Posted by:

a5482nick

Research and learn what you can about solar panels, type of systems and options before making any final decisions. Also if you live in snow country, ask how this will affect your system and check and see if any special precautions or considerations need to be considered.

EnergySage Customer
Quick Facts
Average Annual Savings

$453

Energy Needs Met

25%

or less of electricity

Net Investment

$4,364

Return on Investment

10.4%

 

What You Need to Know

My Motivation:

Had to get a new roof and always have been very interested in reducing energy use, benefiting the environment. Have had solar thermal system but did not seem that beneficial and so jumped at the chance to get a solar voltaic system though not enough room for both, so had to get rid of the solar thermal system providing hot water and assist with heat.

Advice:

Learn about options. Was offered DC Inverters but after research decided on microinverters and I believe this is a better choice. Also look at the type of systems and compare. Was offered Hanwha Q Cell solar panels, but after research decided on LG. Not saying you should choose this but would encourage you to research your options and choose what might be best for you. Also get several offers and compare. And finally find out if there are group buying projects offered in your area. I went with Solarize Chicagoland being offered through our Citizens Utility Board (CUB) in Illinois and another non-profit group supporting solar development, and saved 3-4 thousand dollars using this program. They also research and choose an installer and have been happy with their choices. Finally, I later learned that the people I was in contact with were sales people hired to sell their systems, not necessarily the installers. Ask questions and talk to different people b/c sales people may not know as much about the systems and your options, I wish I had understood this before making a purchase and had talked to the actual installers to learn more before deciding on my system.

Experience with Installer:

I contacted several installers, got estimates and chose. Price was huge but even more importantly was buying through a group buying program and trusted them. They had already done this for couple years and had experience in choosing an installer and had good reputation and price was great because of the group buying discounts they were able to get. So why I chose them. The other thing I learned was that the estimates were done from them looking at the roof from photos and not coming to the place. Each estimate had a different number of panels and placements for the panels. My end product was much different because there was not enough room to put all the panels that were initially recommended and wish that they had measured before giving me their proposals.

Additional Notes:

Just had our first two snowfalls of 6 and 12 inches. The panels don't produce when covered and though snow comes off pretty quickly with sun out, it also falls in large chunks, fine unless over walkway, which is where my south-facing panels are. And my awning over my side door was pulled out of the wall from falling snow, and the walkway on the side of the house keeps getting piles of snow and ice even after snow stops and have shoveled all the snow.

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