Utah Solar Installs: too many options now what?
If you’re here, you’re probably considering having solar installed on your Utah home. You go to the wizard of all answers, Google, and you find that Utah has way too many options. How does anyone even begin to make a decision?
Utah Solar Installer Reviews
Reviews are a great way to get an inside look at the quality of a company from actual customers instead of just taking the company’s word for it.
Let’s be honest, they all want your business. Of course the solar company you’re speaking with is going to tell you they’re the best. The real question is whether they have the credentials and testimonials to back it up.
The problem with just going off of reviews is that a good fit for one person doesn’t mean it will be a good fit for you. What are you looking for? What do you value in a solar company? These are questions for which reviews won’t give a sufficient answer. We’re not saying don’t look at reviews, but they are only scratching the surface of what may be important to you.
We hate to add to the confusion, but it’s entirely possible that a company with bad reviews may actually be able to serve your needs better than another solar company with excellent reviews. Reviews are a great place to begin; we suggest you ask some questions about what you want in a solar install as well to gauge whether the installer can do what you have in mind.
What Matters More: Price or Quality?
When you go make a purchase, is it because you know you won’t have to replace that item for a long time? Or are you the type of person that would rather get the best possible “deal”? If you are looking for high quality in the products that you buy you won’t always be looking at the lowest price.
Many solar companies can give you a really good competitive price, but you need to decide what type of product they are selling at the listed price. If durable products are important to you, then you need to ask yourself the following question: Am I sacrificing quality for the lowest price?
From personal experience, I can testify that finding the best price is good, but finding the best price for a quality product is much better, especially with complex solar products. In the past I have only bought the lowest price shoes I could possibly find. This saved me big; or so I thought.
I found that Walmart’s five dollar shoes were the best “deal” out there and I could get every color in the rainbow to match every outfit for the price of one pair of shoes anywhere else. At first I was happy with my five dollar shoe purchases, but I soon found out that they didn’t last nearly as long as a regular pair of shoes would.
I changed my motto when walking to my car from the front runner I stepped into a puddle of water and soaked my feet because the flimsy rubber soles had a hole in them.
Monocrystalline, Polycrystalline and Thin-film Panels
There are three types of panels that are typically used in solar installations. These include: monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and thin-film panels. Monocrystalline panels are the most expensive of the three, but they are also the most efficient, meaning you don’t need as many of them to meet your energy needs.
Polycrystalline panels are slightly less efficient than monocrystalline panels. Depending on the manufacturer they can also be comparable to monocrystalline panels at a fraction of the cost.Thin-film panels are the least efficient and also the cheapest. They require quite a bit more space because you need more of them to cover energy needs.
According to the 2017 Fraunhofer ISE Photovoltaics Report the highest recorded efficiency for each panel type was: 26.7% for mono-crystalline, 21.9% for multi-crystalline, and a close tie for thin film at 21.7% for CIGS (thin film) and 21.0% for CdTe (thin film).
Aside from the efficiency of your panel, you should also take into account the manufacturing company. Going with a manufacturer that provides a good warranty with a reputation of quality work is far more likely to be around when you need it.
Below is a quick video that talks about the three different types of manufacturers and what to look for in a solar panel.
The Solar Panel Inverter
Most people think about wanting a good panel, but few think about the inverter. The inverter converts the power your panels are collecting from the sun to usable power in your home. When it comes to inverters there are two main types: String/central inverters and micro-inverters. Which inverter you want depends on the type of home you have.
If you have a home with a lot of shade then a micro-inverter is going to be your best bet at getting the most out of your system. Micro-inverters are attached to each panel and allows it to go off the efficiency of the panel that is producing the most from the sun instead of being hindered by the panels shaded.
If you have a good amount of room on your roof and no trees, then a string inverter will give you the best production. Central inverters are similar to string inverters, but they have more computerized components so it can more effectively gauge which panels are producing and which aren’t.
Not all string and micro- inverters are equal, so you will want to do your homework and make sure that the inverter that is being used is quality. We have found that the SMA Sunny Boy and the Solar Edge are the best quality inverters. Here is the spec sheet for the SMA Sunny Boy central inverter and the Solaredge micro-inverter data sheet.
Does the Solar Company Do Their Own Installs?
All solar companies will make sure that you are installed, but they don’t all do it themselves. Many solar companies have their solar installs feathered out through contracted workers. This can be a big hassle if you ever decide that you want to take the panels off your roof, which does happen. Take one of our customers, Steve Cummings, for instance.
If you install your panels with a contractor, it’ll be difficult to find a solar company that’ll move the panels for you if you haven’t already spent money with them.What if you decide that you are going to move and you would like to have your old panels put on your new home?
What about when you decide it’s finally time to get your roof reshingled? If the company you got solar through can’t help, you’re going to have to figure it out on your own. We suggest finding a full-service company like Go Solar Group. They will not only install the system, but when you need your panels removed they will remove them easily, and put them back on.
If you decide to go through a company that doesn’t do their own installs, we recommend finding out what install company they go through. You may never need to get your panels removed, but it is best to know who you need to contact if you ever do.
Do You Want Battery Backup? Probably
Right now battery backup is pretty pricey. However, if you go with bite-sized battery backup when you choose Go Solar Group, you may be able to get the battery backup you need at zero cost to you.
When battery prices go down and you decide it is a better decision for you to get battery backup for your home you may be in for a surprise. When you place a battery backup system in your home, it replaces your net meter, and the excess power produced during the day is moved from your inverter to your battery. The problem is that not all inverters work in conjunction with battery backup.
If the company that you have decided to go with has installed a system that doesn’t allow for batteries to be installed, you may be looking at a more expensive battery backup option or no backup until your system dies out.
The other problem is that not all companies offer battery backup either. If you have decided to go through a company that does not offer battery backup now it will be harder for them to offer it to your possibly non compatible system in the future.
If battery backup is something that is important to you, will want to look into a company that offers battery backup options and battery-compatible solar arrays. Go Solar Group may be a good option for you if this is the case because they not only have options, but they also offer free emergency battery backup with each system they install.
Compare All Solar Bids Available that Best Meet Your Needs
Now that you know what you’re looking for in a solar company, it’s time to compare the options made available to you. We suggest getting bids from at least your top two or three companies. We wish you the best in your journey to energy independence!