Whether you’re fixing, replacing or installing a brand new solar panel system on your home, it’s important to choose the right solar installation professionals to get the most out of your investment. Look for the following in a company:
Experience – Look at how many years the company has been in business, along with online reviews that support their work. Also take the time to look at their past installs – a company that has been successful will typically have testimonials and a list or gallery of solar projects they have under their belt.
Commitment to Quality and Safety – This could include certifications and accreditations, including accredited by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) – right now there are only ten companies in the U.S. that have this!
A great company will also service and maintain your solar panels, whether it installed your panels or a competitor did. This may include helping with insurance claims, removing and replacing panels for a roof repair, complete general preventative maintenance, cleaning, repairing or installing critter guards.
Project Level Support – It’s important right off the bat, to make sure the company has the infrastructure to support the project in the first place. A reputable company will have a process to follow and have an open line of communication with you.
Technical Expertise – Not every project is the same, and technology is always changing. Look for a company that will take your personal project into account, offering you a system that works for you and your home’s personal needs, as well as is knowledgeable with the latest in solar technology. It’s also important to work with a company that is familiar with local code requirements and is a licensed electrician.
Common Solar Panel Issues Homeowners Face
Home inspections are already important for prospective buyers as a means of identifying issues early, before they grow worse and you’re left liable for them. This is especially true with solar panels. However, with the housing market booming right now, some buyers are leaving the inspection until after the sale, in order to not miss out on the home with competing buyers. Take major caution with this. A pre-sale inspection is well worth avoiding major problems that could cost you big. These are the most common issues we’re seeing:
Inadequate Flashing – This is the material used to secure the joints in your roof where your roof may meet a chimney or sky light. These areas are vulnerable to rain, and flashing helps prevent leaks by directing water away and towards gutters. There is a trend of solar companies using a “puck” type of attachment with no flashing, since it is cheaper and faster to install, saving on labor costs. Ask a prospective solar company what kind of attachment system they are using, what the warranty is, and why they are not using flashing. Companies that specialize in maintenance of older systems find that 55% of the issues are leaking from inadequate flashing.
Squirrel Damage – Squirrels can go nuts (pun not intended) over solar panels. From nesting below the panel, to eating at the wiring – some serious damages can happen from these guys.
Low Quality Installation – This is pretty self explanatory. If you aren’t hiring the right solar panel company to do a healthy install that consists of preventative damage, then you could be throwing money out the window. Damages and continuing replacement needs will shorten the lifespan of your panels. Check the Better Business ratings on any company that you are considering. If it is not a local company, check the headquarters listing.
Expiring Warranties – If you’re buying a home with an older system, you could be facing some major issues – especially if the warranty is almost up. Older installations used sealants to fasten the panels to the roof and these sealants are starting to break down, often causing roof damage and leaks. In more recent years, the solar industry has moved to aluminum materials, or flexible flashing.
Solar Orphans – A ‘solar orphan’ is a residential solar panel system that was installed by a company that has since gone out of business, cutting off support and maintenance services. As many of the early solar installers have closed up shop following the initial surge into the industry, solar orphans are far from rare. Fortunately, third-party installers often provide an Operations and Maintenance (O&M) program to give you maintenance services that the former installer originally had covered.
Have Questions Regarding Your Home’s Older Solar Panels?
Yes Solar Solutions has provided homeowners, businesses and alike, with both solar power equipment, energy storage and consulting across North Carolina. With over 13 years of experience in the solar industry, we deliver expert solar energy consulting and premium-quality solar power system installation services. We are Green Plus certified and the first NABCEP-accredited company on the East Coast – we meet solar industry standards, making solar accessible and guarantee the power of independence. Solar can be confusing, Yes makes it simple!
If you have questions about solar panels on your new home, whether they’re already installed or you’re planning to install some new ones, contact us online or call us directly at (919) 804-1490 today!