Nowadays, using solar power as an alternative source of electricity not only reduces your carbon footprint thus helping the environment; additionally, the practical application in terms of long term savings is definitely becoming more and more attractive. This is definitely a bandwagon worth jumping in.
Before you scout for your solar power provider though, here are some points you would want to carefully consider when planning your solar panel installation:
- Decide on what kind and how many solar panels you will need. Your provider will assist you on this, but to give you a heads-up for your budgeting needs, here are some of the things to consider.
- Location – What’s the local weather like? Do you have enough sun most of the year round? Or do you have cloudy, dark skies most of the time? Willyou be tied to the electrical grid or will you be off-grid?
- Space – Do you have enough space on your roof or ground? Is the area simple with completely open space, or are there shaded areas like trees, chimneys, etc.?
- Budget – How much money are you willing to spend for your solar PV system? Efficient, high quality solar panels are understandably more expensive. And though there cheaper ones, they are less efficient and you might need to buy more to compensate for lesser performance. You should take into consideration the warranty and reputation of the provider. The additional service might just make up for the cost if you look at it in the long-term.
- What to expect in the pre-installation process. Though the solar power installation process itself is pretty straightforward and takes just a couple of days,it’s all the preparations and the many things to do before actual installation that may drag your project longer. Good planning can lessen this setback.
- A solar engineer will come over to assess your location and needs. He will then recommend the best solar system for your given situation. It is best to do your research beforehand as well, including scouting for reputable suppliers and brands, and checking out your vendors’ reputation.
- If you opt to connect to the grid, you’ll have to sign a contract with them, pending their approval. Expect a series of system checks for this, as utility provider, they need to make sure that any alternative sources connecting to their grid are efficient and safe.
- Actual installation processand why you should only hire professionals. This one is not your regular DIY handyman project. Positioning of the panels and checking the entire system takes professional training and experience. On that note, it is also advisable to look for an experienced, licensed, reputable solar panel installer.
- Maintenance and Cost. As with any system, if you expect it to last you a long time and enjoy the benefits and cost savings, you’d need to make sure it’s regularly maintained, and have repairs as necessary. One of the good things, though, about solar PV system is that it is relatively low maintenance. Regular cleaning twice a year should do the job. The warranty for each parts of the system is relatively long term:
- Solar panels normally carry 20 to 25 years warranty, and as it is fixed and relatively simple, there’s not much wear and tear. Some systems also have built-in monitors to detect output problem, hence it is easier to resolve any inefficiencies.
- The inverter would be the more expensive part of the system, as it only has 5 to 10 years warranty. So it’s best to choose a good warranty to cover the cost as much as possible.
- Then there are the cables that need to be checked and maintained for the system’s maximum operational efficiency.
Though it may seem pretty pricey upfront, solar PV system will save you a lot of money in the long run. Not to mention you’re helping the environment.