You have heard about the benefits of switching to solar energy, and you have bought into the idea. However, before buying solar panels, you need to find out all the information that you can. Using free sunlight to get the energy to power is a fascinating idea. It will save you money on electricity bills and give you other benefits.
Solar energy is also beneficial to the environment. Reducing over-reliance on the grid helps reduce your carbon footprint. As you switch to solar energy, there are factors that you need to know. In this article, we will look at all of them in detail. Let’s get started.
Factors to Consider when Buying Solar Panels
As it is with any major purchases for your home, seeking information is essential. Purchasing solar power panels is not any different. Solar panels will harvest sunlight and convert it into direct current (DC). Once they do so, the solar inverters convert that energy into alternating current. (AC). You can then use that energy to power your home. The factors you should consider when buying solar panels include:
1. Reason for the Purchase
Solar panels differ from one another both in size and functionality. Not all solar panels will suit each purpose due to these differences. When making a purchase, you need to ensure that your selected PV modules will cater to your needs. For example, solar panels for commercial buildings differ from the ones for residential use. Matching the panels to the purpose is crucial.
2. Installation Site Dimensions
The nature of the surface where you will install the panels also affects the purchase of the panels. Some roofs may need a lot more work done before installation. You may require to customize physical dimensions and shapes according to the need.
If your roofing material is asphalt, the installation can be straightforward. Installers will install the panels by penetrating studs on your roof. But if it is clay tiles, a lot more work is required. It will also cost you a lot more money as they are fragile. Some roofs may need preservation and maintenance. Installing and maintaining the solar panels you purchase is much easier when the roofing material is in good condition. The direction of the roof is also an important consideration.
3. Understanding what Switching to Solar Means
Switching to solar brings numerous benefits. The most notable one being reducing monthly electricity bills. However, as you purchase panels, you need to be aware of the entire solar energy system requirements. For example, you will need inverters, solar batteries, wiring, and others. Switching to solar is a capital intensive venture, but there are financing options. Also, the system will need maintenance. Seeking information about all the components is the first step before buying solar panels.
4. Know the Upfront and Maintenance Costs
As you purchase something, it is good to keep your range in mind. It is advisable to collect a few solar panel quotes from several companies. Generally, prices will vary from one company to the other. But even as you get the quotes, remember, you should not be swayed only by the prices as quality also matters. Inferior products can end up costing a lot more in the long run. They could have issues with reliability and efficiency.
In terms of costs, you can benefit from the local government’s tax breaks and subsidies. These incentives reduce the price of purchasing and installing panels significantly. Such breaks allow you to ensure you are buying solar panels from the best.
5. The Reputation of the Solar Company
Solar is a long term investment. You will notice most panels have a warranty of 25-30 years. For this reason, it is advisable to spend time researching solar power companies. This way, you can look at reviews and what their customers are saying about them.
The company you choose should be authentic and licensed. If you have seen your neighbors install panels, you can approach them and ask about the company they bought the panels from. Even if there are complaints, a reputable company will have measures to redress any grievances.
Ideally, your chosen company should have low costs but long-lasting solar panels. The company should be able to walk this solar journey with you for the long haul. You can ask them directly about their policies on integrity, performance, and others. The best way to tell if a company has quality products is through the length of the warranty they have for their products.
6. Understanding Long Term Goal for Solar
Going solar is a long-term investment. For this reason, it is good to know that you will be living in the same house for years. It may take roughly eight years for your solar investment to pay off. Besides, you do not want to install solar in a home that you will be moving out of in a few years.
One other important consideration is the mode of acquisition. You will need to do your own cost to benefit ratio for your house. When you purchase the system, consider the financial implication and methods to foot for the expense. The system continues to work for you long after paying the cost of acquisition.
Alternatively, you can choose the lease option. It allows access to cheaper energy immediately. Here, the initial cost can be little or even zero. Unfortunately, the benefits here may be limited. When the lease is up, the company can take away their system as they retain its ownership.
7. Product Warranty
Regardless of the deal offered, you should never purchase any solar panels or solar energy components without a warranty. By now, you may have noticed that the solar panel warranties are pretty long. The main reason for this is because the manufacturers do not expect them to malfunction within that time frame.
A solar warranty is a guarantee you get from the manufacturer of their ability to last. Generally, the warranties range between 25- 30 years. During that duration, the manufacturer assures you that your solar panels will function effectively. If any problems arise, they are responsible for fixing or replacing the solar panels.
8. Deciding on the Panel Type
There are various types of solar panels in the market. Each has different characteristics, advantages, and disadvantages. Such types include monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and thin-film solar panels. The types are ideal for different roof types and are made using varying technologies. Thin-film solar panels are mostly for commercial use as they have high efficiency.
If you install inefficient panels on your roof, you may need to add more to boost your energy requirements. You need to ensure you are getting the best type depending on your needs.
9. Energy Requirements for your Building
The amount of energy you use in your home will differ from your neighbor and vice versa. Due to this, it is essential to know the average electricity consumed in your house. With this information, you will see the number of panels you require to power your home.
For an accurate estimate, you can look at your electric bills. The information will allow you to calculate the number of kilowatts consumed in your household daily. The estimation will help you determine the solar energy system’s size that you need to put up.
Before you purchase solar panels, you also need to consider this point. In the solar installation, the amount of direct sunlight on the PV modules is essential. One factor that impacts this is where you live. However, tall trees and buildings can also affect the exposure to the sun. The more the panels get exposure to the sun, the more electricity they will generate.
11. Solar Panel Certification
Any product that can attract a government rebate requires certification. The certification found on solar panels shows the testing they have gone through. It usually indicates that the product has met all the advertised specifications. An independent laboratory does the testing.
Solar panels’ efficiency refers to the rate at which the solar panels convert electricity. When the efficiency is higher, the panels required in this case are few. You should look at the inverter’s efficiency before you buy solar panels.
13. Steer clear of high-pressure salespeople
Lastly, when considering to purchase solar panels, you need to make a sound decision as you will live with it for the next few decades. For this reason, as you are shopping around, you need to avoid high-pressure salespeople. Avoid deciding on the spur of the moment. Instead, ask for time to review the deal.
You need solar panels whose performance will be unquestionable. Remember, a manufacturer making quality panels has an extended warranty period. It should be able to provide you with peace of mind that the product you are about to purchase is highly efficient. Familiarizing yourself with a solar energy system is also highly recommended. You need to understand all the components, such as inverters and mounting equipment.