Now that we’re in 2018, it’s time to evaluate commercial solar power as renewable energy and put together a simple guide to help you navigate the murky waters of investing and dealing with installers of solar panels. It’s stressful, it can seem to be too much at times, and there is always the fear of investing in poor quality solar panels or dealing with installers who have no customer service experience or no real solar installation experience. However, once you get those great solar panels up and running, the stress will melt away and everything will return to normal as more and more people start to benefit from these amazing solar energy systems.
But there are definitely some things to look out for when investing in solar panels and a lot of it has to do with the ever-changing solar energy field and all of the companies that are trying to take advantage of the trend. In this guide, we inform you of how to pick the right solar panels and solar manufacturers, just what to look out for when buying solar panels in this growing market, and the best options and companies of 2018.
Happy solar panel shopping!
How to pick the right solar manufacturer
There are many tips we could give in this section, but we’ll do our best to narrow it down to what you should specifically look for. We know that it can be stressful to buy solar panels, as it’s a huge investment. The last thing you want to do is buy some faulty panels from a manufacturer that doesn’t care and you end up with a source of renewable energy that, well, doesn’t renew itself. With that said, here are the main things you should look out for when studying up and researching on different manufacturers:
- Check out the panel’s power. Power is everything. It’s much easier to buy panels that can absorb a higher amount of power and hold a high amount of power instead of buying a ton of smaller panels and littering your roof with them. Check out just what level of power the panels you are looking at can hold or pull in with the panels of the different solar energy systems. We recommend checking out the ones that can absorb about 230 watts each. Having these higher powered panels make your life easier in the long run, trust us.
- Learn about the company and their history. The solar industry is changing and adapting as we speak. In the last ten years, companies have come and gone like that—and it’s very possible that it will keep on happening. Because of this, find out about the company and their history. While we’re not saying don’t buy from a newer company, we are saying to check out their longevity. Do some research! You don’t want to buy from a manufacturer or company that folds before your warranty is even done with. That’s just not fun.
- Check out the overall efficiency. More powerful panels? Check! High-efficiency rating? Check! While it’s important to look at powerful panels, it’s also important to look at the efficiency of said panels. In this case, efficiency is talking about the power output’s measure that is in relation to the surface area of the panel and overall power input that comes from the sun. You should look for an efficiency level of 16.5% or higher.
- Read reviews and learn about the company’s customer service. Customer service is everything and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. When you’re investing in something like solar panels, the company or manufacturer that you’re dealing with should be nice and more than willing to answer all the questions that you have. A great way to decipher just how a company or representative will act is by looking up reviews (if they have them) online. This can help you figure out just who to go to first. Now, for the most part, you’ll probably only talk with the person or company installing your panels, not the actual manufacturer or company that makes the product. However, if your installer goes out of business, you’ll have to deal with your manufacturer (for warranty issues or if anything happens down the road), so it’s a good idea to look them up ahead of time and learn more.
Keep these tips in mind when shopping
Because the solar energy field has grown exponentially in the last few years, there are many companies and solar energy brands out there, all claiming to be the best. Is that the case? Maybe not!
One of the most important tips that we can give you is for you to remember that the biggest solar installers normally don’t offer the best price. We’re talking about the people and companies that will install the solar panels on your roof, here. The U.S. government recently found out that larger, possibly more well-known solar installers are charging up to $5,000 more than some of the smaller solar installers. So, make sure you keep this in mind! Maybe bigger isn’t always better—at least not in this case.
It’s also important to note that you should always do your research and compare a lot of solar options. Try and find as many as you can so that you can get the best information, as well as the best options that are more cost-effective for you and your budget. In fact, if you get three or more quotes, you can almost be sure that you’re going to be saving money. So, make sure you compare, compare, compare!
The best company options in 2018
At the moment, there are some solar companies that are having quite a great time in the limelight.
Tesla is probably the most well-known solar panel manufacturer right now. In fact, Tesla and Panasonic have both teamed up to begin manufacturing a new solar roof product in Buffalo! It’s now being called the Gigafactory and we’re a bit excited about it.
However, SolarTech is also a big, trusty company in the game, as is Itek Energy. There are loads of huge solar companies that are striving to be the best, but there are also some great smaller companies as well.
2018 has already changed the playing field for solar energy manufacturers and installers and we’re excited to see where the future takes us!