In recent years, there has been a significant rise in people’s interest in solar energy and solar panels in particular. This is a product of rising electricity costs as well as environmental concerns. Living through what is likely to be a mass extinction event while paying through the nose for traditional electricity has pushed people to look for alternatives. Here are some factors to consider if you are considering purchasing solar panels to power your home or business.
Things to consider when buying solar panels
Types of panels
There are three main types of solar panels to choose from monocrystalline, polycrystalline and thin-film. Monocrystalline is one of the most efficient, is commonly used in residential homes and comes with a steep price. Polycrystalline are less efficient by comparison and cost less. Thin-film panels are more flexible and portable and are also less efficient than monocrystalline. There are also new solar shingles which are designed to look like aesthetically pleasing shingles but they cost more than the more traditional panel options.
Your energy needs determine the size of the panels you should be looking at. Large homes and buildings will require larger solar panels than small homes. You don’t have to start big though, smaller solar panels and gadgets can cut your electricity cost as you save towards a bigger, more efficient unit.
Budget is a key determinant when purchasing solar panels and heavily affects the quality and efficiency of the solar panels you are able to purchase. You need to factor in a variety of costs including, the cost of purchasing them, the cost of installation and any running cost of maintaining them. You also need to budget for any modifications needed around your home to accommodate the panels as well as potential permits if you need them. Different countries have different policies about installing them. A good installation company, however, will take care of the entire permit process. Still, you should confirm. If you are the handy type, you can opt to install the panels yourself, saving the cost of hiring an installation firm.
Is your roof ready to bear the solar panels? If your roof is old and damaged, it may not be able to withstand the weight without improvements being done. The best practice is to get a professional to confirm that your roof is structurally sound before you go out and start buying panels.
Care and maintenance
Solar panels have an average lifespan of 25 years. They are fairly easy to maintain. All you need to do is keep them free of obstructions like dirt and leaves. They may need repairs because what doesn’t? So talk to the company and find out what you should prepare for as relates to that. One other important thing to keep in mind is their efficiency decreases with age and they produce less energy over time. They still continue to generate energy over time and don’t immediately become useless but you may notice a dip.
As with other big-ticket items, make sure your purchase comes with a warranty. To factor in decreased efficiency, many warranties guarantee 90% of panel production for the first 10 years and 80% for the remainder of the 25-30 years. Go for longer warranties even if they cost more. Shorter warranties are too risky and offer you no protection should something happen.
Government policies and incentives
Different countries have different policies surrounding solar panels. Some countries even have tax breaks and rebates to incentivize people to go green.
As with every other purchase, do your research, and comb through the online reviews of the companies and panels you’re considering. Look especially at reviews of product quality, warranty and the customer support record.
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