5 Common Mistakes Homeowners Make When Buying Solar

Two workers technicians installing heavy solar photo voltaic panels to high steel platform. Exterior solar system installation, alternative renewable green energy generation concept.

Having a home solar energy system is an environment-friendly and cost-saving venture. Besides reducing dependence on nonrenewable energy sources, residential solar panels can significantly cut your energy costs in the long term.

In some cases, though, homeowners aren’t fully aware of the crucial elements that make buying a solar system unit a success. Avoid the following common mistakes when going for residential solar installation:

1)Failing To Consider Long-Term Consumption Patterns

Before buying a solar panel kit, a homeowner should study the family’s consumption patterns for the long term. Remember that energy requirements fluctuate depending on the season and the additional appliances and devices you buy along the way. Having a clear picture of your current consumption and anticipating your future needs would help you determine how much power you need.

2)Not Knowing The Local Regulations

Before starting the project, it’s crucial to contact your local offices to determine whether you need to secure permits and other documents. If you proceed with the installation even before getting approval, you may have to stop mid-project, dismantle the system, and start all over again once the authorities give you the go signal.

For instance, some rules dictate that homeowners hire state-authorized contractors or electricians to install the system, while some allow self-installation. These considerations are essential to remember so you won’t have to waste time and money in having your solar panels set up.

Besides permits and regulations in general, some states may have specific rules on maintaining residential solar panels, so take heed of local laws to ensure you’re not unknowingly violating any of them.

3)Skipping Roof Strength Checks Or Replacement

A single solar panel can weigh up to 50 pounds or over 22 kilos. Placing four panels on top of your home means an additional load of 200 pounds, and this can put undue stress on your roof. That said, a solar system unit can impact the structural integrity of your property.

Before mounting solar panels on your roof, it’s crucial to check its strength and readiness to support them. Ask your contractor to conduct a roof health check, which would entail looking for signs of damage, checking for water and plumbing issues, and so on. If you’ve had your roof for around 15 years, ask the contractor to confirm that it doesn’t need replacement before your project can commence.

4)Having A Lack Of Awareness On Solar Loan Programs

Solar panel installation costs vary depending on the materials, hardware, labor fees, size, and capacity. Solar system prices also depend on which state you live in since local tax credits, discounts, and incentives vary.

According to estimates, a 10-kilowatt solar panel installation costs an average of USD$20,424, with the federal solar tax credit already deducted. This is by no means a small amount, so homeowners might want to look into solar financing programs such as the following:

  • Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) – A third-party company purchases and maintains the solar panels in this program. Homeowners will pay a fixed rate based on the amount of power the system generates for 25 years. The buyer has the option to purchase the system upon the expiration of the lease term.
  • Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) – The local government provides access to PACE program funds. There are authorized lenders that offer to finance solar system installation, but homeowners who don’t have an impressive credit rating can still apply for this program.

Other local governments may have specific incentives, so you may want to check what’s available in your area and find out how to get those grants.

5)Forgetting About Warranties

Technologies are in place for manufacturers to create and design more efficient solar panels. As such, solar panels should be worry-free with proper use and when exposed to stable conditions. However, manufacturers and contractors have the responsibility to vouch for their products and services.

Ideally, the warranties you get should cover the essential components that include:

  • Solar panels – While it isn’t the only factor to consider in choosing the ideal panels for your home, the warranty length is often a telling sign that the product is reliable. For instance, more extended warranties typically mean the manufacturer stands by their product quality. Panels typically carry 25-year warranties.
  • Other materials and workmanship – The length of warranties for these varies depending on the manufacturer’s and contractor’s policies. Parties typically offer either five- or 10-year warranties. Check the terms and conditions carefully so you’d know under which circumstances you’re allowed to have an item replaced or repaired for free. Generally, factory defects are covered, while user-related damage like misuse aren’t.

In addition, ask manufacturers and contractors about their customer service lines and the process involved in filing warranty claims and complaints.

Final Thoughts

Having a solar system installed in your home is a worthwhile investment, but only if it’s done correctly. If you want to optimize your residential solar system, perform due diligence by accurately estimating your consumption needs and working with a reputable installer. Without being mindful of these critical factors, you may end up with costly mistakes that could’ve easily been avoided.

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