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Mistakes to Avoid When Going Solar

Jessica PirroNovember 19, 20192770

The more popular that solar-powered systems become, the more mistakes that homeowners who are interested in getting a solar panel installation are going to make.

Often times when people are looking to install a solar-powered system on their rooftop, they tend to want to dive right in. They start researching the solar panels that are on the market, calculating the cost of the solar panel installation, and they begin sketching a layout of the solar panels for their roof.

But when it comes to designing the solar-powered system, it is going to be a lot more complex than it may seem. When people try to design their own solar-powered system, without doing the research, they can make mistakes. Big mistakes that can affect the performance of the solar-powered, lowering the efficiency of solar energy.

Listed below are a few of the common mistakes that homeowners make in regards to getting a first-time solar panel installation:

Confusing Off-Grid and Grid-Tied Solar Panels

Solar energy allows you to generate your own energy, meaning you aren’t going to need to pay your utilities for power. Most people assume that this means that they are “going off-the-grid,” but that is not accurate.

But when it comes to home solar panel installation the reality is, most people are looking for a grid-tied solar-powered system.

Here’s the distinction: your solar panels generate solar energy, but you need a way to store that solar energy for later use. If you have access to power lines, you can store the solar energy you generate in the utility grid. The utility company will then credit you for the extra power that is produced, and allow you to pull from the grid when you need it.

Off-grid properties have no access to power lines, so they will need another method to store energy. That means off-grid solar-powered systems need a battery bank to function. Batteries are expensive, but without the option to send power back to the grid, they are mandatory for off-grid solar-powered systems.

The bottom line is that saving money and being independent of the grid are mutually exclusive. Batteries affect your ROI (return of investment), and will not be a necessity for grid-tied properties.

You don’t need to get an off-grid solar-powered system in order to get the benefits of solar energy. If your property has access to power lines, grid-tied solar-powered systems are going to be the smartest option.

Not Planning Ahead

When people begin planning for their solar-powered system, everyone thinks about what they will need at the moment, but not many people think that their needs will change in the future.

What will happen when you have kids or get a pet that needs energy, or you buy an electric car that needs charging? You will start consuming more energy, which is the reason that many solar installers recommend that homeowners look to the future when you start to plan for your solar-powered system?

Here are a few things to think about when planning for a solar panel installation:

- Will you have enough space to expand the solar panel installation if necessary? An example, let’s pretend your solar panel installation takes up your whole rooftop. What will happen if you wish to add solar panels later on, but you don’t have anywhere to put them?

- Is your solar-powered system designed to expandable? In most cases, people often think, “I will just add some additional solar panels”, without realizing that they will need to add other parts of the solar-powered system, such as the solar power inverter. Central solar power inverters will have a limit when it comes to the number of solar panels that it can support, so it's not going to be as simple as “just adding solar panels”.

- When it comes to the expansion of grid-tied solar-powered systems, microinverters are normally a great fit. They work on a one-to-one basis: each of the solar panels is going to be paired with its very own microinverter. If you wish to add on, just be sure to pair it with its own microinverter. If you do decide to add on, all you have to do is pair another inverter/panel paring onto your solar power array.

- For the off-grid solar-powered system, you should also think carefully about battery sizing. Depending on the battery type and age, it may not be possible to expand your existing battery bank. Lithium battery banks can be expanded, but lead-acid batteries have a limited option of increasing storage capacity.

Ways to Avoid These Solar Panel Installation Mistakes

When researching solar panels and solar-powered systems you may have noticed that most of the time the sites you visit require that their customers get a professional to design their solar-powered system. At HaHaSmart you can design the solar-powered system yourself, using the design DIY tool. We also have professional designers who will make sure that your solar-powered system is up to code.

The reason that most solar companies do it this way is, though they aren’t the solar installers, they are still going to be responsible for designing the solar-powered system properly. If they pair the solar-powered systems with incompatible parts, they would get a bad reputation.

But, the best advice you can get is, do as much research to account for all possible variables. Get multiple quotes to ensure that you are getting the best solar-powered system at a reasonable cost.

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