If the entire company of Ikea and nearly 50,000 Californian homeowners are investing in something, it must be worth it.

What they’re investing in is solar and why they’re investing in it is because its potential for returns is almost brighter than the sun itself.

What’s not to love about a sustainable renewal clean source of energy that can, by some estimates, produce energy cost savings of up to 70% for a single household? It’s even been projected that solar will provide one-quarter of the world’s energy by 2050.

Maumee house_592x445Unfortunately, as interest in solar energy has soared, a regrettable misperception has spread that trees—another important natural resource—can get in the way of solar and undermine savings solar might otherwise produce. Luckily, that’s simply not true.

In fact, trees can actually add further energy savings by providing shade, blocking wind, and many other benefits. They’ve been shown to reduce cooling costs in the summer and heating costs in the winter by up to 30 percent. A single young, healthy tree has the net cooling effect of 10 room-sized air conditioners, running for 20 hours per day!

The truth is that trees and solar can co-exist, together they can produce even greater energy savings than either would produce alone. Just like any other investment—trees and solar produce the largest returns when they’re chosen strategically and maintained carefully.

Check out these Top 5 Tips on how to make trees and solar work together for you and your home.

1) Choose the right trees. When selecting trees for a solar home, choose smaller trees, and be sure to check its projected tree height when it reaches maturity. Remember—a small tree can still offer many of the benefits of larger trees. As for variety, deciduous trees are often best because their growth cycle allows for more sun in the winter. Maples, hackberry, honey locust, aspens, and birches are your best options.

2) Plant them strategically. When trees are mature, they should shade the windows, walls and air conditioner of a home, but not its solar panels. Learn more about how to determine the ideal placement and orientation for your trees.

3) Situate your solar strategically. Just like trees, solar can be placed in many locations and orientations, some of which work with trees better than others. For example, sometimes panels are actually best placed in a backyard rather than on a roof. Learn more about strategic solar placement.

psc-installing-solar4) Prune with your panels in mind.  One of the best ways to ensure you’re maximizing the benefits of both your trees and solar is to manage the density of your trees’ canopies. Less dense canopies are more solar-friendly, and can be easily achieved with some strategic trimming. It’s also important to know the rights that California law grants you to clear the area around your solar panels, especially if it involves a neighbor’s trees. Learn more about those rights.

5) Utilize experts. Want to get started on making your trees solar-friendly and your solar tree-friendly, but aren’t sure how? Ask a local certified arborist. They can help you project future tree growth, trim a canopy, and much more. Click here to find a certified ISA arborist today.

With a little thoughtful planning and care, you can harness the power of both the sun and the soil. The bottom line is that you can indeed invest from the ground (in your trees)…all the way up (to your roof)—and expect great returns!