ARE YOU CONVINCED AND READY TO INVEST IN SOME SOLAR PANELS?
Get in touch with us if you are unable to find the answers to your questions. Before you dive in there are a number of pitfalls, you’ll want to avoid
NOT ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTIONS
Proper preparation is single most important thing when it comes to buying and installing solar panels. Never before has the phrase, “Measure twice, cut one” been so crucial. Although solar panels are very affordable these days you don’t want to end up with an inefficient or non-working system.
How old is your house? Can it support solar panels?
How much energy do you actually need to produce?
Are you willing to further reduce your energy usage?
Is your roof facing the right direction and has the right pitch?
How much shade /sunlight does your roof get?
Do you have a smart meter installed at your property?
Will you need any council permits?
How much are you willing to spend? and should you buy or lease?
How long before your solar panels pay for themselves?
Your answers will give you a much better understanding of how feasible solar energy can be for your situation. If you find out that it won’t do much good, don’t feel bad and don’t give up until you move somewhere the feasibility is better, of course.
DECLINING TO BE INFORMED
On the one hand, just as you can flip a switch and get light without understanding light at a quantum level, you don’t need to know how solar panels actually work to benefit from them. On the other hand, being completely ignorant is just going to come back and bite you in the future.
There are two things you should understand, even at a cursory level: Solar PV systems and solar panels specifications.
Regarding solar PV systems, you’ll want to look up the difference between grid-tied and off-grid systems (grid-tied are simpler) and all different components that are necessary for a working system (panels, inverters, batteries, etc). Regarding solar panel specifications, there are several different terms and numbers that you’ll want to understand, including but not limited to: cell type, rated power at STC, rated power tolerance, module efficiency, power warranty, etc.
You usually get to do it once, as the solar panels you buy last and remain with you for 25 to 30 years. Being informed about the systems and technology will certainly help you choose the right system.
BUYING CHEAP, BUYING FAST
There are companies working to bring the cost of solar panels down, but you should still expect to set aside a reasonable amount for your solar panels. With the help from the Federal and some State governments the cost of solar panels has come down significantly as compared to prior years.
Shop around and get multiple quotes. Going to several solar providers lets you get a clearer sense of how much you can expect to spend. If you see a must-grab offer for $1,000 when everyone else if charging $4,000 for the same, it should give you a pause.
It also gives you the leverage or negotiating down. Not only that but part of shopping around should include researching the credibility and expertise of various providers. Doing this, you will be able to understand why prices vary from provider to provider.
What will you choose for yourself, sweetness of low price now or bitterness of poor quality in future? Shop around and you will find the right system for yourself for the right price.
IGNORING INCENTIVES AND REBATES
At face value, a solar panels system would have probably costed you a lot but with the Federal and State Government rebate and help programs, depending on where you live, you may have to pay only a very small portion of the overall cost.
It is very important to know about the rebates and help programs applicable and available in your state. In certain states, a solar panels system worth approximately $6,500 – $8,000 around three years ago may cost you in the vicinity of $2,000 – $3,000 at present. Some States even offer interest free loans to finance the cost of the systems left after the rebate.
There are eligibility criteria attached to most of the state government programs. It would be a useful exercise to do some research on what’s available as rebate to you in your state.
Most of the consumers get pleasantly surprised after doing research on solar rebate programs. With the current programs, solar prices are at their historical lowest.
NEGLECTING THE WARRANTY TERMS
The general rule of thumb in and beyond the solar panels industry is that the length of warranty indicates how much confidence the manufacturer has in its product. In other words, a shorter warranty often translates as a cheaper and a lower quality product.
When you buy solar panels make sure you know what your warranties entail. Ask about what exactly it covers and for how long. Don’t be tricked by deceptive “performance warranty” which is usually 25 years. The manufactures’ warranty for panels is usually 10 years but many providers do not explain the details of how it works. What happens if the solar provider goes out of business? Is the warranty local or back to base? How long is the inverted warranty? Does it cover only replacement or other issues too? Will the warranty period start from the date you get your system installed or from when the product was manufactured? What is the age of the system components being offered to you (are they close to expiry)? Is there any workmanship warranty for the installation and for how long? Are the warranties being offered to you, underwritten or insured?
Most solar companies offer similar warranties but not all serve them. Asking as many questions as you can will certainly help you find the right solar provider and the right products
TRYING TO DO IT YOURSELF
If you’re a DIY guru who has made all kinds of successful improvements to your home and you know your way around wood, wires, roofing and electronics, then this doesn’t obviously apply to you.
On the other hand , if your hands-on experience goes no further than LEGO, then you probably doesn’t have the necessary expertise. You do not want to make a mistake during the installation process.
The documents required to get the system approved and connected to the grid and to claim the Federal and State government rebates, can only be issued by licensed and accredited electricians.
Although there is nothing that stops you from doing it yourself but remember that you may not be able to get your system connected to the grid unless a qualified electrician inspects your system. Doing it yourself without the required skills and certificates would mean that you may not be able to claim the warranties.
A lot can go wrong. Don’t risk yourself and leave it to the professionals who are qualified. Using inexperienced or otherwise cheaper installers is almost as bad as doing it yourself.
ARE SOLAR PANELS RIGHT FOR YOU?
If the above scared you away from the idea of installing solar panels, rest assured: thousands of people who have no applicable experience have successfully outfitted their homes with working solar energy. As long as you do your research, have a reasonable budget and can find an expert solar provider, you’ll be fine too.
Speak to our consultants and we will guide you in the whole process.