Gonna be quick today. Thanksgiving destroyed my promise of blogging at least once a week!
I heard back from the solar company yesterday (read my previous blog to catch up). They brought up a good point to consider before you start on the journey toward green energy. Find out first what your neighborhood POA will need to approve placing solar panels on your house.
I am going to list this “officially” as step 1
Step 1: Feel out your POA (if you have one). Find out if they have approved any in the past, if so contact that homeowner for help. If not, ask them what they will need you to submit. The Solar Installer can submit the plans in two different forms:
(1) They can do simple sketches and provide photos of the panels. With my Solar Company, this service is free.
(2) They can get an Artist Rendition from an Architect drawn up. I was told that this could run $400 to $500.
I would not recommend paying for an Architect unless your board has already approved other solar installations – it is just too big of a gamble (unless you have that kind of money to throw around).
Luckily, my POA told me that the sketch and photos are fine! Since I did not know that this was Step 1 at the beginning (and contacted the Solar Company first), I have gone back to the Solar Installer and told him to move forward with the drawings. Step 2 will now be officially listed as:
Step 2: Contact your local Solar Installer and find out if your house is a candidate for solar and have them draw up sketches.
I was also surprised about where they want to install my panels – turns out it is on a different roof than I expected. I have a couple large pine trees on the south side of my property, so I can either cut them down or install the panels on the north side and angle them south (if that makes any sense). If you want to find out if you are a candidate on your own then spend a Saturday looking periodically at your roof. You need to have a roof that gets a lot of sun between 11:00 and 4:00 (that is where your panels would need to be installed, so make sure you are comfortable with that).
He also suggested putting panels in my backyard. I really don’t know how I would feel about that. It would be shielded from my neighbors by my fence, but more susceptible to vandalism. Not to mention, how do you landscape around solar panels?
Steps 3 & 4 will likely be submitting the plans to the POA and meeting with the Solar Installer, but I am not official on that yet.