Choosing the Right Solar Panel System For Your Home

If you've started to research solar power for your home, you've probably discovered that it's not as simple as slapping a few pretty blue tiles on your roof. These days, solar panels come in many different forms and configurations, and it can be difficult to figure out which is right for you and your home.

To start with, a number of solar companies offer free evaluations that take into account how much energy you need and whether a solar panel system will work for your house.

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Take advantage of this evaluation to narrow down your options and scope out a company. And because it pays to be a well-informed consumer going into solar power, here are the pros and cons of four major solar panel system types.

Solar Roof Tiles

Solar roof tiles are shaped to interlock seamlessly with your existing roof tiles for a barely-there shimmer of indigo that even the most persnickety homeowner association probably won't object to. Solar roof tiles, which come in many different shapes and sizes, are a sleek, aesthetically pleasing alternative to traditional roof-mounted systems.

However, they do tend to be more expensive, both in materials and installation.  And because solar roof tiles must be integrated directly into your existing roof, it's crucial to get a competent and experienced solar installer to do the job.

Roof-Mounted Solar Panels

These panels are what people usually associate with solar panels, and they remain popular for good reason. Roof-mounted solar panels are more versatile than their tiled incarnation and can come in attractive low-profile styles. Because they sit on a frame just above your roof, these solar panels offer less disruption to your roof and can actually extend its life by shielding it from the elements.

However, some homeowner associations do object to their appearance, especially if they face the street or are bright blue. A solar evaluation can help you determine where and how your solar panels will be mounted before you run into trouble with your association.