Solar power is great for off grid living, but can be costly if done the wrong way.
Those which are interested in solar panels need to be aware that there is a right and a wrong way in which to invest and implement your solar power. Apart from paying for your system in payments (which just gets you debt, interest, and no ROI) there are a few key issues to keep in mind.
Avoiding these 10 mistakes will save you not only a great deal of frustration but also a great deal of money.
1) Look for quality, not the lowest price.
The saying that you get what you pay for is true for the solar power market. Systems which are offered at very low prices should raise flags of quality.
Typically the lower the cost, the more repairs you are going to have. Inverters and parts which are bought from large warehouses in outsourced markets are generally junk and should be avoided.
2) Don’t just throw it up on your roof
Solar Power systems are designed for certain types of roofs. A good supplier will survey your roof, evaluate the solar potential, and suggest the proper panel based upon the results.
The roof and system should work together to maximize the energy and electricity. Systems which are not catered to your specific roof are less likely to function properly and more likely to require additional adjustments, repairs, or replacements.
3) Buying a large inverter is just a waste of money
If you are not planning on adding the panels to your roof in the next year or so, you are just wasting money. Furthermore, retailers are notorious for offering you inverters which are larger than what your roof can handle.
True, it may appear that if you invest now you can add panels later, but if the truth in the matter is that you can only add 3 more panels to your system, you don’t need an inverter that allows you to add 10.
The best practice is just to have the space calculated and know exactly how many panels you can fit on the roof. If you cannot cover the desired space, wait and invest in the system later. The “hope to one day” approach is never a great idea.
4) Do not allocate space to heating stupid things
Where your main solar panels will be used to create electricity for your house, there are a great many other systems which can be added to the roof to heat an array of external items.
Do not use the north facing panels for these lesser needs. For example: You do not need to use the North Facing part of your roof to heat your pool or open your garage doors. Put these panels on your east or west side of the roof.
5) Do not think a Solar Panel system will solve all your energy efficiency needs
If you are a wasteful person and you think that adding a solar panel system will solve the problem, you are mistaken. First, you need to reduce your energy consumption as much as possible.
Once you have a healthy level of consumption then you need to ensure that your solar panel system is energy efficient. You can do this with a simple energy audit.
It is recommended that you have a professional energy audit done prior to having your roof surveyed for solar panels.
By understanding and using different methods to make your home more energy efficient, you can cut the costs of the system by using a smaller one.
6) Don’t place your panels in the shade
This may sound like a ridiculous mistake, but it is one that occurs often. Just because the typical installation is on any given side of a building does not mean that it is practical.
Solar panels rely upon taking in sunlight, so they must be placed on the section of the roof which gets the most sunlight. The provider should offer you a survey and report stating the best locations in which to place your panels.
You can also do a quick visual from the ground. If there is a section of the roof that is constantly shaded by trees then the location is not ideal for solar panels.
7) Ensure that you get multiple quotes
Shop around. It does not matter how well a company’s reputation may be, if they know that you are not shopping around your price quote will be high.
However, if you can get a few quotes then you have grounds for negotiations. Keep in mind that the quotes should be relatively close.
Anyone that is offering services for a fraction of the competitor’s cost may be cutting corners to get you that price. Be cautious of such quotes.
8) Don’t have a Frankenstein System
If you want to spend a ton of money and have a lot of issues, get a system that is made from various brands and various manufactures.
Systems are designed to work with specific parts and brands. Just because it may be cheaper to buy an inverter from a certain provider and the panels from another does not mean that it is the best option for the long term.
9) Do not wait on the latest model
There will always be a new model available. As technologies advance to reduce global warming, bring innovative green living technologies, and as computers evolve, so will the solar powered systems.
Each model will be replaced by a newer model. If you are waiting for the best model then you have it currently. True, tomorrow it will be replaced by a newer model but so are cars and computers and about everything else that you can buy on the market today.