Installing a home solar energy system has become one of the smartest financial investments you can make in 2021. The majority of the population over the last two years has noticed a hike in their quarterly bills which is solar companies have noticed an increased interest from the general population to get solar installed. As you evaluate offers from solar companies, there are many different factors to consider – the equipment that you choose for your system, your financing options, and the installer that you select all have an impact on your solar savings. This guide will help you evaluate the different solar panels and inverters available so that you can choose the best equipment for your home.
There are two main components to a grid-connected solar energy system: the solar panels themselves, which create electricity from sunlight, and the inverter, which converts the electricity into a form you can use in your home. These days most systems are also wifi enables and therefore allow you to see how much power you’re creating and using. While solar batteries haven’t gained that much popularity yet due to the lack of government rebates on them, the announcement of Tesla’s Powerwall battery and other technologies are making it possible for homeowners to consider incorporating a battery into their system.
How to choose your solar panels in 3 easy steps
- Determine solar panel efficiency and compare to industry average of 16-18%
- Check solar panel manufacturer warranties against industry average of 10-25 years
- Compare cost to relative efficiency – efficiency is important, but the most efficient panels aren’t always the best value
The cost of solar is dropping rapidly across the nation. See prices in your area and get free solar quotes from SUNMATE SOLAR today.
Criteria for choosing the right solar panels
You can distinguish a reliable and efficient solar panel brand based on few main parameters: production, durability and manufacturer quality.
The amount of electricity a given solar panel can produce depends on various factors, including the power rating, power tolerance, efficiency and temperature coefficient. Taken together, these factors will tell you how much power that particular brand of panel will be able to produce.
You can analyse the quality of any given panel brand by observing certain indicators like the warrantees and assurances that the manufacturer offers on their equipment. Solar panels like any other material product will eventually degrade over time and become less efficient. Many manufacturers will guarantee that the power production of their panels doesn’t fall below a certain threshold over twenty-five years through a guaranteed “performance warranty”. In addition, many panel manufacturers have a materials warranty in case the panels simply fail.
Most solar panels are very durable, but if you live in an area that has heavy snow or high wind, you should also be sure that the panels you install are designed to withstand the extreme environmental conditions in your area if you have any. Most brands of solar panel manufacturers use an accelerated outdoor stress test for panels to ensure their durability.
While some homeowners may choose to invest in the highest quality, most efficient “premium” panels, remember that those will come with a much higher price tag than other “value for money” options available I the market which will have small drawbacks of their own. Going solar is a lot like buying a car: not everyone needs a Lamborghini! Conversely, if you want to save by buying cheap solar panels, your system may produce less electricity over its lifetime, reducing your overall savings. Depending on the amount of money you are willing to spend can help make your decision easier in choosing the right system size.
Which inverter should I choose?
It’s the job of the inverter in your solar energy system to convert the solar energy into something you can use. You can say that in many ways, a solar inverter works as the brain of your solar power system. Solar panels take solar energy and make it into direct current (DC) power. The inverter’s job is to convert that DC power into the alternating current (AC) electricity that can be used in your home.
There are two general types of inverters: string inverters and module-level power electronics (MLPEs). Micro inverters and power optimizers are both MLPEs.
String inverters are the lowest-cost option for a solar energy system. If your system has optimal conditions for production like sufficient roof space with no shade, they are usually a good choice for your home. When your solar panel system has a string inverter, all of your panels feed all of the DC power they produce to a single inverter. The inverter then changes the DC energy to AC power, at which point your solar energy is ready to use.
MLPEs are generally more expensive, but they can also be more efficient especially in cases when the panels have to be placed in not the most ideal conditions. MLPEs are a good choice if your solar energy system may be slightly shaded or can’t be installed at the best angle due to the roof design,etc. When you use micro inverters, each panel has its own inverter to transform the power it creates and feed it to your house. Power optimizers are also installed on every panel, but power optimizers are paired with a string inverter. The power optimizer “conditions” the energy, making it easier to convert from DC to AC, at which point it is sent to the main inverter.
How to choose the right installer for your system?
Your installer is one of the most important factors of your solar installation! When you choose a solar installer, you should review their certifications, licenses, track record and reputation in the market.
A great installer, like those working for AUSTRA Solar, will provide a warranty on their workmanship. Most importantly, a good installer will be an effective partner ready to help you go solar. All of the installers you meet through Austra Solar have been pre-vetted and meet our standards for all these variables. Whichever installer you use, don’t be afraid to ask questions throughout the installation process.
Get a free quote today for a system by contacting SUNMATE Solar.