Solar Panels for Home
Home Solar Solutions
Self sufficiency. Smart investment. Cost savings. Doing your part to combat climate change. These are just some of the reasons our customers have chosen to install solar panel systems on their homes throughout Western New York. With Solar by CIR’s decades of expertise and a range of financial incentives available, it’s easier and more affordable than ever to install solar at your house.
Benefits of a Home Solar Power System
Reduce Your Energy Bill
Increase Your Property Value
Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
Power Up Your EV From the Comfort of Your Home
About Home Solar Solutions
There are three primary ways of bringing solar to your home.
Rooftop solar systems are common in our area because they just make sense for most WNY homes. Mounting solar panels on the roof can keep them out of sight, position them at a height where trees or other buildings are less likely to block the sun’s rays, and find practical use for space you’re not typically using for anything else.
While the roof is usually an ideal place to install solar panels, there are some situations where it’s not an option:
- Limited roof space, or a roof angle that’s not optimal for sun exposure
- Too much shading from trees or nearby structures
- Structural concerns, like an older roof that you’re not quite ready to update yet
Ground-mounted solar is an excellent option if a rooftop installation doesn’t make sense at your house.
There are a couple variations for ground-mounted solar. One is a standard ground mount, where solar panels are secured to a stationary metal frame close to the ground. The other option is pole mounting, which often incorporates solar tracking. Both choices have several advantages:
- Optimal positioning towards the south (or even following the sun)
- No space limitations, meaning as many panels (and as much power) as you want
- Easily avoid shading by picking an ideal location
- No roof upgrade needed
If you own a lot of land, ground solar might be your best option. It offers more control over panel positioning, which can be optimized by purchasing a tracking system. These moveable ground mounts follow the sun’s position in the sky, significantly increasing the amount of power your panels can produce.
Better energy production means more energy savings sooner, but you’ll need to compare these benefits with the added cost of ground mounts. These systems require more hardware and labor, including trenching from the system to your inverter and panel box.
Our Energy Advisors can help you decide which setup is best for you.
Community solar expands residential access to solar energy by giving more people the choice to opt into sustainable electricity without having to invest in a solar array themselves. Community solar may be available to homeowners whose houses aren’t ideal spots for a solar installation, and to renters whose landlords have not invested in solar panels at their rental properties.
Through a community solar project, participants buy into a shared solar system that’s owned by one investor, which could be an individual landowner or a nearby company, and located on property they own in the community. The electricity generated by community solar generally costs less than the price participants would ordinarily pay to their utility.
Interested in Community Solar?
Fill out our form to be notified when Community Solar is available in your area.
Home Solar Qualifications
Determining whether or not your home is a good candidate for solar depends on a few factors. For a quick answer now, take our short quiz to find out If Solar is Right for You. Let’s take a look at what you should consider when qualifying your home for solar.
What’s Your Monthly Electric Bill?
Your current electricity bill is the largest factor in determining how much you’ll save by installing solar.
You pay your utility company for every kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity you use, and your rate varies significantly depending on where you live. In the Western New York region, customers usually pay 11 to 12 cents per kWh.
We base our solar system designs (how many solar panels you will need) on the past 12 months usage of your home. If your home is a new-build or you just moved in, there is a little more calculation we need to do with your help to come up with our projections.
These high-level production and economic analyses incorporate local electricity rate data and 30 years of local weather station data to give you a customized estimate of what you can expect to save, and just how quickly your investment will pay off.
Does Your Roof Have Southern Exposure?
The ideal location for a solar panel is on a lightly pitched south-facing roof that doesn’t have obstructions such as a chimney, vents, or antennas.
East- and west-facing roofs are also good options because they get a lot of sun in the morning and evening hours. If your only available roof area for solar panels is north-facing or you don’t have much-unobstructed room for panels, then your home may not be a good candidate for solar panel installation.
Space permitting, ground mounts may also be a viable solution. Ground mounts allow for optimal pitch and orientation for the solar array to capture the most sunlight.
Home Solar Costs
Installation prices will vary depending on a number of factors. The type of installation and the equipment you choose are the two largest price differentiators.
Grants, Incentives, and Costs
When it comes to equipment, tier-one modules are made by bankable companies that have been listed on Bloomberg and have been in business three years or more. Typically these panels come standard with a 25- to 30-year production warranty carried by the manufacturer.
Between the 25% State Tax Credit, uncapped 30% Federal Investment Tax Credit, and NYSERDA (New York State Energy and Research Development Authority) grant, initial system costs can be drastically reduced by up to 60%.
We advise all prospective buyers to consult a tax professional to determine how much of the State and Federal tax credits they are eligible for.
Most people wonder how we make solar work in Buffalo, and the answer is simple: Net Metering. Net metering is a billing mechanism that credits customers on their utility bill with the production from their solar energy system.
These credits roll over from month to month until their anniversary date which will be changed to April 1st. This method allows us to take advantage of the seasonality that is a reality in WNY, which means that the credits you accumulate in June may roll over when you have a deficit of credits in December.
If you want to learn more about financing your home solar system, please check out our Solar Panel Cost page.
Solar Panels for Home FAQs
- Do Solar Panels Ruin Your Roof?
If properly installed and flashed by a professional, a solar system should not damage the existing roof structure. The purpose of flashing a solar array is to create a watertight seal that protects the home from moisture and leak damage. There will also be a third party structural analysis conducted to ensure that the roof structure can handle the active weight, wind, and snow loads of the solar array. If anything, the panels are protecting the roof structure below from sun damage and will potentially expand the lifespan of asphalt shingles especially.
- How Do You Generate Electricity From Solar Energy at Home?
Sunlight particles called photons are absorbed by photovoltaic (PV) cells in solar panels. These particles then flow through the semi-conductive materials in the panels, creating energy that’s captured by wiring inside the panels to create direct current (DC) electricity. An inverter then converts DC electricity to alternating current (AC) electricity, which is what powers homes.
- What Is the Installation Process Like?
The installation process starts with site design and inspection, includes things like permitting and financing, and wraps up when your system is installed and turned on. Learn more about our solar panel installation process here.
- How Much Do Solar Panels Cost for My Home?
Costs vary depending on what type of panels and how many are used in your solar installation. Learn more about our solar panel costs here.
- How Many Solar Panels Do You Need to Power a House?
This number varies greatly depending on panel type, energy usage, and layout. The average number of panels on a WNY home is roughly 30. Use our satellite estimate tool to discover how many panels you need for your home.
- How Much Residential Solar Battery Storage Is Required?
No storage is required due to NYS net metering.
Our Residential Solar Installations
We are well known in the Buffalo and Rochester area for our solar installations. Check out some of our projects below.
Learn More About Home Solar Power Systems
Do you want more information on residential solar? Check out our free resources below or feel free to get in touch with us.