Learn More About Solar Panels
What Are the Best Solar Panels?
The best solar panel will really depend on your specific energy needs and aesthetic preferences. Typically, you want to look for a reputable solar panel brand that has a standard 25-year warranty.
Are Solar Panels Worth It?
Solar panels, when paired with the optimal inverter(s), provide a great long-term return on investment and help the environment. Factors that impact solar panel value are: 1) system type, 2) component selection, and 3) financing or payment method.
What is the ROI of Solar Panels?
ROI stands for return on investment. Like adding a new kitchen to your home, you increase the value of your property more than the original construction costs. Solar is similar in that it brings immediate increased value to your property (4% increase on home market value). But solar panels also eliminate your energy bills — which over time exceed the original installation cost of the solar panel system and provide more long-term savings.
What's better: Solar Leases or PPAs?
Solar leases and PPAs (Power Purchasing Agreements) are used interchangeably, but there’s a critical difference between the two. Under a solar lease, you pay a monthly lease amount, calculated using the amount of electricity the panels are expected to produce over 20 to 25 years. With a power purchase agreement, you don’t rent the system, but instead, buy the system’s power at a flat rate per kWh.
Can I Get Free Solar Panels?
You may hear about companies that install free solar panels on your home. Yet, here’s the catch: you don’t own the system. Instead, you sign a 20 to 25-year solar lease agreement or PPA, losing out on several thousands of dollars in financial incentives and end up paying double what you would to your local utility company (don’t do it!)
How Many Solar Panels Do I Need for My Home?
Every system is different. It’s hard to answer this question without understanding your energy consumption. However, a typical solar panel kit will have between 16-40 solar panels for an average household.
Ground mounts can certainly be a bit more labor intensive on installation but the main advantage is that you can place the solar array in optimal tilt (fixed) and azimuth (fixed). With ground mounts, module-level rapid shutdown is not required, but string-level rapid shutdown is. There are a few more options on the market for satisfying this requirement over module-level RSS. Ground mounts are highly recommended in areas with significant snowfall and/or if the home has a less than ideal roof design.
Top of pole mount systems offer the most production potential between the three options. A top of pole mount from MT Solar in Montana will give you the ability to change the azimuth your array is facing as well as change the degree tilt to adjust for time of year. With these awesome features, there is certainly a cost. The top of pole mount systems are a fair bit more expensive and can sometimes be difficult to install, depending on the terrain and soil type.
A roof mounted array can often be the most cost effective due to not having to drill holes and pour cement, however, you may need to install module-level rapid shutdown equipment which will then increase the overall cost. If the roof in question has many different planes facing different directions or if there is a significant amount of shading from trees, the homeowner may want to consider a ground or pole mount. A roof mount can also make snow removal a bit more difficult for those that live in a precipitous environment.