You will be surprised to learn that going solar does not necessarily involve installing solar panels on your property.
Yes, that's true!
With the take-off of a new innovative concept called shared or community solar, homeowners no longer need to install their own solar panels to go solar. Shared solar or community solar is the idea of installing a massive solar farm from which hundreds or even thousands of people can source their electricity. It is a good option for renters or homeowners with unsuitable roofs. For those who wish to improve their property values, the rooftop solar system is the best option.
Are you planning to have your own rooftop solar power system? Here are 5 tips and strategies for making sure you get the best-quality solar power system at a reasonable price.
1. Ask the Right Questions before Buying
“To ask the right question is already half the solution of a problem.”
– Carl Jung
Proper preparation is the most crucial thing when it comes to buying a solar power system. In order to get the most out of the deal, you need to ask yourself as many questions as possible at every step of the purchase cycle. You must ask questions about the solar installation company itself, licenses and insurance, maintenance and warranties, replacement/repair procedures, solar leases & power purchase agreements. Whether you go for a purchase or lease model with cash or by financing with a solar loan, the first thing you’ll want to know is how much money you will save.
Some questions that will help you compare the value of the various offers:
How much money will I save (over 20 years)?
How much will it cost? (…after parts, labor, installation and rebates)?
Is the warranty on my solar panels 25 years?
How many kilowatt-hours will the system produce the first year?
One more thing,
Do not hesitate, even if you have silly questions to ask like -- Do solar panels work better when you put them higher up on the roof because they are nearer the sun? -- This may initially sound a bit stupid, but these are actually quite revealing.
2. Do not Buy Cheap Product
“I'm Not Rich Enough to Buy Cheap Things.”
This famous proverb might not sound like the most budget-friendly tip in the book but believe me, it really is the whole truth and nothing but the truth. You get what you pay for.
You’ll agree with me on this one…when buying health products, we all focus on the brands, even if those are costlier, as you don’t want to compromise with your health. The same goes for the solar power system.
Research and get multiple quotes. If you come across a must-grab offer for $5,000 but everyone else is charging closer to $15,000, you should give a pause. Finding ways to save money is good but don’t forget, short-term savings can actually cost you more money in the long run.
3. Do not Neglect the Warranty Terms
Good performance and reliability are what you expect when you buy precious products. The universal thumb rule, in and beyond the solar panel industry is -- the length of a warranty indicates the confidence of the manufacturer in its product. In other words, a shorter warranty often interprets as a cheaper and lower quality product.
Most of the solar retail companies provide a 25-year warranty on their solar panels.
Sounds Great! But there’s a catch…
The companies provide a 25 years manufacturer's warranty on modules (parts and labor). Some companies do not have good service or business hold in the country and when the time comes; you might not get the deserved support and service. So it is advisable to go for a reputed company that offers replacement warranty.
4. Do not Mix Various Brands
Some people think that they’re so clever that they can mix-and-match different components from different manufacturers to cut down on costs of the solar power system. Though mixing different components is not forbidden, but it’s not recommended. When you intend to wire two components produced by different manufacturers, the manufacturers actually are not the problem. The problem is in different electrical characteristics of the components like voltages, wattages, and amperages, together with different performance degradation.
5. Solar Panel Incentives, Rebates & Tax Breaks
The last but not least important thing to remember.
A solar power system for a modern home is probably going to cost you somewhere between $15,000 and $30,000 — but depending on the state in which you live, you won’t have to pay nearly that much.
Governments, utilities, and other organizations offer solar tax breaks and financial incentives to encourage its continued expansion making it more accessible for today’s homeowners. As a result, the cost can be reduced to anywhere from 30 to 50 percent of the net cost of the solar power system.
All in all,
The phrase “Measure twice, cut once” is very apt for solar power system as these are expensive and you cannot afford to end up taking a wrong decision by buying an inefficient or non-working system. Remember, every manufacturer has its budget-friendly alternative – that’s for sure. But every budget-friendly alternative has its cheap, rock-bottom priced version too and it’s your responsibility to realize the point in which smart economizing starts turning into wasting money. Research on the credibility and expertise of various providers and don’t forget about financing options!