Going solar is a lot less complicated now than it used to be. Many solar companies are capable of customizing, sizing, designing, and installing the solar system that is best suited for your home.
Despite the fact that solar costs have decreased over the course of the year, many people believe that they cannot afford a private renewable energy system like solar. Many, however, do not take into consideration the government’s local and national incentives for solar energy production (e.g., ITC). Several companies, in fact, will lend you money or even lease you a solar energy system for your home.
This article will assist you in taking a look at what to look for when researching solar companies for installation at your residence.. Several of the most important considerations to make when purchasing or even building a system will be discussed in detail in the following article.
Important Considerations when Choosing a Solar Company
On the solar market, there are a number of companies that specialize in the manufacture, distribution, installation, and even financing of solar-energy-related equipment.
The majority of the time, businesses specialize in one or two areas, but as a homeowner, you’ll be dealing with retailers and installation companies the majority of the time.
- Solar cell manufacturers and solar panel assemblers produce solar cells and solar panels, respectively. They put a strong emphasis on product innovation and research when developing their products. They usually concentrate on fabrication in state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities. The best solar panel manufacturers, such as Tesla, SunPower, and Renogy, have their own local supply chains.
- Retailers serve as the first point of contact for installers and customers alike. They can collaborate with a variety of brands, but they typically direct sales towards a single partner brand. Investigate a number of retailers for good deals, as they may have the most competitive pricing options at times.
When it comes to purchasing a solar energy system for your home, installers are similar to a dealership in that they streamline the entire process. In order to obtain competitive pricing for the system, they typically source their panels directly from manufacturers or through a network of partner retailers. Their primary business is installing solar panels on your roof, but many of them can also assist you with the design and sizing of your solar system, and some even provide specific solar loan deals to help you get the solar system you want.
Finally, when selecting a solar company, one of the most important considerations is to consider the quality of the products they provide, including solar panels, inverters, charge controllers, and battery energy storage options. To determine the highest-quality brands available for each product and determine whether or not your solar company offers those products, you must conduct extensive research. This will serve as a benchmark for the quality of the solar installer as well.
Installers can be small or large businesses that operate in a specific geographic area or throughout the United States.
National solar electric companies vs local installers.
The warranties offered by larger companies, such as national installers, are generally better, but they do not always offer the best prices or the best customer service in the industry. Local businesses are more familiar with the state’s regulatory environment, conditions, incentives, and permitting requirements.
Online tools can make it easier to compare local installers than ever before. When it comes to choosing a solar system for your home, many companies provide loan or lease options to assist you with your finances.
How do I choose a solar company?
Perform extensive research on a variety of solar energy companies and read their customer reviews before making a final decision. Client testimonials can be a more accurate reflection of a company’s service than any advertising that may be displayed. Request pricing quotes from at least three of the companies that you have researched.
Inquire about system sizing recommendations that take into account your home’s energy consumption as well as the size and condition of your roof at the time of installation.
Inquire about the coverage and duration of the manufacturer’s warranty. Additionally, inquire as to whether the company is aware of any local permits or state requirements.
DIY vs Hiring a Solar Company
Many homeowners who are up for the challenge wonder whether they should do the installation themselves or whether they should hire a company to do it for them on their residential rooftop.
The primary advantage of doing it yourself is, of course, that it lowers the overall cost by eliminating the need for an installer; however, it requires a significant amount of time from the homeowner, as you must design, size, purchase, and install all of the necessary equipment and accessories.
Remember that you are designing a system that should last for at least 25 years without any problems when you are installing it yourself. Don’t skimp on the equipment you’ll need for a mounting structure, and shop around to find the best deal on the equipment that will meet your needs. Take note, however, that DIY projects are only suitable for off-grid systems, as grid-tied systems, as well as grid-tied systems with battery backup, require permits for interconnection to the power grid, which must be signed by an approved installer.
The most significant advantages of a do-it-yourself solar panel installation are those that apply to off-grid projects. The first approach to solar installation was made significantly more environmentally friendly and cost-effective by the introduction of home solar kits. However, because they are designed for off-grid appliances such as boats and RVs, these kits tend to be of limited capacity and cannot be connected to the grid.
If you do decide to hire a company, make sure to obtain at least three quotes from different local solar companies. Obtaining multiple quotes can save you up to $5,000 off the total cost of the solar installation. In addition to providing a warranty for their own work, licensed and qualified installers can assist you with the completion of permits and applications.
Keep in mind that if you want to connect to the grid, your inverter must be capable of doing so, and you must obtain permission from the utility company. These characteristics are not available in every piece of equipment, and solar installation companies undoubtedly have a great deal more expertise in this area.
Must-Haves For Your Solar Installation
Beyond the equipment required for a solar system, such as high-efficiency solar panels, mounting structures, solar inverters, charge controllers, monitoring systems, and batteries, you must also consider certain concepts when designing your solar installation for maximum efficiency.
- Your solar system must be able to withstand the weight of your roof. Despite the fact that this seems obvious, many people fail to consider the age of their roofs. The time spent repairing the roof on which your solar panels will be installed is just as important as the time spent installing the panels themselves.
- The sun must be able to reach your residence. Keep your panels facing directly toward the sun during the majority of the day, if not all of the day, as this will be the primary source of electricity generated by your solar panels. Shade is the most dangerous enemy of a solar array; make sure that threes or nearby homes do not block the light from reaching your system at any time of the day or night.
- The angle at which solar panels are installed on a roof is a common aspect of solar installation that is overlooked by many homeowners. They must be tilted at least 10 degrees and always facing the most amount of sunlight possible in order to effectively “self-clean” with rain.
Financial Structure of Your Solar Installation
Throughout the last decade, the price of solar panels and the cost of installation have decreased. Solar energy systems, on the other hand, are not affordable for everyone.
Solar systems with a capacity of 5 kW are typically priced between $5,000 and $10,000 on average. When you consider that the average monthly energy consumption of a home in the United States is approximately 30 kWh, these systems can cover a significant portion of the energy consumption of any home.
Loans similar to most other home improvement loans are available from some companies, and some states provide subsidized solar energy loans with extremely low interest rates. Consumers can lease solar panels equipment from other companies in exchange for a monthly fee, allowing them to benefit from solar power.
State governments have put in place a number of policies that are a mix of laws and rules in order to increase solar energy generation.
A renewable energy certificate is a certificate issued by a certified agency that represents one megawatt-hour of electricity generated by a renewable energy source, as an example. The government requires utilities to generate a certain amount of electricity from renewable sources such as the sun. Utility companies also purchase “proof of generation” (REC) certificates from solar generators in order to avoid fines. Developing a market for solar-powered energy generation.
Aside from financial incentives, other methods of encouraging solar installation include tax breaks such as the Investment Tax Credit (ITC), which is a federal tax break that allows you to deduct 26 percent of your solar installation costs from your federal taxes. Anyone who owns a solar energy system can take advantage of the ITC, which allows them to deduct 26 percent of the cost of the system until 2020 and a 22 percent deduction until 2021.
Best States for Solar Installations
Solar adoption is dependent on a variety of factors, ranging from tax deductions to solar irradiance.
For example, California has the most solar capacity installed out of any other state, and by a wide margin, with nearly 27,405 MW installed as of the fourth quarter of 2019. It should come as no surprise given the high solar irradiance in the state.
However, the best state for a solar installation is determined by a number of factors other than just the amount of irradiation.
For a successful solar installation, state policy surrounding solar (laws and rules) such as net-metering or local electricity prices, as well as incentives such as renewable energy certificates (RECs), investment tax credits (ITCs), and tax exemptions must be taken into consideration in addition to solar irradiation.
Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, and Rhode Island are the best states in the United States to invest in solar energy.
As a result of tax breaks and the high cost of electricity in those states, the payback time for a 5 kW solar system can be as little as 6 years in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. While in the other states of the United States, on average, it takes between 10 and 12 years to reach full payback for the same system.
While New York and New Jersey take first and second place, respectively, due to their excellent net-metering systems and renewable energy certificates (RECs) programs. The interconnection between homes contributes to the development of a healthy and robust solar energy market. Even low-income household programs are available in these states to help make solar more accessible.
FAQs About Choosing a Solar Company
How big should my solar installation be?
It is common for the power of your solar system to be determined by your energy consumption measured in kilowatt hours (kWh). Check your previous electric bills from your local utility or service provider to figure out how much energy you use on a regular basis in your home. Once you have a rough idea of your energy requirements in kWh, divide the total amount by the wattage rating (kW) of the panels to get a rough idea of how many panels you will need for your installation.
Of course, the environment will have a significant impact on the size of your system.
The average household in the United States will consume approximately 10,000 kWh per year. Typically, the smallest solar system offered by installers is 5 kW, which can produce an optimal output of 850kWh per month when operated optimally. In California, a 7 kW solar energy system can provide a household with 100 percent of its energy requirements.
Expert: PVWatts, a tool developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), can be used to calculate your energy consumption. Fill out the form with your location and typical capacity (you can simply try different capacity values), leaving the other fields at their default values, and then click “Submit.” It will provide you with an estimate of the annual solar production for your location. In order to determine how much solar capacity (kW) you require on your rooftop, you can compare this to your annual electricity consumption (kWh) in kWh.
Do I need a battery with my solar rooftop?
One of the most frequently asked questions about solar is “How much does solar cost?” No, you do not require a battery system in order to operate your solar-powered rooftop system. In fact, you can use the energy in your home at the same time that your solar panels are harvesting it, and you can even sell any excess energy back to the grid!
When you have a battery system, you can capture any unused energy and use it whenever you need it, which is primarily during the night or during blackouts. Batteries are only required for stand-alone appliances that require energy during the night when the grid is not available to provide it.
Can I charge my electric vehicle with my solar installation?
Any appliance can be powered by the electricity generated by your solar panels. So, yes, solar power can be used to charge your electric vehicle if you have the proper equipment. The charge controller or the inverter is responsible for the connection between solar and your car; you simply need to make sure that they are of the appropriate size, as well as the solar array.
In fact, many brands provide a complete energy solution for your home, including the equipment and installation. Using Tesla as an example, the company provides solar tiles and a battery storage system that are interconnected with their incredible electric vehicles to provide a comprehensive energy solution.
Will I be a ZNE home if I install solar?
Yes, without a doubt! Your home is absolutely capable of being a Zero Net Energy residence. The energy generated by your solar rooftop will help you save money on your electricity bill while also generating clean, renewable energy.
In the event that you do have to use non-sustainable grid electricity at times, any excess energy produced by your solar system at midday can be delivered back to the grid, resulting in net energy consumption of 0 kilowatt-hours.
Becoming a ZNE home has the potential to increase the value of your real estate property while also saving you money. Because it is the most effective method of combating global warming, ZNE has the potential to be the solution to larger problems.