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5 Common Residential Solar Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Solar power grew by almost 30% during 2019, with only the 2020 coronavirus pandemic slowing things down. Now that things are opening up more, 2021 and beyond are looking to continue that trend.

Something to be aware of, though are some common residential solar mistakes. The price of solar is shrinking as the industry expands, but it’s still a big investment.

Before buying an important investment most people research the stocks they’ll buy. Solar is no different and should be researched thoroughly by a potential buyer.

Keep reading to find out these common mistakes homeowners usually face.

1. Thinking Solar Automatically Means “Off-Grid”

There are two kinds of systems, “off-grid” and “grid-tie.” Many homeowners skip over this important point when their solar providers are trying to explain how a solar power system works.

Off-grid solar systems are fully self-contained systems without any hookup to utility grids.

Grid-tie systems are hooked up to the grid, and the power you send back may be credited back to your monthly bill depending on the laws of your state.

2. Only a Battery or Generator Will Prevent Power Outages

Batteries don’t use fuel and are charged directly by your solar system. It won’t last forever, though, especially if your system is too small.

If your motivation for getting a solar power system is environmental, a generator isn’t the best choice. You’ll be buying fuel and letting it sit, which you need to drain and refill. But if you’re off-grid it will be the most reliable.

In reality, your gas, diesel, or LPG generator is like a mini power plant, but much less efficient.

3. Improper System Sizing

One reason you’ll need to be on a grid-tie system is that there isn’t enough space in your yard or on your roof to go solar.

You also might not be able to afford the equipment at the right efficiency requirements for your space. It might be best to wait until technology, your budget, or both improve.

Having a system that’s too small means you’re getting most of your energy from the grid or your generator. You might be spending more, in the end, if it’s too small.

4. Leasing Your System Instead of Owning It

Leasing your system is like leasing your house. It can be taken away at any time. Tax credits go to the owner, not the lessee, so you don’t even get that. Leasing your solar also means that you’re basically paying two utilities now, instead of one.

Try to buy your system outright if you can, or at least get a personal loan you can afford to buy your system from a provider. Leasing causes more headaches for homeowners than it cures.

5. Randomly Fitting Components

If you already have some components or getting hand-me-downs and cobbling it together, the Frankenstein’s monster you’re creating could even be dangerous. Don’t fit together pieces of different systems not meant for each other.

It’s best to design your system from the ground up. It’s also good to plan for the future by getting a system larger than your current needs. By how much you want to oversize your system you can talk about with your installer.

Don’t Make These 5 Residential Solar Mistakes

These five residential solar mistakes are the most common mistakes people complain about, but there are many more.

Get informed about solar power technology and how solar systems work before you purchase anything. Don’t rush the solar system design phase and get plenty of input from a long-time, experienced solar installer.

Most of all, keep browsing our articles to get the latest and greatest advice and news about solar power!