In most cases, the biggest concern for those interested in solar panel quotes is the upfront cost. While many wish to be environmentally friendly and help reduce their electric bill, they need financial assistance now to do so.
In this article, we will look at a few different factors when trying to make the best solar panel decision, and at the same time to also get the best deal.
What's In This Article
Choosing The Best Solar Panels For Your Home
Though it’s true we could look at many factors that make up how some solar panels might be the best for your home, we’ll look at four primary ones:
- Manufacture Location
- Inverter Technology
Verify and Compare The Panels Efficiency
Efficiency is a significant factor to consider when choosing solar panels.
There are many different types of solar panels on the market. While they all do very similar functions, they have some areas that could cause problems if not checked out before purchasing them.
One of these is efficiency. Top-tier panels can be up to 15% more efficient than bottom-end panels. The higher efficiency, the more power it generates from a given area.
Keep in mind that having a higher efficiency also helps to reduce the total number you need for your specific application.
Where Are The Solar Panels Manufactured
Another factor to consider with different brands of solar panels is where they are manufactured.
The solar panel industry has become very competitive in the past 10 years. While some manufacturers have evolved their production processes to reduce costs, others continue having high prices for poor-quality products.
If you live somewhere that sees a ton of cloudy days, it would be wise to invest in a high-quality panel. Just make sure it’s from a company that manufactures in an area known for its bright sunlight.
Ensure The Warranty Stands Behind The Product’s Claims
The warranty offered with the panels is a critical factor as well. If any problems emerge, you want to ensure you will be taken care of.
There are two types of warranties that most companies offer: a workmanship and materials warranty as well as a performance warranty. The performance warranty should be at least 25 years with the complete replacement of the system if it does not generate as advertised.
Make Sure You Select The Right Inverter Technology
Inverters are an often-overlooked part of solar panels. In fact, many assume that all inverters just create a flow of electricity from the direct current created by solar panels to the alternating current used in homes and businesses. However, this is not true.
There are four primary types of inverters:
- String inverters (the most common)
- Micro-inverters – helps produce more AC power with fewer panels, which is great for homes in shaded areas
- Central or “compact” inverters – similar to string inverters but allow each unit to function independently of each other
- Gooseneck inverters – most of the time used for enormous applications such as RV parks and factories
Read More: Best Solar Inverter You Can Buy Right Now
There are also pros and cons to each type of inverter. For example, string inverters can be more cost-effective, nonetheless, they are harder to use and maintain than micro-inverters or central inverters.
No matter what type of system you have installed, it is critical to look for the best solar panels with the highest efficiency and warranty. Investing in low-quality equipment now will only cost more down the road as you pay for repairs and replacement of faulty gear.
As you can see, a lot goes into choosing solar panels for your home or business, and for that reason, you must do some research and compare companies before buying.
Read More: What Is A Solar Inverter?
Choose The Right Solar Installer
If shopping for solar panels has left you with more questions than answers, it may be time to choose a solar installer. While many companies offer installation services for rooftop systems, not all are the same.
When choosing an installer, consider how well they understand your needs based on where you live. For example, if you are in a region with high amounts of sunlight, you will need a much different system than someone who is in an area that gets little sunshine.
Verify Their Reputation, Online Reviews, and BBB Status
When getting the best deal on solar panels, you should definitely consider looking at multiple companies before making your purchase. There are many different comparison services available online where you can choose from a list of dealers in your area and compare their prices and their ratings from consumers.
Getting solar quotes online is a great way to get the lowest price possible, as long as you are getting these quotes from reputable companies with a history of satisfied customers.
When shopping for solar panels, one thing that every consumer needs to look at is the Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating of each installer. This can be done by accessing their website and searching for the company name. Any complaints filed against the installer are posted on this public site.
Be sure to read the reviews that current and past customers have left about their experience with that installer. After reading through these reviews, you should be able to determine if that company is a good fit for your needs based on the opinions of those who have worked with them before.
Are They Licensed, Insured and Bonded?
When speaking with a solar dealer, one of the most important questions you can ask is whether or not they are properly licensed. If they are not, best not to consider doing business with them as this is a violation of state law and could cause problems if there were any issues down the road.
In addition to being licensed, the dealer should also be insured and bonded. This protects you as a consumer if your system costs more for repairs or replacement than what they originally quoted.
Are They NABCEP Certified?
One company that you should be sure to look for when comparing solar quotes is a NABCEP certified dealer. This stands for North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners and they make up a large part of the industry. These companies have been found to meet a certain level of expertise in their field and can properly install, maintain and repair solar panels.
Keep in mind that only companies with a higher level of expertise should charge an installation fee which is lower than the average market cost. This means that you will be getting your money’s worth by investing in their services versus someone who has less experience doing the job.
Just as you would not want a person without a license doing your dental work, investing in solar panels from someone with little experience is not the best choice. A low quoted price may seem fantastic, but you should investigate the company first before making a purchase.
Service Levels Matter
When considering how each quote compares to another, also keep in mind that not all solar panel dealers provide the same level of service. Some companies may offer a standard installation and maintenance package while others offer complete turnkey solutions.
It is important when shopping around for quotes and comparing them side by side to make sure you are looking at each company’s service levels as well. This way you can be sure that your quotes aren’t comparing apples to oranges.
Is Solar Right For Your Home?
When making a decision to invest in solar panels, it is important to take a look at the different aspects of your home and decide whether or not this is the right choice for you. This includes assessing how much energy your family uses throughout the year and determining if you can realistically save enough by investing in solar panels that would offset any electricity bills.
Calculate How Much Solar Your Home Will Generate
If you find that solar panels will not provide enough energy to cover your electricity needs, then this might not be the best choice for your home. However, if you live in a sunny climate with average utility rates and use around 2800 kilowatt hours per month, you can calculate how much power solar panels will produce by using an online estimator.
Once you know how much energy your home will produce, this will help determine what size system you need to invest in. The next step is comparing quotes from different solar companies so that you can find the best deal possible on the installation cost.
Once you know how much each quote costs per watt, simply divide the total amount of the installation by the wattage to find out how much each solar panel costs.
TIP: Be sure to compare quotes in terms of cost per watt rather than just the overall price, as this will allow you to see which company is providing you with the best deal.
Calculate Your Projected Savings
It’s important to take a look at your electricity bills and compare them to how much energy you would get from solar panels and see if this is worth investing in. If you plan on staying in the home for at least five years, then the returns will be well worth the initial investment.
However, if you are just looking into leasing or taking out a loan to pay for your panels and the savings will not offset your initial cost, then it might not be worth the investment.
Projecting your savings with solar energy is an important step when deciding if this is the right choice for you. To do this, simply take your electricity bills from last year and enter them into a solar calculator that will project how much energy you would get with solar instead of your electric company.
Solar panels are a great investment for homes that receive a lot of sunlight and use a large amount of electricity. Not only will you reduce your monthly bills, but you can also expect to pay off the cost in less than five years, depending on how much energy you produce using solar.
Total return on investment, initial costs, financing, and installation are all factors that will help determine whether or not investing in solar panels is right for your home. Be sure to consider all of these options before making a final choice
You can use a calculator to compare loan vs lease. Check actual savings from utility bill over time (due to changes in alternative energy supply), it might be higher or lower than expected.
When you are working with solar companies to get your quotes, it is important that they provide an ROI number. This information will help determine how much money you can expect to save in the future and whether or not you will be able to increase these savings over time.
TIP: This information is only available with quotes that provide full disclosure, so be sure to ask the company if they can provide you with this ROI number before moving forward.
Getting Solar Quotes
One of the most important things to do before actually buying a solar panel is of course the cost. Here we display everything related to the money issues and benefits the panels will account for.
How Much Solar Panels Will Cost For Your Home
When you are on the market for solar panels, it’s important to first assess how much you plan on spending before beginning the solar panel shopping process. Not only will you need to consider the cost of buying the panels, but there are other factors to take into consideration as well.
It is important to research each quote before making a purchase, as this will allow you to determine which company offers the best deal for your home and can save you money in the long run.
TIP: Ensure that the company you choose offers a good warranty. There are 20-25 year and lifetime warranties available, so it pays to research each company to determine which one has the best warranty for your solar system.
Read More: Why Are Solar Panels so Expensive?
Should You Get Multiple Quotes?
When shopping for solar panels, you will want to get multiple quotes from different companies in order to get the best deal for your solar system. The more quotes you get, the more likely you are to find a company that has competitive pricing and offers exceptional customer service so you feel confident with your final purchase.
Interviewing multiple companies will provide you with more information about each of your options until you find one that best meets your needs. Make sure that when speaking with companies that you are able to ask any questions or voice concerns that you may have.
The best way to find a solar dealer who fits your needs is to set up meetings with several different dealers so you can compare their quotes, experience and qualifications all in one place. This allows you to pinpoint the company who will provide the most value for the best price.
Once you have compared all of your quotes and had the chance to speak with several different dealers, it is time for you to make a purchasing decision. This is the point where most people choose between the dealer who provided them with the lowest quote or had the highest review score on one website or another.
Do The Math On Financing Costs and Options
If you decide to finance your solar panels, make sure that the company has a low-interest rate and a short repayment period in order to get your money’s worth.
Remember that it is important to only invest in a system if the return on investment is going to be positive. In some cases, loans might not be the best option depending on the ROI of your system.
Because solar panels can save you money every single day, it is important to factor these savings into your ROI number to make sure that the return on investment is actually positive for your home.
TIP: One of the best things about owning solar panels is that there are no monthly maintenance fees or upkeep costs after installation, so you can spend your money on something else.
Should I Use Solar Quoting Websites?
There are many solar quoting websites that can help you get competitive quotes from local companies. These websites aren’t directly affiliated with any particular company, so they don’t have a vested interest in what quote or product you choose to purchase for your home.
Because of this, these sites allow you to get quotes quickly and easily without having to research all of the different options yourself, which can be time-consuming if you have a lot of people to visit.
Do You Qualify For Solar Incentives and Tax Credits?
In most cases, you will be able to save a lot of money on your solar panels if you qualify for tax credits or incentives from the government.
There are many different programs that allow you to get a discount on solar related expenses, so it can be very helpful to look into what local incentives are available to you before you make your final decision.
When you are on the market for solar panels, it can be difficult to know where to turn or what information you need to know. Hopefully, this article has provided some guidance for getting the best deal possible on your new system.
If you have decided that investing in solar panels is the right choice, then you will need to find the best company for your home. The Solar Power World Top 500 list is a great place to start and provides in-depth information on companies throughout the United States that offer exceptional products and warranties in addition to their installation services.