If you ever thought about going solar, yet not have done so, you should consider the two most viable aspects in order to not fall for a scam or overpriced companies. Here we discuss the two most important components when converting to solar.
1) You absolutely need the right equipment when converting your property to solar:
A PV solar system consists of a few parts, but they are crucial to the overall efficiency and longevity of your system.
Let's start with the solar panels. Generally, if you have a large roof space available, it doesn't really matter if the panels have 350 watts or only 275 watts. You'd only need a few more panels to generate the same kw, hence available roof space. Since the solar companies usually don't charge per panel, but rather per total watts, the cost should be the same.
Side note, (controversial) Tesla solar roof: the solar shingles are, at least right now, highly inefficient. The watt output is well below the traditional PV solar panels. Personally, I'd give it a few years before jumping on it. So, go ahead with the PV solar panels.
Next, the inverter (DC to AC current). Now, here is where the bees get the honey. There are typically four different inverter types out there (most solar installers only know the first three).
String inverter, usually on residential applications, you only need one of them. This keeps the overall system cost low, but it comes with a problem, the Christmas Tree Effect. Let's say you have 10 panels hooked up if one panel fails, the whole system is down. The chance of you not even realizing this is pretty high since there is no monitoring. This means, you will have a rude awakening when, a year later, the utility company sends you a big bill, since you used "their" electricity and not yours from your solar system.
Micro Inverter, big advantage through separating the solar panels. If one fails, the remaining panels are still working. Also, monitoring on panel level basis possible. The downside: micro inverter are costly and they fail pretty often. They don't like the heat, and unfortunately, they are located underneath of each panel. It can take days, if not weeks until your solar repair guy comes out and fixes the issue.
Optimizer, much better since they don't cost much (cheaper than micros) and are NOT heat sensitive, even when they are located directly under the solar panels. They help increasing the overall output of the solar array since they "optimize" the shaded solar panels. In the event of shade on some of the solar panels, they keep them going to an optimum rate. Also, monitoring on a panel level basis is what you will very much appreciate.
Hybrid inverter, brand new idea, which combines the best of the best. Hybrid means, that the inverter has different components (string, micro, optimizer) which will be used as needed for each system. The costs are lower and maintenance is lesser. The hybrid is a string inverter where it's okay to have a string inverter and uses optimizer where necessary. This way the overall cost stay lower, monitoring possible and maintenance lesser. Overall our winner!
If you are using a hybrid inverter, you definitely need a very experienced solar design- and install team, since no corners can be cut here!!!
2) System cost! If you pay too much for your system, you are out of luck. Solar will never really pay out for you. You might as well stay with your utility provider.
First off, when solar sales reps talk about pricing, they mean "price per watt" (PPW). In 2017 the average solar company
charges customers about $6 per watt (which we think is outrageous) We will show you later how to calculate the right system size for your personal situation.
But let's say, an average household of 4 person needs about a 4kW (4000 watts) system. With a PPW of $6, you'd spend about $24,000 dollars for the whole thing. While only very few solar companies charge about $5.5 per watt, which would help you save some. In very rare cases (yes, we have them on board) you'd be charged as low as $4.5 per watt, or even less, which would help a lot to be in the "green" quickly. $4.5 x 4000 watts = $18,000, you save at least $6,000 bucks.
Think about it, as lesser you pay for your solar system, as quicker it pays out, and as larger the return on investment.
If you put these aspects first, you will love your solar system and your decision on going solar. So, do you homework, or simply call us! We are what you'd call "experts". WE are on YOUR side and always here to help. firstname.lastname@example.org for a FREE solar evaluation.