This blog attempts to provide a simple guide to answering some of the questions ask when buying solar panels. In order to determine the right solar panels for your business or home, it depends on so many factors, including, but not limited to:
- Affordability or how much you are planning to spend to buy your solar panels.
- Quality factors that determine the best or the right solar panels for your home or business.
- What is LIDAR and how it can help you get personalized solar energy profiles for your business or home and hence determine how many solar panels you need?
- Finding solar panel reviews of different solar panels brands before deciding what brand of solar panels to adopt.
- What is the best approach to getting your solar panels? Should you get it directly from the manufacturer or use a solar installer to find the best solar panels that are the right for you.
1. Questions ask when buying solar panels – Affordability or how much you are planning to spend to buy solar panels
First and foremost, finding the right solar panels for your home or business depends on the budget that you intend to spend in order to make the investment that meets your energy needs without breaking the bank.
Your affordability can be determined by first understanding your energy profile vis-à-vis the anticipated solar energy profile. It is important to justify that the kind of money spent to buy your solar panels is worth it, based on the savings that are likely to be achieved when you install solar panels in your home or business.
We recommend that you use a solar panel cost calculator that is powered through Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) to provide you data and very specific information that is tied to your solar energy profile. Your specific solar energy profile is shown through LIDAR data, which determines your specific solar potential.
As a result, your specific solar panel costs and savings achievable by the solar panels you intend to install is presented to you through data visualization to help you make the decision whether installing solar panels is good for you or not.
After being provided with this data, it is upon you to determine how much you are willing to spend based on the preliminary data presented to you. Also, if you don’t have any money to spend, you could explore solar leasing or use solar power purchase agreements (solar PPA) to finance your solar panels for your home or business.
Solar PPA or solar leasing financing models are suitable for individuals or businesses that like the idea of solar panels but may be limited due to a lack of funds to spend to own solar panels. You can read this solar blog to understand more about how to obtain solar panels using solar PPA and solar leasing. We hope this advice will help you understand how to obtain solar panels at a very minimum cost.
2. Quality factors that determine the best or the right solar panels for your home or business.
Because installing solar panels in your home or business involves a lot of money with an investment that can range between $10,000 (5kW) to over $500,000 (250kW), you will definitely need to obtain the best available quality of solar panels to ensure that you get a return on investment.
You don’t want poor quality solar panels that will fail to perform after a few years of performance. You want to get solar panels that will meet the anticipated solar yields, especially when dealing with commercial and utility-scale solar panels. No one wants to get solar panels that fail to perform to meet project solar yields and that’s why the quality of your solar panels is very important.
Many businesses and individuals obtain loans to finance their solar panels and hence finding the right solar panels for their home or business is vital because it makes no sense when their solar panels stop functioning before the lifespan of their solar panels. Normally, the lifespan of many solar panels is around 25 years and the average payback period of solar panels in the USA is between six (6) to eight (8) years. Hence, any individual or business wants to obtain the full benefit of their solar panels before 25 years have elapsed.
Obtaining the right solar panels, therefore, calls for any individual or business to conduct due diligence of the company from which they intend to buy their solar panels. Generally, you want to buy solar panels from solar manufacturers that are able to honor their warranties for the warranted life of a solar panel, about 25 years. Usually, solar panels come with two types of warranties: a performance and equipment guarantee. Performance warranty guarantees that a specific solar panel can produce up to 80% of its original capacity after 25 years. An equipment materials warranty guarantees that a particular solar panel can be replaced in the event of manufacturing defects or any environmental issues that can cause a particular solar panel to fail to perform.
In addition to being offered warranty for your solar panels, you want to make sure that the company offering these warranties have been in existence for some years (at least five (5) years) and is listed in a stock exchange. With this knowledge, it provides you with trust that the solar manufacturer will be able to honor the warranty in the event your system fails to perform as prescribed in the manual or datasheet. You can learn more about the important things to consider when choosing the right solar panels by reading this solar blog.
3. What is LIDAR and how it can help you get personalized solar energy profiles for your business or home and hence determine how many solar panels you need?
LIDAR means light detection and ranging (LIDAR) and using online solar marketplaces and solar panel cost calculators powered using LIDAR provide you with good accuracy of the amount of sunshine that is hitting your roof.
That means, it is possible to determine the number of solar panels needed for your specific business or home and hence find out the amount of investment required and the projected future savings that will result from installing the right solar panels for your home or business.
When it comes to installing the right solar panels, using LIDAR powered online tools makes it possible because you can estimate with great accuracy the size of your solar panels, how many solar panels you need, including the costs and savings that are achievable from such solar panels.
Today, there are various LIDAR powered online tools, including but limited to EnergySage and Google Project Sunroof. The government in collaboration with the private sector has created these tools under the SunShot Initiative to help reduce the solar acquisition cost.
According to the Department of Energy, the SunShot Initiative was launched on February 4, 2011, to help reduce the total costs of solar energy by 75%, making it cost-competitive at large scale with other forms of energy without subsidies by the end of the decade.
One way to reduce the cost of solar panels or going solar is through reducing solar acquisition costs, including, but not limited to marketing, advertising and sales costs which make up the majority of the cost (41 cents), while system design accounts for about 8 cents per watt. This translates to about 49 cents when it comes to the reduction of solar acquisition costs according to the GTM research. That means, finding the right solar panels for you is about getting them at the reduced costs by avoiding extra costs that come from marketing, advertising, sales costs, etc. As such, LIDAR powered online solar tools advocated also by the government help to reduce this cost for you.
Also, a recent study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) found out that using LIDAR powered online tools like the EnergySage helps to reduce solar acquisition costs since it found out those PV installers using such a platform bid 0.24 per watt lower because of increased solar installer competition.
You can learn more to understand how this is possible, by reading this blog article about how platforms like the EnergySagecan help you reduce the cost of your solar panels even for imported solar panels which currently face a 30% tariff.
4. Finding solar panel reviews of different solar panels brands before deciding what brand of solar panels to adopt
Finding solar panels review online is another step away from obtaining the right solar panels for your home or business. In most cases, you will find expert reviews recommending what you need to know before investing in any type of solar panel. The following will help you to consider the types of solar panels (monocrystalline, polycrystalline, thin-film solar panels, etc)you intend to buy i.e.
· Geographical location,
· Type of roofing or space available to install solar panels,
· Intended solar performance,
· Expected solar panel efficiency,
· Expected warranties
· Off-grid or on-grid solar solutions
· Residential, commercial or utility-scale solar panels, etc
Hence, depending on the above factors to consider, finding the right solar panels for you as well as the type of solar panels is an important decision to make. You perhaps need to read different expert reviews as well as reviews from existing users of such solar panels. There are various sources where you can find expert reviews of solar panels, including but not limited to EnergySage,SolarReviews.com,reneenergy.com, etc
You can also find reviews from solar panel users that have already installed solar panels on their homes or businesses.
5. What is the best approach to getting your solar panels? Should you get them directly from the manufacturer or use a solar installer to find the best solar panels that are good for you.
Where you source your solar panels is another aspect that affects whether you will get the right solar panels for your home or business and at reduced costs. Depending on the usage of your solar panels and the number of solar panels you need, this will affect where you can buy your solar panels. For small one-time solar projects, sourcing your solar panels from the installer will help to get your solar panels without any hassle because he can extend the benefits offered to him or her to you directly from their solar manufacturer. This is because, since you are buying one-time and not in bulk, you might not get the discount offered to the solar installer, as he/she is a regular customer of the solar manufacturer and therefore enjoys this benefit.
However, when you intend to buy your solar panels on a regular basis and in bulk you can create a long-term relationship with a good solar manufacturer to get discounts and other benefits of buying in bulk such as reduced solar panel cost.
If you are looking for a small one-time project, EnergySage Online Solar marketplace offers one of the best solutions to finding the right solar panels, because this online solar marketplace pre-screens all solar installers in its network and has a large pool of solar installers covering most states in the USA.