WHAT TO KNOW BEFORE INSTALLING SOLAR PANELS?
Thinking about going green and conserving energy by adding a solar rooftop?
Who wouldn’t want a lifetime of sustainable energy? Powering your home or business with solar panels is cost-efficient and eco-friendly, but there are a few things you should know before you make the switch and install solar panels. We’ve compiled the more important factors so you can decide what the best option is for you to start harnessing the power of the sun and start saving on energy.
Let’s get started!
Choose The Right Technology
When deciding to go solar, choosing the right equipment for the job is crucial. The most important piece of solar equipment are the solar panels, as these will be producing your power. However, the next more important piece of equipment is the solar inverter.
Not many homeowners know about solar panels or inverters and what their role is in a solar PV system.
Solar panels are used to collect solar energy from the sun and convert it into electricity.
Within photovoltaic systems, the two main options are monocrystalline and polycrystalline silicon. Monocrystalline silicon panels can provide slightly higher efficiencies than polycrystalline, however, the various other factors, explained below, usually greatly outweigh the benefits of choosing monocrystalline over polycrystalline.
Choosing a reputable brand of solar panel will have a much larger impact on the energy your system will generate over the lifetime.
Inverter converts the direct current (DC) produced by the solar panel into alternating current (AC), a form of electricity which can be more widely used.
Choosing a good quality inverter is very important, as they are usually the limiting factor for any solar array. The inverter will usually be the first component in the setup to reach the end of its lifetime. Inverters last in the range of 5 to 15 years, whereas the solar panels themselves last around 30–40 years. If you are unsure whether to shell out more money for a premium solar panel or a premium inverter, go with the premium inverter.
For home solar PV installations, the time at which most electricity is generated, during the middle of the day, doesn’t usually coincide with the time at which most electricity is consumed, in the morning and evening. In fact, most electricity is consumed just after the sun sets, when televisions, air conditioning, heating and kitchen appliances are used most.
Therefore, both from a financial environmental perspective, it seems logical to store energy during the day with a battery to be used in the evening.
However, batteries can be expensive compared to the savings they can potentially provide. Each individual case is different, as most batteries have a guarantee of around ten years, and if it takes more than ten years to pay itself back, a battery is probably not worth the investment, as it may well be likely to fail beforehand.
With newer emerging technologies such as Pumped Hydro, Compressed Air, Redox flow batteries, prices are falling and things are likely to change for batteries, so keep an eye on prices, and guarantees.
Your Energy Usage
The amount of energy you need to produce every day will depend on how much you use, so you want to make sure you are doing everything possible to improve efficiency.
We recommend starting with an energy audit – look at and estimate all of your consumption patterns, usage, and needs. This will help you determine efficiency upgrades and give you an idea of how much solar you will need!
Also important is when you use energy. In the mornings and evenings or in the middle of the day?
To determine your home’s average energy requirements, look at past utility bills.
One of the first things you need to consider when looking at adding solar to your home is your roof.
If your roof needs repair or replacement within the next few years, it’s best to have your renovations completed beforehand so that you can have your panels safely installed. That way, you won’t have to pay the extra costs to dismantle a system and then reinstall it.
Your roof must be strong enough to hold the solar panel system’s weight. Hiring a solar technician to evaluate your roof will help you determine if it needs additional support.
Do you live in a multi-unit building or housing complex but still want to add solar? It may be more beneficial to share solar as a community, as this will allow you to save on your electric bills and go eco-friendly, even though you don’t own your own home.
This is extremely important when looking to install solar panels. You want to hire a company that has the right credentials and references/reviews.
You wouldn’t hire a plumber to do electrical work, would you?
The same applies when hiring the right solar company. Find a company that strives for helping customers achieve their goals and building systems that last.
Investing in solar is a big step, and it is vital to take that step with someone you can trust to do quality, reliable work and that will be there for you past the time of installation.
Ideally, you want a company that will stick around for the lifetime of your installation. Since solar cells don’t have moving pieces, they tend to need very little maintenance. Still, in the event that anything does stop working during the warranty period, you don’t want to realise that your installer isn’t around to fix it.
Make sure you can develop reliable and effective lines of communication so that your installer can ease you through every step. And this is a big expense, so don’t be afraid to get a few different quotes before you ink a contract.
So, you’ve found the right solar system for your home – what next? Now you’re ready to sign your new contact! When looking over your contract, it’s important to make sure you look over it very thoroughly to ensure it provides all of the right details.
You want to make sure it shows your financing, ownership, performance expectations and applicable warranty details. These details are important when it comes to spending money on something that can last you a long time, while also saving you a lot of money in the long run.
Have More Questions About Solar Panel Installation?
At RF ENERGY, we know it’s important to work with a company you can trust. We’ve outfitted thousands of homes and businesses with solar panel installations, and want you to be our next happy customer.
Ready to make the switch to solar?
Contact us by calling +1 (877) 792-1643 or complete our online inquiry form to begin your free consultation.