Should you add solar panels to your home?

The sun will be shining this summer, and it can do more for you than bring out a golden tan. In fact, it can save you money while also powering your home. With the environmentally friendly home renovation of solar panels, you can capture the benefits of a natural energy source. Here's a few things to consider before making a decision on installing solar panels at your house:

Where do you live?
Your location has a lot to do with how much use you can get out of solar panels. According to SFGate Home Guides, you might want to reconsider installing this eco-friendly technology if you live in a place that doesn't get much sunlight or your home is surrounded by shade, such as from trees or building structures. However, if your roof is a prime spot for taking in the sun's rays, then your home could get a lot of use out of solar panels.

Balancing the costs
Solar panels can save money on your electricity bill and raise the value of your home, but the installation and maintenance costs can really weigh down the benefits. The solar module itself will bring in the highest cost. You'll also need other equipment in your home to make your appliances compatible with the new energy source. Fortunately, you won't be left in the dark about solar costs. A solar installation company can usually give you a quote.

Home insurance
Don Griffin, vice president of personal lines at the Property Casualty Insurers Association, explained to Bankrate that remodeling of any kind can affect home insurance rates.

"A renovation may affect the value of your home or the liability issues," said Griffin. "Anything that changes the structure or use of the property can change your policy."

Roof renovations, especially, can affect an insurance policy because that's where a lot of damages happen - it's your first line of defense against rain and snow. According to Allstate, policies will usually cover solar panels on the roof, but you might need additional coverage for those installed in other places on your property. It is best practice then to speak with your home insurance agent before beginning any major reconstruction projects to ensure that it won't cost you more in the end.

CoverHound's website is an easy-to-use tool for comparing home insurance quotes.

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