4 Things to Know Before Buying Solar Panels
Installing solar panels on your roof is also a great way to generate electricity for your home or business without negatively impacting the environment. With better solar technology comes more efficient solar panels at a reduced cost. There are, however, a few considerations to weigh before you make the solar investment.
Before you do any research on solar panels, inspect your roof to see if it’s capable of housing new panels. Here are a few things to consider with your roof:
Roof Quality - If your roof is in need of repair, it might not be a good idea to install panels on it. Fortin Construction can help with any of your roofing needs! Click here to learn more.
Shade Coverage - Look at the current tree coverage and amount of shade your house gets on a daily basis. Also, be sure to think about what your property could look like in the future (newly grown trees, new building, etc.)
Material - Some companies may charge an additional fee to install on flat, concrete, or ceramic Spanish tile roofs, so make a note to ask a solar professional.
Differing Solar Uses
There are a couple of different kinds of solar panels and how you decide on which to choose depends on how you will use your solar energy.
Photovoltaic - More common, uses photo sensitive cells to convert light into energy, energy can be used for many different applications.
Thermal - Less common, uses photo sensitive cells to turn light into heat, heating water or air, good for reducing high heating bills.
It’s also import to consider the roof-mounted and a ground array of solar panels. Ground arrays can be placed virtually anywhere on your property and could be a good option if your roof is not up to the standards necessary for installation.
Lease or Buy Solar Panels?
Deciding on whether to lease or buy solar panels depends on a few different factors like how long you’ll want the panels or what incentives you’re looking for.
Lease - Solar companies own solar panels and once your contract is up, they take the solar panels unless you purchase them. The great benefit to this is, you won’t have to put very much money down upfront, if any at all.
Buy - Large amount of money down, although over time, you’ll make that down payment back through reduced energy bills. While you do have to have a chunk of change to purchase solar panels, the benefits are more long term. Once you’ve broken even and recovered the price of the panels, you will continue to see lower energy payments.
Another couple of factors to consider when purchasing solar panels are tax credits and rebates; these are great ways to generally lower the price of solar panels. Check out this site to see what incentives are available to you in your area.
Solar Panel Warranties
There are a few different kinds of warranties that you can choose from, ranging from the panels themselves to the installation.
Panel Warranty - typically, a warranty on new solar panels should be around 25-30 years. Covers panel defects and usually offers a minimum electrical output of 80%.
Installation Warranty - duration varies widely. Covers repairs needed due to incorrect installation or malfunctions related to installation.
Inverter Warranty - this covers the mechanism that is responsible for converting solar energy into usable energy. A string inverter that converts energy from multiple panels usually has a warranty between 5-10 years. Individual panel inverters, micro-inverters, tend to have longer warranty, upward of 20-25 years.
As you start your solar research, make sure you check the condition of your roof and be familiar with your panel and financing options, as well as your rebate eligibility. If solar energy is a good fit for your home and lifestyle, shop around and ask different installation companies for quotes to get a ballpark estimate. Solar panels can make a great, sustainable addition to your home, just make sure you’ve considered all these things before buying!