Looking at Solar Panels? Ask These Seven Questions

Who makes them?

Solar panel producers have popped up fast as weeds since so many homeowners have discovered the benefits of going solar. Look for a manufacturer with at least twenty years of experience in solar innovation and production. Make sure they’re financially stable so they will be around to fulfill their warranty.

What does the warranty cover?

You want a warranty that covers the cost to remove any bad panel, ship it to the manufacturer, repair or replace it, mount the panel back on your roof, and connect it back into the system – for the life of the warranty.

How long is the warranty?

Many warranties expire in ten years; about the time most panels start breaking down. Make sure the warranty provides full coverage for twenty-five years.

Are the panels at least 20% efficient?

Lower quality panels will perform at only 15%-17%. Look for panels that provide at least a 20% efficiency. It may not seem like much, but over forty years, the best solar panels produce thousands more hours of electricity.

How much electricity are they guaranteed to produce at year 25?

Some panels produce 1% or less each year. In twenty-five years, they will only produce 60%-70% of the electricity you paid for. Look for panels guaranteed to produce at least 85% of their starting electricity at year 25.

Do they have at least a 40 year useful life?

You want panels that will produce decades of free electricity.

Are the panels built with a solid copper backing?

Rooftop panels endure baseballs, footballs, heat and cold, wind, rain, snow, freezing and thawing. A solid copper foundation ensures that a panel’s internal connections will weather it all without breaking. Panels with a solid foundation continue to produce electricity through everything nature or the kids throw at them.

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