How Solar Contractors Want You To Prepare Yourself For Installing Solar Electric System
Solar energy is perhaps the best possible energy resource. It is a free resource of energy and can be harvested easily. However, converting to a solar electrical system is not exactly a walk in the park. You need to do many things before solar contractors even start to work.
Here are the steps solar contractors recommend to take to prepare yourself for the significant change.
Investigating Your Energy Usage:
The very first step that you need to take is to figure out how much energy you use on average. This includes the use of all the appliances, the energy consumed by heating and cooling systems, and some additional surplus. Take your time, and do the research for 3 months or more to get factual data. The result will estimate how much energy you consume on average and how much solar energy will be needed. If you can’t wait for that long, then take out your older bills, and look at the energy consumption rate of each month.
Relying On Other Sources:
Sure, solar energy is all well and good, but you can also consider other alternatives before going green. Now that you know how much energy is consumed, you can figure out the biggest reasons for it. For lighting, it's better if you switch to LED lights, as they consume less electricity. You can also weatherize your home, as it saves a lot of energy. Additionally, use methods to reduce the loss of cooling and heating. And don’t forget to limit the use of appliances according to their usage.
Calculating How Much Solar Energy You Will Need:
This one actually relates to the previous point. The initial installation of solar panels is expensive, and you can't always rely on this system to provide you with electricity. You would still need electricity from the power grid for emergencies or bigger appliances. Thus, it will be better for you to decrease the amount of electricity your home will need. The above suggestions will go a long way to do that.
After doing that, calculate the new number of total energy consumption. Now, you need to figure out if you want the solar electrical system for your entire system or everything excluding heavy-duty appliances?
Solar Potential Of Your Home:
Now, you need to figure out the true solar potential of your home. In other words, you need to calculate how much solar energy can be harvested at the location of your home. It depends on how much sunlight can reach the property and how long. Luckily, PV technologies can harvest energy from direct and scattered sunlight, so you have multiple options.
There are many tools that can help you calculate all these factors. You can get them from your solar contractor or just ask them to do it for you. At this point, the solar contractor will consider the following points.
- Shade: They will look at how much shade is on your home from trees and other resources. It involves the current trees as well as plants that will grow to become huge giants in the future.
- Roofing: How old is your roof? Does it need to be repaired or replaced? Or is it sturdy enough to handle the weight of solar panels? It’s better to carry out any improvements on the roof before solar panels are installed.
- Potential Restriction: Some places have restrictions regarding such projects. You need to figure that out before the project starts.
Surprisingly, or unsurprisingly, buying the entire solar electrical system is not your only choice. You can get it for a fixed rent. Sure, you still have to pay for the installation process, but you can save on the front as for the equipment. However, this option has some disadvantages. First of all, this is not feasible for long-term use. You will pay more in rent over a period of time than you would for an initial purchase.
There are other options than rent, which includes:
- The shared solar power in the community
- Solar leases
- Solarize programs
- Power Purchase Agreements.
Although, these programs have to be available in your area to be used.
Get A Survey:
If you think that you cannot find out all of the above information, then you are not only. You can just schedule a survey from solar contractors. They will do all the necessary work regarding the calculation of energy consumption, energy production, and other important factors. They will also inspect your house to figure out how much work will be needed to prepare it for the transition to the solar electrical network. In fact, even if you do all the calculations yourself, you should still schedule an inspection. It is better to be safe than sorry anyways.
Obtaining Quotes From Solar Contractors:
Now that you have figured out all the necessary information on your side, you need to get an estimate of the total cost from the solar contractors. Each contractor will provide their own quotes after taking a survey of your home. If you have some doubts, then get multiple quotes from different quotes. Compare all of them, and choose the ones most suitable.
Permits For The Project:
Does changing to solar energy require permits? Yes, it does, and it depends on the area which permits you would need. However, in this case, it is much better to find information about the permits from the sources, say, solar contractors and local contractors, than the internet. They will have more information than anyone else. In any case, it is the job of solar contractors to get relevant permits for you, so ask them to do so.
Check If The hired Solar Contractor Is Licensed And Insured:
The solar energy work is delicate. It requires a lot of knowledge, experience, and qualification to work on such systems. Even a tiny mistake can claim a lot of lives, property damage notwithstanding. Hence, you need to make sure that the solar contractor is licensed, certified, and insured. The first two will guarantee that they know what they are doing and do the job correctly. As for the insurance, if any accident happens on-site, the hired solar contractors will be shouldering all the charges regarding compensation for property damage and injuries.
How does Warranty work For These Systems?
That is an important point that needs to be considered. First of all, who is responsible for repair and maintenance? Usually, these systems come with a 10 10 20 year warranty from manufacturers, but it never hurts to ask.
Look Out For Animals:
Typically, animals are not that big of a problem. But critters do pose threats to the solar systems. This includes raccoons and squirrels. They can easily chew through wires and borough holes to make their home in the safest space possible. Hence, it is necessary to determine how you can protect the entire solar system exposed to the outdoor elements from these pests.
Working With Your Budget:
And finally, you need to figure out your budget. Can you afford the initial installation charges and purchase of equipment? If yes, then good. If not, then how can you work around it?
As we mentioned earlier, you can get them for rent too. Or avail any other programs, anything that suits your budget. Lastly, make sure you have more than the estimation of the cost given by the solar contractors.
And Hire The Contractors:
Now is the time to make your final decision; which solar contractor do you want to hire?
Here are some tips for finding the best solar contractors near you.
- Ask for recommendations from your contacts.
- Research, the background of solar contractors.
- Make sure to hire the ones who are licensed and insured.
- Limit your research to the local area.
- Ask for references from the contractors.
- Opt for those who have many years of experience.
- Search for online review.
- Stay away from the contractors who have faced lawsuits in the past.
- Don't hire contractors whose license hasn't been reviewed for some reason.
- Don’t agree to absurd amounts of advance payments before the project is even finished.
Converting to solar energy has a lot of benefits. You would be able to save a lot on the electricity bills and not have to endure power outages from the power grid. However, the entire process needs a lot of dedicated planning and attention, so do your research before you do something else.