Solar Panel Buying Guide: Where to buy solar panels?

Where to buy solar panels?

It is interesting that when solar panels were first introduced into the market in the mid-1970s, they were going for $75/watt while today the solar panel cost has plummeted to less than $1/watt. Due to the decreasing solar panel cost and the increasing electricity cost; many homes and businesses have installed solar panels on their rooftop.

By the year 2016, more than 1 million homes had already installed solar panels on their rooftops. In the next 10 to 20 years, the solar panel cost is predicted to continue to decrease and it is expected that it will be cheaper than today’s lowest wholesale energy cost (energy from coal-fired sources).

As this trend continues to advance, more and more homes and businesses are looking for places where to buy solar panels. Today, because of the rapid growth of the solar industry, there are many solar manufacturers and hence very many solar brands and it may prove not easy to make the decision about where to buy your solar panels.

Solar Panel Buying guide: where do I buy solar panels 

Since the process of buying solar panels may involve a lot of research and preparation; where to buy your solar panels will depend on your current circumstances including, but not limited to whether you are buying through cash, loan, solar PPA or leasing. Also, before you decide or start looking for where to buy solar panels, you may want to consider these three aspects:

1. Reviews & ratings of different solar panels brands.

2. Compare solar panel quotes from multiple solar installers

3. How you intend to finance your solar panels?

Reviews & ratings of different solar panel brands 

With the growing solar industry, there are very many solar panel brands due to having many manufacturers. Some of the popular solar panels include Sunpower, Sharp, Solar World, Sanyo Electric, Schuco USA, Canadian Solar, Mage Solar USA, Kyocera Solar, Silicon Energy, Trina solar, etc.

Since today there are so many brands out there, looking for consumer reviews and ratings of solar panels may help you find the best solar panels for your home or business. Consumer reviews will normally touch on solar panel quality issues, customer service as well as the performance (solar panel efficiency) of the different solar panel brands.

Also, consumer reviews will tell on other aspects of solar panels such as the warranty provided on different solar panel brands and their experiences with these brands. EnergySage is a great resource to help you review and find ratings for different solar panels as well as solar inverters. According to SolarReviews, the average rating for solar panels in America is 4.64 out of 5.00 based on 360 reviews.

Online solar marketplaces such as the EnergySage also provide you with information on consumer reviews and ratings of different solar panel brands and those of solar installers found in your local area. Therefore, where to buy solar panels will depend on these consumer reviews provided by this resource that give you these reviews.

However, if you are looking for solar quotes from different/multiple solar installers, online solar tools may be the best place to start your research regarding where to buy solar panels because you will be provided with consumer reviews as captured below.

Compare solar panel quotes 

Comparing solar quotes from multiple solar installers is a service that is provided through online solar tools that help you decide quickly about where to buy solar panels. Online solar tools/marketplaces like the EnergySage provide an integrated service that helps potential solar panel buyers to conduct comprehensive research, including but not limited to: how many solar panels you need, how much solar capacity you need as well as your specific solar panel cost and the savings you would accrue over the lifespan of your solar panel.

Online solar tools like the EnergySage will also provide you with solar panels options from different pre-screened solar installers and assist you with making great comparisons to get your best solar panel quote.

How you intend to finance your solar panels

This is an interesting question to ask yourself before shopping for your solar panels because different solar dealers/installers may have different rates or terms of agreement when it comes to loan rates, solar PPA or even leasing solar panels.

Therefore, depending on your current financial situation you may decide to pick on different dealers based on their rates or even based on their ratings and consumer reviews. Online solar tools could be a good place to start to compare and find out the financing rates been provided by different solar dealers/installers in your local area.

In conclusion, online solar tools like the EnergySage provide a one-stop-place where to buy solar panels because you can compare your solar panel cost, financing options available to you, different solar panels brands/multiple installers while reviewing their ratings.

Because of the nature of online solar tools, which can also help you calculate your specific solar energy production; you can use them to determine the suitability of installing solar panels on your roof. Get started today and compare your solar panel quotes.

You will also get estimates on how much you can save with solar-based on your current energy consumption, roofing design and other factors (shading) that affect the amount of sunshine hitting your roof.

Going solar with little or no money down!

Our sun is the most abundant energy resource on the planet earth. Even on cloudy days, the sun never fails to deliver!

Solar technology has greatly evolved over the last decade, and is more accessible now than ever. Solar panels have reduced in cost by 80% between 2009 and 2013-and with new models of financing such as leasing and solar power purchase agreements (solar PPAs); many people can now afford to go solar.

Solar is now more affordable than it was a decade ago and about 1 million households have already gone solar in the USA.

Solar Power With No Upfront Investment (Leasing & PPAs)

Many home and business owners lack the cash required to install a solar system, but buying or leasing a solar system is no longer your only option!

Allow me to guide you through the most popular option home and business owners are turning to to transition to solar—the Solar Power-Purchase Agreement (SPPA), a cost-effective financing option.

Here’s to helping the world go green and clean!

Homeowner/Business Owner

The government alone cannot fight climate change, which is why many home and business owners are exploring the ways in which they can contribute to clean energy—with solar power being at the top of the list.

Why Lease When You Can Buy?

Solar power has become so affordable, that many solar companies are willing to install panels on your home or business with little or no money down—allowing you to lease the panels on a monthly basis. But why lease, when you can install an SPPA with no money down?

Solar Power-Purchase Agreements (SPPA)

A SPPA allows home and business owners to the solar system they desire, for $0 down—opposed to paying as much as $30,000 to install.

Unlike a lease, with a SPPA you agree to purchase the electricity the new solar system generates. So yes, you still pay an electric bill each month—but this cost will be less than your current energy bill. In many cases, significantly less.

You Don’t Even Have to Handle Maintenance or Repairs 

Unlike purchasing your own solar system upfront, your PPA company installs and maintains the system at no cost to you—not that much maintenance is required.

The term for a SPPA is anywhere from 6 to 30 years, at which point you can sign a new SPPA agreement—or you can chose to purchase the system at the end of your initial term.

Since many states offer economic incentives for residential solar, an SPPA is an excellent option for home or business owners that may not have any cash upfront to go solar.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Solar 

Whether you own a home or a business, the benefits of going solar are many! Below are some of the most common questions asked when going solar.

Will going solar increase my property value?

Yes! While every real estate market is different, and property values are in constant flux—it is estimated that you will increase you property value by $20 for every $1 reduction in annual utility bills.

How many solar panels do I need?

This answer varies dependent upon the size of your home or business, as well as your average energy consumption. The good news is, your SPPA provider will assess your home or business, to determine the number of panels required—as well as placement. All at no cost to you!

Do solar panels work when it is cloudy out?

Yes! Whether it is cloudy, foggy, raining, or snowing—your solar panels will continue to generate energy.

Will I still have power during a power outage?

No, even with solar panels you will not have power during an outage. This is primarily for safety reasons so that workers are not injured when making repairs to the electricity grid.

Are solar panels safe for my roof?

Yes! Solar panels are actually mounted on a railing system, and are not installed directly to your roof. In fact, the panels add a layer of protection to the area of your roof they are mounted on.

How much money will I save each month by going solar?

Savings will vary, but the average home or business owner saves around $34 dollars each month. While that may not sound like much, that is $408 a year—and $12,340 over a 30 year term. Not to mention the immeasurable good you will be doing for the environment.

Is SPPA really $0 money down?

Yes! You can enjoy all of the green and clean benefits of a solar energy system for zero money down.

If you are going to have to pay for electricity anyway, why not pay for clean energy instead?

Get started today by using online solar tools that can help you compare different solar energy plans 

Compare solar energy plans by using EnergySage or Geostellar  online solar tools. You  can register for free to help you answer to the following questions which form part of your decision making process of going solar:

  • Are solar panels worth it?
  • How many solar panels do I need?
  • How much can I save with solar?
  • How much do solar panels cost?
  • What is my personalized solar panels cost?

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Four (4) things to know before going solar

Smart Solar

Recently, the prices of solar panels have gone down dramatically and as a result more and more people have been switching to solar. For example, in the US, more than 1 million American homes had gone solar by February, 2016 compared to only 30,000 homes that had solar panels in 2006. A SunShot initiative study conducted in 2012 projected about 900,000 to 3.8 million homes will have gone solar by 2020.

Moreover, solar installation projects indicate that in the last decade, the efficiency of solar panels has been increasing with most solar panels having an efficiency of between 11–15%. This is good for increased solar adoption in general because it means the higher the efficiency; the less the space is required on the rooftop to go solar.

Currently, solar panels prices are going for about $1/watt or less depending on where the solar panels are purchased. The better the brand or the more efficient the solar panels, the higher the solar panel cost.

If you are considering going solar and you are not aware about where to start, below are four (4) things that we may want to consider to give you a head start in your decision making process:

1. Your current energy consumption

Conducting an energy assessment for your household or business will be a good starting point to determine your total energy consumption.

You can conduct this exercise manually or you could use online tools such as those created under the Green Button Initiative, which was launched by the government in 2012 to help over 60 million homes and businesses to securely access their own energy information in a standard format.

The Green Button Initiative also supports the use of online solar tools like the EnergySage or Geostellar to help online users determine their suitability to go solar. Many utilities and electricity suppliers in the US have signed on to this initiative and are part of it.

Once you have figured how much energy you are consuming, it is a best practice to conduct an energy audit to check areas where you could be losing or wasting energy. In most cases, you might need to implement energy efficiency measures as advised by the department of energy to reduce your energy usage/consumption. This step is crucial to help you reduce the amount of solar panels that you need/sizing your solar panels system and hence reduce your overall solar panels cost.

2.Your solar energy potential

In addition to knowing your current energy consumption, estimating how much solar power you can produce from your rooftop is the next step and is crucial because it will also enable you to size your solar panels system.

Depending on your geographical location and where your house or business is located you can estimate based on weather data and other data; the amount of sunshine that is hitting your roof. Until recently, determining your specific solar energy potential was unheard of; because online solar tools like the EnergySage and Pick My Solar were not in existence to help online users determine their household or business suitability to going solar.

The EnergySage or Pick My Solar online solar tools, which are also part of the Green Button Initiative, can provide you with estimates of your solar energy potential. Once you get your solar energy potential; you can get an estimate of the size of your solar panel system (how many solar panels do I need?) as well as your solar panel cost.

In addition, to getting an estimate of the size of the solar panels system you can install on your home or business; you can as well get an estimate on the percentage savings you can achieve with solar. This can be derived determining how much of your current energy consumption can be offset by going solar while implementing any of the energy efficiency measures identified.

Online solar tools like EnergySage and Pick My Solar that applies LIDAR technology can provide you with estimates of how much you can save with solar when you type in your address and your current energy consumption which can be easily obtained from your utility bill.

3. How will you finance your going solar?

Today the solar industry is experiencing a lot of growth mainly because of the models currently used to sell solar. Even though the price of solar panels continues to go down, the average solar panel cost of an average household can be anywhere from $15,000 to $25,000 even after applying tax credits.

As a result, many known companies such as SolarCity apply leasing and power purchase agreements to target solar customers that may not be able to finance upfront the solar panel cost. These models in most cases require little or zero money down and hence attractive to many consumers that are willing to go solar.

Cash and loan options are also applied by many solar companies to solar consumers that are willing to recover most of their energy costs through solar.

If you are interested in learning more about solar financing, the article “What solar panel financing options are available today?’ could be a good place to start. Also online solar tools like EnergySage and Geostellar are very useful tools to help you compare the various financing options available to you while factoring in different financing rates and making comparisons of with solar or without solar scenarios.

4. Who will install your solar panels?

This is a very crucial part of the whole process of going solar since you want to get quality and a durable system that will last for over 20 years that is the lifespan of a solar panel. In this regard, you may need a licensed and qualified solar installer or contractor to install your solar panels.

Referrals from your neighbors that have gone solar can be a good place to start as your neighbors will refer you to solar installers in your area if they had a great experience or were happy with the work conducted by their solar installer.

Another way is to research online and see whether you can obtain solar installers that have great reviews on their profiles. However, this might take much of your time and you might not have time to go through and compare the reviews presented to you.

That’s why online solar tools like EnergySage and Pick My Solar come handy because their platforms have pre-screened solar installers in your local area. These online solar tools have a pool of pre-screened installers from over 40 states in the USA and give you an opportunity to compare solar quotes from multiple solar installers.

Get your solar quotes from EnergySage or Pick My Solar or register for free with them to start making your reviews about going solar. When you register, you will be able to answer the following questions which form part of your decision making process of going solar:

  • Are solar panels worth it?
  • How many solar panels do I need?
  • How much can I save with solar?
  • How much do solar panels cost?
  • What is my personalized solar panels cost?



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Why should you consider an online solar marketplace instead of a solar calculator when deciding to go solar?

Today with the increasing technological change in both the solar and software industries, it is much simpler and easier to go solar than it was a decade ago.The process of going solar is increasingly becoming simple and faster with the rise of online solar tools. Online solar tools are simple tools created to assist a potential solar customer determine whether solar panels are worth the investment. Are solar panels worth it? is a common question usually asked by an interested solar buyer and that’s why online solar tools or solar applications are being created with the solar buyer in mind.

Online solar tools include a solar calculator and an online solar marketplace whose objective is to help a solar customer calculate or obtain solar panels cost for individuals and businesses interested in going solar. Online solar tools is a great place to start where interested or potential solar buyers can be provided with preliminary information needed before deciding to go solar. Although a solar calculator is a simple calculator and unlike an online solar marketplace; it only provides the user with simple calculations or answers to the following  questions:

  1. Provide estimates of solar energy production by pulling data from national databases run by for example; the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).
  2. Determine solar panels cost or cost of solar panels and potential savings.
  3. Provide data on technical performance of solar installations; for instance how many solar panels you need to go solar; what inclination of solar panels will provide optimum solar energy production etc

One example of a widely used calculator is called PVWatts and is used throughout the world by homeowners, small building owners, installers, manufacturers to provide with costs and savings of going solar. The PVWatts application was developed by NREL and  is an interactive interface to rapidly utilize a solar calculator to calculate hourly or monthly PV energy production and the user does not have to input a lot of data to use this tool to determine the costs or savings of going solar.

However, tools like PVWatts even though they provide you with initial data that you may need to decide whether going solar is right for you; the solar energy production data may be generalized over a wider location or region and therefore does not provide specific rooftop solar data. For instance, it is possible to determine the shading or building structures near your roof where you want to install your solar panels using sophisticated online solar tools like an online solar marketplace.

An online solar marketplace like the EnergySage is a powerful tool because the solar energy generation data inbuilt in their system is site specific or solar generation data it generates is specific to your rooftop. An online solar marketplace like EnergySage utilize such site specific/rooftop data to provide users with more accurate estimates as opposed to generalized data that are generated by a simple solar calculator whose location data is not site specific and lacks a rigorous foundation in geospatial data and statistical analysis.

An online solar marketplace like EnergySage utilizes light detection and ranging (LIDAR) data, geographic information system (GIS) methods and solar energy generation modeling to determine whether your rooftop is suitable to host solar panels. LIDAR is useful as it generates precise data in three-dimensional while incorporating other information to provide you with analytics that are site specific.

Because of this level of accuracy and the technology used to determine your specific solar energy potential; an online solar marketplace is a good place to start your preliminary analysis before deciding to go solar. Today there are a few online solar marketplaces out there and a review of them can be checked here for more details. Also learn more about online solar tools that utilize the LIDAR technology to provide precise solar generation data.

In addition to providing you with site specific data to help you know the precise solar generation or how much sunlight is hitting your roof; an online solar marketplace like EnergySage using such data will help you answer the questions many people ask before deciding to go solar. Also in the process, an online solar marketplace will help you to make useful comparisons as such tools have a pool of pre-screened solar installers and hence you can check their reviews before deciding which solar contractor will install your solar panels. Some of the questions and analytics that an online solar marketplace can help you tackle are as follows:

  1. Are solar panels worth it? (in this case for your specific situation)
  2. How much solar energy you can generate on your rooftop and how much of this energy can be used to off-set your current energy costs?
  3. How many solar panels do I need?
  4. What financing options are best for you based on your specific data analytics? You will be able to know whether a solar loan or solar PPA or lease (which one is best for you).
  5. Compare solar quotes online and save more in the process because this will apply a self-directed approach and hence sales costs from the solar company are reduced in the process which means a better deal for your solar.
  6. Compare reviews of different solar installers in areas with coverage.
  7. Provide you with your precise solar energy potential.

A review of online solar marketplaces available today in the market is found here while SwitchtoSolar Online Marketing, LLC has partnered with EnergySage to help online solar users go solar using an online solar marketplace that utilizes LIDAR technology. In addition to the above analytics which an online solar marketplace can help you determine, the EnergySage platform will also show you data analytics in terms of the carbon emissions and the resultant trees that you will help to plant as a result of your going solar and in the process you will join in the efforts of fighting climate change. Visit the website of EnergySage to learn more.

 

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Going solar using personalized solar tools

“Do you want to learn how you can go solar today and save more money in the process? If yes, you are in the right place, because here you will be introduced to new concepts and tools that have revolutionized the process of going solar.

With online solar tools, the solar consumer is now empowered with the right information at their finger tips and are able to make a more informed decision.  Going solar is now personalized using online solar tools that provide consumers with big data analytics to determine their specific solar energy potential and how much they can save with solar. Learn more about these online solar tools here

SwitchtoSolar Online Marketing, LLC is company based in metro Atlanta with a vision to increase uptake of solar energy in both residential and commercial sectors through the use of online solar tools and inbound marketing strategies that are purely online based.  

Using these concepts and tools; it sets SwitchtoSolar Online Marketing, LLC apart because potential solar customers are able to make the decision to go solar through online platforms that provide a self-directed environment where data speaks for itself. It is only when the consumer reviews their personalized data they are able to decide to go solar or not based on their solar energy potential and potential savings. 

In order to do this, SwitchtoSolar Online Marketing, LLC has partnered with online solar marketplaces that own these big data solutions that are able to provide data analytics and using google maps in 3D to help consumers determine their potential savings for going solar. Learn more about these online marketplaces here. “

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