With rising energy prices and solar panels being installed more and more on homes or business, the amount being paid as electricity bills is also decreasing substantially.
People make certain mistakes in the path to going solar hoping to make a perfect solar makeover of their homes. There are people who fall victims to false promises, to solar panel installation companies that cut corners and disappear as fast as they arrive, and deals that guarantee to be ‘cheap’ but end up being too far to true. Luckily, these pitfalls can be easily avoided.
Here are the most common mistakes that I have found people committing and trust me, these mistakes are easily avoidable.
1. Avoid thinking that a cheap system will perform as well as a premium solution
The proliferation of solar panels across India has acted as a catalyst for thought that all solar companies are the same and that the smart choice is to just go with the cheapest system you can get.
However, the truth is, if you agree to a quote from a solar panel installation company just by considering that it is the cheapest among certain options, then you can get into big problems later on.
These are the same systems that come with little to no after-sales support.
Cheap solar systems are often more expensive in the long run than paying more in the first place for a premium system from a premium provider.
People opting for cheap solar panels get the following things:
- low quality or poorly installed panels
- faulty inverters
- a system that doesn’t deliver on its promises
- a terrible or no after-sales customer service or support
A premium solution is no doubt a bigger investment at the start, it will pay dividends in form of great energy savings, long-term performance and ongoing after-sales support.
2. Thinking ‘one size fits all’
Just like a suit or a pair of shoes, this solar system has enough to fit you and your energy needs perfectly.
A person’s solar energy solution should be sized carefully
- according to your current energy usage
- keeping into consideration the days and times that they most commonly use energy
- their expectations and goals for reducing their energy bills or their reliance on the grid, and their plans for the future
The consultant that you speak should be able to listen to these demands and also quickly and easily explain how they have taken your future plans into consideration in their recommendation.
If you meet a salesperson who meets a ‘one size fits all’ approach, hang up the phone immediately and try another company – that’s the best they deserve!
3. Confusing daylight hours with sun hours:
- A sun hour is a specific unit of measurement that is used in solar to define the period of time in a day that a person is going to get the most from their solar panel.
- So, even if the sun rises at 6 am and sets at 5 pm but you get 6 sun hours in the middle of that day where the solar panel is working anywhere close to maximum capacity.
- However, this does not mean that the solar panel works for only 5 hours.
- It means that in order to get the most out of the panels, a person must install it in such a way that they maximize the sun hours.
4. Not reading or understanding the warranty conditions
- One must carefully read any warranty conditions and make sure they completely understand their entitlements before signing up for a new solar energy solution.
- A solar panel performance warranty is to preserve the panel’s performance. This kind of warranty is usually provided by solar panel installation companies.
- The solar panel materials and workmanship warranty are provided to cover defective materials or workmanship in the manufacture of the panel itself. Generally, these warranties are between five and ten years.
- The most important warranty is an inverter warranty.
- An inverter is the piece of equipment that converts solar energy into electricity ready for use, and it constantly works all day at very high voltages.
- Inverters come with a manufacturer’s warranty of five years for standard inverters and up to 10 years for premium inverters.
- It’s important to completely understand what you’re entitled to and what the solar panel installation companies’ or manufacturer’s duties are.
- Consider checking how the company is planning to assist with any warranty claims, and also ensure if they will handle disputes with manufacturers on your behalf.
5. Failing to future-proof your system
- When someone makes a big investment like the solar system, one must always make sure that they’ve considered any future needs or wants.
- Most solar energy systems can be easily connected to battery storage systems, but there are still some things one needs to consider before making the final decision.
- In case someone is planning on adding a battery now or later, they may need to add some more solar panels to make sure that they can generate energy for the evenings and the day needs.
- In this case, a query must be raised if the company can explain how the solar system might need to change or be expanded when the need for a new battery arrives.
6. Buying before defining your load
This is a common mistake made by many who consider going solar.
Hence, avoiding to buy a solar inverter system before knowing the load profile is highly recommended.
- Conducting an inexpensive energy audit provides an accurate load profile data for any home.
- I have noticed people who avoid this are most likely to oversize their system or undersize the system which will finally lead to them losing money either ways.
If you are planning to go solar then I would suggest you to rather spend two weeks figuring out everything about the system than spend 20 years regretting buying the wrong solar panel, even though it seemed like a good idea earlier.
Author’s Bio: Jay Mehta is a goal-oriented energy management specialist at MI Solar with immense experience in sustainable energy development through renewable energy, energy efficiency and smart metering. MI Solar holds the leading position among the top solar companies in India. They offer the best rooftop solar power solutions & renewable energy services and carry 45 years of trust, commissioning solar power solutions countrywide.