14 Top Solar Energy Questions to Ask - Get the Answers You Need

Do you intend to install a solar system? Here is a complete list of the most important solar energy questions to ask, to get a better understanding of what you are getting in to.

14 Top Solar Energy Questions to Ask - Get the Answers You Need

Solar energy is a renewable type of energy, and that more and more people are coming to embrace. There is more use of solar energy, unlike in previous years due to the continued campaigns about environment preservation. However, there are several solar energy questions to ask before you go ahead and install that solar system in your home or business. Things like leasing vs buying your solar panels can be a huge decision. It's a matter of if you have the upfront capital. 

You don’t want to venture into this new endeavor without having the proper set of information. As they say, knowledge is power and, if you have the right information, you can know if you are making the right decision.

Therefore, without delaying you any further, I have compiled a comprehensive list of the most crucial solar energy questions to ask, just for you.

So, which are these questions, and what are their answers?

Questions to Ask A Solar Panel Salesman

These are the first set of questions we will handle and answer for you. Before you purchase a solar panel, you will most probably engage with a solar panel salesperson. Therefore, these are the questions you should ask.

  1. How Does The Solar Panel System Work?

If you are new to this type of energy or don’t have much knowledge about it, this should be the first question. A solar system is made up of connected solar panels that absorb rays from the sun and convert it to electricity.

The panels are made in such a way that when the sun rays come into contact with the surface of the panels, the solar cells convert them into DC (Direct Current) electricity. Since this form of electricity is not usable in most homes or businesses, an inverter transforms this direct current, into alternating current (AC). The AC electricity is now ready for use in our businesses or our homes.

  1. Do Solar Panels Work In Any Weather?

 Although solar panels need sunlight to create electricity, it doesn’t necessarily have to be direct sunlight. For example, the solar panels can still absorb the UV rays even on cloudy, snowy, and rainy days.

However, its good to note that the production of electricity will be lower during these days as compared to when there is sunshine. The panels will generate electricity optimally on clear-sky days.

Also, the panels won’t generate any energy at night. This is because there is no sunlight at night. Therefore, you should have proper power storage or connect to the grid.

  1. Is Solar Power Reliable Enough to Power My Home Or Business?

As long as there is sunlight, your panels will continue to generate electricity. The only time there is no generation of power, is during the night or if there is an eclipse. Therefore, we can say that solar power is reliable.

However, the amount of electricity they produce depends on various factors like the quality of sunshine, and the size of the panels, among others. This source of electricity is more predictable than power plants.

  1. What is The Cost of Installation?

Different solar panel systems will have different prices, as well as different installation costs. However, inclusive of labor, equipment, and permits, the solar panels cost something between $15,000 and $30,000. The prices will vary depending on the type of panels, quality, size, and installing company, among many other factors.

For example, the average cost of a 2kW system ranges between $6,000 and $7,500 countywide. Therefore, you must first know what your power needs are before you purchase any system.

  1. How Durable Are The Solar Panels?

The average life expectancy of most solar panels falls between 25 and 30 years. This is a long period that is great to cover the initial set up price. However, some other solar panels do have a shorter life span, while others have a longer one.

For instance, the thin-film solar panels come with a lifespan of between 14 and 17 years. Other more expensive models can have a life expectancy that can go up to 50 years. Therefore, it all depends on the type of panel.

  1. What Are Some Benefits of Solar Panels?

Apart from being a renewable source of energy that helps preserve the environment, solar panels have other benefits like:

Saves on energy costs – Solar energy significantly reduces your power bills by almost 50%. This can amount to around $30,000 for a period of 20 years.

Reliable – You will have power at your home or place of work always, as long as there is sunlight.

Carbon Footprint – with solar power, we are able to shrink the carbon footprint in our homes, by reducing the effects of greenhouse gas emissions. They help us to go green and take care of the environment.

Questions to Ask Before You Install A Solar System

Before the installation is done, you should look for more answers to ensure that you are doing the right thing. Also, you don’t want to install something that will affect you negatively, or that will not meet your needs. Here are the questions to ask before you install solar panels on your property.

  1. Will The Value of My Property Rise After The Installation?

Various studies that have been done on property values show that installing a solar system on your property will certainly increase its price. However, the value will only rise if you purchased the solar panel system. If, on the other hand, the installation was through a solar lease or a PPA agreement, the value doesn’t change.

  1. How Much Will You Pay Up-front?

When you want to purchase a solar system, numerous offers will be put on your table. Depending on the company or the type of solar panels you want, the payment structures may vary significantly.

For example, you can decide to make an outright purchase by paying everything upfront or look for other options. There are various options, including loans, lease/PPA, or even hire purchase. Some of these options will require you to pay a part of the amount upfront and pay the rest later.

Also, some of them might require $0 as a down payment to have a solar system installed for you. Therefore, you have a choice to decide which option best suits you.

  1. Is It Difficult to Maintain The Solar Panels?

Well, the answer to this question is definitely No. The panels are easy to maintain. Much easier than your HVAC, or other appliances in your house.

Since the solar panels do not have any moving parts, they don’t break easily and therefore do not need much maintenance. The only requirement is to keep the panels clean. They ought to be free of any debris like pollen, dust, leaves, or even snow if you live in cold areas.

  1. Will, I Ever Need to Replace My Solar Panels?

Depending on the solar panel’s lifespan, the duration before you can purchase another system can vary. For instance, some panels will take 15 years, others, 30, and others even 50 years.

Therefore, with the right solar panels, you can continue enjoying free-cost power, for a very long time.

  1. Will The Installation of The Solar Panels Damage My Roof?

If done right, and by a professional, no harm will come upon your roof. On the contrary, solar panels can act as shields to protect your roof against damage.

Some other panels will even make your roof look more beautiful and cooler. There are various solar panels’ mounting options that you can consider, depending on your roof’s design.

  1. Can The Installation Be A DIY Process?

Although it is possible to be a DIY (do it yourself) process, it is advisable to seek the services of an expert in this sector. A professional can easily identify where on your roof to install the panels without causing any damage to the roof. Also, the placement of the panels is crucial to ensure they are exposed to maximum sunlight.

Questions to Ask During Installation

During the installation stage, there are still some questions you may have in your mind. Here are the most common solar energy questions to ask at this stage.

  1. Are There Any Rebates Or Incentives Available?

The answer is yes. For those who install solar panels on their property, they qualify for a 30% federal ITC (investment tax credit). In addition, various municipalities and states offer different incentives and rebates, which will increase your savings.

Some utility companies also offer some credits and incentives to homeowners who install solar panels on their properties. If you want to learn more about various incentives available in your area, visit the “Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency.”

  1. Is There Any Other Solar Equipment Available For My Property?

In the solar power industry, there is much more equipment to benefit from apart from the solar panels.

These may include solar water heaters, solar fences, and solar screens, among others. All these things aim to improve the energy efficiency at your property

The solar heaters can help heat your swimming pool, while the solar fence is to guard your property against intruders. As for the solar screens, they help to block thermal energy.

Get the rest of your questions answered on solar energy

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Comment by Mukesh Panda on March 17, 2020 at 9:17pm

Good suggestions.

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