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What Agents Should Know About Home Solar Systems

As a real estate agent, it is beneficial to discuss different types of solar panels and systems with your buyers in order to refer them to the right solar installer.

As a real estate agent, it is beneficial to discuss different types of solar panels and systems with your buyers in order to refer them to the right solar installer.

Solar panels used in residential areas are becoming increasingly popular, especially as buyers are interested in eco-friendly living and managing energy bills. Homes with existing solar panels should provide the date they were installed because solar panels, like other home appliances, have an expiration date.

The average lifespan of a solar module is 25 to 30 years, so many of the original modules are nearing the end of their useful life. With the increasing acceptance of solar energy, new, modern modules with higher productivity are available.

What is solar energy? It is the conversion of heat, the energy from the sun into thermal or electrical energy, the simplest definition of solar energy. This area of ​​energy is constantly evolving and has a wide variety of types and use cases including solar heating, photovoltaics, solar thermal, solar architecture, molten salt, and artificial photosynthesis.

An average house needs 10,400 kilowatt hours of electricity for lighting, appliances, heating, cooling and other electricity consumption. Solar modules generate 250 watts of solar energy, so 28 to 34 modules are required to fully supply a house with electricity. Therefore, solar energy is usually combined with electricity from the traditional grid.

Solar systems for residential buildings

Let’s look at the three main types of solar power systems that are used in residential buildings.

Network-based system

An on-grid system is directly connected to the house and the utility grid, so homeowners can get power either from the home grid or from the grid. Switching between these two systems is seamless and offers the opportunity to balance system production and electricity needs at home.

If a grid-connected system produces more electricity than a house can use, the excess electricity can be bought back to the utility company in a system known as net metering.

Conversely, if the solar panels do not produce enough energy, the house can draw energy from the utility grid. Grid-connected systems are the most cost-effective power supply systems for private households because they have the fewest number of components.

Grid-connected solar power system for private households with battery backup

This system is also connected to the traditional mains electricity supply, but adds battery backup to the system. The battery backup enables the system to balance production and requirements and protects against power outages.

On bright, sunny days that produce the most energy, production can exceed demand. The excess energy charges the batteries where they are stored for future use.

Since these systems are also connected to the power grid, homeowners can draw additional energy from the power grid if necessary and sell electricity to the power grid in the event of overproduction.

Off-grid solar power systems

As the name suggests, these systems have no connection to the utility grid. Without the possibility of drawing electricity from the grid when there is excessive demand, off-grid systems rely exclusively on batteries.

An electrical generator is usually added to the system to protect against periods of insufficient power. The generator is used in times of unusual demand.

Consideration of costs

Solar panels are a great investment and make a home more attractive to buyers, but the initial investment can be costly. Panels and installation can cost up to $ 10,000 even if the federal tax break is 30 percent.

As a real estate agent, it is beneficial to be able to understand and discuss the different types of solar panels. However, referring buyers to a solar installation professional can help ensure that you are getting the type of solar panels and installation that will be most beneficial to their home and location.

Gerard Splendore is a licensed real estate agent with Warburg Realty in New York. Connect with him on LinkedIn.


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