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  • Writer's pictureBrian Harbin

4 Questions to Ask Before Working with a Solar Power Provider

The popularity of solar power continues to grow, helping homeowners to save money and make sure the electricity stays on during power outages. However it is important to ask the solar provider you are intending to work with the right questions in order to make certain you know precisely what you are investing in with any particular system.

There are a number of questions all homeowners should ask their provider prior to installation.

What products does your solar power company install?

Some solar power providers may install more than just solar panels, and there are different kinds of solar panels. A good example of a different type of product is solar shingles, which can take the place of traditional shingles. Solar panels also make use of many different materials.

There are three solar panel system types currently on the market – monocrystalline, polycrystalline and amorphous (or thin-film) solar panels. Monocrystalline solar panels have the highest efficiency ratings of any solar panels but are also the most expensive. Polycrystalline solar panels are cheaper but have lower efficiency ratings. Amorphous solar panels are large and lightweight but not as efficient and are better suited to commercial buildings rather than residential homes.

Are the solar panels on or off the grid?

Solar panels can also work in different ways with the grid, or off the grid. It is important to know your desired option prior to talking to your solar power provider to ensure you are fully informed when they explain the options they are able to provide.

An on-grid solar power system is tied to the grid and can result in homeowners being compensated for energy that goes into the grid after excessive energy is created by their panels. However the panels cannot be used to generate electricity in the event of a power outage.

An off-grid solar power system on the other hand is not connected to the grid, but this does mean the job of providing sufficient power for your home is all on that system.

The other option is a grid system that comes with a battery backup. These systems are tied into the grid but will switch to the battery backup in the event of a power outage.

Where will the solar panels go?

Solar panels are installed facing south by the majority of solar power providers, which will ensure the panels get the most possible sunlight all year. Although some houses come with a slope that makes it easy to install solar panels, others may be far too steep or even come with a flat roof. Talk to the solar power provider to find how they would place the solar panels according to your roof type.

How much power will be needed for the solar panels?

To budget for the total installation cost of a solar panel system it is a good idea to know how much electricity is required by your home. The average for most households is 29 kWh per day, which equates to around 10,000 per year. Somewhere around 12 to 20 panels would be required to account for night, cloudy weather and rainfall. Ask your solar power provider.

Asking the right questions helps to ensure a successful solar power installation.

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