With increasing pollution and electricity price hikes, adopting solar panel system is becoming more common now. What are the things you should consider before installing one? This blog will list what questions to ask before getting solar panels and their relevant answers too.
What Questions to Ask Before Getting Solar Panels?
Before getting solar panels, you need to consider a few things and ask a couple of questions to clear things up.
1. Can Your Roof Support a Solar Panel System?
The first thing to ask is whether your roof is strong enough to support a solar panel system. Your roof material also matters because every material does not work out well for solar panels. Get your inspection to see if it is worn out or needs to be repaired. Solar panels weigh differently depending on their type and size. Questions you need to ask yourself are:
- What is the structural support of the roof?
- How old is your roof?
- What are the weight recommendations per square foot?
Overall, the final weight of the panels and the capability of your roof will be assessed by the installer. As per that, the process will be carried forward.
2. Do You Need a License for Solar Panel Installation?
Installing solar panels in some areas may require licensing. This may not be applicable everywhere, but in California, you need a C-46 license for installing and repairing solar panels. Therefore, it is recommended to choose a legitimate solar company for the process.
3. Do You Need Solar Backup?
On cloudy days or during winter when the intensity and sun hours are less, how will the panel work? This is a matter of concern, which is why you need backup. A solar battery is beneficial because it stores up generated power and proves to be a reliable source of energy on such days.
4. How Long Will the Solar Panel Last, and What is the Warranty?
Rarely are there any issues with solar panels but having complete knowledge of solar panels warrants claiming process is necessary. Proper maintenance, regular checkups, and cleaning of solar panels last for about 20 years and a max of 50 years. But during their lifespan, a product and power warranty works like insurance that can save huge repair costs.
5. How Many Solar Panels Do You Need?
If you are wondering what questions to ask before getting solar panels, then always question yourself about the number of panels too. Though available space is the first concern in this context, other external factors determine the number of panels you need: your location, climate, and sunlight hours. These factors affect the efficiency of solar panels and vary with geography. Living in a state with fewer sunlight hours you will need more panels or more efficient panels. The number of panels also depends on the energy requirements of your house and the amount you wish to invest in a solar panel system.
6. How Much Can You Save With Solar Power?
Installing solar panels is expensive and this is something that needs to be considered primarily. According to the Climate Reality Project, the rough cost of solar panels is around $18,840 but with this monthly savings on utility bills can be around $1500. With federal tax credits, there can be a reduction in installation costs of up to 26%.
7. How Often Do Solar Panels Need to be Cleaned?
Cleaning solar panels may seem a tiring task because how could you clean them after all they are electrical devices? For this rest assured because solar panels are completely framed, and you can clean them with soap and water because panels should be clean from debris, dirt, and leaves. Performance and efficiency decrease with dirty panels. However, this need not be done every week. You can schedule the cleaning every 6 months.
8. Is Solar Energy the Right Choice for Your House?
Before installing solar panels, you need to ensure whether it is the right choice for your house. Depending on the following factors, you can decide.
- Amount of sunlight received by your roof: With tall trees and low roofs solar panels may not get a sufficient amount of sunlight to generate enough power
- The direction your roof faces: A south-facing roof is best because solar panels will get maximum solar power. This depends on the location of your house. East, west, and north-facing roofs are also suitable for solar panels. The only difference here will be the number of panels required to adjust the efficiency of the solar panel system.
- Cost of electricity in your area: Every year electricity charges are rising. It varies from region to region because in some places electricity costs are higher than in other places. Thus, solar panel installation in these regions results in huge savings in the long run. Are you taking note of what questions to ask before getting solar panels?
9. What are the Benefits of Switching to Solar Power?
Even after all the answers, you may still wonder how beneficial it is, in the end, to switch to solar power. Well, it is greatly beneficial because you will reduce your share of the polluting environment by reducing your carbon footprint. Plus, there is a minimum maintenance cost and effort required. Two things that you need to care for are:
- To keep solar panels, clean from dust and debris, snow, and water
- Replacing inverters after 15 years or so
Also Read: 5 Rooftop Solar Panels Benefits
10. What Will be the Output from Solar Panels?
Before installation, you need to know what the average output of solar panels is, and what should you expect. You need to compare the energy requirements with the expected output to ensure it is enough. Choose a reputable and reliable solar company for the same as they will guide you better. Now, let’s see what to look for when buying solar panels and what i wish i knew before going solar.
What to Look for When Buying Solar Panels?
To make sure you do not regret later on and say what I wish I knew before going solar here are the basics for the same.
Solar panels are usually durable enough to withstand harsh weather conditions and other external factors. Another factor in what to look for when buying solar panels is durability. It can be determined by the years of warranty the manufacturer offers. Usually, you get a 25-years product warranty, and the years of power warranty may vary. However, a manufacturer offering a warranty less than this is unsure about the durability of its solar panels.
2. Energy Efficiency
It is the percentage of solar energy converted by solar panels. It clearly indicates how much power the solar panel system will generate. Average energy efficiency should range between 15% and 22% and it is one of the essential questions to ask a solar company.
3. Panel Cost
It is obviously the first thing everyone considers before going solar. Wattage, quality of materials, durability (warranty period), physical dimensions, and certifications are major factors determining the costs of solar panels. Cost can be an important factor in choosing the right solar panel.
4. Panel Quality
In the list of what questions to ask before getting solar panels, panel quality matters too. It determines the quality of materials used in manufacturing solar panels and their components. In this context, look out for reliable reviews from their present customers and do online research to ensure the company is providing what it promises in terms of quality
5. Panel and Wattage Size
A solar panel system must be large enough to supply enough power for your appliances. The physical size of solar panel systems varies depending on the wattage required. If you need more power panel systems will have more solar panels making them bigger. For an average household, a 4-kilowatt system is sufficient.
Also See: A Guide to Solar Panel Dimensions
6. Temperature Coefficient
The efficiency of solar panels is affected by heat energy from the sun. After a certain degree of temperature, solar panel efficiency decreases with every 1° Celsius rise in temperature, resulting in less output. It is mentioned in percentage on the label of solar panels. You need to make sure it is between -0.3% / °C to -0.5% / °C.
7. Type of Solar Cell
There are basically 3 types of solar cells based on their building material.
- Monocrystalline: Made from a single silicon crystal, most efficient, and has good heat tolerance.
- Polycrystalline: Made from multiple silicon crystals melted together, slightly less efficient, but most popular in residential panels.
- Thin film (amorphous): Made from small amounts of silicon and is the least efficient.
Which Questions to Ask a Solar Company About Solar Energy?
Before getting your hands on solar power systems, you need to understand solar energy. Which questions to ask about solar energy are mentioned below?
1. Can Solar Power Be Stored? What is a Solar Power Inverter?
Yes, with a battery backup, you can store generated electricity that can be used afterward mostly at night or when power usage exceeds the limit of power produced the system will use the stored power from batteries.
Electricity generated by solar panels is Direct Current (DC) which is transferred to a solar power inverter connected to solar panels. A solar power inverter converts it into Alternating Current (AC) which is then used by connected household devices. Inverters also communicate with the electricity grid to keep the energy supply in sync. In what questions to ask before getting solar panels you cannot neglect to ask about inverters and batteries. This is one of the first questions to ask about solar energy.
2. Can Solar Power Charge an Electric Car? Will Solar Power Reach Grid Parity?
Yes, solar power can charge your electric car with the solar panel system at your house or office. You simply need to plug it to the outlet. However, it is better to charge it during the day as the power supply will be direct while at night it will use battery backup.
Grid parity means power generated by solar panels is cheaper or at par with the cost of power supplied by the utility grid. In this context, the cost of solar power-resourced electricity is cheaper than the utility grid.
3. Can Solar Power My Whole House? Can Solar Power Run AC? Can Solar Panels Heat Up Water?
You can power your whole household appliances with solar power because it depends on the percentage of offset you determine. It can be 10%, 50%, or even 100%. It also depends on the efficiency of solar panels and other external factors affecting their efficiency.
Depending on the size and efficiency of the solar panel’s system, you can easily power your air conditioner with it. With a grid-tied system, it is possible to a large extent.
As for heating water with solar power, it is possible to use electricity from solar power to run a water heater. A solar water heater is also considered in this situation.
Also Read: 4 Advantages Of Solar Water Heater
4. Do Solar Panels Need Cleaning? Will My House Value be Increased With Solar Panels?
Solar panels are aligned at an angle, so water and snow slip off the surface. However, a good cleaning is recommended every 6 months to 1 year. This keeps your panels free from dust, debris, snow, water patches, animal droppings, and other external factors.
Everyone wants to lower electricity bills and new buyers find houses with solar power systems a good deal. I guess in what questions to ask before getting solar panels this seems pretty attractive.
5. What Does Solar Power Cost and How it Saves Money? What is a Feed-In Tariff?
With solar power systems, there is less dependency on local utility units. This will reduce the monthly utility bill amount. On average, installing solar power systems can cost between a few hundred to thousands of dollars. But this depends on the type of solar panels, their efficiency levels, and the extra components installed. The accurate figure of the amount your installer will tell you.
Extra power generated by solar power systems is stored in batteries attached to the system or fed into the grid system (if no battery is attached). Your utility provider will pay you for electricity fed into the grid and this payment is known as a feed-in tariff.
6. Will Solar Power Work After an EMP?
An electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) is a pulse of energy creating a powerful electromagnetic field that can cause short circuits in a number of electromagnetic equipment like computers, radios, satellites, and other similar devices. Up till now, there is not a single reported case where an EMP blast happened in a solar power system. However, as an exception, if this happens the entire system will be down.
7. What Are Solar Power Cells and How They Work at Night?
Small rectangular or square-shaped black and blue pieces that together form solar panels. They are of three types: monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and thin film with different efficiency and appearances. These cells are joined with strings and work as absorbers and converters of solar power.
Most appropriately, solar power works during the daytime when sunlight is absorbed by solar cells and converted into electrical energy. After sunset, solar power stored in batteries is used to power the appliances.
8. Which Solar Power Company is the Best?
A good solar power company will give the following services-
- Quality installation
- The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners® (NABCEP®) certification
- Simple process and solar portal
Also See: What is On Grid Solar System?
9. Why is Solar Power Not Widely Used? Will Solar Power Ever Be Viable? Will Solar Power Take Over?
Here is another one from the list of what questions to ask before getting solar panels. The major reason behind solar power not being used widely is huge installation costs. Lack of basic knowledge, a misconception regarding production, and such questions to which people cannot find reliable answers. Once people find relevant and reliable answers solar power soon will be viable.
Various countries are already shifting to solar power resources for energy production and soon solar power will take over at industrial, commercial, and residential levels.
10. Are Solar Power Systems Really Worth It?
Yes, it is worth enough because it may be an expensive choice but at the same time, it is a sustainable one too. It is not short-lived, and you will benefit more than you invested in the coming 20 years or more. The payback period of solar power systems depends on the type of panels used, but it is surely a long-time investment.
Also Read: What is Hybrid Solar System?
11. Why is Solar Power the Best Energy Source? Why is Solar Power Sustainable?
Solar power is best because it is renewable, requires the least maintenance, and reduces dependency on fossil fuel-generated electricity. Plus, it helps in reducing your carbon footprint.
Also, it is sustainable because sunlight is a continuous source of energy, and it is not exhaustive. Fossil fuels pollute the environment and are exhausting at an alarming rate but take hundreds to millions of years to form.
12. Will Solar Power Get Cheaper?
Initially, solar power systems were more expensive than they are today. With continuous innovation in technologies, industries are trying to reduce production costs without compromising the quality of materials. Hopefully, with lower production costs in the future solar power will get cheaper.
13. Will there be Power Generation on Cloudy Days? Does Roof Orientation Matter?
Yes, there will be optimum power generation even on cloudy days. In fact, the efficiency of solar panels increases in medium temperatures.
Yes, roof orientation does matter to direct more sunlight on solar panels. Moreover, solar panels on south-facing walls get the most sunlight throughout the day.
Which Questions to Ask Before Going Solar?
Which questions to ask before you install solar panels and what probable answers to expect are all mentioned below.
1. How to Know Which Company to Trust?
Still wondering what questions to ask before getting solar panels. Finding a reliable company, in any case, is preferred and among the important questions to ask before you install solar panels. While looking for a solar installation company, look out for the price, then select the one that is beneficial, and their deal meets your requirements. Companies provide advice along with financing options, thus maintaining positive and smooth relations with the dealer. Research company websites of chosen installers along with going through local business directories, Google, along with other review portals could help in the selection.
Must Read: Top 10 Rooftop Solar Companies in India
2. Who Will be the Installer?
Installing solar panel systems requires highly skilled technicians. Therefore, maintain proper communication with the contractors to learn and familiarize them with the details and process of installation before the process starts. Make sure the installers are licensed and qualified professionals.
3. Could You Expand the System in Future?
Installing a properly sized solar panel system to meet the energy requirement is necessary but over time there can be an increase in power requirements by your household. To meet this, you need to add more panels. For this, you need to make sure before installation of solar panels whether there is a possibility of further expansion. For this, space on your roof is an important parameter because without enough space you cannot add more panels.
Also Read: Solar Power to Triple During Next Five Years
4. How Much Power Do You Need?
Look at your electricity bill and calculate the average monthly amount that you are spending. Discuss with the solar power installer about present electricity consumption, and adjustments to be made for the future, if needed. This may include an additional appliance or consumers in the house. With this, you can get an estimated value of power you need from the solar panel system.
5. How Long Will Installation Take?
Usually, the installation process takes 1 to 3 days for an average roof size and about 1 day for smaller houses. However, it may take a week or two for industrial installation as a large area needs to be covered.
6. What Would be the Potential Return on Your Investment?
Your investment is going to be paid back in the form of the sums of money saved from utility bills. Over the course of 5 years, the system usually pays for itself and after that period, savings are purely your profit. Also, the feed-in tariff amount received from utility company is an additional revenue.
Also See: What is Renewable Energy Certificate?
7. Are Tax Incentives Available?
For learning what questions to ask before getting solar panels this one is very important. State and federal governments offer tax incentives up to a certain percentage on the cost of solar panel systems. This brings down the average installation cost.
8. Should You Maintain a Grid Connection or Go 100% Off-Grid?
This is a mutual decision made by you and your installer considering your electricity needs, ground capacity, and rooftop. For most people, it’s quite possible to go 100% off-grid with battery storage and adequate amounts of solar panels.
What questions to ask before getting solar panels? For this today you got a whole long list of questions and their possible answers. What I wish I knew before going solar? The answer to this is included above. But if you have something in mind, please share it with us. Also, share this article ahead and spread the word.
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