The Solar Guide to Buying Solar Panels
The decision to begin the transition to alternate sources of energy is a wise one. But, people interested in the technology shouldn’t give in to the hype, as not all systems are created equal. There are several important aspects that customers interested in buying solar panels need to take into consideration whenever they appraise a solar panel system for their home.
The most common way people learn about solar panel installers in their area isn’t from TV commercials or print ads –it’s from friends and family. We encourage anyone scouting for possible solar providers to talk to people they can trust who have prior experience in working with those installers.
The great thing about talking to past customers is the lack of filter that everyone’s come to expect from advertising and marketing efforts. The only point of reference is the experience they had with that installer, regardless of whether it was positive, or left something to be desired.
A good deal is never complete without an attractive warranty; it’s a gesture that a company extends, which shows the confidence they have in their work. The length of the warranty will allow customers to calculate their ROI on the solar panel system for that amount of time.
The average working expectancy of a PV panel is 20-25 years. This should be the minimum warranty offer customers expect to see up front regarding any solar panel installation service. In fact, there are even companies that offer lifetime warranties against output flaws and manufacturing defects.
One important point to remember when appraising warranties, however, is that they’ll only be honored if the manufacturer is still open. Take care when dealing with companies without proven track records that can fold without warning.
Learn About PTC Ratings
Customers should remember that PTC ratings aren’t the same as STC ratings. The latter is a normal watt rating, while the former is an independent laboratory rating that’s required by many states in the country. The PTC rating is a superior target, as the ones conducting the tests have no profit motivating them to inflate the rating.
In many cases, there isn’t much of a discrepancy between the two figures, and the difference can easily be attributed to differences in testing conditions and equipment. But, it always pays to know more about what you’re buying before putting any money down.
The only thing better than solar companies saying they’re the best, is a piece of paper coming from someone that says they’re the best. The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) offers company accreditation and professional certification programs that raise the standard of the solar industry across the continent.
The NABCEP is considered as the gold standard in PV Technical Certifications, and holders of their certificates are held in high esteem. A NABCEP nod is also highly sought after, as they promote customer confidence. If customers are going to get someone to install solar panels on their roofs, they might as well get the best.