There are a number of things that factor into deciding to go solar. It’s important to understand how much energy you want to produce and whether or not your property is suitable for producing that amount of energy. Generally speaking, if you have an average electric bill of $50 or more and a roof that faces south, you’ve got a suitable property. Even without the south facing roof, you can elect to install solar panels on ground mounts, which are like smaller versions of the solar farms you see at larger facilities and on the thruway.
Next you’ll need to choose a solar installer. Should you pick a local company or a national company, and is there even a difference? Typically, local companies offer lower prices and better support, but even if an installer is local, there are a lot of differences that we discuss here.
Financing is another major consideration. For many people, the thought of having to take out a loan keeps them from moving forward. We discuss why this shouldn’t keep you from considering a solar installation here.
What are the best solar panels for my home?
Once you’ve picked a solar installation company, like Solar by CIR, you’ll work with us to create the right sized solar system for your property. That means picking the right number and brand of panels for your usage now and in the future.
Often, customers end up with a system that fits their needs today, but not in the years to come. This happens when they add additions to their home or buy electric vehicles, which both can add a substantial amount of electrical usage. This will then lower their return on their investment in a solar system.
Throughout this process, you’ll quickly learn that not all solar panels are created equally. There are a number of things to consider like efficiency, temperature coefficient, output decline, warranty terms, and resiliency.
Very simply put, this refers to how well a solar panel converts sunlight into electricity. Most panels on the market range from 12.4% to 20%. For example, Hanwha Q CELLS 315, one of the industries best, has an efficiency rating of 18.7. A Panasonic HIT Panel has a 19.7% rating. This means you’ll need to purchase and install fewer Panasonic HIT panels than an industry leading panel – and far fewer than cheaper panels that many companies work with.
This represents how well a solar panel can perform in high heat. For every degree above 77 F a panel’s electricity production will decrease by its temperature coefficient. These range from around a half of a percent to a quarter of a percent.
Manufacturers guarantee that their panels’s electricity output will only decline by a certain amount each year. Year one decline ranges from 1% – 5%, and then by .35%-1% from year 2 and on. This will determine how much electricity your panels can produce at the end of your warranty term, usually between 80% and 90%.
There are two warranties on your solar panels, the output warranty, and the materials warranty. The output warranty term indicated how long the manufacturer will guarantee the electric output of a panel. The materials warranty term is how long the manufacturer will guarantee the physical panels themselves will not have any defects. These terms range from 5-30 years.
With most systems installed in NY there is an additional 5 year labor warranty. While there are rarely issues at all they do happen from time to time. The vast majority of the issues that arise with a system will happen within the first year or two. After an extensive review by Panasonic, Solar by CIR has been given a special status and any Panasonic panels sold by CIR are granted an extended 25 year labor warranty.
Manufacturers test panels for a number of different conditions that put stress on panels. These include snow, wind, hail, and fire.
Panasonic HIT Solar Panels
Solar panels are made all around the world. While the bulk of solar panel manufacturers are based in Asia, companies in the United States, Canada, and other countries also produce high-quality solar panels.
Panasonic manufactures some of the highest rated solar panels in the world right here in Buffalo, NY. It’s this fact that made partnering with them such a simple choice for Solar by CIR. We’re always looking for ways to better serve our community. This enables us to provide our customers with the highest quality product and installation, all while supporting quality manufacturing jobs right here in our city.