Is a solar photovoltaic (PV) system right for you?

To help determine whether solar is right for you, have a trusted expert consider the following:

  • Overall energy efficiency of the home or building.

  • Age and pitch of the roof for rooftop systems.

  • Ongoing maintenance of the system.
  • Orientation of the sun in relation to the home or building.

  • Tree coverage near the home or building.

  • Weather patterns for the region.


You also need to weigh many financial considerations before installing solar:

  • Is there a large, upfront payment required, or are fees spread out over time?

  • Will the homeowner own the panels, or will they be leased?

  • Are there any hidden costs?  For example, does the roof need to be replaced before installing rooftop panels?

  • Are there ongoing maintenance fees?

  • Are the estimated energy savings worth the investment?

  • Is it more cost-effective to invest in other energy-saving measures? 


How much electricity can solar generate?  That depends on several factors including the size of your system, your site and weather.  A system that will generate 100% of your energy needs can be quite expensive.  You can always start out small and add on, but most systems are sized to generate only a portion of your home's needs. 

Battery-backed or grid-independent systems use on-site energy storage to store excess energy produced during the day for use at night or when the sun is not producing enough power.  Choosing this option will add significant cost and maintenance to your system.  Most people opt for grid-connected systems for reduced cost, maintenance and high reliability.  With this type of system, your co-op continues to provide energy to you when you need it.

Solar systems vary greatly in cost depending on the size of the system, type and quality of the components purchased and the complexity of the system selected.  While the cost of solar has declined dramatically, it can still be quite the investment.  Costs can vary not only from size and type of system but the home layout and construction or if structural or wiring upgrades are required.  An average 4kW system may cost between $10,000 and $20,000 and the payback period can vary just as much.

Certified solar products and systems are generally reliable, and most should carry a 20 to 25 year warranty for panels, but other components may have a shorter life span.  As this technology grows in popularity, so does the potential for deceptive or fraudulent sales tactics. A solar photovoltaic (PV) installation is a big investment, and you want to make sure you select a reputable solar contractor with licensed installers.




Fernando Albiter
Electrical Engineer


(830) 992-2234 direct line

1-800-900-2832 toll free

(830) 990-8824 fax