Solar panels are devices that use the sun’s rays to convert them into electricity, providing clean, renewable, and economical power for homes and businesses. With advances in solar technology and lower costs, more and more people are choosing to install solar systems to save money on their electricity bills and reduce their carbon footprint. However, there are some common mistakes you need to be aware of before buying solar panels or you could run into some trouble and lose money. Here is our summary of 5 common mistakes to avoid when buying solar panels:
Waiting for solar prices to drop further
Some people think that solar prices will continue to drop, so they choose to wait for a better time before making a purchase. This is a mistake, as solar prices have already fallen a lot and are likely to remain stable or rise slightly over the next few years.1 If you wait for solar prices to fall further, you could miss out on incentives and subsidies such as the federal solar investment tax credit (ITC) in the US, which credits 26% of the cost of buying and installing your solar system.2 In addition, you will also miss out on opportunities to save money on your electricity bill, as using solar every day reduces your need to buy electricity from the grid.
Thinking your roof isn’t suitable for solar
Some people think that their roof is not suitable for solar installation because it may be facing the wrong way, there is shading, or it is not strong enough. These are not insurmountable problems, as there are now many solutions that allow you to install solar on any type of roof.3 For example, you can use adjustable brackets to change the angle and orientation of the solar panels or use micro-inverters to reduce the effect of shading on the power output or use lightweight materials to reduce the burden on the roof. Of course, you will need to consult a professional to assess the condition and safety of your roof before installing solar power.
Ignoring payback periods and returns
Some people focus on upfront costs when buying solar panels and ignore payback and payback. Payback refers to how long the installation cost of a solar system can be recovered through savings on your electricity bill.4 Payback refers to how much the solar system will save you on your electricity bill over its lifetime. These two indicators can help you to determine whether solar energy is worth the investment and how to choose the right product and solution. Generally speaking, the shorter the payback period and the higher the rate of return, the better value for money solar is. You can use some online calculators to estimate your payback period and rate of return, such as Solar-Estimate.
Buying low-quality solar panels
Some people buy low-quality solar panels to save money. This is a mistake as low-quality solar panels can have the following problems:
- Low efficiency: Low-quality solar panels may have a low photovoltaic conversion efficiency, resulting in insufficient electricity being generated or requiring more area to be installed.
- Low stability: Low-quality solar panels may be affected by temperature, humidity, pollution, etc., resulting in reduced performance, or failure and damage.
- Low lifespan: Low-quality solar panels may have a rapid rate of degradation, resulting in a decrease in output power year on year, or may not reach their expected lifespan.
- Low guarantee: Low-quality solar panels may not have qualified certification and guarantees, resulting in a lack of access to policy support and after-sales service.
Mistake 5: Not consulting a professional
Some people do not consult a professional when buying solar panels and instead decide and install them themselves. This is a mistake as there are many factors to consider when designing and installing a solar system, such as roof conditions, power requirements, system configuration, safety codes, etc. If you do not have sufficient knowledge and experience, you may encounter problems such as
Mismatched systems: If you don’t calculate your electricity demand and system capacity correctly, you may buy a solar system that is too large or too small, resulting in waste or inadequacy.
Substandard installation: If you don’t follow the correct installation steps and specifications, you could cause roof damage, electrical faults, fire hazards, etc.
Insecure rights and interests: If you do not obtain the necessary permits and approvals, you could breach local laws and regulations, resulting in fines or compensation, etc.
All of the above are warranties that you need to consider carefully before choosing a solar panel and inverter, as well as an installer because you don’t want to be in a position where you need to replace one or more of your panels or inverters, paying extra for years to come to the money
From this point of view, the degradation rate of photovoltaic modules is about 0.5%, which means that the annual energy output is reduced by 0.5%. This means that barring a bad solar installation, your unit should be operating at around 90% of its original power generation after 20 years