Doesn’t it seem like everyone and their uncle is offering to hook you up with solar these days? They all make the same promises, too — lowest prices, quickest turnaround, friendliest service. So how do you know who’s good and who’s not?
Enter RevoluSun’s Ultimate Guide to Choosing a Solar Installer. We created this guide to make you feel as comfortable and as informed as possible when it comes to choosing your solar installer. Remember — just like your home, solar is a long-term investment. The better your solar installer is, the better return on investment you’ll get over the life of your system.
Photovoltaic panel quality is one of the most important factors you need to consider when purchasing solar. There are three main variables to keep in mind: efficiency, warranty and weather resistance.
Efficiency refers to how well your panels perform over the life of the system. All panels will lose some of their efficiency over time. A good manufacturer like SunPower will offer a Power Production Warranty that guarantees no more than 5% efficiency loss over five years (9.1% more energy over 25 years). Inferior panels tend to have a greater immediate drop in efficiency and a sharper decline over the life of the system.
Weather resistance is exactly what you think it is — a panel’s ability to withstand years of wear and tear from the elements. In Hawaii, our biggest concerns are rain, sun and the big one: salt. Well-built panels are crafted from high-grade aluminum (6000 series marine grade, for example) and include a salt mist certification.
Warranty is tied to efficiency and weather resistance. A good panel warranty should guarantee against manufacturing defects and assure performance at its stated efficiency over the duration of the warranty. Typical panel warranties last 10 years, with more superior panels offering offering 25 year warranties.
The bottom line: you’re much better off going with panels that guarantee higher efficiency over a longer warranty period. SunPower panels, for example, offer the highest efficiency over 25 years as well as a 25 year warranty on the panels.
5 questions to ask any solar installer about panels
- Which company manufactures the panels?
- What is the Power Production Warranty on the panels?
- What grade of material is used in the panels?
- How long is the panel warranty and what does it guarantee?
- Do panels come with salt mist certification?