Many people would leap at the chance to install solar equipment in their homes, but are often uneducated or even misled about the latest technology and its costs. Like all technology, solar products are advancing at a fast pace. If you are thinking about installing solar panels in your home, the best way to educate yourself is by product comparison.
The internet has made all sorts of price and feature shopping much easier than it would have been even 5 years ago. When looking to compare solar products, the first thing that has to be done is to make sure you are comparing apples to apples. There are various competing technologies when it comes to solar panels, although they all work on the same principle of converting sunlight to electricity. The four main types of solar panels produced are mono-crystalline panels, polycrystalline panels, string ribbon panels and amorphous panels which are all silicon based.
There are 2 main ways you can compare solar products, by energy output (kWh), and by price. Like anything else, the higher the energy output, the higher the price. When comparison shopping, make sure you get quotes from various vendors for the exact same type of panel, otherwise its very hard to compare what the best deal is. In terms of price and efficiency, the mono panels are the most expensive, followed by the poly, then the ribbon and finally the amorphous.
For those who are handy, there are many guides available on how to build your own solar panels. This option can save you as much as 80% off of the cost of a solar power system. However, the power company will still need to come out and install a new meter at your home to handle your new system. One of the disadvantages to any DIY is you lose out on all of the lucrative tax write-offs that a professionally installed system receives. Additionally, most solar products installed by professionals come with a decent warranty, which average around 20 years or so. Keep those two facts in mind if you decide to do-it-yourself.
Choosing an installer for your solar products can be quite an undertaking. There will most likely be hundreds of companies that will be competing for the business in your area. One of the first steps is to make sure they are rated with the Better Business Bureau, and to seek out if they have any formal complaints. The very best companies will give you a free consultation, measure your house for sun exposure, and present you with a detailed proposal showing how many panels you need, the estimated energy production, and the total cost of installation. Most companies have various types of panels they can install, depending on your budget and needs. In areas with an abundance of sunlight, often cheaper panels which are less efficient can be used with good results. In areas with less sunlight, usually the more efficient panels need to be used to get the desired effect. Either way, your local professionals will be able to show you all the options, and help you select the right solar products for your home.