Installing solar panels is not only a great way to become independent of centralized energy supplies, but also save money in the long run. However, having decided to purchase and install solar panels, you need to understand that there are also “pitfalls” here. Knowing them, you can avoid such unpleasant moments, because being informed means being armed.
Consider the main mistakes when buying solar panels – how not to get into trouble and what you need to pay attention to.
1. You think that a cheap solar system will work just as well as an expensive system.
Today, solar panels are becoming more and more widespread. However, some people mistakenly think that solar panels are not too different from each other, do not want to overpay, and do not even try to understand their features. Having agreed with the cheapest offer, they face big problems in the future. After all, the cost of panels depends on many parameters.
In no case do we want to offend anyone, but do you remember that “the miser pays twice”? And practice confirms this. Those who decide to save money on their purchase will realize that cheap solar systems will end up costing more than if they bought a premium system from a trusted and reputable supplier right away. Cheap solar systems may be poorly manufactured, poorly installed, have defective inverters, or may not have any after-sales service and customer support, or these functions will not be performed at a high level. While a premium solution, while requiring a larger initial investment, will pay dividends in the end in terms of significant energy savings, long-term performance and ongoing after-sales support.
2. You think that all panels are universal.
Just as a suit, a pair of shoes or cosmetics are selected individually, so the solar system must be tailored to your specific conditions and energy needs. Choose solar panels based on your current energy consumption, the time during which you plan to use the solar installation (permanently or as an auxiliary energy source, year-round or only at certain times of the year, by the hour, etc.). You need to understand when you most often use alternative energy sources, what are your expectations and goals for using a solar installation (providing autonomous energy in the household, reducing electricity bills, making money with the help of a “green tariff”, fighting for the environment). You also need to understand what you are striving for in the future – perhaps over time your energy needs will increase, and you will want to increase the number and area of \u200b\u200bpanels.
All these questions must be discussed with the sales consultant. He should not only listen, but quickly and easily explain how the company can take into account your requirements and wishes, including in the future. You should be on your guard if the salesperson convinces you that “one rig size fits all” or fails to explain in detail how their system suits your current needs. Even worse, if the consultant cannot answer how the company will carry out after-sales service and what it can offer you in the future (for example, in order to increase the number of panels), in the worst case, they will not ask you about it at all and will not even start a conversation on this topic. . In such cases, it is better to contact another company.
3. You pay too much attention to the efficiency of the solar module.
Do not spend a lot of time and effort on meticulous clarification of the efficiency of a solar module. Yes, you need to check this parameter against the specification, but do not let the seller confuse you with solar panel efficiency data. It is necessary to know and take into account this value, but in fact it is not so important what efficiency your solar module will have. It’s just that the term solar cell efficiency is often misused. The efficiency of a solar module is more related to the installation area of your system, and if you do not have strict restrictions on the area, then in principle, you can not even pay attention to this parameter (an efficiency above 14% is already an acceptable result, although some panels may have an efficiency and up to 20%). Ordinary and so-called “high-performance” modules may have a very small difference in efficiency, but at the same time, “high-performance” modules can cost significantly more, which means that it is more profitable for the seller to sell them to you. If we pay attention to the parameters, then the PTC value (parameters for testing solar modules under realistic conditions) will be more important, which reflects the decrease in the power of the module in real operating conditions, as well as the tolerance of the modules (deviation of the real power of the photomodule from the passport one). If you really need to evaluate the efficiency, then you need to pay attention to the efficiency and efficiency of the entire solar system as a whole, taking into account its other elements and parameters – PTC, inverter efficiency, module tolerance, losses in communications and wires, etc.
4. You do not think about the level of after-sales service and customer support.
Understanding that ongoing customer support is very important comes when it comes to operating solar panels and you want them to perform at their best. While this type of service is important for many large purchases, it makes a lot of sense when installing solar panels because you are investing in a product that is expected to last decades, a product that is chosen precisely to deliver savings over many years. years.
So after-sales service and customer support is one of the weak points that a buyer of solar panels may face. It is in this area that cheaper suppliers try to cut their costs. It may seem to you that you have found a profitable solution with an inexpensive installation, but in the end you can lose thousands of hryvnias in the long run due to the inefficient operation of the system, as well as spend a “tidy sum” on its repair and maintenance.
So when choosing a solar energy supplier, make sure the company you choose offers ongoing customer support throughout the life of your system. Ask them in detail how support is provided, where their support center is located, what specialists are included and what kind of support they can provide.
5. You do not carefully study the terms of the guarantee.
When you are about to purchase a solar installation, please read all warranty terms carefully and make sure you fully understand your rights. In your contract, you should find at least four types of guarantees with different durations:
The performance (efficiency) warranty of solar panels is designed to protect the essential characteristics of the manufacturer. It means that during the specified period of time the panel will produce the planned output power. Typically, this type of warranty is provided by the solar panel manufacturer, is around 25 – 30 years and is pretty standard across the industry.
Warranty for materials and workmanship of solar panels refers to the materials or workmanship of the panel itself, and is usually given directly by the solar panel manufacturer. Usually this guarantee is from 5 to 10 years.
Inverter Warranty – one of the most important in the list of guarantees. The inverter is one of the key elements of a solar installation, thanks to which The sun’s energy is converted into electricity, ready to be used for your needs. Therefore, the inverter works constantly very intensively. These devices typically carry a manufacturer’s warranty of 5 years on standard inverters and up to 10 years or more on premium inverters. The inverter will not degrade gradually, like a solar battery – it will simply stop working at some point, which means the whole system will stop. Therefore, inverters must be properly maintained and replaced in a timely manner, if necessary and the time has come.
The installation warranty covers the build quality of your solar energy system and is most often provided by either the solar panel dealer or a company that specializes in such work (solar panel installation and maintenance). Therefore, the installation warranty can vary greatly depending on the vendor or service company chosen, but should generally be between 2 and 5 years. A longer installation warranty period should give you complete confidence in your suppliers or installers.
It is important that already at the stage of purchase you fully understand what you are entitled to and what are the obligations of the company or manufacturer. Find out how the company plans to help with warranty claims and whether they will resolve disputes with manufacturers on your behalf.
6. You don’t care about the brand name.
Installing solar panels is a big investment right away, but it is also a huge investment for your household in the long run. Therefore, it is necessary to treat their acquisition with the utmost responsibility. Before making a purchase decision, find out as much information as possible about the chosen brand or about the brands that the seller offers you. Find out how long the brand has been on the market, what technologies it uses, how it takes care of the environment and recycling of panels, what it promises under the guarantee. Do research online by reading forums and reviews, try to find people you know who have solar panels installed and get their opinion – perhaps the experience and feedback of other people will help you avoid mistakes and make the right decision. Of course, get as much information as possible about the brand from the seller – why they work with these brands, their pros and cons, various nuances from practice. If the seller company cannot answer your questions or simply refuses to disclose this information, please contact other sellers.
7. You are not interested in whether you can increase your battery in the future.
If you plan to increase the number of batteries over time, check with the seller how they will help with this issue. It may be more profitable to add additional solar panels right away or find out how it will be technically carried out if necessary. Be sure to ask your supplier whether the design and layout of the solar system will take into account the possibility of such changes in the future. There are many companies that offer systems at incredibly cheap prices, misleading consumers and not providing proper maintenance and the possibility of increasing the number of solar panels in the future.
By staying vigilant, not shy about asking the right questions and keeping your future goals in mind, you will be able to choose the right solar plant for your needs, a reliable supplier and a good service company. All this together will ensure the efficient and long-term operation of your solar panels.