If the 8 billion square meters of suitable roofs in the US were covered in solar panels, the country could produce 40% of the total electricity currently used each year.

On a smaller scale, if you live in a sunny state and energy rates are high, you could save a substantial amount of money by powering your home with solar panels.

Not to mention, you will be doing your part for environmentally friendly energy that reduces your carbon footprint. The cost of solar panels has dropped by 80% since 2008.

So if you are interested in installing solar panels in your home, read on to learn how to prepare your roof before installing solar panels.

Know Your Energy History

The first thing you need to do when installing solar panels is to know how much energy your household uses. This will give you confidence that you are installing the right amount of solar panels for your usage.

Gather a one-year history of your electrical usage. This is usually measured in kWh per month. You will need a year’s history because your energy usage might change depending on the time of year.

Next, take your month-to-month usage and calculate your average use You can do this by adding up all the numbers and dividing by 12. Now divide your average monthly usage by 30 to get your average daily kWh usage.

Each solar panel produces about 1 kWh of energy per day. So if you want 100% of your energy usage to be solar powered, you will buy the same number of panels as your average daily kWh use.

For example, if your daily KWh use is 30, you will need 30 solar panels to generate 100% of the power you typically use.

Some people are OK with solar panels offsetting their energy usage at a lower percent.

So if you want your solar panels to generate 80% of your power, you will multiply your daily kWh by that number in decimal form. Keeping the same example as above, you would multiply 30 X 0.80. In this example, you would need 24 solar panels to give you 80% of your energy usage.

Another variable that affects how much solar power your panels generate is the number of hours of sunlight your roof gets.

We suggest going with more solar panels that you estimate you need. When a set of solar panels produces more energy than you need, you can sell your solar energy for a little bit of extra cash.

Keep in mind that this calculation is a rough estimate. Your solar panel contractor, if you choose to use one, will give you an exact figure.

Ensure Your Roof Is in the Sun

To make solar panels perform at peak efficiency they need to be in direct sunlight.

Roof mounted solar panels are the most common. To make sure that roof-mounted solar panels will work for your home, take a look at your roof orientation.

If you live in a sunny state, chances are roof orientation won’t matter too much. However, you still need to check for trees that could be making shade on your roof. If needed, trim the branches to make sure your roof gets as much sunlight as possible.

Don’t worry too much about cloudy days. The sun is a powerful energy source. In fact, just 1 day of sunlight could power the planet for 30 years – here are some more fun facts about solar energy to share with your friends.

Inspect Your Roof and Attic

Inspect your roof and attic for potential problems. If possible, have a roofing specialist conduct the examination. A licensed professional is trained to notice issues that could cause problems later on.

If you do the inspection yourself, look for mildew and issues such as leaks or stains in the attic or walls. This is likely caused by poor ventilation. Attics that are not properly ventilated is common and can make a new roof necessary sooner than average.

When inspecting the roof, keep in mind that each solar panel weighs about 40 pounds. That doesn’t include the mounting racks and hardware.

You might need as many as 12 panels or more to power your home. It’s imperative that your roof has the needed structural support to be able to handle the weight.

When conducting a roof inspection, look at the placement of chimneys, antennas and satellite dishes. You might have to relocate these items to another part of the roof so that your solar panels can get the best, most direct sunlight possible.

Chimneys and vents can be more problematic to move, but it may be possible. Talk to your roofing specialist about the likelihood of these changes being made.

Consider Roof Replacement

Installing solar panels on roofs can last up to 20-30 years. So it’s not a good idea to go to all the effort and cost if your roof is due for replacement.

Don’t be tempted to skip roof repair if the damage is slight. Small issues can easily grow into big problems over time.

Remember, when installing solar panels, workers will be walking on your roof and carrying heavyweight panels. Minor issues before work begins can become more serious under the strain of this installation.

As a general rule, if your roof will need to re-replaced in the next 5 years, it is worth replacing the roof with Jasper Roofing prior to installing solar panels. If you don’t do it now, a solar contractor must move solar panels from the old roof and install them on the new roof. This can be costly and also risk damage to your expensive parts and panels.

Final Thoughts on Solar Panels

The amount of solar power capacity expected to be added in the coming years is equivalent to 70,000 new solar panels every hour. That is enough to cover 1,000 soccer fields each day.

Clearly, solar power is the way of the future. We hope this article has helped you get a good understanding of everything you need to know before installing solar panels on your roof.

Next, read about other solar technology that makes life easier.

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6 Reasons Why Your Website Sucks (and What You Can Do About It)

Have you ever browsed the website of a big company like Dell or Samsung? Were you impressed with how easily you found what you were looking for, despite the all the complexity of their product lines? I guess you probably were. These websites are built to the highest of professional standards. And as a result, the user experience is seamless.

But all too often, startups fail to emulate the seamlessness generated by the big companies. What seems like it should be straightforward and easy turns out to be a lot more complicated than they imagined. Here are some of the reasons why your website sucks and what you can do about it.

1. Boring headlines

In a world that’s full of low brow content and click-bait, it can be hard for your business to compete. People will click on titles that they find the most titillating, rather than the most informative. Titles which aren’t attractive aren’t going to attract much attention on the internet. They might interest specialists, but not the general public.

Making the titles on your website sexier is an easy first step to making your site more attractive. The next step is to include interesting images and perhaps infographics to reel in even more people. Often it’s just about keeping up with what others in your industry are doing, just to enable you to compete.

2. No blog

If you’ve spent any time browsing the sites of smaller companies, you’ll have noticed a trend over the last few years. They all have blogs. No longer is blogging reserved for foodies and disgruntled youth. It’s a tool that practically everybody is using to drive traffic to their websites. But why?

It all comes down to content. First off, search engines love new content. In fact, they take it into consideration every time they calculate your site’s ranking.

But also, the people looking for your product will probably want to read more about it. That’s why you’ll often find blogs on the sites of companies that sell complex products.

Legal firms, for example, make a point of running blogs that explain how their processes work in layman’s terms. It’s all designed to be helpful, accessible content for potential customers.

3. No website marketing plan

Your website is like the display window at the front of a department store. It’s the public facing part of your business. And it’s got to look good. But all too often, startup websites aren’t fronts for their brands. They’re generic templates that look as if they’ve been thrown together in five minutes.

Building brand identity through your website is an essential part of building a successful business. Because it’s your website that the public and other businesses see, this is what defines you. That’s why it’s so important that it’s good.

Take a couple of hours thinking about exactly what information you want to communicate through your website. What should it be saying about your business? And are there any graphics or logos that you should include to make it consistent?

4. Being too modest

The internet is full of people unashamedly screaming out for attention. Sometimes what they have to offer is good. But most of the time, the content itself is far from ideal.

The problem for the startup, however, is being heard above the noise. This is challenging enough in itself. But often startups will be further hamstrung because they are too modest to seek publicity.

The key to generating interest in your website is to tell your story. It doesn’t have to be War and Peace, of course. It just has to be the story about why your company is unique.

Customers are most interested in your story than you realise. Stories are what draws them into your firm’s brand. It’s what gives customers an affinity with you do. And it’s what gives them something to believe in.

If your startup is an ethical company, you can build this ethical aspect into your brand by telling a story. Perhaps you wanted to set up a chain of healthy, fast-food restaurants because you objected to what the big corporates were doing. This is the type of story that people can really get on board with. And it’s the sort of thing that will align them with your brand.

5. Failing to list on established sites

Even if you do everything right, your website may still get lost in among the billions of pages on the internet. That’s why it’s worth using more established sites to get a leg up.

The first thing that you can do is make comments on other sites. The goal here isn’t necessarily to build links. It’s to create engaging, helpful and meaningful content that will build reputation. As your name floats around the internet, this will divert more traffic to your website and help improve its visibility.

The second thing that you can do is write articles and try to get them published on other websites. This will mean that more people will come into contact with your message. And more potential customers are likely to want to know more about you by going to your website. Guest blogging is an excellent way to get your site known to another site’s audience.

The third thing that you can do is connecting your site through popular social media channels. Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter are all being used right now by businesses to promote their websites and their content.

6. Failing to use pay-per-click advertising

In the early days, very few people will visit your site, if any. The majority of your business will be done through word of mouth and recommendations. But there are limits to that kind of growth in a digital economy. And that’s why pay-per-click advertising is so important.

Essentially, PPC funnels interested customers to your website, dramatically increasing traffic. PPC is moderately expensive for a startup. But it’s something that can be tapered down once you build your reputation and traffic increases naturally. Often PPC advertising pays for itself. Most small businesses will use something like Google Adwords.

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