Installing Solar Panels: What You Need To Know
As the cost of solar continues to drop, the number of solar installations keeps increasing. But before you shift to solar, try to learn the ropes of the process. Here, we walk you through the decision, purchase, installation and usage phases.
A roof that is under a shade or has a weak structure can’t support solar panels. To make your roof solar-friendly, prune your foliage and renovate your roof. Hire a professional roofer for roof renovations. If you live in a multi-unit building or an apartment complex, don’t relinquish solar power. Instead, look into community or shared solar.
The amount of energy you use determines how much you need to produce. So it’s prudent to trim your energy usage before buying any panels. Begin with an energy audit and seek efficient upgrades. Acquaint yourself with renewable energy too.
There are two dominant solar technologies: Photovoltaic, which turns sunlight into electricity – and thermal, which heats water for domestic use. If you live somewhere where fuel is expensive, or your home consumes a lot of energy, a thermal system is perfect. However, it’s hard to find a thermal installer.
Any time you’re connecting to a grid (or with a utility), there are many logistics involved – fees, timelines, credits, et cetera. Net-metering is a practice, by which, utility companies reimburse surplus solar at the same rate as electricity. In some states, utilities pay less for rooftop solar, which makes it hard to recoup installation costs.
Solar combines the risks of electrical work and the logistics of home improvement. Hence, references and credentials are important. After all, you wouldn’t pay an electrician who has never done electrical work to fix things in your house.
Look for accreditation and get several quotes before you sign the contract. You want a reputable company, not a fly-by-night contractor.
Since solar panels lack moving pieces, they require little maintenance. Still, in case something stops working before the warranty expires, you want your installer to be around to repair it. Don’t ink that contract if details regarding financing and ownership are absent. A great installer in the Northern Territory is www.classaenergysolutions.com.au/darwin/ – Darwin Solar.
Buy or Rent?
Run a cost-benefit analysis on this trade-off. Buying a new system costs more up-front but pays higher dividends. Rent to access low-cost electricity with little or no down payment. But the benefits of renting are minimal.
When you rent, the leasing company owns the solar system, you pay electricity bills and the system is taken away once the lease is up. A solar system you own works for you years after it pays off the purchase cost. Make a decision once you compare the benefits of ownership against the costs of renting.
Solid contracts spell out all the details of ownership, financing and performance expectations. If your solar system is web-enabled, check if anyone is monitoring your energy production and usage. Also, know who has access to such data.
When in doubt, seek expert advice. Solar experts have answers to all your pressing questions.