Whether or not to install solar panels at your house is a decision that depends on your individual circumstances and goals. Here are some factors to consider when deciding whether to install solar panels at your home:

  1. Financial savings: Solar panels can help you save money on your energy bills in the long run. However, the initial cost of installation can be high, so it's important to consider whether the financial savings in the long run outweigh the upfront cost. There are situations where financial savings is not as important as being prepared for the unexpected.

  2. Emergency Preparedness: Many parts of Idaho have extreme weather that can lead to extended power outages. Many vital appliances in your home depend on electricity, including your furnace, septic systems, and water pumps. Sometimes emergency preparedness is more important than the financial savings gained by solar. In this case, you would also want to research solar battery backup systems.

  3. Energy consumption: Solar panels are most effective when they are used to generate most or all of the energy consumed in a household. If your energy consumption is low, the savings from solar panels may not be significant enough to justify the cost unless you are also using the solar power for grid down situations. 

  4. Weather conditions: Solar panels are most effective in areas with plenty of sunlight. In Idaho, the sun shines throughout the year with good intensity, which makes it a great location for solar panel installation. However, the winter months are also characterized by frequent snow and fog. These conditions can lower the productivity of solar, creating a situation where the payoff time is extended. Ground mount systems are often easier to remove snow and may be a better choice if room is available.

  5. Roof condition: If your roof is in poor condition, it may need to be repaired or replaced before solar panels can be installed. This can add to the cost of the solar panel installation. However, if you are getting ready to replace your roof due to age or hail damage, new solar shingles are available which makes solar installation very enticing. GAF now has a product that a regular roofer can install which cuts installation time and costs.

  6. Government incentives: Some states and local governments offer financial incentives for solar panel installation, such as tax credits, rebates, and grants. It's important to research these incentives to see if they can help offset the cost of installation. As of 2023 the state of Idaho and the Federal Government offer significant tax incentives to install solar power.

  7. Environmental concerns: If you are looking for ways to reduce your carbon footprint, solar panels can be an effective way to do so. However, solar panel manufacturing does create toxic waste and the carbon used to manufacture, ship, and install solar panels does have an impact. Buying locally manufacture products can reduce this.

Installing solar panels at your house can be a great way to save money on your energy bills and reduce your carbon footprint. It can also increase your emergency preparedness if you install backup batteries. However, it's important to consider the upfront cost, your energy consumption, weather conditions, roof condition, government incentives and environmental concerns before making a decision. It's highly recommended to consult with a professional solar panel installer to evaluate your home's suitability and the potential savings before making a decision.

Should I install solar panels on the ground or roof?

Installing solar panels on your home in Idaho can be a great way to save money on your energy bills and reduce your carbon footprint. However, there are pros and cons to consider when deciding whether to install solar panels on your roof or on the ground.

Pros of installing solar panels on the roof:

  • Roof-mounted solar panels are often more aesthetically pleasing than ground-mounted panels, as they are not visible from the street and are not as obtrusive.
  • Roof-mounted solar panels are often easier to install, as they do not require a separate support structure.
  • Roof-mounted solar panels can be integrated with the existing roof, which can help to protect the roof from the elements.

Cons of installing solar panels on the roof:

  • Roof-mounted solar panels can be more expensive to install than ground-mounted panels, as they require special mounting equipment and may require additional structural support.
  • Roof-mounted solar panels can be more difficult to maintain and repair, as they are more difficult to access than ground-mounted panels.
  • Roof-mounted solar panels may not be suitable for homes with roofs that are not oriented to the south, as this can reduce the effectiveness of the panels.

Pros of installing solar panels on the ground:

  • Ground-mounted solar panels are often less expensive to install than roof-mounted panels, as they do not require special mounting equipment or additional structural support.
  • Ground-mounted solar panels are often easier to maintain and repair, as they are more accessible than roof-mounted panels.
  • Ground-mounted solar panels can be oriented to the south, which can increase the effectiveness of the panels.
  • Ground-mounted solar panels are way easier to remove snow from.

Cons of installing solar panels on the ground:

  • Ground-mounted solar panels can be more visible from the street, which can be a disadvantage for some homeowners.
  • Ground-mounted solar panels can be more obtrusive than roof-mounted panels, which can be a disadvantage for some homeowners.
  • Ground-mounted solar panels may require more land than roof-mounted panels, which can be a disadvantage for homeowners with small lots.

Whether you choose to install solar panels on your roof or on the ground will depend on your individual circumstances and preferences. Roof-mounted solar panels are often more aesthetically pleasing and easier to install, but can be more expensive and difficult to maintain, especially in the snow. Ground-mounted solar panels are often less expensive and easier to maintain, but can be more visible and obtrusive. It's important to consider the pros and cons of each option, and consult with a professional before installing solar panels on your home.