The Utah Solar Install: How to Pick the Right Company
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Many go to the wizard of all answers, Google, to find more information about solar. But, when it comes to photovoltaics in Utah, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by all your choices.
Utah Solar Installer Reviews
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.
Reviews are a great way to get an inside look at the quality of a company. They allow you to get the opinion of actual customers instead of taking the company’s word for it.
Don’t Rely On Reviews Alone
The problem with going off of reviews is that a good fit for one person doesn’t mean it will be a good fit for you. You need to decide what is important to you and what you feel is negligible. Reviews only scratch the surface.
After looking at the reviews of a couple companies it is best to meet with them. Ask questions about what you want in a solar install and gauge whether the installer can do what you have in mind.
What Matters More: Solar Panel Price or Solar Panel Quality? Usually, It’s Quality
What you value determines what would be the best fit for you. If you are looking for high quality in the products that you buy, you won’t always be looking at the lowest price.
You need to decide what type of product they are selling at their price. Ask questions about the durability, reliability, warranty and efficiency of the products. You will also want to know what services the company offers after installation.
Monocrystalline, Polycrystalline and Thin-Film Panels
There are three types of panels that used in solar installations. These include monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and thin-film panels. According to the 2017 Fraunhofer ISE Photovoltaics Report, the highest recorded efficiency for each panel type were 26.7% for monocrystalline, 21.9% for polycrystalline, and a close tie for the thin film at 21.7% for CIGS (thin film) and 21.0% for CdTe (thin film).
Performance of Monocrystalline Solar Panels
Monocrystalline panels are the most expensive — but they are also the most efficient. This is because you don’t need as many of them to meet your energy needs.
Polycrystalline Panels Efficiency
Polycrystalline panels are slightly less efficient than monocrystalline panels. The difference in efficiency comes from using silicon that isn’t as pure.
The Appeal of Thin-Film Panels
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.
A Quality Manufacturer Will Produce a Quality Solar Panel
Aside from the efficiency, you should also take into account the manufacturing company. Some manufacturers provide better warranties. Others have a reputation for quality work.
Below is a quick video that explains the different types of manufacturers and what to look for in a solar panel.
The Solar Panel Inverter — The Crux of the Solar Install
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.
String inverters and microinverters are the main competitors. Which inverter you want depends on the type of home you have.
If you have a home with a lot of shade, then a microinverter is going to be your best bet at getting the most out of your system. Microinverters get attached to each panel. They allow the inverter to use panels that are getting the most sun to set the pace for the rest.
If you have a good amount of room on your roof, and no trees, then a string inverter will give you the best production. This is because they have less wiring and are easier to maintain. Go Solar Group also uses string inverters with emergency backup capabilities.
Not all string and microinverters are equal. Do your homework and make sure that your inverter that is a quality brand. We have found that the SMA Sunny Boy and the SolarEdge are the best quality inverters. Here is the spec sheet for the SMA Sunny Boy central inverter and the SolarEdge microinverter data sheet.
Why Solar Companies Should Do Their Own Installs
All solar companies will make sure that your panels get 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. For example, take one of our customers, Steve Cummings. If the company you got solar through can’t help, you’re going to have to figure it out on your own.
If you decide to go through a company that doesn’t do their installs, find 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 Backup for Your Utah Home? Probably
Right now battery backup is pretty pricey. However, if you go with bite-sized battery backup, you may be able to get what you need at an affordable price.
If backup power is important to you, look into a company that offers backup options. Backup power gives you the ability to determine your independence.
Compare All Solar Bids That Best Meet Your Needs
Now that you know what you’re looking for in a Utah solar install, it’s time to compare the options made available to you. We suggest getting and comparing bids from your top two or three companies. We wish you the best in your journey to energy independence!