There was a time when residential solar energy was something only the rich could access. Solar panels used to be very expensive, and there were very few companies that knew how to install them on non-commercial properties.

In recent years, though, the total cost of generating solar power has gone down dramatically. Solar panels are now decreasing in cost while increasing in efficiency, which means it has become more accessible. In fact, getting photovoltaic solar panels is now one of the most viable options to make your home more energy-efficient.

Roofing Requirements for PV Panels

There are hardly any strict compatibility requirements for the average solar panel. This means you can practically have them installed regardless of what material your roof is made of. But this doesn’t mean all roofs are well-equipped for solar panels or can provide the best efficiency for them. In fact, there are a lot of roofing considerations you have to take into account before you buy panels and pay someone to install them for you.

First, the roof has to have the right orientation. If it’s facing a direction that doesn’t give it that much sunlight in the first place, then installing solar panels might not be such a cost-efficient idea. Furthermore, if there are any tall structures surrounding a house and, therefore, casting shadows on the roof, then installing panels might be a fool’s errand.

In these cases, as well as if you’re simply renting a house and have no authority to have PV panels installed on the roof, you might be better off seeking other means to generate and use residential solar power.

The Case for Community Solar

You might be wondering if there are indeed other ways to enjoy residential solar power if rooftop paneling is not an option. Well, should tell you everything you need to know about the wonders of a system called community solar.

Also known as shared solar setups, community solar programs let you access solar energy even if rooftop panels are not a viable option for you. What community solar companies do is purchase or lease vast lands where the panels will be installed. Then, instead of you having to install the panels at home and generating solar power yourself, you can simply subscribe to community solar farms and receive rebates through a virtual net metering system.

This means you don’t have to install any kind of equipment at home, since you will be given access to the generated solar energy digitally. This system makes solar energy even more accessible to the general public since it does away with the usual upfront costs associated with shifting to solar power. All you need to do is signup for the program and pay your monthly dues. You are even afforded an opt-out option without additional fees if things don’t end up working out, or if you suddenly have to move out of the city.

Another benefit that helps the case for community solar is how little (or virtually nonexistent) maintenance it requires from you. A lot of people are discouraged from buying solar panels because they just don’t have the time or expertise for the maintenance of rooftop panels. True enough, you will be solely responsible for any maintenance or repair work if you buy solar panels and install them on your roof. If these break down or show signs of wear and tear, and for some reason, you can’t collect warranties, then you would have to shoulder the costs of repairing or replacing them.

On the other hand, maintenance and repair will be the responsibility of your shared solar provider for as long as your subscription with them remains active. So apart from not having to install your own panels, you will never have to think about maintenance costs when you go the community solar route since these services will automatically be part of your subscription.

Final Thoughts

Community solar is no doubt the best option for people who want access to solar power even if they can’t install rooftop panels. But even for those who can but don’t want to be burdened with huge upfront costs and recurring maintenance costs, subscribing to a shared solar program might be a more viable alternative to rooftop panels.