.
What Type of Solar Technology To Install
Although solar tiles and in-roof installs are the best for new builds, they can be more costly. If you would like to save money, it is best to get an on-roof system. These systems are installed after the roof has been put in place and are more common.
The type of solar panel you want installed is also worth considering. Currently, the most efficient solar technology are monocrystalline solar panels. You can see how this type of high-quality panel contrasts with cheaper, polycrystalline panels.
Acquiring Solar Before Utah Incentives Decrease
When to get your solar array is also determined by the Utah incentives available. Currently, there is a federal and state tax credit that covers over 30 percent of the cost of solar, a Utah solar rebate, and Rocky Mountain Power incentives programs, like Wattsmart.
However, some of these incentives are phasing out. Installing solar on your new Utah home before these incentives are no longer available would be wise.