The solar panel industry has grown far beyond what most people had projected 15-20 years ago.
2022 saw the solar panel industry have its 6th consecutive record year, growing 40% over the course of 2021. In the last decade, the annual growth rate sits at 33%, which makes it one of the fastest-growing industries in the country.
This growth signals a greater concern about fossil fuel emissions among the average homeowner. It also tells you how far solar panel designs have come in their ability to offer more affordable products. So long as you don’t make the common errors with buying solar panels, you can experience all of the benefits of solar energy.
Today, we’re going to look at some of these errors so that you can take the proper measures to avoid them. Keep reading and you’ll have all of the information you need to make the right decisions to enter the world of solar energy.
Table of Contents
- How to Avoid Common Errors With Buying Solar Panels
- Don’t Make Errors With Buying Solar Panels
How to Avoid Common Errors With Buying Solar Panels
1. Trying to DIY
Solar panels are intricate pieces of technology that only an expert should attempt to install. If that doesn’t describe you, then you’d only be doing yourself a disservice by trying to DIY this project.
Even if you’ve spent lots of time researching solar panels and how to install them, there’s no replacement for actual experience. The pieces are assembled and attached to your roof in a very particular way. Solar cells are fragile and need to be handled with care.
Doing the actual installation can be quite dangerous as well. You have to transport all of the materials onto your roof and do the work to install them, so you’ll spend an extended period of time working on your roof. If you fall off, you’ll regret not hiring a solar panel provider.
2. Going for Cheap Solar Panels
Solar installation costs vary from provider to provider, so it’s important to get multiple quotes. One thing that a lot of homeowners that are new to solar energy end up doing is purchasing the cheapest possible solar panels to save a few dollars.
Solar panel materials have significantly come down in cost over the last decade or so. That said, it’s still a major investment for most homeowners. That being said, choosing cheap solar panels is actually going to cost you more in the long run.
When you choose a reputable solar brand, you’re going to get reliable panels for your home. This allows you to experience the true benefits of solar energy, which include lowering your carbon footprint and saving loads of money on your monthly energy bills.
If you buy cheap panels, they’re not going to work as efficiently, so you may not fully offset your energy usage. They’re also more liable to malfunction, which means you’ll spend more on repairs and replacement.
3. Not Using a Reputable Solar Panel Installer
Finding the right solar panel provider to install your residential solar system should be priority number one. When you find the right provider, they’ll walk you through the process in a clear and concise way, giving you all of the information you need about brands, panel types, system sizes, etc.
They’ll also come and inspect your home and your roof to determine how the installation should proceed. Basically, a good solar panel installer will take care of everything and have your solar system installed within a few days or weeks.
A big mistake that homeowners make is choosing the first solar provider they find in the local listings. You need to do your due diligence by checking out online reviews, getting quotes, and talking to people from a few different companies to get the lay of the land.
The more work you put into finding a solar provider, the more likely it is that you’ll find the best one.
4. Not Doing Your Own Research
As we mentioned above, you shouldn’t try to install solar panels on your own, but that shouldn’t stop you from doing your own research. If you can bring some knowledge to the table when chatting with solar installers, it’ll make everything that much clearer.
You don’t need to go too in-depth, but having a basic understanding of how solar panels work and what the big brands are will help. You’ll want to know the difference between grid-tied and off-grid systems, the different components of a solar system, and important specifications.
5. Missing Out On Incentives
Another aspect of solar installation that you should be learning about is the various incentives and rebates you’re entitled to. For instance, every solar panel owner is entitled to a federal tax credit of 30% on the price of their solar panel installation, reducing their tax bill significantly.
Depending on what state you live in, you may be able to find further deductions on your state taxes – review this solar page to find out more about these. In addition, there are rebates for solar installation and credits that you can sell back to utility companies to help them hit their renewable energy quota.
The point is that solar installation costs aren’t exactly what you see in the quote. There are a number of ways to cut into the installation costs and help you hit your break-even point sooner than later.
6. Poor System Sizing
When you start looking into solar panel installation, you may just think that bigger is better. While there’s nothing wrong with generating more power than you need (in fact, there are benefits to it), it’s best to accurately size your system before you install it.
There are a few key factors that you have to consider when sizing a system. First, you need to figure out how much energy you use, which requires you to look at your bills and do some calculations. Obviously, you want enough power to offset your energy usage.
Simply matching your energy usage with a system’s capabilities won’t do enough. You also need to look at the efficiency rating of the system, then think about the climate where you live, the panel orientation, and the shading on your home.
The more direct sun that your roof gets, the more energy your panels will generate. At the same time, you need a system with enough voltage and battery storage to fulfill your energy needs. Your best bet is to consult with a solar provider to help you figure out exactly what you need.
7. Not Asking About Warranty
We don’t need to belabor the point that solar panels are a big investment, but they are. For that reason, it would be a huge mistake not to inquire about warranty information. You should have warranties on the performance of your panels, the inverter, and the installation itself.
Solar panels should last roughly 30 years, but potentially far longer. If anything goes wrong, whether it’s a misplaced panel or an inverter that stops working, you shouldn’t have to worry about someone else’s mistake.
Panel and inverter warranties will cover the cost of replacing faulty parts, while the installation warranty will cover any installation issues.
8. Ignoring Problems With Your Roof
One of the things that absolutely have to happen before you install your solar panel system is a roof inspection. If you install the panels on a roof that isn’t equipped to hold their weight, you’re risking serious and potentially irreparable damage to your home.
When you use a quality solar provider, they’ll arrange to do a home inspection before you actually go through with your purchase. They need to make sure that your home is suitable for solar panel installation. If it’s not, they may suggest that you replace or reinforce your roof before they begin.
If you ignore obvious issues with your roof and encounter a solar installer that foregoes this inspection, you could be in trouble. This is a huge mistake that could cost you tens of thousands of dollars.
9. Choosing to Lease
You see a lot about leasing solar panels these days. This is presented as an opportunity for people who can’t quite afford solar panels to lower their carbon footprint and monthly bills. On paper, it looks like a decent deal because the provider covers the up-front cost and you pay a monthly fee.
Choosing to lease removes all of the investment potentials that solar energy is known for. You still pay monthly fees, but instead of going to the utility company, they go to the solar company. You also lose out on the incentives that come from investing in solar energy.
When you invest in your own solar panels, you might hit a break-even point within 5-10 years. After that, they’re making you money. You don’t get this amazing perk when you decide to lease them.
Don’t Make Errors With Buying Solar Panels
These are a few of the biggest errors with buying solar panels. Now that you know what they are and how to avoid them, you can take proper advantage of this amazing technology.
It might seem like a big cost, but if you do it the right way by hiring a professional installer and getting all of the rebates you’re entitled to, your solar panel system will be saving you loads of money soon enough. The sooner you make this investment, the sooner it’ll pay off.
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