The installation of solar panels on your home is a fantastic investment. On top of adding value to your home and being a great selling feature, the energy generated by the solar panels replaces your costly electric bills each month. This means– unlike any other home improvement project– the investment pays for itself. In fact, if your solar panels generate more energy than you use, the meter literally runs backwards and you get paid for your energy!
One factor that prevents homeowners from making the leap into self-sustaining energy is the upfront investment. Fortunately, as solar technology progresses and solar power services become more accessible to home owners, the solar power cost has become more affordable than ever. In fact, the cost of home solar installation has declined by 80% since 2008, while the quality and longevity of them have improved. The most important consideration for getting the greatest solar energy savings from your investment is to determine which solar panels are the best for your particular home and energy usage.
A few factors to consider when determining which solar panels are the best for your home include:
- Conversion Efficiency. The conversion efficiency is the panels’ ability to convert light into usable energy. If two panels have the same cost, choosing the panel with the higher conversion efficiency is a great way to determine which solar panels are the best investment.
- Tolerance Rating. The tolerance rating of a solar panel is its ability to meet its energy production capacity. For example, if a solar panel has the capacity to produce 200 watts per hour, but due to poor quality only produce 185 watts, it would have a negative tolerance rating. On the flip side, efficient solar panels can actually achieve a positive tolerance, where they produce more than their capacity in energy!
- Degradation. The energy production a panel is capable of will be impacted by degradation. Potential-induced degradation (PID) is the degradation of the panels caused by the elements in certain climates. Light-induced degradation (LID) is the initial loss of efficiency when the panels are first put into production, before they stabilize. To get the best return on your investment, look for panels that are both PID and LID resistant.
- Longevity vs warranty. A reputable solar panel installer will give you a reliable estimate for how many years your solar panels will operate at high efficiency. Most panels have a lifespan of 25 to 40 years; you want to choose a solar panel provider that offers a warranty for at least as long as the panels are supposed to last. Just keep in mind that the warranty is only valid while the solar power company is in business. Investing in solar panels with a company that has an established history of reliable service is a good idea for this reason.
Have you installed solar panels on your home? What did you look for when choosing a type of solar panels and a solar panel provider? What do you love and hate about them now that they’re installed? Please leave us a comment with your experience.