Installing solar panels for your home brings about a sense of environmentalism, independence and modernism. The decision is appealing and exciting. If the process is understood and performed correctly, you can experience the thrill of seeing a dwindling electricity bill and doing your part for Mother Nature.
However in all the excitement, it is easy to oversee a few pitfalls.
Listed below are five mistakes you should avoid when buying solar panels for your home:
#1 Failing to Reduce Electricity Consumption Prior to Going Solar
Before installing solar panels, it is wise to reduce your consumption of electricity. Start with a home energy audit. This can identify big energy loss areas in your home and how to deal with them. Smarter buying decisions, energy retrofits and some behavioural modifications can incur a saving of up to 30% on your next electricity bill. This will make a big difference when purchasing your solar panels.
#2 Going for Deals that are Seemingly Too Good
While it’s true that the cost of solar panel installation is more affordable than before, you need to steer clear of deals that seem like a boon. It just means you might end up paying more in the long run, i.e. through repairs, hidden costs, etc. These ‘cheap’ claims are made through misleading words, cheap panel construction, hidden clauses in the warranty or repair contract, etc. Always shop for panels that are approved by a Nationally Recognized Testing Lab (NRTL) or the Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
#3 Purchasing before Defining the Load
Homeowners often make the mistake of looking at the kilowatts used in the last few months on their energy bill and using it to match their solar panel purchase. This is not a long enough time frame because energy consumption varies throughout the year, especially according to season. In addition, solar panels lose some efficiency every year. So you might be okay in the first year but may end up becoming a solar panel owner who under-estimated or over-estimated their energy consumption.
#4 Forgetting the Insurance
Solar technology is a significant investment and insurance is a great way to minimize risk. Although solar panels are quite durable, unexpected problems and malfunctions may still occur. So getting insurance for your panels just makes sense. Do keep in mind however that not every insurance provider is consistent. Some providers may insure the panels right away, while others add its value to your home and adjust the premium. You also need to have all parts of your installation approved and permitted to guarantee your claim will be honoured by the provider.
#5 Failing to Look at Financial Options
Before heading out to shop for solar panels, do some research regarding how you can pay for them? Determine whether leasing or owning them is a good option. If you want to purchase them, look for rebate and incentive programs offered by your state and federal governments. Keep in mind, these incentives come and go, i.e. have an expiry date, so you’ll want to make your purchase accordingly. Leasing is also a good option because you can still take advantage of all the incentives but be prepared to make a Power Purchase Agreement. If you’re comfortable with this option, then go for it.