What is the best way to buy solar panels
Written by Andrew Sendy
Updated April 01, 2020
7 minutes read
Buying solar panels can be an annoying process because of the lack of pricing transparency online and also because solar companies tend to come from other areas of the home improvement sector where aggressive, in-home, sales tactics are the norm.
This sell at all costs culture is a problem because salespeople have little training and are paid a commission, the value of which is dependent on the size of the system they sell you.
The in-home, high-pressure sales model has meant that until very recently no solar companies have advertised their installed system costs online.
In this regard, we should give special praise to Tesla who recently became the first major solar panel installation company to publish their prices online.
What has solar-estimate done to help you buy solar panels in a safer and more convenient way?
Over the last 8 years, we have developed the solar calculator and cost comparison platform you can see at the top of this page.
The aim of this platform is to make purchasing solar panels for your home safer and easier by generating an accurate professional level solar estimate for your home online before you even speak to any solar companies.
This takes away the risk that poorly trained, commission-hungry salespeople can provide misleading information about what you need or what the best options are.
Once you have registered your home on the calculator and received an online estimate you can then choose how many solar companies you would like to view your roof online and provide an accurate bid for the system your home needs.
The calculator may look simple but there are literally millions of lines of code and rows of information that power it. Its database contains solar irradiation data from all over America, the current utility rates of all utility providers in America and current federal, state and local solar tax credits and incentives.
In 2019 we introduced artificial intelligence into the calculator so that it can automatically measure your roof online and show you how many solar panels will fit on your roof and suggest the best place to put them.
Why is buying solar panels for home so expensive where I live?
It's the government man........the engineering, design, permitting and inspection cost in the US to get city and utility approvals for residential solar systems is ridiculous. Often these costs are as much as the solar panels themselves.
Some cities have used solar panels as a way to raise revenue. Many still require the manual lodgement of physical plan sets and some you still have to stand in line to lodge them.
How important is solar panel efficiency when buying solar panels?
The degree to which any given solar PV panel is able to convert solar irradiation into electricity is a fundamental criterion for evaluating solar PV panels. Crystalline silicon PV panels – by far the most widely installed – typically have higher energy conversion efficiency factors than so-called thin-film PV panels do. That said, thin film PV panels typically perform better overall in hot and arid environments as compared to silicon PV panels.
Energy conversion efficiency and overall performance also tend to vary when it comes to comparisons of monocrystalline and polysilicon PV panels. Generally speaking, the former produce more electricity and last longer than the latter. That higher performance comes at a price in that monocrystalline PV panels generally command higher prices than the polysilicon counterparts. Those interested in learning more should benefit from browsing and scanning through the Pros and Cons of Monocrystalline vs. Polycrystalline solar panels section of the Solar Reviews website.