Solar Nerd articles about: Homeownership

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Illustration of an electric home.
Electrify your home? A guide for solar homeowners
All-electric homes are fast becoming one of the latest home trends. If you want to have cleaner indoor air, the latest technology, or save money (and who doesn’t?), an all-electric home might be right for you too. It also makes a lot of sense if you have solar panels, or you’re thinking about it. If you can generate enough electricity from rooftop solar panels, you can power all of the appliances in your home and still have a monthly electric bill that’s near zero.
Photo of people looking at a bill
I have solar panels installed. Why is my electric bill so high?
Do you already have solar panels on your home? Normally that’s a great thing, but maybe you’re looking at your monthly utility bill and wondering why it’s not lower. For most people, helping the environment is one reason why people go solar, but the top reason according to market research is saving money on your electric bill. This is why it can be so frustrating if you’ve spent thousands of dollars on a solar installation or committed to a 25 year solar lease and you’re looking at a monthly electric bill that’s still pretty high.
Photo of a girl clearing snow off solar panels
What happens when there is snow on your solar panels?
I live in Buffalo, a city known for chicken wings and wicked snowstorms. Despite my city’s reputation for snow, much of the year is great for solar production. Still, I can expect to lose at least a couple weeks of energy production in the middle of each winter due to snow collecting on my panels and blocking out sunlight. It doesn’t take much snow to curtail electricity production. If there’s just a light dusting, there might be enough residual heat energy in the glass to melt the snow.
Photo of umbrellas.
Are solar panels covered by homeowner's insurance?
You’ve got homeowner’s insurance, right? If you have a mortgage, you almost certainly do, because lenders require it. If you’re thinking of adding solar panels to your home or already have solar, it’s definitely a good idea to pull out your policy documents and get familiar with what is and isn’t covered. Insurance plans are personalized, so the coverage in your neighbor’s plan might not be the same as yours, even if you use the same company.
Cleaning solar panels.
What is the best way to clean my solar panels?
One of the great things about solar panels is that they just sit there, silently turning photons into electricity and making you money. They can essentially be maintenance-free for 25 years. But one question solar homeowners often have is: if my solar panels are dirty, what’s the best way to clean them? The best way to clean your solar panels is with tools you probably already have: a bucket of plain water, a soft brush or cloth, and the kind of extension pole you would use to squeegee your second floor windows.
Photo of a brick house with solar panels.
Buying a house with solar panels already installed: questions to ask
If you’re thinking of buying a house that already has solar panels installed, there are some questions you’ll need to run through with the buyer before you sign the contract. But first, if you’ve never thought about home solar until you came across them in your real estate search, you probably have some questions. Home solar has become wildly popular, with now more than 2 millions solar installations across the United States.
A piggy bank in which you can put the money you save by going solar.
Do solar panels add value to your home?
For many people who are thinking of adding solar panels to their house, knowing whether they will add or reduce the value of your house is a really important question. While it makes sense that any type of improvement to your home, including solar panels, should increase its value, there are a few caveats to be aware of when it comes to solar. First of all, when it comes to the question of whether or not solar will increase your home value, the answer in most cases is yes.