The Top 5: Mistakes To Avoid With Rooftop Solar Installation

Highlights :

  • Mistakes to avoid with rooftop solar: Picking the wrong vendor, not knowing your paperwork, not knowing repair warranties, sub-standard equipment, improper orientations

Going solar is a great decision not only from an environmental point of view but also from an economic perspective. On average, a solar panel gives service for about 25 years. Thus, it is very important one must consider all the points affecting the installation, and the service for years to come at the time of choosing the rooftop solar option itself. From choosing a place of installation to the paperwork, there are many mistakes one needs to avoid that many consumers have made earlier. Even minor negligence or lack of knowledge affects the efficiency of solar plates. Therefore, knowing everything that may go wrong concerning quality, expenditure, and time, is the first step.

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Here is a list of the 5 most common mistakes to avoid and points to remember with rooftop solar installations. These may not only save you from unnecessary struggle and stress, later; but also may save you from the excessive expenditure on repair and replacement.

#1 Picking the Wrong Vendor and Company

This may well be considered the most important of the mistakes to avoid with solar rooftop installation. While it is true that the price you are paying is an important factor to consider, for the greater good, it is also really important to go for a company that has the experience and a proven track record of standing behind their work. Is it a profitable company? Their existence beyond two decades is a must for them to fulfil their warranties in case any anomaly pops up. Also, do check for their experience, certifications, and business structure to be sure about the quality.

The right vendor, or installer, will oversee the other important technical aspects like using good quality equipment, balancing solar across the phases, installing panels properly, etc. A professional installation is also important as a manufacturer may void the warranty if the inspection discovers evidence of poor workmanship.

#2 Not Knowing Your Paperwork

While your solar installer, or vendor, may discuss with you the perks like solar rebates, solar tax credits, and other financial incentives, and even assist you with the paperwork, you should be aware of these schemes and policies as well. Depending on which state you are from, incentives and policies may change. For instance, while net metering and gross metering regulations differ in several states of India, there are central guidelines as well for the same.

Apart from incentives, knowing the process in your state regarding the time taken in realising the incentives or clearing the papers may help you decide if it is feasible for you to go for the solar in the first place. For instance, if the discom in the state does not have a clear process for activation and has a record of not doing it on time, it may take a lot of time for approval and activation of solar. This will be a direct loss to the consumer in terms of energy saving.

#3 Not Understanding Maintenance and Repair Warranties

Solar installations, like any other mechanism, require maintenance and repair work. While the panels require very low maintenance, they need cleaning between two and four times per year. It is advisable to set up a solar monitoring system to check for performance. If the performance shows a dip, cleaning the panels may solve the issue. But if the solar panels are damaged, they must be covered under warranty. When choosing a solar panel company, ensure that the warranty covers more than the solar panel itself. Selecting a company that covers the entire system is advisable rather than just solar panels.

Call the company that installed your solar panels in case of repair or damage. They will send someone to either fix the problem or replace the panels. Hence, it is important to know about the company warranty in detail.

Simple research will do the job. You should go through the online reviews and discussions, if possible, about the company with the neighbours and/or friends who have installed solar panels before you. It is important to have a broad knowledge about vendor services beforehand so that you make the right decision valid for the next two and a half decades. Their sincerity in responsiveness to their past customers’ grievances also reflects how well they will respond to yours.

#4 Using Sub-Standard Equipment

Understandably, solar installation is costly which may be one of the reasons the homeowners find it unfeasible to install solar panels. Even when they do, some seek out low-cost installation services to cut back the overall cost. Choosing the price over quality hurts later. It is advisable to always prioritize other essential factors and not just the cost. Naturally, there is always a reason why the cost is too low compared to other options. These contractors or installers may use inferior panels or may damage the panels. Good manufacturers subject their panels to rigorous life cycle testing by third-party engineering companies.

It’s essential to buy solar panels from a reputable source if you want them to last for decades to come. Quality installations may save you from unnecessary repair expenses if they are uncovered in your warranty or if the warranty has expired.

#5 Improper Orientations

Installing the panels just anywhere won’t give desired results and is one of the most common mistakes that you want to avoid. While thinking that solar panels must only be installed on roofs facing a specific direction is a wrong inference, their orientation is important, undoubtedly. Even the most efficient panels are less productive when poorly positioned.

Taking a broader view, your region is also important to decide the orientation. For example, in the countries in the northern hemisphere – like the US and India – south-facing roof sections tend to get the most sunshine during the year, making them the best-oriented solar panel system. The conditions and directions are opposite in countries that lie in the southern hemisphere, like Australia.

Similarly, the east-facing solar panel is ideal for buildings mostly active during the morning, such as schools. On the other hand, west-facing panels are more productive during the afternoon, ideal for buildings remaining active for those hours of the day. Solar trackers may be used to further enhance the system. A solar tracker tracks the sun’s position, trapping the maximum solar energy.

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Junaid Shah

Junaid holds a Master of Engineering degree in Construction & Management. Being a civil engineering postgraduate and using his technical prowess, he has channeled his passion for writing in the environmental niche.

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