Installing solar panels translates to many advantages: Tax breaks, lower energy costs, being environmentally friendly, and increased home value, to name a few. If all of these benefits made you take the plunge, you’re not alone: Since 2008, installations of solar panels in the United States have increased by a factor of 17, and today power more than five million homes.

After you install solar panels, you’ll need to perform regular maintenance, to help ensure they work as efficiently as possible. Here’s how.

How to Maintain Solar Panels On Your Roof

1. Wash Them.

Since solar panels lay flat, they won’t experience too much wear and tear. However, since they are outdoors, they are prone to dirt buildup (in addition to pollen and bird droppings). Although they’re still functional while dirty, too much surface dirt will interfere with their capacity to convert sunlight into energy.

To wash them, get up on your roof on an overcast or chilly day. If those two options are not feasible, do so as early in the morning, as possible, before it gets too hot. You only need to clean the top portion, and you can do so either by hosing them down, or wiping them with soap and water. Using a wiper or a small brush is more practical and efficient than using paper towels. It’s only necessary to do this twice a year. If you live in a particularly rainy area, you won’t have to worry as much about hosing them down.

2. Monitor Performance.

You can do this by installing a solar monitoring system. Once set up, you can track the panels’ energy usage through your computer, tablet, or phone. You’ll be able to see exactly how many kilowatts of electricity the panels are producing, as well as how much money you’re saving each month from your power bill. If you see that performance is going down, you’ll know that there’s an issue and that it’s time to take action.

3. Inspect them.

This one has to be done by a professional. Contact the company who installed your solar panels, to schedule yearly checks for any cracks, exposed wires, or potential issues with the hardware holding them up. In fact, many manufacturers will honor their warranty only if you schedule periodic inspections.

Other than these three items, you don’t have to lose any sleep over providing meticulous maintenance to your panels – yet another benefit of having this technology power your house.

Learn More about Solar Energy Panels With the Help of Allied Siding & Windows

If you’re a Texas resident and you’ve been thinking about installing solar energy panels, don’t hesitate to contact Allied Siding & Windows! Contact us for more information about our services or stop by one of our showrooms in Austin, Dallas, or Houston!

Solar energy panels have been getting a lot of air time in the last few years. From people who are environmentally friendly to those who are looking for ways to save money long term, there are many reasons why installing a solar energy system is a good idea.

While saving on energy bills, receiving tax credits, and reducing your individual carbon footprint all sound like great ideas, how sound is the investment? Will installing a system last for a long time, or would you have to provide regular maintenance or replace them regularly?

The lifespan of solar panels

Not all solar panels are created the same. Different households have different needs: A home in a hurricane-prone area or in a geographical location where hail is a regular occurrence will require sturdier panels than a home where none of these factors are an issue.

That being said, generally, the timeframe for solar panels is between 25 to 30 years. Some manufacturers extend their warranties for 20 years, while others will do so for the full 30 years. Even after two or three decades have gone by, the panels will continue working and generating electricity from solar energy. However, their efficiency will decrease.

Each brand has its own degradation rate, which can vary between 0.3% to 0.8% per year.

Amorphous panels have the shortest lifespan, with a degradation rate that significantly lowers after the first ten years. On the other hand, monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels often outlast the 25-30 years life expectancy.

That being said, there are plenty of solar panels that were installed between 30 and 60 years ago and are still working well.

What Affects How Long Solar Panels Will Last?

Solar panels are designed to withstand harsh environmental elements, such as storms, high winds, hail, and snow. So what you really need to pay more attention to is (a) the type of materials used to make the panels, (b) the brand, and (c) whether they get caked with dirt and debris.

How To Make Solar Panels Last Longer

Solar panel maintenance is extremely simple and can help your panels work optimally:

1. Keep them clean. Since solar panels don’t have moving parts and they often lay flat, there isn’t much wear and tear that will shorten their lifespan. However, it is possible for dirt buildup to interfere with their ability to convert light particles into energy. Therefore, cleaning them regularly can help ensure that they absorb sunlight as efficiently as possible.

To clean them, check the manufacturer’s instructions for any specific materials they may want you to avoid. Also, pick a cooler day or sometime in the early morning to do the job, since they can get really hot throughout the day. You can hose them down with a regular garden house, or wipe them with water and soap with a sponge. Only the top portions need to be cleaned. Doing this once a year should be enough, unless you live in a highly polluted city, then schedule time to do it twice a year.

2. Have your installer inspect them. While you can do the cleaning portion yourself, a professional installer can verify whether there are any exposed wires or if there are any issues with the racks that are holding them up. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for how often to schedule these inspections and prioritize doing them. Failing to do so may result in voiding the warranty.

Learn More About Solar Energy Panels With the Help of Allied Siding & Windows

If you’re a Texas resident and you’ve been thinking about installing solar energy panels, don’t hesitate to contact Allied Siding & Windows! Contact us for more information about our services or stop by one of our showrooms in Austin, Dallas, or Houston!

Admit it. Living in Texas is pretty grand. The Lone Star State is home to the best foods, best football games, the most soul-inspiring country music, and enough state pride to last a lifetime. As if all those factors weren’t reason enough to brag about how lucky we are to live here, now you can add solar incentives to the list.

Tax credits and rebates for installing solar panels in Texas

1. Federal Tax Credit

Since 2015, the federal government has been providing renewable energy tax credits for homeowners who install solar energy systems in the property they use as their residence. It doesn’t have to be a primary residence. Living in it for a portion of the year will suffice.

2. Investment Tax Credit

Also known as the ITC, the investment tax credit allows you to deduct 30% of the cost of the solar panels regardless of whether the installation was done on a residential or commercial property.

3. No Cap to the Federal Credit

The cost of solar panels varies on several factors: the materials, the quality, the number of panels that are necessary to cover your household’s energy needs. However, even if you were to make a substantial investment, rest assured, there will be no cap on the amount you can use as tax credit when filing your federal taxes.

4. Federal Credit Rollovers

Depending on the size of your home and the type of solar panels you install, 30% of the cost of the system may exceed the amount of your tax liability. Then what? Do you get a rebate? No. However, you still get to use your credit, and the amount that exceeds your liability can be rolled over to the next tax year.

5. Texas Solar Rebate Programs

Although there isn’t a statewide rebate program, local governments and some utility companies do offer them as incentives to go green. Austin EnergyCity of Sunset ValleyGarland Power and LightGuadalupe Valley Electric Cooperative, and CPS Energy all offer rebates for homeowners.

6. Texas Net Metering Credits

When solar panels are connected to a power grid, any unused power generated by the panels are transferred into the grid. Many Texas utility companies credit owners for that energy surplus. El Paso ElectricCity of BrenhamGreen Mountain Energy, and CPS Energy all offer these credits.

7. Property Taxes Won’t Increase

Property taxes are calculated based on your property’s value. While it’s true that installing solar panels may increase that value, the Texas Property Tax Code allows an exemption of 100% of the value’s increased when such boost is based on the installation of solar or wind-powered energy.

Do keep in mind that all of these benefits only apply to homeowners who actually own the panels (some contractors allow you to lease them. If that is what you opt for, the owner from whom you leased the panels will actually get the credits).

Also, if you have one of those annoying Homeowners Associations that create a fuss for simply breathing, be aware that while HOAs may regulate where to install solar panels, or where on your roof to install them, they cannot actually prohibit you from installing solar energy.

Learn more about solar energy panels with the help of Allied Siding & Windows

If you’re a Texas resident and you’ve been thinking about installing solar energy panels, don’t hesitate to contact Allied Siding & Windows! Contact us for more information about our services or stop by one of our showrooms in Austin, Dallas, or Houston!

For several years now, the topic of solar panel installation has been a popular topic of conversation among homeowners. The general consensus is that it could help you save money, but how do they really work? Considering that they tend to be on the costly side, is it really worth the investment?

How Do Solar Panels Work?

There is a lot of misinformation regarding solar panels. Will your home still be powered if it’s a cloudy day? Will you have enough hot water for showers and laundry?

Solar panels take photons (particles of light) and turn them into electricity. While they are most effective when receiving direct sunlight, they still generate power even if it’s raining, overcast, or night time. This is because their power is generated from light, and even on cloudy days, some of the sun’s rays get through the clouds. Granted, the panels would generate less electricity this way than on sunny days, but they still generate enough to lower your energy bills. As for night time, the panels have solar storage technology to access electricity created during the day.

Panels can last for many decades, with warranties sometimes extending up to 30 years.

8 Benefits of Installing Solar Panels

1. Lower Energy Bills

Solar panels can produce enough energy to power at least half of your household’s electricity needs. To maximize efficiency, conduct a home energy audit to see if you need better insulation or if there are any leaks around doors and windows.

2. You Don’t Have to Worry About Price Hikes

Utility companies have the luxury of being able to increase their prices without any sense of accountability. At the end of the day, everyone needs electricity in their homes and businesses, so regardless of cost of living increases and stagnating incomes, people go with the flow because they don’t have another option. But with solar panels, you do have another option; a much better one.

3. Add Technology Without Increasing Energy Consumption

If there are four people in your household and everyone is using a different computer, television set, video game console, smart home assistant, automated lighting, etc… everyone gets to do their own thing without worrying that the energy bill will be sky high.

4. Tax Incentives

In 2015, the federal government established a renewable energy tax credit. Through it, taxpayers who are homeowners can claim a credit of up to 30% of the cost of the solar energy system, as long as the property is used as a residence by the taxpayer. There is no limit to this credit, and if it exceeds your tax liability for a year, the excess amount may be carried over to the next year.

5. Increased Home Value

If you live in Texas, installing solar panels means a $3.00 increase per watt to your home’s value. Granted, this increase is in direct proportion with the quality of panels installed.

6. More Opportunities to Save

By regularly slashing your monthly energy bill as well as increased profits if you sell your home, you can redirect those monies towards an emergency fund, saving for a dream vacation, or towards other home projects you’ve been putting on the back burner.

7. Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Traditional electricity relies on coal and fossil fuels to generate power. When these fuels are burned to produce electricity, they emit extremely harmful gases that are one of the primary contributors to air and water pollution, land degradation, and a long list of health conditions, such as respiratory diseases and some forms of cancer. Installing solar panels ensures you do your part in decreasing so much toxicity from the environment.

8. Help the Economy

The solar panel industry produces more jobs than the coal, oil, and gas industries. With the many ups and downs the economy faces, it’s always a good thing to contribute to the wellbeing of small businesses and fellow hard-working Americans.

Learn More about Solar Energy Panels With The Help of Allied Siding & Windows

If you’re a Texas resident and you’ve been thinking about installing solar energy panels, don’t hesitate to contact Allied Siding & Windows! Contact us for more information about our services or stop by one of our showrooms in Austin, Dallas, or Houston