With summer temperatures rising into the triple digits, more people are opting to close up all their windows and start using their air conditioning more frequently. In return, significant utility bill increases caused by this additional AC use is prompting more homeowners to begin considering a solar panel solution to help decrease their overall energy expenses. This is especially true in a predominantly sunny climate like it is here in San Diego, California.
Although installing solar panels is often a no-brainer, there are still several factors to consider when choosing a solar panel, as well as general things to know before installing solar panels. Below are our top four factors to consider when buying solar panels.
1. Can your roof support solar panels?
This is a crucial question to ask yourself and your contractor when considering installing solar panels onto your roof. First off, can your roof handle the extra weight of the solar panels? If your roof has been damaged or has leaked in the past, there may be some additional cost involved to ensure the panels are safe to securely install.
Also, if your roof is mainly covered in shade for most of the day throughout the year, it might not have a favorable enough “solar window” to justify the costs of panels. You want to make sure your panels will be able to get enough sun each year to warrant the cost of installing solar panels. The two aspects above are both crucial factors you will want to assess before you move forward.
2. Which kind of solar panel makes sense?
When deciding what type of solar panel to install, there are three major types to consider: monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and thin-film. Each type has its own unique advantages and disadvantages, so the solar panel type best suited for your home installation will heavily depend on factors specific to your own property and desired system characteristics.
- The main advantages of Monocrystalline panels are that they are often more aesthetically pleasing and have high efficiency/performance. The disadvantage of Monocrystalline panels is that they are often more expensive than the other 2 types of panels.
- The main advantage of Polycrystalline panels is that they are usually less expensive than other panels. The disadvantage of Polycrystalline panels is that they are often known to have lower efficiency/performance.
- The main advantages of Thin-film panels are that they are often more aesthetically pleasing, lightweight, and portable/flexible. The disadvantage of Monocrystalline panels is that they are known to have the lowest efficiency/performance of the 3 types.
3. How do you connect to the grid?
The details to the above questions will vary depending on the city and state you live in, but the main principle is that any time you’re connecting with a utility, there are a ton of logistics to work through.
Things to check in on are:
- Do you have to pay a fee?
- How long does it take for the utility to get you hooked up?
- Once you are connected, how and when will you be credited for the electricity you generate?
Oftentimes, the company or contractor you are working with will already know this information and can help guide you through it. However, some additional questions and footwork may be needed on your end to ensure all the information provided is valid.
4. Is your installer trustworthy?
Similar to other home improvement projects, hiring an experienced service provider that you trust is the key to a successful insulation of solar panels without damaging your roof and successfully connecting to the grid. That said, be sure that your solar installers are trained and licensed professionals that know the in and out of installing your desired type of solar panel on your specific style of roof.
If you live in San Diego or other neighboring cities, installing rooftop solar panels is a great investment that our experienced solar panel installers at RT Roofing Specialists would love to help you explore. Have more questions? Call RT Roofing Specialists today for more information on factors to consider when choosing a solar panel, as well as general things to know before installing solar panels. We are here to help!