5 Things To Know Before Buying Solar Panels
Amidst frequent power outages and rising electricity costs, more and more California and Colorado homeowners are switching to renewable solar energy. Not only can you save big on electricity costs, but you’ll also have peace of mind that your home is protected against rolling blackouts and downed power grids.
That said, it’s important to know a few things before buying solar panels. You don’t want to risk damaging your roof or electrical panel, or end up saddled with a poorly sized system that can’t fulfill your household’s power consumption.
So, to help you make the smartest choices possible, let’s review 5 key things to know before buying solar panels:
- Your home’s energy needs
- The condition of your roof
- The cons of a DIY installation
- Tax rebates, credits, and financing options
- Parts and labor warranties
Whether you’re ready to go solar or just doing some initial research, it pays to be thorough. A little know-how can help you reap a higher return on your solar investment.
Get a FREE customized solar estimate from Photon Brothers! We’ll assess your home’s energy needs and roof pitch, then provide you with high-efficiency solar system options within your target budget. You can rest easy knowing all installations are backed by 25-year panel warranties and our 100% satisfaction guarantee. Contact us today!
Your Home’s Energy Needs
Before buying solar panels, you’ll need an accurate assessment of your home’s daily energy consumption. No two households are the same, so you can’t base your estimate on square footage. Instead, you’ll need to calculate how much electricity it takes to power your HVAC system, appliances, lights, TVs, computers, or anything else that plugs into an outlet.
The easiest way to determine your energy usage is by referencing your power bill. Utility companies charge by “kilowatt-hour,” so there should be a number in “kWh” measurement that’s clearly stated in your statement. In some cases, there may be separate charges for “Time of Use” (TOU) hours, so make sure to tally up the total amount.
Your power bill probably fluctuates by season, with higher charges in winter and summer (your HVAC system consumes a large amount of power), so it’s best to identify higher averages as the norm for your household. That said, summer is also when the sun is strongest, so your cooling bills could very well be eliminated with solar power!
The Condition of Your Roof
Although ground-mounted solar systems exist, most homeowners install solar panels on their roof. For this reason, it’s critical that you identify your roof’s age, composition, and condition before attempting to install solar panels.
Solar panels look sleek from afar, but they’re quite heavy, so you need to make sure your roof can handle their weight. Moreover, your mounting hardware may vary depending on what material your roof is made of (metal, tile, asphalt, etc.). If you use the wrong hardware, you could damage your roof (and your panels!) and end up paying for a costly repair bill.
To learn more, check out our blog, Is My Roof Suitable for Solar Panels? You can also schedule a free custom estimate with Photon Brothers’ solar experts. We’ll carefully assess your roof’s condition for any necessary repairs and then provide solar panel recommendations based on the pitch of your roofline. By tailoring your solar system to the layout of your roof, you’ll gain maximum sunlight hours and see higher energy savings.
The Cons of a DIY Installation
To save money, it’s common to think you can just buy some solar panels online and then install them yourself. But while there’s no shortage of “easy” DIY solar panel tutorials on Youtube, we don’t recommend it.
Primary reasons include:
- Safety. Beyond unboxing your new panels, the installation is a laborious and risky process. If you don’t have the right ladder, safety harness, or experience navigating steep rooflines, you could potentially fall and seriously injure yourself.
- Complex electrical work. Unless you’re a licensed electrician with years of experience, you probably won’t know how to properly connect your solar inverter, let alone reconfigure your electrical panel to accommodate the influx of power. If done incorrectly, you could end up paying even more to hire an electrician to fix your mistakes.
- Code compliance. Solar panel installations require permitting and inspections from your municipality. Are you well versed in local and state code compliance? If not, you might fail an inspection and delay permission to power on. Not to mention, you’ll be out $150-$300, which is the typical cost of an inspection
- Timing. Even the most dedicated DIY’ers will admit that DIY projects always take longer than expected, especially for solar panel installations. We can’t tell you how often we hear about people buying solar panels online, only to see them collect dust in the garage while they figure out how to install them.
No doubt, choosing to hire a professional solar installer is the way to go. At Photon Brothers, our team of master electricians and certified solar installers provide craftsman-quality solar panel installations. Plus, we back up our work with industry-leading warranties and a guarantee of 100% satisfaction. From start to finish, we make installing your solar panels a breeze. Just check out our growing list of 5-star customer reviews.
Tax Rebates, Credits, and Financing options
Another great reason to hire a solar installer? They’ll help you source solar tax rebates and incentives that may be available in your area. This alone can shave thousands of dollars off your solar investment, so it’s definitely worth looking into.
Furthermore, solar companies like Photon Brothers will help you navigate solar loan options and find the right financing plans for your needs. If you don’t have the cash to pay for your system upfront, there are several great solar lenders that offer monthly payment plans at various interest rates.
Curious about what you might pay for a solar panel installation? Check out our solar calculator to get an instant quote. One of our friendly solar pros will reach out to discuss financing options.
Parts and Labor Warranties
Last but not least, it’s crucial to understand the parts and labor warranty options before buying solar panels.
Reputable solar companies like Photon Brothers offer outstanding 25-year panel and 10-25 year labor warranties. Should anything happen during that time, your out-of-pocket repair and maintenance expenses will be minimal (if not zero).
That said, conventional panels bought online or through big-name solar companies may only come with limited 5-year warranties. And if you do a DIY installation, your labor warranty won’t exist because you’ll be on the hook for any problems.
Going solar is an investment that deserves to be protected. Save yourself the hassle and hire a trustworthy solar installer like Photon Brothers today.
Get a FREE Solar Panel Installation Quote!
At Photon Brothers, we make it easy to get a free customized solar quote. Call us at 720-370-3344 (Colorado) or 805-351-3371 (California) or schedule a free custom solar estimate online today. Our friendly solar experts will review your household’s energy needs, roof pitch, potential HOA requirements, and more. Then, we’ll assess the right number and type of panels to meet your upfront budget and long-term energy goals. Contact us today and see why we’ve been awarded so many 5-star ratings!