How can I tell if solar panels would be good for my home?

My husband and I are really interested in using renewable energy for our home. I\\\'m not really sure where to start or if it could even work though. Our roof gets about 6-8 hours of sunlight throughout the year. We have a couple of trees that cast some shade in the latter part of the day on one side and the shingles are asphalt. Would solar panels work well under these conditions?
-Sandi H., Sacramento, CA

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Answers

There are a number of factors that impact the feasibility of installing solar panels for a home. These include site factors such as sun exposure, orientation and tilt. Also, average monthly utility costs and the percentage of these that you would like to be provided by solar power need to be considered. An average home can typically generate around 50% of its energy consumption from solar PV without too many major changes. However, making energy efficiency improvements first can result in additional savings and decreased system size. Last but not least, cost varies greatly from location to location based on the local market as well as available federal, state, and local incentives. You can find more information on these incentives in the Tax Credits section of the Resources page of the GPD website. It's always a good idea to contact a solar panel professional in your area for specific recommendations.
-Renee J., Los Angeles, CA