The idea of owning your electricity may be a great idea, but solar system installation is far beyond just bolting some solar panels onto your rooftop. In fact, the cost of solar panels usually only makes less than 30% of the entire solar installation cost. The installation process requires adequate planning, costly electrical equipment, and technical knowledge and skill. Also, the whole system must meet the standard electrical code.
In this article, we talk about five important secrets you need to know about installing solar panels in your home. This information is presented by our team at Alliance Solar.
1. Solar panels need little or no maintenance
You are likely to hear a lot of things from solar panel makers. However, no matter what you’re told, just know that the maintenance of your solar panels is not something to be worried about after their installation.
In trying to encourage people to lease their solar panels, manufacturers insist that homeowners won’t need to worry about maintenance, making it look like it’s a big deal. Don’t fall for this! The only maintenance that your solar panels may require is for them to be clear of dirt and debris. To ensure this, all you need is to clean the panels using a garden hose a few times a year.
2. SRECs and Tax Credits are ending
You probably have heard about the many incentives that come with installing solar panels in your home. These incentives include the promise of tax credits and the Solar Renewable Energy Credit (SRECs). You get a SREC on every Megawatt of electricity that your solar panels produce. In some states, you can sell the SRECs produced by your panels to your utility company.
Yes, these incentives are great, but they won’t always be available. For example, the Federal Solar Tax Credit for homes will be reduced at the end of 2022.
3. Solar panels degrade over time
It’s hard to see any equipment that performs at 100% throughout its lifespan, and solar panels are no exception. As they age, solar panels produce less and less electricity. This decline in efficiency, known as degradation, may not be easily noticeable because it happens at a very slow rate.
Due to the degradation of solar panels, the production warranties of these panels change as they age. Most manufacturers will give you a 90% guarantee on the solar panel’s production for the first 10 years. The percentage is reduced to 80% after 10 years, lasting between 15 and 20 years.
The good thing is that your panels can keep producing electricity after the useful life of the system. However, you may want to consider replacing the panels with new ones if you want to increase the rate of your electricity production.
4. Warranties can be deceptive
That a company gives your warranties does not mean they will be around to fulfill them. Before doing your solar installation, it is important that you do extensive research on many manufacturers and find out which one offers the best warranty. While most of them will offer warranties of 20 to 25 years, you need to be sure the manufacturer you are going for will still be in business for that long. Ensure that the reputation of the manufacturer you choose is solid.
The following are some of the types of warranties offered by manufacturers:
- Performance warranties: These ensure that the panels produce at their optimum over their lifespan. With this protection, the capacity is expected to be at least 90% for the first ten years, and then a minimum of 80% from after 10 years to at least 25 years – which is usually the life expectancy of a solar panel.
- Equipment warranties: In case the system fails as a result of damage to any part such as the cables, panels, or inverters, this protection ensures that the damaged part is replaced. However, the labor cost of the replacement is not covered in this.
- Installer warranties: With these, labor costs are covered if any part of the system fails or malfunctions. These warranties usually last for between one and five years, depending on the manufacturer.
5. Your home may not be suitable for solar energy
It may interest you to know that the present condition of your house may not be good for solar energy. Here are possible reasons:
- Old roof: The lifespan of a typical roof is between 20 and 30 years. A roof older than this may not be suitable for the installation of solar panels. You can expect your solar system to last for at least 25 years. If your roof structure is old, it is important that you consult a structural engineer to verify if the roof will be able to withstand the weight of the solar panels about to be imposed on it.
- Shade: If a large portion of your roof is shaded by different obstructions such as trees, the installation of solar panels may end up being a waste, except you first do something about the obstructions. This shouldn’t come to you as a surprise as it is common knowledge that solar panels require sunlight to work. The presence of obstructions to sunlight implies less available energy.
- A roof facing the north: the only way the solar panels can generate more electricity is if it gets more sunlight. If your roof is facing the north, it will not get as much sunlight as if it were facing the south. This is not a deal-breaker though; you only get to lose about 20% in output if your roof is the east/west type.
What companies should you go with?
Before you do your solar installation, ensure that you do proper research by asking family, friends, and neighbors for solar companies of repute. You also want to do online research. Ensure that the solar company you go with has been around for quite a while and is still going to be around to meet up with their warranties.
Verify that they have the proper certifications. While these may vary by state, the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) remains a must.
The Better Business Bureau is a solid resource to find out about the solar company you are planning to work with.
There are lots and lots of other advantages of solar panels. Did you know that you could use them to power generators too? Paying attention to these secrets will save you a lot of headaches when trying to install a solar system in your home. Ensure that you do your research and work with a reputable solar company to get the best out of your installation.
Article Submitted By Community Writer