5 Things You Need to Know About Solar Panels Before Purchasing


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Select Solar Pros are solar consultants based in Ione, CA, not far from Jackson, CA in Amador County. Our solar installers work all over California, from San Diego to Sacramento and all points in between. We're here to tell you the top 5 things you need to know about solar panels before you purchase your new solar system!

But enough talk, right? Let's break it down!

1. Determine How Much Power You Use

Before buying a whole solar panel system, you'll want to first assess how much electricity you use in your home daily. Look at your most recent electrical bill and look for the amount labeled under kWh (kilowatt-hours). This measures how much raw energy you use.

Ideally, you'll need to look at your last twelve billing cycles to get the most accurate representation for your annual power usage (since you'll most likely use different amounts of power depending on what month it is). Don't want to dig up twelve months of bills? One of our dedicated solar experts can usually obtain this information from your utility provider on your behalf!

2. Are You Supplementing or Replacing?

Another important option to consider with solar panels (and your cost) is whether you plan to use solar panels to augment your current electrical bills or to replace them completely. To get a base metric, an average solar panel is rated at 300 watts and a high end solar panel, like SunPower®, can produce up to 420 watts!

If you're looking to shave some "normal" electricity off, consider which assortment of panels will provide you the wattage levels you desire. Our solar consultants will help you through this process, helping you to select the perfect solar system for you.

3. What is the Efficiency Rating?

If your solar panel installers or provider start throwing around the phrase "efficiency rating", don't get baffled. Efficiency rating refers to the amount of sunlight your panel retains and turns into power. So, an efficiency rating of 20% means your panel is retaining 20% of the sunlight it absorbs.

4. Consider Your Environment

Another factor to consider with solar power is what the environment you're placing them in is like. For example, if your house roof lies under a lot of trees, you'll get less raw sunlight than you would in your house sits unobstructed. You'll also want to reconsider your wattage based on the average amount of sunlight your house gets.

5. Costs and Penalties

When looking at different residential solar systems, there are some costs you'll want to keep in mind. For example, dirt and snow will reduce the effectiveness of panels, and you'll always want to low-ball the wattage produced by a panel to offset the average energy loss from a panel, just to be safe.

Unlimited Power? Close Enough
Congratulations! Now that you know the top 5 things you need to know about solar panels, you're ready to buy a solar panel system and make your energy clean! To get a professional estimate on how many panels you need, give us a shout and see how we can help! Keep in mind, we work with select solar panel manufacturers and installers throughout Northern California. We maintain an unbiased opinion, working to help you get the right residential solar system at the right price.