Tips for Purchasing Solar Panels

The decision to install a photovoltaic system (solar panels) on a person’s home isn’t one that should be made lightly. That’s because for all the energy savings these systems yield, there are a number of considerations as well. Since many homeowners don’t know very much about solar power they often will spend far more on things like the installation cost as well as the system itself. So in the interests of saving money and maximizing energy savings, those who are interested in installing a PV system will want to ensure they purchase the right system and install it correctly. Here’s how:

Home assessment

Before any PV system is installed, it’s vital for the homeowner to assess his or her residence in order to determine if it is indeed suitable for solar panels. Many PV providers will perform this assessment themselves, but homeowners can do a basic check. That means looking at the roof of the residence for any flat areas with no obstructions. These conditions are ideal for solar panels, and if the homeowner does have a flat area on a south-facing roof, it can mean lower installation costs.

That said, PV systems can be installed on a number of different types of roofs and in a number of different areas.

Energy efficiency

Solar panels are most effective when installed on a home with reduced energy costs. And it’s best to make a home as energy efficient as possible before installing a PV system. That means adding insulation and utilizing power-saving light bulbs such as CFL bulbs. The point of all this is that an energy-efficient home doesn’t require as many solar panels to function, and that can end up saving the homeowner thousands of dollars on installation costs.

The right size

It’s vital for those interested in a PV system to size their needs correctly. Otherwise it can result in added costs. The size of the PV system is directly related to the homeowner’s energy needs. For example, those who would like solar panels to cover 50% of their home’s energy needs can use past data collected from their utility provider – measured in kilowatts – to determine the size of the panels. The PV company can provide these calculations.


Many areas offer things like tax write-offs, solar credits and utilities rebates for installing a PV system on the home. Many utilities even offer something called “net metering,” which recycles excess power stored from the panels back into the main utility grid. This recycling is when homeowners with PV systems can see their greatest utility cost reductions.

Purchase or lease

There’s no getting around it, the cost of installing a PV system can be expensive, often prohibitively so. Purchasing solar panels will cost the homeowner thousands of dollars, often even 20,000 or 25,0000. But purchasing solar panels isn’t the only option. There are contractors out there who will lease PV systems to the homeowner while they retain ownership and take on maintenance responsibilities. Many times homeowners can lease a PV system for no money down.

These are just a few things average homeowners will want to keep in mind when considering purchasing solar panels. By adhering to the above tips, homeowners can ensure they don’t spend anymore than the bare minimum for a quality system.