6 Things To Consider When Buying Solar Panels

Since many people are now becoming more environmentally conscious more than ever, the search for eco-friendly alternative electricity sources is on the rise. At the same time, these alternatives must also be good on the pocket.

Hence, people want to save the environment and their money at the same time. For these reasons, solar panels have become a more appealing option.

If you’re on the hunt for a solar panel for the numerous benefits it can bring, which will also be discussed below, then do note that you can’t just go buying the first thing that you see. In fact, there are some considerations you have to keep in mind so you can truly harness, not just the power of the sun, but the advantages of going solar, too. Thus, to help you out, here are six things to consider before buying solar panels:

Assess Your Roof

Before even considering Albany solar providers, or the nearest one in your area, always consider the status of your roof first. This means you must ask yourself, “How old is my roof?”  By asking yourself this question, you can assess if you need to repair or completely replace your roof. Also, even if you have a relatively new roof, if it already shows or presents some damage, like cracks and holes, it’s best to repair it first before going solar.

If you want to replace your entire roof to make way for your new solar panels, remember to also take into consideration the warranty. Ideally, you want the warranty on your new roof to match that of your solar panels. This means that if your solar panel is covered for 20 years, your roof should also have a warranty that spans two decades. By doing so, you’ll reduce the cost of maintenance for both installations.

An Off-grid solar home in suburban Lagos, Nigeria.
An Off-grid solar home in suburban Lagos, Nigeria. Find our more about it here.

Your Roof’s Position

Now that you’ve assessed the status of your roof, the next thing to consider is how your roof is positioned. If you live in Australia, for instance, then you want to place your solar panels on the north. On the other hand, if you’re somewhere from the Northern Hemisphere, placing your solar panels in the south is ideal. Doing so will allow you to completely harness the power of the sun, making your investment worth it.

Furthermore, also consider how your roof is angled and if any obstruction may prevent the sun’s rays from hitting the panels. Do note that solar panels work best if they’re positioned at 30-35 degrees. Also, if any tree blocks this desired angle, consider cutting or re-planting it. Fortunately, with the help of a reliable solar panel installer, you’ll be guided on where to best position your solar panels.

Powerhyde is a Proposed Affordable (Solar) Housing Concept for the Rural Homeless in India by BillionBricks.
Powerhyde is a Proposed Affordable (Solar) Housing Concept for the Rural Homeless in India by BillionBricks. See the full project here.

The Type Of Solar Panel

Now that your roof’s state is all settled, the next thing to decide on is the type of solar panel you should go for. As technology advances, there are now plenty of types available on the market. This is why it’s best to assess for yourself which one will suit your needs and budget.

Here’s a quick look at the different types of solar panels:

  • Thin Film: This type is considered the latest in the world of solar panels. This means that thin films already considered some disadvantages present in the other types: price and flexibility. Thus, even if they don’t provide the much-desired output compared to the rest of the types, they’re lighter and more affordable, giving you more flexibility as you install.
  • Monocrystalline: Since they’re also the oldest type of solar panel available, monocrystalline panels are also the most developed one. As such, they’re quite expensive, but they’re the most efficient.
  • Polycrystalline: This type of solar panel can be considered as the synthesis between the two types, which is why it’s the most sought-after type of solar panel. As the combination of the two, its efficiency may be lower than monocrystalline, but it’s a cheaper alternative, making it a much more appealing investment option.
The Phi Suea House project is the world’s first solar hydrogen residential development.
The Phi Suea House project is the world’s first solar hydrogen residential development. See the full project here.

The Maintenance

Fortunately, maintaining and running solar panels won’t be too much of a headache on your part. If they’re covered with dust and debris, for instance, you can simply hose them down. Also, as stated above, solar panel providers usually provide a warranty of two decades or more, while that of the inverter can range from five years to a decade.

The reason why the inverter has a much lower warranty range is because of the fact that it needs to be constantly replaced. The inverter is also an important part of your solar panel since it’s the one that converts DC (direct current) to AC (alternate current). Since it’s going to be working all the time, the inverter needs to be changed every 10-15 years.

Finally, to keep your solar panels fully functioning to the point that they’ll last for two decades or more, it’s best if you’ll have professionals to assess the status every four to seven years.

Have A Realistic Budget

Much like any major purchase, when it comes to solar panels, you always get what you pay for. This means that if you settle for one that’s priced rather lower, then it may have poor quality or installation work. Do note that converting the sun’s energy to power your home or building is completely a marvelous technological wonder, so the prices of your solar panels’ parts don’t come cheap. Also, installing these panels requires technical know-how, which means you’re also paying for the knowledge of the installers.

As a tip, it’s always best to have due diligence by comparing the components offered by various providers. You can also check their warranty periods so you can assess if the price of their products is worth your money.

Assess The Provider

Finally, it’s important to conduct proper research on the provider you’re eyeing for. Since they’re also a business entity wanting to sell their products, they may use the latest marketing strategies out there to attract potential buyers like you. Hence, it’s important to check some online reviews and testimonials so you can ensure that you’re only dealing with the best in the market.

Additionally, as already stated above, since solar panels are composed of materials that may become worn out in the long haul, try to look into how your chosen provider deals with such issues, like maintenance. You can also check if there are parts that are free to replace or whether or not they provide some discounts. Fortunately, many companies will advise you to seek them out if ever any problem may arise. They may even have these maintenance checks free of charge.

The 4kw solar system of the Tuft House in Tasmania, Australia
The 4kw solar system of the Tuft House in Tasmania, Australia. See the full project here.

Benefits Of Having Solar Panels

Now that you have six considerations before buying solar panels in mind, to help convince you further that solar panels are a worthy investment, here are some benefits you can acquire if your premises is powered by the sun:

  • Reduced Energy Bills

If you reside in a sunny area, then going solar should be ideal for you. Usually, solar panels can generate power for a household that’s composed of two adults and two to three children, especially during the warm spring or summer days. During these seasons, you can tap in the power gathered by your solar panels, which means you’ll no longer rely on the traditional electrical poles, saving you money.

Also, don’t fret if you live in a cloudy area. Such a location will still typically experience two hours or more of sunlight every day; there’s still indirect sunlight. Hence, your solar panels will still have sufficient energy to power your home while cutting your electricity bills.

  • Increases Your Home’s Value

If you don’t want to live long-term in your current residence, you may be doubtful about installing solar panels. Besides, you don’t want to shell out a huge amount of money just for you not to completely enjoy it for two decades or more.

However, when you invest in solar panels now, you can still have a huge return on investment. This is because solar panels will increase your home’s value. This is due to the fact that plenty of homebuyers are also becoming environmentally conscious, especially with the promise that they may potentially reduce or eliminate electricity bills if they buy your house. Thus, having solar panels installed will definitely be an attractive addition to your house.

  • Helps The Environment

The electricity being used nowadays is sourced from natural gas and fossil fuels. Both of these sources emit harmful gases, which are considered the major cause of air pollution, as well as climate changes. Additionally, fossil fuels are a finite source, which is the reason why it’s expected that the prices for electricity are going to spike in the future.

As already hinted above, solar panels source energy from the sun. If you decide to power your home with solar panels, then you’ll combat greenhouse emissions. Additionally, you may no longer depend on fossil fuels to power up your home. Such things allow you to help the environment preserve its pristine nature.

Solar Panels on the roof of the Legon City Lofts, in Accra, Ghana by Orthner Orthner & Associates.
Solar Panels on the roof of the Legon City Lofts, in Accra, Ghana by Orthner Orthner & Associates. See the full project here.

Final Words

As you can see, there are plenty of benefits you can get when you decide to go solar, which is a must-have eco-home feature. Fortunately, with the help of this article, you now have the required knowledge to choose a solar panel that’s going to be a bang for your buck!  Thus, when shopping for solar panels, keep these considerations in mind.

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