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A Complete Guide to Home Solar Systems

We’ll provide you with the knowledge to make an informed decision and get a solar electric system installed for your home.

A Guide to Solar Panels

The installation of solar panels allows homeowners to utilize daylight to power their homes, rather than rely on traditional ways of generating electricity, such as fossil fuels. 

As well as saving you money by being able to sell leftover power to the electricity grid in your area, solar panels are also an environmentally-friendly solution for those looking to decrease their negative impact on the environment.

Here at Cross Country Construction, we’re experts in solar panel installation in Roscoe IL. In this blog, we’re going to provide you with all the information you need to know before you take your next steps towards solar.

How do solar panels work?

Solar panels use the sun’s energy and transform it into electricity that can be used to power your home. Having solar panels installed means you are generating your own renewable energy.

Multiple smaller ‘solar PV cells’ are chained together and built upon until they make a panel. These solar PV cells are built with semi-conducting material. They have electrons which create a flow of electricity when light touches them. 

The panels are then installed on your roof and the more sunshine, the more electricity. It’s as simple as that.

Solar panels are also sometimes called photovoltaics (PV).

Benefits of solar panels

There are several major benefits to installing solar panels in your home. Here are just a few of them.

  • Energy bill savings
  • With solar installation comes big energy bill savings. Over the lifetime of your solar panel system, you could save tens of thousands of dollars, not to mention the money you could earn by selling power to your local electricity grid (net metering).

    How much money solar panels could save you will depend on a few different factors. Things like your location, solar panel system size, roof size, roof angle and local electricity rates will all play a part in the overall savings cost.

    At Cross Country Construction, we undertake a satellite footage report for our customers. This report incorporates 10 years of weather patterns to determine exactly how much solar savings you can expect. But prior to this report, our general rule of thumb is that if you’re a homeowner who spends at least $100 per month on your utility bill, our system will save you money.

  • Reduce costs with net metering
  • Net metering is where you’re able to sell your unused solar power energy to the electricity grid. Rules and net metering availability will vary depending on your location, but you will normally find that there is some kind of system in place which will allow you to reduce your utility costs further.

  • Increase property value
  • Did you know that installing solar panels in your home could increase the value up to 4.1%? That’s an increase of $8,200 on a $200,000 property.

    So if you’re thinking about selling your home in a few years – maybe to up-size, or relocate – and you’re wondering if investing in solar will be worth it, yes it will – you’ll still come out on top!

  • Save money with tax credits
  • Thanks to the Federal Solar Tax Credit (or the Investment Tax Credit (ITC), you can subtract 26% of the cost of a solar power installation from your federal taxes. This covers both residential and commercial. 

    In April 2021, the Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SREC or state credits) will be released. We anticipate this announcement to make the tax deduction even greater – making it even easier for homeowners to save money with solar power and reduce their carbon footprint.

  • Be more environmentally friendly
  • Whilst many people focus more on the financial benefit of opting for solar power installation, there’s a lot to be said on the environmental front too. Opting for solar means that you’re avoiding traditional methods of electricity production, such such as fossil fuels, which release damaging gases into the air. 

    Solar power is a truly renewable energy source. It can be utilized all across the world and unlike other sources of energy, as long as we have our sun, we can’t run out of it!

  • Lengthy warranty
  • As the cost of solar panels can sometimes be an initial barrier to purchase, your warranty will give you peace of mind so that you can go about your day to day life knowing that your installer has your back should anything unexpected happen.

    At Cross Country Construction, we offer remarkable warranties on all of our solar power installations – whether you’re residential, commercial or farm: 30 years on the panels, 30 years on the rack, 10 years on inverter, and a 5-year leak and labor warranty. For installed roofs, the roof itself has a 30 year warranty. 

  • Own your power
  • A huge advantage of solar energy is being less reliant on your local grid. If you’re a business owner, your organisation will be less at risk of power-cuts and other sorts of outages. This means productivity is much less likely to be affected, you can continue to work business as usual and local energy failings won’t cost your business money.

    Solar for businesses is a sensible idea, even if the primary purpose is generating your own energy and storing it on site to give you peace of mind.

    In addition to giving you a backup supply of energy in case of emergency, opting for a renewable energy source will make your brand look good. Consumers care about eco-friendly brands more now than ever before. A 2020 survey found that two-thirds of North Americans preferred brands who were more sustainable.

    Whilst solar power could save you money on utilities and help the environment, it could also attract new customers who are trying to make greener choices. Solar power will be another string to your ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’ bow – an attractive string to have from the point of view of both customers and potential investors.

    Types of solar panels

    There are a few different types of solar panels, each with different capabilities and efficiency levels. At this point, whilst you’re still trying to understand the basics of solar, it’s probably best not to go into too much depth in terms of the different types and how they work. So here is a very brief overview.

    Type Description
    Monocrystalline
    This type of solar panel is made from melted silicone and crystalline seed. It tends to be the most efficient type of solar panel, but that also leads to it being the most expensive. This type of solar panel is often used for commercial projects.
    Polycrystalline
    This type of solar panel is made in a similar way to the above, but developed to a lesser quality and different consistency. It has a lower cost than the first option, but also has a slightly lower efficiency level.
    Thin-film
    Thin-film solar panels are made from an array of different materials such as cadmium telluride, amorphous silicon (a-Si) and copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS). This type of solar panel is more portable/light-weight than the others. But it’s also the lowest efficiency, counteracted with being more affordable.

    How to pick the best type of solar panel for you

    When it comes to picking which type of solar panel to opt for, this will depend entirely on your property, your preference and the overall situation. Each of the above types of solar panels have their own benefits, so the right thing to do is decide which one best suits your specific goals as a home/business owner.

    If you have a lot of space for your panels, many people tend to opt for lower efficiency (polycrystalline) panels that are lower in cost. However, if you don’t have much room to play with, you may find that higher efficiency (monocrystalline) solar panels are the best fit for you, despite the higher cost.

    Likewise, if your roof won’t be able to handle the heavier panels – or perhaps you’re looking for a more portable option for, let’s say, your RV – you may find that the best option is thin-film solar panels.

    As we’ve demonstrated, the option you select will depend on your circumstances. If you want to know more about the different types of solar and which will be the best option for you, we’d be happy to talk to you about your needs. Call us on (815) 315-0637 for a friendly chat and a free estimate.

    How much will solar panel installation cost?

    The difficulty with giving a rough estimate for solar savings/panel installation is that no two homes/company buildings will be the same. 

    Your solar panel installation cost will be completely tailored to the size of your building, type of solar panels and not to mention the cost reductions that come with tax credits such as the Federal Solar Tax Credit and the Solar Renewable Energy Credit.

    For solar savings, as we mentioned above, we can undertake a satellite footage report to give you an accurate picture of how much you’ll save. 

    There are also various payment routes to consider when opting for solar, so that’s something else to keep in mind.

    To get an estimate for your solar panel installation and find out more about solar savings, call us on (815) 315-0637.

    Solar panel purchase options

    If you’ve been thinking about opting for solar, but you aren’t sure how you’re going to finance the initial investment that comes with solar installation, some solar companies may offer flexible payment solutions.

    For example, at Cross Country Construction, we have financing options available. Regardless of whether you’re looking to lease solar panels, or are looking for some flexible purchase options, get in touch to see how we can help.

    What if I want solar panel installation, but I need a new roof?

    Sometimes we come across families/businesses that are looking for solar panel installation, but before they can get that far, they discover that they need a new roof.

    This can naturally cause disappointment for the solar customer, not to mention inconvenience as they then need to re-group and find a different contractor to sort their roof.

    If this happens to you and you’re working with us, you’ll be pleased to hear that it couldn’t be simpler for you. At Cross Country Construction, we’re also general contractors. That means we can install a brand new roof (with a fantastic warranty) just before we install your solar array. It’s as easy as that.

    But what if my roof gets damaged?

    If you choose us at Cross Country Constructions to install a new roof for you, your roof will have a 30-year warranty, so you won’t have anything to worry about. The Unirac system we use is also a 3-point fail-safe system against leaks.

    But just to ease your mind, our company was first founded as a roofing company. We’ve been around for over 11 years and we’re only growing. So, it’s safe to say that we know how to protect roofs.

    Will solar panels damage my roof?

    No they won’t! One of the most common misconceptions about solar panels is that they’ll cause structural damage to your roof. This is an extremely rare occurrence and, in actual fact, your solar panel array is very strong and will protect your roof, rather than damage it. This is especially true for protecting your roof from damage caused by sunlight – rather than the sun directly affecting your roof, it’ll be absorbed into your solar panels and then turned into energy. 

    Also, did you know that solar panels and racking can withstand 130mph wind and golf ball-sized, ¾ inch hail?

    Start your solar journey with Cross Country Construction

    If you’re thinking about taking a big step towards solar savings and a massively reduced carbon footprint, why not work with one of Rockford and Roscoe IL’s top-rated construction companies?

    We’re a locally-owned, reputable general contracting company. We’ve been around for over 11 years and are the proud winners of the “What Rocks” Best Siding Contractor award.

    We’ve spent our time in the industry building an exceptional reputation for exceeding all expectations when it comes to home and business construction.

    We’d love to help you on your journey to solar. Get in touch for a free estimate today.

    Get in touch

    A few words from a recent customer

    If being the winner of the What Rocks “Best Siding Contractor” Award isn’t quite enough to get you to work with us, how about this review from a recent customer?

    Read more over on our Facebook page.

    “Highly knowledgeable contractors who offer a wide range of services. Interior remodeling of bathrooms, basements and kitchens to exterior work like siding, windows, gutters and especially roofs. Work with insurance companies to make sure the customer benefits and things are done properly the first time. Now adding solar installations to the long list of services will only benefit the customer.”

    -Ryan White, Illinois