Common Solar Installation Mistakes
So you’ve want to go solar. Great! But before you proceed any further, it’s important to know some of the more common solar mistakes that homeowners make so you can avoid them. Here are five of the most common ones:
Mistake #1: Missing out on limited time rebates and incentives.
Nothing is worse than making the right step towards solar and then realizing that you missed out on a large incentive or rebate. These programs are great for homeowners, but they can have very strict requirements and most expire after a set period. Make sure you know what solar incentives and solar rebates are available from the federal, state, and municipal government and your local electrical utility. More importantly, make sure your solar system meets every requirement necessary to qualify for the programs and that these programs don’t expire before you’ve completed your installation. Professional solar installers are intimately familiar with the programs and can make sure that you are able to take advantage of all rebates and incentives.
Mistake #2: Not using an experienced solar professional to install your system.
The best solar installers undergo extensive training and are able to rely on years of solar installation experience. These professionals know the incentives and rebates in your area and will ensure that your solar system meets the proper requirements. They also will optimize your system’s position in relation to the sun, which will guarantee optimal performance and the lowest possible electrical bill for you. What’s more, professional installers are unlikely to make the installation mistakes that are common in ‘do-it-yourself’ jobs. Whether it is a leak in your roof or an electrical connection that doesn’t meet county code, there are many ways that a solar installation can go wrong. Finally, professional installers can help you through the mountain of paperwork and permits necessary to install your system and get it online. To top it all off, professional installers can also help you secure financing for your system.
Mistake #3: Forgetting to look at financing and leasing options.
The average solar system costs between $15,000 and $25,000 after solar rebates and incentives. For most of us, this represents a major investment, comparable in cost to a new car. Financing the solar system can reduce your initial out-of-pocket expenses and make the entire process easier. Most installers will work with you to find the purchase option that makes the most sense and help you get the financing you need. Leasing is another attractive option if you don’t want to pay for the solar equipment or solar panel installation up-front. Instead, you simply pay for the electricity that the system generates each month. Solar financing and solar lease options are great ways to reduce your out-of-pocket expenses and still experience the benefits of going solar.
Mistake #4: Not making your home energy-efficient first.
A good first step toward solar is to check your home’s energy efficiency. You can do a simple home energy audit on your own or hire a contractor to help you. Most homeowners discover that they can reduce their electricity bill simply by making their home more efficient. In fact, the average home energy audit finds potential electricity savings of 30%. Common energy efficiency problems include leaky air ducts, inefficient appliances and incandescent light bulbs. Solving these problems increases the likelihood that your solar system will be able to completely eliminate your electricity bill and that you may even get a check from the local electrical utility every month.
Mistake #5: Miscalculating your solar savings.
Figuring out exactly how much you can save with your solar panels is a complex process. It involves a careful evaluation of the installation site, the available sunlight and amount of shading on your home, and the characteristics of the solar panels. Most solar websites have simple calculators that provide estimates of how much you can save, but these are only approximations. Having a professional installer visit your home to provide a consultation is the best way to get a more precise estimate. With these estimates of costs and savings, you can be sure that solar is an investment that makes sense for you.