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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Keep Your Business Competitive With These Technological Must-Haves

Running a business in 2016 is a fascinating and complex endeavour. The truth is, the world of business is unlike it has ever been before. Not only is it more competitive than ever, but the rules seem to be getting looser and looser.

If you want to succeed in business today, you need to know how to adapt continually to a changing environment. As long as you remain fair, and consistent in your vision, you can do more or less whatever you please. And that is very good news indeed for anyone looking after a company.

Part of the process of keeping up-to-date with the world of business is taking on the latest technologies. This doesn’t mean that you have to religiously follow every new trend. Indeed, if you did, people would likely think less of you and your business as a result. But it does mean that you should be taking advantage of what technology is available.

At the end of the day, you should be using whatever is available to make your business a viable competitive force in the world today. But nor is it just about being competitive. It also makes little sense to ignore certain technological advances. If they are cost-effective, and they provide a means for you to do what you do quicker and easier – then that’s just good business.

With that in mind, let’s have a look at some of the top technological must-haves for your business this year.

Productivity tools

One of the most important aspects of running a business is ensuring that your time, and your staff’s time, is used effectively. After all, you are paying them their wage – you need to make sure that you are getting your money’s worth.

That’s why it’s important to keep their productivity high. This is just good business. Fortunately, there is technology available which enables you to make the most of the time spent in the office.

Programs such as OneNote allow you to keep a much more organised digital workspace. This is great news. Too much of our time at work is wasted on trying to find the right documents for any given task.

With OneNote, you have a user-friendly, easy way of keeping everything together which needs to be together. That way, you can spend more time working.

Even if you just make this change for your own computer, your business will see a dramatic improvement in its productivity levels. Not only that, but you can use that same software to keep tabs on the productivity of your employees. How’s that for a versatile piece of software?

The cloud

Long gone are the days when you would have to copy over files from one computer to another. Thank goodness – we all remember the hassle of having to email files, or put them on a flash drive. And if the files were too big, then it could prove to be a real nightmare.

Flash drives have their place, of course. But for a sprawling business which is only set on growing bigger, they do not serve all that much purpose. Any growing business needs a method of transferring files which is fast and easy to use. It is also a huge benefit if location doesn’t matter at all.

Part of the reason for this is that growing businesses often need to have more than one location in which to do their business. If you have started kitting out a second office, then you might be worrying about data transference.

Don’t – with the cloud, it’s no problem at all. The cloud allows you to have all your files available on any connected device, immediately. There are not even any transfer times, because it is just waiting at your disposal for you to connect to.

This is the kind of technology that business has been waiting for for many years. A few years ago, this would have seemed like a dream. Now it’s a dream come true.

The main beauty of the cloud is that it is easy to use. But even if you – or any members of staff – are struggling with it, then don’t worry. There is always a helping hand available. Consider icloud sign in for all your cloud needs. Chances are, you will have your answer in moments.

Social media

Any business owner worth their weight in salt knows the overbearing importance of marketing. The way you put your business forward into the public view says a lot about your enterprise. It also dictates, to a large extent, how successful you are likely to be as a company.

Marketing should be considered as one of the primary arms of your business. Of course, the methods involved in marketing are varied. And with the advent of certain technological advances, marketing is now more effective than ever. Nowhere is this plainer than in the world of social media.

Social media is a real godsend for business owners in today’s world. With social media, you have a tool which enables you to get your message directly into people’s homes (and pockets). Not only that, but you don’t even have to pay a penny. Unless you want to, of course, in which case, it is even more effective.

Social media allow you to project your brand image however you like, day and night, to millions upon millions of people all around the globe. Never before has there been a marketing tool so immediately effective. Truly, any business would be insane not to consider social media a central part of their marketing strategy.

If you run a business, and you want it to be a competitive force in today’s world, then getting engaged in social media is an absolute must. Ensure that your business has accounts on all the main sites.

But more than that – use them! The key to successful social marketing is a lively, healthy interactivity with the general public. Take the opportunity to present your company in a bold and exciting manner. The people will find it hard to forget your brand in a hurry – and that is the name of the game.

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