Don’t be fooled by these misconceptions about Utah Solar and PV systems. Making sure that you are aware of where real value is will save you money and provide a more rewarding solar experience.
5. All Warranties are Created Equal
Don’t be fooled by the wording of your panel warranty. Not every panel has the same quality or length and so it will be to your benefit to take a closer look at it before signing on.
What Warranties Are Out There?
There are two panel manufacturer warranties: equipment and production warranties. Many installers will also give you a workmanship warranty on their install, though this is a rarer commodity in the Utah market.
Solar Equipment or Materials Warranties
Your manufacturer warranty standard for the solar industry is 10 years. There are some manufacturers that will provide a materials warranty for as long as 25 years. This warranty covers any manufacturing errors and durability problems.
Your production warranty guarantees that your array will produce a minimum percentage of its original capacity at the at the end of a number of years. These warranties normally guarantee about 80% efficiency in the first 25 years.
All electronics decline with age and so you won’t be able to find a system that produces the same amount of energy forever. You will want to look for a panel that has a lower rate of decline per year.
Your workmanship warranty is through your installer. These typically last between 1 to 10 years. A good installation company will back their work (the design and installation of your system) with a good workmanship warranty. Going with an installation company that has NABCEP certified installers and has gotten the business licenses and insurance policies for your state will ensure a quality installation.
4. A Company That Promises Immediate ROI Is Best
Solar is an asset that is replacing a lifelong monthly bill for which most end up getting financed. Expecting an immediate return on investment for something that is replacing a lifelong bill is outrageous.
The Best ROI Option for Solar?
There are three main financing options available for those that would like solar installed on their home in the state of Utah. These include paying cash, loans, and leasing solar.
When you purchase your solar array with cash, your installer will normally give you a discount on the price of the system. You are also saving money by paying in cash because you won’t have any interest that you are paying to a lender. Additionally, as solar equipment degrades over time as all electrical equipment does, a loan means you are paying for slightly more than the system is worth.
Although technically your return on investment when you pay with cash is immediate, you still have to take into consideration that your return is in savings. Calculating how much you would have been spending each year on electricity over the life of your system is the best way to know what your ROI will be.
Solar Loan ROI
Getting solar through a loan is the next best option if you can’t afford to pay in cash. This option typically pays for itself in about seven years and normally doesn’t require a down payment. Your actual savings will be determined by the rate and term of your loan compared to what your electric bill would have been.
Leasing Solar ROI
When you decide to lease your solar system, you are still saving money in comparison to your power company. You are not paying to own the system, though, and so your monthly payments for electricity will not go away. Instead, your power bill is reduced and redirected to the solar company with whom you decided to go.
3. DIY (do it yourself) Solar Is a Good Option
When you compare the prices for do it yourself supplies, the price may be dramatically lower than getting solar through a solar installation company. At first this may seem like a good option, but after considering what you are paying for, you may want to reconsider before you buy your DIY solar kit.
Why Getting a Professional Is the Wiser Choice
Having a professional who is certified and well-versed in that area of expertise will save you time and irritation. Getting solar should not be on the DIY section of your to do list, though some people believe it’s a good option, and to their own chagrin (unless their master electricians).
When you hire a professional solar installation company to come install your system, they make sure that the size of the system you are getting is going to offset most or all of your power bill costs. This requires more than just knowing how many panels you need to produce the amount of energy you consume year over year. The placement and angle of your panels and how best to connect them is also evaluated.
Getting a full-service professional also means that you won’t have to worry about any of the paperwork that needs to be done for your system to be legal and safe. Full-service companies take care of permitting, new metering agreements, and paperwork so that you can get the most out of your state and federal tax credits.
Having a full service installation team come and install your system means that you are hiring professionals that have been trained on how to install panels on homes. This ensures a correct installation the first time, and in a quarter of the time it would have taken one person to do it on their own.
Getting a solar installation company to install your system also means that if you are having problems with your system, a team of professionals is on top of it for you. With a workmanship warranty, there is no need to be frustrated after putting your time and energy into installing your own system. Just make a quick call and the installation crew will take care of it for you.
2. Leasing Is More Cost-effective than Buying
Although you do save money in comparison to your electric bill by leasing your solar system, it isn’t nearly as cost effective as buying a residential solar system in Utah.
When you lease a system, you don’t own it. You are paying monthly to use the energy that is being produced by a system that isn’t yours. Many choose this option because they don’t have to deal with the maintenance that comes with owning a system.
The truth is that you end up paying more in the long run when you lease compared to buying a system. It is the same when you lease or buy a home, or anything else. Purchasing is always the more cost-effective solution.
When you buy a system after it is paid off, you no longer have any payments that you have to make. Getting a shorter loan term or paying in cash will increase the amount of time you are able to enjoy not having a power bill.
When you buy your system you are also given the option of selling the system with your home, which increases the value of the home. If you would rather keep your system, getting your system through a full service company will ensure that you are able to have your system uninstalled and reinstalled onto your new home.
1. Cheaper Is Better
Cheaper is always better if you want to spend as little money as possible up-front. However, as mentioned earlier, solar isn’t about up-front costs. It’s about return on investment over time. That’s why a better product is worth what you pay for it.
What Makes A Solar Array Cheaper
Everyone wants to get the best deal, but these prices could be coming at the expense of quality. Taking the time to get to know your panel manufacturer will help you better see what your best option is.
Some manufacturing companies have been able to cut back on their panel prices by taking dangerous shortcuts at the crossroads of environmental care and profit margin. These have a huge effect on their local environment and decrease the productivity of their panels.
Organizations like Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition have made an effort to make the general public aware of this problem so you can make an informed decision about from whom you should buy. They have produced a score card since 2009, which rates manufactures pollution level.
What type of panel you are getting can also make a huge difference in the price of your system. Typically you will see that thin-film panels are a lot cheaper than mono and poly-crystalline panels. Thin-film panels are also less efficient though and so you will need more of them to generate the same amount of energy.
Getting a system with mono-crystalline panels will allow you to get the most production from your panels. Other panel module materials are being tested on a regular basis, but mono-crystalline has withstood stood the test of time and efficiency in the Utah residential solar market, and likely will for some time to come.