On the fence wondering are solar panels a good investment? In this article we can help uncover the truth with many years experience.
As a whole solar panels are a good investment providing you do your homework before making a purchase. Many companies will sell you on low interest financing only to provide you with lower quality solar panels hoping you are not technically inclined enough to notice. Be smart when making your purchase.
We will talk about solar panel efficiency and the common mistakes made when making a purchase. Installation is also a very important factor.
1. Knowing Which Type Of Solar Panel To Buy
Making a purchase on solar panels can be a little bit cumbersome. Knowing which type of solar panel to get is the difficult part when wondering are solar panels a good investment. The market can be flooded with different types of solar energy and you would have no idea which to purchase. There are three basic kinds of solar panels.
The first kind is the Amorpheus kind which is an older technology. This kind of technology has about 13% efficiency. When we talk efficiency we mean out of 100%, how much electricity is produced from the sunlight. So that would only 13% conversion out of 100%. The second technology is polycrystalline. This technology is mass produced and the cells on the solar panel are blue in color. They sell for around a dollar per watt. Solar panels are sold by the watt.
They’ve come down in cost quite a bit over the years, however they are still only about 15 to 16% efficient. These are the solar panels that you have to watch out for when making a purchase. Which leads us to our next technology which is monocrystalline.
Monocrystalline are separate cells that are dark blue almost black looking in color.These are the highest efficiency anywhere between 17 and 20%. You’ll be hard-pressed to get a solar panel that produces much more than 20% conversion of sunlight. The solar panels are still around two dollars per watt for a top quality solar panel. Do not get these confused with polycrystalline panels at it as it is a common mistake.
2. Saving Money With Your Solar Panels
You can save money with solar panels. Providing that you get enough installed and you are in a prime location. Make sure that your prime location is facing due south. If you install the panels at a different angle to the sun then you will not get as much production. Solar panels are widely known as cost-effective and a clean energy source. They also can help you reduce your power bill.
The panels are also useful as a standalone system and help you have power when the power is out. These type of systems involve battery storage. The most common type of solar system is the grid tie. This is a process where the panels hook directly up to an inverter that sells back to the power grid. It is also referred to as net metering.Most companies now that offer solar programs, offer government rebates and 0% financing. This financing makes it very marketable for everyone to own solar panels and will help you decide are solar panels a good investment.
3. The Lifespan Of Solar Panels
Lifespans of solar panels are anywhere between 35 and 40 years depending on the conditions. These conditions are the conditions in which they are installed. In and the environment that they are using to collect the solar energy.
Solar panels like mentioned before work best facing due south. You also want them in an area with very little shade blocking the sunlight production at all times of the day. This makes them most efficient and a more wisely investment.
Solar panels usually come with a 25 year prorated warranty. Which means the warranty depletes percentage wise over a number of years. However it will take care of any issues long before the warranty would be up. Make sure you have them installed by certified installer that uses correct sizing and follows the appropriate codes in your area.
4. Is Financing Your Investment Worth It ?
Financing solar panels can be worth it in the right circumstances. Are solar panels a good investment? If you can strike a deal with the government rebate program or at 0% financing this will be the way to go. For larger solar farms when several people get involved in a project they usually team up as partners to make the financing more feasible.
This would be a situation where you’re selling a surplus back to the grid to take care of the finance payment. At this point it is highly worth it to have solar panels installed in for an example for a place like a field.
You can see these all over the world in big fields. Sometimes they are not government owned but by individuals from a group.
5. Watching Out For Sales Gimmicks
Definitely watch out for sales gimmicks. Just like a car salesman there are also people selling solar panels. When they try to sell you a10,000 W or 10 kW system. Be sure to check out the nameplate data on the back of the solar panels so that they actually produce what the salesman is telling you.
Many of the solar panel ratings or maximum ratings of potential of what solar panel could actually do. This is for for a fraction of a second before it could short itself out. This is not a practical calculation and will result in less power output from solar panel once it is hooked on to the grid.
Some salesman will sell you on this higher numbers to make the numbers look better see you go for the purchase. Other salesman will have the whole system installed and then tell you at the end you need an electrician to certify for you. This is not a good situation to be in.
Make sure the sales people or companies selling solar panels provide their own electrician. They should have everything certified and give you a turn key package. You do not want extra headaches with your purchase.
6. How Long Will It Take To Pay For Solar Panels?
The payback period on solar panels varies greatly. It really boils down to what kind of interest terms you can get if you were financing. It also has a lot to do with any government subsidies. You can get back or incentive programs that they offer to drop the price of the panels.
Most solar systems 10 kW or under, take 15 to 20 years for payback. Most solar systems over 20 kW can be as low as five years but again it depends on the programs available. Check with your local government to see what they offer and also check with your local solar installer see what they offer as well. In some cases you can get double rebate programs some back from your solar installer and some back from your local government.
7. What To Do If You Have Been Ripped Off
Mentioned a few times earlier, make sure you find a reputable solar installer certified through their local government or other various programs. Finding the right contractor is the key as well as certified installers. Some companies are just out to sell the panels and then are gone after that.
If you get taken advantage of and are sold on higher water ratings there’s not really much you can do about it. It’s very difficult to prove that you have been under sold. The reason for this is technical issues with the panels themselves in the ratings specifically. The ratings on the panels as to what they’ll put out in a factory setting.
The other big contender that comes into play is the weather. No sales person or installer can predict the weather only give you averages on previous-based data. In the event that you were to take an installer to court you would have a hard time arguing this point. As they say with the weatherman is one of the only ones that could be wrong all the time and still keep their job. With that being said just be aware that this can happen and make sure you do your research and homework before making your purchase.
8. Roof Shingling And What’s Involved
We do not recommend having solar panels installed on a basic shingle roof. The absolute best asphalt shingle roof surveyed in 35 years. We all know in most cases that they do not last as long. If you pay thousands of dollars have solar panels installed on your shingle roof at some point those panels will need to be removed to replace the roof.
This can become costly and result in more fees having solar panels re-installed. Talk to your solar panel provider and they can come up with or offer a roof mounting system that we call standoffs..The standoffs will create anywhere between a two and a 4 inch air gap behind the solar panels which will allow airflow on the asphalt shingle roof itself.
This will ensure the longevity of the roof shingles. If it all possible we highly recommend having solar panels installed on a metal roof is metal roofs are rated at a minimum of 50 years plus.
The best solution is to have solar panels installed on a separate rack on the ground. This can become more costly as you will need to get into a foundation and a whole assembly to hold the panels in place. Just be aware of this when you’re making your choices as to where you’re going to matter solar panels.
9. Where To Buy Solar Panels
There are number of places to purchase solar panels from, just be aware where are you actually purchased them from. We recommend the first place to start is try locally in your area. Find out what’s available for solar panel installers and get three different quotes.
At the minimum get two different quotes so you have something to compare it to. You can also research online and look at various different solar sites. See you at the price of panels actually are so you can know how much markup is on the equipment solar panels installers are telling you.
Research the local rebate programs for your yourself first before you make the phone calls to get your prices education is the key.
10. How To Calculate Size Of Solar System
When getting an idea or calculating the size solar system that you think you will need first look at your power bill. On your power bill should be your daily usage of kilowatt hours. If not you should have a yearly usage of kilowatt hours divided by 365 which will give your daily amount. Your daily amount is what you will want to produce back in solar if you wish to go for now zero or have no power bill at all.
As an example if you use 50 kWh per day which is rather high you will need to produce 50 kWh per day. You will then take that 50 kWh per day and divided by 5 is the number average of solar hours or sunlight hours in the run of the year. This includes cloudy days rainy days and snowy days. It’s actually less than that if you live more northern of the equator and more than that for hours if you live south of the equator. However for this example we were use five. If you take 50 kW and divided by five this will give you 10 kWh or 10,000 W per hour. This means you will need a 10,000 W solar system. Solar electricity is rated in kilowatts per hour. We hope you enjoyed this article and it was a little bit helpful for your decision-making and answer the question are solar panels a good investment.
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