The renewable energy sector is growing fast and the power of renewables will double in the next five years.
As it grows, the cost of renewables plummets – and the savings from making the switch can only go up. In an age of volatile energy markets, there’s no better time to invest in solar.
Read on to learn how to make sense of solar energy and the installation services on offer.
The Future of Solar Power
To say that solar panels have come a long way would be an understatement. Advancements in tech mean they’re more efficient and affordable than ever before – as we’ll explain below.
If you’re looking to stay on top of innovations in the solar industry – like battery storage, better performance, and tax incentives – you can find more info on solar power here.
How Solar Has Advanced in the Last Decade
Solar energy has advanced in leaps and bounds in the last decade – and the pace of innovation is only getting faster. The bottom line?
Where solar modules once cost $2 per watt in 2010, they cost a mere $0.20 by 2019. And the trend of lower costs isn’t stopping any time soon. As more people adopt solar power and more venture capital is funneled into the industry, costs will only continue to shrink.
One of the best improvements to solar tech is the development of thin-film panels. Made from flexible, lightweight materials, they’re ideal for use in a variety of settings. They’re also more efficient, meaning they generate more power per square inch.
Solar panels already offset the rising cost of energy bills, and as the price of fossil fuels explodes, it’s a safe investment for the future.
Types of Solar Panels
There are four types of solar panels common today:
- Monocrystalline panels
- Polycrystalline panels
- Thin-film panels
- PERC panels
Monocrystalline panels are the most expensive and efficient type of panel available today, while polycrystalline panels need more space to generate the same amount of power.
Thin-film panels are flexible and lightweight. Overall, they’re the least efficient type of panel – but adaptable for a variety of uses. They’re common on “solar devices” like backpacks with in-built solar panels.
PERC panels have an additional layer that makes them more effective. However, they also tend to be the most expensive option on the market.
Understanding Your Own Needs
You’ll need to assess your own energy needs and cross-reference that with your budget before investing in solar power. This can be done by looking over your energy bills for the past year and using an online energy calculator to estimate your average energy requirements.
Calculating Your Budget
It’s no secret that, in the long run, solar power will save you money.
It will also help to protect against price hikes in the energy market: You’ll be independent and, depending on where you live, you may be able to sell excess power back to the grid.
The budget you’ll need depends on the type of solar panel you use, how much space your system will take up, and how much installation will cost. You should figure out how much capital you have on hand and look into tax credits (or rebates) that may be available in your state.
In South Carolina, for instance, you can receive a 25% tax credit on installation costs for solar panels.
Choosing the Right Solar Installation Services
Once you know your budget and needs, it’s time to find the right service for you. To choose, you should consider each of the following steps:
- Calculate your budget and needs
- Make a list of potential installation services
- Compare quotes and prices
- Consider financing options
- Warranties and guarantees
How to Find Solar Installers
You can start by searching online or asking friends and family for recommendations to find solar installation companies. Look for local companies and don’t be hesitant to reach out via email or for a quick phone chat.
Additionally, you could turn to local solar associations and organizations to connect with reputable installation services. Groups like these maintain and update vetted lists of trusted installers and they can help guide you in your journey.
Evaluating Installation Services
When assessing potential installation services, it’s vital that you choose a service provider who’s licensed and insured. You can check credentials online or by contacting a state licensing board if you’re uncertain.
You should also think about the experience and reputation of the people who’re going to be installing solar panels on your roof. Read online reviews and turn to Trustpilot, Yelp, and Google reviews for insights.
Remember to ask potential installers about their maintenance and support plans to keep your panel grid operating efficiently.
Financing Options for Solar Panels
Solar panels are a substantial financial investment. Even so, there are many financing options that help to reduce the upfront cost:
- Solar loans
- Home equity loans
- Solar leases
- Government and state-backed incentives
Solar and home equity loans typically come with lower interest rates. When you lease a system, the installation company owns it and you pay a monthly fee for the energy it generates.
It’s important to be able to monitor the output of your solar panels once they’re installed. Some companies offer app integration and mobile support to adjust settings and keep an eye on the energy you consume.
You should ask potential solar installers about the guarantees, warranties, and ongoing support they offer for their systems. Regular maintenance is necessary to keep your solar systems running smoothly.
Be a Part of a Greener Future
Finding the right installation services for solar installation means taking the bold first step toward energy independence. The sooner you invest, the sooner you cut your energy bills and start saving money.
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