Going solar is not as easy as it may seem because you want to make sure you are getting the right solar for your home or business, based on your specific situation. Every home or business is different and you can only get what will be useful to you in the long-term and what is within your budget.
Therefore, a solar developer will design a solar PV system that caters for your energy needs and delivers the savings that you are likely to achieve based on site-specific parameters that are out of your control.
If your house or business is in a location with a good solar resource or potential and you want to achieve more savings or even going 100% solar is possible, depending on how much you want to invest. It all depends on finding the right size or number of solar panels based on your current energy consumption as well as how much you are able to afford.
Going solar with online tools
Nowadays, because of the advancement of technology in the software space, finding these numbers has become very easier because such numbers are a click away and use site-specific data to determine them. Online solar tools developed in partnership with government and private sector makes it possible to just type the address of your location to obtain information that you just need and get well-equipped to go solar with no sales pitch, but just numbers that show you whether your decision is good for you or not.
Solar questions that you may have, including but not limited to: how many solar panels do I need? Are solar panels worth it?, how much can I save with going solar, what financing packages are good for you and many more questions can be answered through using these tools. Hence, understanding and awareness about going solar are made easier and any doubts that you may have might be clarified easily without the need to make any phone calls.
So, while using these online solar tools, what questions should you be asking?
You probably have questions about your specific situation about going solar such as the above-aforementioned questions in many cases relating to savings and costs of going solar. However, you may need to ask some extra questions relating to the type of solar PV technology, financing, which solar installer to go consider for installation, and how to get the most energy from your solar panels once installed. These additional aspects of going solar are explained below for your perusal:
1. Type of PV technology
Knowing the type of PV technology to install in your house or business is important because solar panels are not equal based on different technological aspects, solar brand, warranty, quality and so on.
A more in-depth article that captures these aspects in detail can be obtained here. Although, you want to make sure that you are using a PV technology will the right range of solar efficiencies, a solar brand with a good reputation when it comes to quality and that will be in existence to honor your product and performance warranties at the expected time.
Product warranties range between 10 to 15 years while performance warranties are granted at the duration of the life span of the equipment, normally about 20-25 years depending on the brand you decide to go with.
There are different types of solar panels including monocrystalline, polycrystalline and thin-film solar panels and all these have different solar efficiencies and specific parameters such as weight/densities, etc which you may want to consider when selecting or being advised by a solar professional based on the design of your PV system.
Once you have decided on the solar panels you want for your house or business and taking into consideration the design and size aspects of your system; you probably want to look into the financial aspects of the system. How you want to finance will depend on how much you can afford and whether you are willing to take a loan, pay for cash or enter into a power purchase agreement with the solar provider.
You might have used cash or loan financing packages before, however, you might not have entered into a power purchase agreement (PPA) which means you are entering into a contractual agreement with a particular solar provider to buy solar power at an agreed power rate that is usually slightly lower than your utility rate and for a specified period. The advantage of a PPA rate is that you don’t have to buy solar panels to go solar, but your solar provider does and you only pay the amount of solar you use charged at a specific rate per kilowatt-hour. Most PPA structures will allow you to go solar with no money down (or zero down-payment) and this helps to overcome the high initial cost of a PV system. Check this article to learn more about different financing models to help you go solar with the right package that suits you.
3. The right Installer
Finding the right solar installer will make sure that your PV system is well installed, maintained and meets all licensing/regulatory requirements in your local area. You want to ensure that your system is designed and maintained by well-trained professionals and who have a track record of installing systems without failure and following the specific laws and regulations set in your local area.
A good place to start is to read online reviews about a particular solar installer, but you probably might not find these reviews or perhaps there are none. Use of online solar tools may be a better place to start, because not only do you get multiple solar quotes from different solar installers, but also presented with a platform that has already pre-screened installers based on experience, track record and the various solar installation certifications that they have.
This way you are able to compare apples to apples using a set criteria and their solar quotes.
Join EnergySage today to learn more about how to find the right solar for you!
EnergySage is one of the online solar tools that not only shows you the numbers of how much you can save with solar but answers all the questions captured in this article in more detail and that is specific to your house or business because you input your physical address giving you a number that has been collected using LIDAR technology.
A recent study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) found out that PV installers using platforms like the EnergySage bid $0.24 per watt lower because of increased solar installer competition.
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