How Does Rooftop Solar work?

A worker install a solar panel on a rooftop.

The short answer:

Solar panels get installed on your roof (or ground mounted in your yard).
They generate clean energy & your electricity bill goes bye bye!‍

The long answer:

Here are 6 things to know about rooftop solar.

1: There are several payment options.

  • There are typically 4 ways you can pay for solar panels: pay in cash, get a loan, get a lease, or sign a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).
  • We wrote a whole post breaking these down for you here.

2: You qualify for a federal tax credit, aka money!

  • If your solar panels are installed by the end of 2022, you can claim 26% of the cost on your federal taxes.
  • The Federal Solar ITC can be a little confusing to understand, we wrote all about it here.‍

3: You can earn money for the extra electricity you generate.

  • In some states, if you generate more power than you use, your utility company will pay YOU. What?!
  • This is called "net-metering". Read more about that on

4: Your roof maters.

  • When you get a quote for rooftop solar, most installers will ask you how old your roof is & what material it's made out of.
  • Solar panels will generate electricity for 25+ years, so you want your roof to be on the newer side before installing solar to avoid needing to uninstall and reinstall your panels.
  • Some roof materials may make it more difficult to attach solar panels too. It may not be impossible, but a matter of finding an installer who can work with you.

5: You don't have to get'em on your roof!

  • If your roof is shady, you can also get ground mounted panels.
  • There are also stylish solar pergolas & patio coverings available these days.

6: You are connected to the grid, unless you get battery storage.

  • When you install rooftop solar, you are still connected to the grid.
  • The advantage of being grid connected: you use your solar energy during the day & energy from the grid at night.
  • The disadvantage: if there is a blackout in your area, you will not have power.
  • You can go completely off the grid with battery storage or even a combination of being grid-tied with a battery back-up.

Phew, that was a lot!

Got a question or topic you want us to cover? Contact us.

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