How to Use the Solar Calculator
The best way to learn about local rebates, your home’s energy potential, and your eventual return on investment is to use our ModSun Solar Cost Calculator (see above). Enter your home address in the box, then click Check My Roof. You’ll get an instant picture of your roof’s productivity, your average energy expenses, and installation costs in your area—whether you decide to buy or loan. We’ll also provide system size recommendations and information about rebates and incentives you may be eligible for. Just select More Info under each purchasing strategy to learn more, and then connect with a solar pro.
Solar Buyer’s Guide for Cleveland, Ohio
Choosing to convert to renewable energy is a wise investment, and one that will continue to benefit you by paying money-saving dividends throughout the lifetime of the product. This Buyer’s Guide provides a short checklist of information about preparing for solar installation, things to consider, things you need to do, plus general information about available resources to home and business owners in Cleveland.
Cleveland’s Climate for Solar
With Cleveland’s seasonal temperatures running from extremely cold in winter to comfortably high in the summer with temperatures in the mid 80-degree range, solar power is a good option to ensure your property has power throughout the year. Winter in Cleveland can be extreme with temperatures dipping into the teens. For this reason, you’ll need to discuss with your contractor or solar sales representative the option for the solar water heating system that uses a non-freezing fluid that keeps the system functional in freezing conditions. On average, Cleveland receives sunshine 166 days, 156 rainy days, 58 inches of snow, and 37 inches of rain each year, and carries an above average comfort index of 50 out of 100. The U.S. average is 44 out of 100.
Things to Consider Prior to Solar Installation in Cleveland
Several things to consider before installing solar products include preparing your home or business for any repairs needed, exterior property prep, and the inspecting the condition of the roof. Others include:
- Since one of the purposes of solar power is to conserve energy and use it more efficiently, your property needs to be in shape. This means addressing any areas where repairing, replacing, or removing problems will benefit the energy efficiency of the property. Check areas such as sliding doors or regular doors where the weather stripping isn’t keeping out drafts or crevices around windows that allow air to seep in.
- Solar panels also require unobstructed access to the sun. This means any tall trees, branches, or shrubs – for ground-mounted panels – may need to be removed or trimmed back.
- Prepping the property – Whether the installation is for rooftop solar paneling or a solar water heater storage tank, the roof must be able to hold the weight safely. The roof will need to be inspected by a certified inspector prior to installation to determine if can sustain either solar product.
- It’s recommended that any repairs should be taken care of before starting the solar project in order to limit access and potential damage to the panels. This includes repairs to gutters, shingle replacement, or any other type of project that may require roof access.
Selecting a Solar Contractor in Cleveland
Put your mind at ease by checking a potential contractor’s license through the Ohio Department of Commerce using the free eLicense Center search tool. Selecting a contractor is one of the most important steps with solar installation and you want someone with the appropriate license, insurance and experience. Get several estimates from local contractors, ask for their license information, get references, and when you make a final decision, be sure the contract is signed, dated, clearly outlines what’s included in the total cost, and includes a completion date.
If a down payment is required, what it covers should be clearly stated on the contract with the balance due clearly detailing the remaining coverage. Do not sign the contract if there is something you don’t understand or if any of the above are not in place. Be sure to get a copy before the project begins.
Solar Permits for the City of Cleveland
Contact the City of Cleveland permit office located at 601 Lakeside Avenue for information about what permits are needed, how to schedule an inspection, and how to apply. The office is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. or you can call (216) 664-2000. Although in most cases your contractor can apply for the permit and take care of scheduling an inspection, it’s to your advantage to understand all the steps yourself to ensure everything required by the city is being taken care of.
Solar Resources Available for Cleveland Property Owners
Check these websites for available programs for residential and commercial property owners regarding rebates, tax credits, grants, and guaranteed loans. With these programs, the initial cost of a solar system can be significantly reduced. The rebates and lower monthly utility bills result in a shorter pay-off period for the cost of the equipment and installation.
- Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy (DSIRE)
- Energy Star
- Rural Energy for America Program
Once you’re hired a contractor, he’ll work with you in determining the type and size of solar power product that is appropriate for your property. Whether you choose the Grid-Tie, Off-Grid, or Grid-Tie and Battery Backup solar paneling system, or the Active or Passive solar water heating system, your contractor is your guide to the best solar option based on square footage, climate, and roof design.