Opting for solar panels for your home might seem like a straightforward decision, saving you money in the long run and doing your bit for the planet. But in actual fact, there are lots of things worth considering before you make the leap to solar panels. Read on for the lowdown.
Why get solar panels?
More and more people are choosing solar panels for their home in an effort to reduce their energy bills and make the most of natural resources, without impacting the environment. Solar panels are becoming increasingly more affordable and many people can get a return on investment within as early as ten years.
But is the decision to get solar panels so clear cut? There are actually lots of factors you need to weigh up before shelling out on solar panels, so do your homework beforehand to make sure it’s the right choice for your house.
Research, research, research
Deciding on getting solar panels requires a lot of consideration and research. It won’t be as effective for every house and there are a wide range of manufacturers to choose from. The initial outlay for getting solar panels is also very expensive, although often there are grants available, so it’s worth looking into any opportunities. Despite this, many people are drawn in by the huge environmental benefits to be gained.
Positioning the panels
Ideally, the panels need to be placed on a south-facing roof, to capture the most sunlight. If this isn’t feasible for your home, then you might not maximise the potential from the solar panels. You’ll also need to consider how many panels you buy. In this case, quality is generally better than quality.
Where you live also impacts on the effectiveness of solar panels; the more sunny days you have, the more energy the panels will create. Overcast and cloudy weather reduces the amount of energy generated, which can make this source of energy somewhat unreliable. Overhanging trees or anything that will cast a shadow over the panels will also limit how effective they are. You might want to consider buying a sun tracker, which can ascertain the best position for you to place the panels.
Which type of manufacturer/panels to choose?
Again, this is where thorough research should be carried out. Don’t just opt for the cheapest deal; it might not be the most cost-effective in the long term. Go for the latest in technology, as it is more likely to be the most efficient.
There are different types of solar panels available. Photovoltaic panels are the most popular amongst homeowners. They include poly-cellular panels, which are more affordable, and mono-cellular panels, which are more efficient.
As well as efficiency at generating electricity from the sun, solar panels can vary in terms of quality of materials. Poor quality materials will degrade faster than good quality ones, which will mean that your solar panels will need replacing sooner if they aren’t of the highest standard.
Generally, you can expect good quality solar panels to last about 25 years before needing to be replaced. The good thing is that during that time, little maintenance is required of the panels – aside from checking the wiring periodically and keeping them clean.
With a passion for home improvement and DIY, this article was written for Ashbrook, retailers of Roofing Supplies and supporters of alternative energy.