What to look for in solar panels

Whether you are tired of your utility bill constantly getting higher and higher or you are looking to go green, one of the best things you can do is have solar panels installed on your roof. However, like every other home improvement project, you cannot just hire the first person to give you an estimate. You need to do your research in order to know what to look for and the average price to expect. Then, you need to find the right person for the job.

A solar panel system works by using a specific material that is able to turn sunlight into electricity. Usually made from silicon, the panels are made up of cells that are connected together and sandwiched between protective glass and a backing plate. The entire panel is usually surrounded by an aluminum frame. There are three types that you can choose from. They are monocrystalline, interdigitated back contact solar cells, and thin film.

Monocrystalline are usually black and are known for they high efficiency. They also have an excellent temperature tolerance, as well. Interdigitated, or rear contact solar cells, have all the electrical contacts on the rear of the cell. This makes it so there are no metal contact strips that can prevent light from getting to the cell surface. Thin film solar cells are made from a thin layer of photovoltaic material that is placed on a base plate of glass, metal, or other substance. This technology is evolving and while it promises more flexible applications than standard solar panels, it is generally less efficient and is rarely found in rooftop arrays.

In addition to the type of panels, you also have to figure out how many you will need as this will affect the cost of solar panel installation. You also need to enquire into what warranties are offered and how extra energy is either stored or sent back to the electric company in your area. If it is sent back, you should be paid for it. Be sure to ask if there are any tax incentives that can help with the cost of having the panels installed and if financing is available.

It is best to get three or four quotes from companies that have gotten good online reviews and have been recommended by friends or family. Also, be sure to check out each company’s website to see how long they have been in business and they type of experience they have. Finally, it is always a good idea to check with the Better Business Bureau to ensure that the company you choose is in good standings and is interested in making and keeping their customers happy.

While you are in the process of getting quotes, be sure to ask why the price is what it is.  This is especially true if the number is unusually high or low. It is generally recommended that you go with the company that offers the middle quote. However, it is also important to go with your gut.