Why consider residential solar panels for going solar?
Buying solar panels has become a norm today than it was a decade ago because of the decreasing cost of solar cells as well as the need to fight climate change and move towards sustainability. Also the government continues to support adoption and use of solar energy through various policy and financial mechanisms such as tax credits, rebates, net-metering and renewable energy portfolio schemes such as renewable energy credits.
Furthermore, the private sector has crafted various business models such as solar power purchase agreements (PPAs), solar leases and other modes of technology delivery that do not require homeowners or businesses to pay upfront for their solar panels, hence making it simple to switch to solar without any money down.
Why should you switch to solar panels or going solar?
Solar panels or Solar photovoltaic (PV) has proven to be one of the most popular sources of energy because of its widespread availability and one can easily harvest solar electricity through solar panels— a technology made up of solar cells and consisting of a semiconductor material (silicon) that can easily produce electricity when struck with sunlight through a process known as photoelectric effect.
This makes it simple for you to produce your solar electricity and you can start to enjoy free electricity after the payback period of your solar power system which is about 7 years and has a lifespan of 25 years. However, the payback period of a residential solar energy system can be low as 4 years depending on the cost you pay for power and whether or not your power company offers a solar rebate for switching to solar energy. This means an average homeowner can save at least $25,000 over the lifespan of the solar PV technology which means you can save about $1,000 every year when you gosolar.
How to buy solar panels when you want to go solar.
Having provided a little bit of background to know why you should consider to go solar, it is crucial to know how to buy solar panels by answering the following questions that any consumer may ask when shopping for solar panels. Whether you are a homeowner or a business and considering to buy solar panels wholesale or retail, this information apply. At the end of the day, you are looking for solar panels that are durable, superior quality and that are are best value for your money.
a) Efficiency of the solar panel
Efficiency of a solar panel is determined by how solar cells of the panel are able to convert the sunlight hitting the panel into electricity through photoelectric effect. The efficiency of solar panels/modules range between 11 to 22%. The higher the efficiency of the solar panel, the more expensive it is.
However, solar panel efficiency is not the metric you use to chose solar panels for your home or business. Efficiency is a good measure to indicate how much roof space you require for your solar panels. In other words, the higher the efficiency of your solar panels, the less solar panels you need and hence less space or surface you require and vice-versa.
Most solar panels are around 11–15% efficiency and you can check here for the top ten most efficient solar panels to compare the efficiencies of different brands available in the market. Also, if you are limited in the space for your solar panels, consider buying high efficient solar panels to compensate for the limited space, but this may be expensive.
b) Whether to buy solar panels wholesale or retail:
This mainly depends on the size of the solar power system you intend to install and whether you want to purchase your solar panels directly from the manufacturer and end up reducing your price per watt greatly. Where to buy solar panels wholesale will depend on whether you want to buy your solar modules online or offline.
If you are considering to buy solar panels online consider to conduct your solar reviews with solarreviews.com for solar companies as well as the solar panels you are interested in. This review requires you to input the brand of your solar panels or you can even search your solar panel in their system for the highest rated solar panel. As a result, this will enable you to make a more informed buying decision. Solarreviews.com also has a list of solar panels manufacturers as well as a directory that can assist you do your reviews and make comparisons before you decide where to buy solar panels wholesale or retail.
c) Solar panel cost (price of solar panels)
The price of a solar panel is better expressed as the cost/Watt ($/Watt) and this metric indicates the price of the solar panels relative to its power output.Depending on whether you buy your solar panels wholesale or retail, the price of your solar panels varies. The cost of solar panels has decreased significantly because of technology advancement over the last decade and currently you can buy solar panels wholesale for $0.7/W or retail for $1.5/W.
Therefore depending whether you are a solar contractor or a power utility company that wants to buy solar panels and install in large quantities, your price for solar panels can be reduced greatly when you make the decision to where to buy solar panels for wholesale or retail. In other words, the price you pay depend on the number of panels in your package and the more modules you have in the system, the less the cost per unit you pay.
There are also tax credits and rebates that you can use to lower the overall cost of your solar power system, including that of your solar panels. Based on your tax appetite you can claim a 30% federal investment tax credit (ITC) for your solar panel system. In addition, based on what state you reside you can get up to 35% rebates to reduce the total cost of your solar power system. For instance, certain states, like North Carolina, give a 35% tax credit against the total cost of the system. Learn more here about financial incentives and other policies available in your state to assist homeowners and businesses switch to solar.
d) The quality of the solar panels:
However, making the decision to buy your solar panels on price is not the best practice because it may even not fit where you want to install it and may not have the necessary certifications to quality for government rebates or even perform well for you to recoup your investment back.
Therefore, in addition, to the price, efficiency and whether to buy your solar panels wholesale or retail, you may want to consider the quality of your solar panels. The quality of your solar panels depend on how they were manufactured and the materials used. There are three tiers of manufacture quality, namely: Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3 as explained below:
Tier 1 includes the top 2 percent of solar PV manufacturers: These solar panels manufacturers are vertically integrated meaning they invest largely in research and development (R&D) and relies heavily on quality assurance to control each stage of the manufacturing process while using advanced robotic processes to increase the efficiency and quality of their solar panels. Such solar panel manufacturers are usually in business for over 5 years and produce some of the best performing solar panels in the market.
Tier 2 includes companies who invest less in R&D: These solar panel manufacturers are usually in business for 2–5 years and employ both robotic and manual work on production lines. Such solar panel manufacturers usually produce good panels at good prices.
Tier 3 includes 90% of new solar PV manufacturers: Solar panel manufacturers in this category assemble panels only and are not involved in manufacturing their own solar cells. As a result, they do not invest in R&D to improve their solar cells as this component is outsourced while at the same time utilize heavily human production lines for manual soldering of solar cells which affect the quality of the final product because approach is usually not the best as quality of the panels vary from one operator to another and day to day. Hence quality fluctuates as it is dependent on various factors that are variable and as a result, solar panels manufactured at this tier 3 are usually the cheapest in the market and of low quality compared to those produced at Tier 1 and Tier 2.
Based at what tier the panels are produced, the overall quality of a solar panel will affect its performance in the real world. These quality parameters will affect the performance of a solar panel installed for your power needs:
- Positive tolerance
- Temperature co-efficient rating
- PID resistance
- LID resistance
- Conversion efficiency
In conclusion, how to buy solar panels is not based on one metric alone i.e. the cost of solar panels as many people may think, but a combination of factors, including the quality, where to buy solar panels and efficiency. Actually, nowadays with the existence of solar power purchase agreements (PPA) as well as solar leases, you may not need to buy solar panels for your roof top, especially if you don’t have all the money upfront at this time.
With solar PPA or solar lease, you don’t need any money down to switch to solar and you can get your solar panels for free as well as free maintenance. Compare solar prices HERE to go solar. You can also start using this solar panel cost calculator to save more when going solar.
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