How durable are solar panels? Technology is largely disposable these days. How long will you keep your cell phone? For one thing, in a year or two, it’s outdated. For another thing, by that time, it’s worn out. The operating system is comparatively ancient, the buttons are touchy and, sometimes, nonfunctional and the screen is, at best, a bit cloudy. Those solar panels on the roof are not like this.
How about your car. Yes, it should last more than two years, but at what cost? How much time will it spend in the auto repair shop receiving maintenance and repairs? But, in answer to the question, “How durable are solar panels?” there is some very basic maintenance required with the solar panels on your roof but, for the most part, they will sit up there quietly generating energy for your benefit and without complaint.
One reason solar panels match up so well to the question, “How durable are solar panels? is that they are durable. They don’t have much in the way of moving parts and when parts move, wear is inevitable. A car engine uses oil to mitigate the effects of its moving parts. It also relies on coolant to further help carry away the heat generated by friction. There’s a lot of friction and a lot of heat.
How durable are solar panels? The key is in the installation
The key with solar panels, however, is proper installation. If not done right, you may find that the mounting brackets are causing leakage – water will make its way through your home’s roof. If not installed properly, the solar panels could catch a strong wind and rip up your roof and damage the panels in the process. This is not a significant concern as long as the solar panels were installed the right way.
Proper installation of the solar panels takes into account factors that go beyond simply facing them in the best direction to catch the most rays of the sun. Proper installation also includes considering the surface where the panels will be mounted. It will consider trees and structures that could block the panels from the sun. And it will consider the sail effect. The sail effect is what can happen when the panels are installed in a way where the wind can get at them and turn them into sails.
All these factors considered solar panels will sit up there on your roof capturing energy for decades. There are solar panels on roofs that have been up there for 30 years or more. And those panels are were made with technology that is now three decades old. Newer designs will last even longer.
It is true that, over time, your solar panels may lose some of their efficiency. With the kind of lifespan, you can expect from your solar panels, they’ll be saving you money long after you’ve recouped the cost of the solar panels.
The addition of a solar array to your home or office is a wise investment that, over time, can pay for itself, and all the more quickly when energy prices go up. Once you’ve made the decision to consider a solar array installation, however, it’s essential that you continue to approach the idea with wisdom and foresight. A bright idea can turn out badly if it’s not carried out properly.
There are three initial issues to consider when you decide to install a solar array on your home or office:
- The price
- The quality of the equipment
- The quality of the installation
A solar array is not a DIY kind of project. It requires someone with experience and the proper skill set. You need someone who is trained and experienced installing solar arrays. A certified solar array installer will help you to maximize your investment. They’ll help you to choose the best possible array for your money – an array that fits your requirements. Then, they’ll make sure it’s properly installed.
Proper installation includes installing the array with the best exposure to the sun so that it achieves the maximum efficiency. Proper installation also means that they’ll install the array without creating the kinds of significant problems that haunt people who weren’t so careful when they chose someone to install their solar array.
What could possibly go wrong? A lot. Along with proper exposure of the solar array, it needs to be installed according to all applicable codes and ordinances. The electrical work requires an actual electrician. A solar array is not like a microwave – something you just plug into the wall. If the solar array isn’t wired properly, you risk that it won’t work, that varmints or weather could damage the wiring, or even that it could cause a fire.
Most solar arrays are mounted on roofs – actually attached to the roofs. Anytime you attach something to the roof, if it’s not done properly, using the right equipment, you risk causing leaks. A small leak is a nuisance, at first. Over time, however, it could cause serious structural damage.
The solar array covers a significant area. If you mounted it upright on a boat, the wind would move the boat. In other words, it would serve as a sail. Houses aren’t built to move with the wind and no one wants a sail on top of their house. Cantilevering or propping the panels will accentuate this effect.
A Certified Installer will install your solar panels so that the wind, even with a significant storm, can’t use the panels as a sail. Otherwise, with extreme winds, the panels could pull the roof off the house or the panels could break loose from the roof. In either case, it’s a costly problem.
In the Northern climates, winter brings snow. A qualified technician will take into account the weight of possible snowfalls so that your roof, and solar panels, can bear the load.
The question, of course, is ‘how do you find that Certified technician to install your solar array?’
You need to do some investigating. You’ll want to check with the Better Business Bureau. Be careful of certifications, though. There are organizations that claim to certify people who install solar arrays. However, with some of them, anyone with $3,000 can obtain a certification, whether they’re qualified or not. It’s better to check around and ask for references. It doesn’t hurt to get a second quote, too.
Look for someone with the UL certification. The UL requirements are far and above those of any other certification body. They require a minimum of five years of experience as an electrician, five installations, and an OSHA 30-hour certification. Also, make sure that at least one of the people actually doing the installation have this certification. Many times, someone from the company may have the certification, but the people doing the actual installation do not.
There are a number of great reasons to install a solar energy system for your Northern Illinois home or office. For instance, a solar system will knock those obnoxious electrical bills down to size. Some months, you won’t have an electric bill at all. That’s not hard to take.
When you add a solar array to your home, you also do something very nice for the environment. The carbon footprint of a solar energy system is zero, zilch, nada. We can all breathe a deep sigh of relief at that thought.
A solar system does wonderful things for your Northern Illinois home’s value
Homeowners are often looking into ways to improve their homes that will increase the value of a home. Often, the return on investment is small – even miniscule. But that’s not the case with solar energy.
Consider the effect on a home’s value for the following common home improvements:
- Remodeling a kitchen – a 2% return on investment
- Remodeling a bathroom – a 2% return on investment
- Revamping your landscape with a landscape designer – if you’re lucky, you’ll breakeven
- Adding a solar energy system to your home – a 43% return on investment
Did you read that last bullet point above? It’s so incredible that it deserves another read – “Adding a solar energy system to your home (provides) a 43% return on investment. Remodeling a bathroom or kitchen is hardly worth the effort. The idea of adding a solar energy system to your Northern Illinois home, however, is so advantageous that it begs the question, “When will you start?”
According to a June 19, 2015, “The Energy Show on Renewable Energy World” article, using a $4-a-kilowatt rate for electric from the utility, a typical 5,000-kilowatt solar energy system will cost about $14,000 after the government’s 30 percent Investment Tax Credit. That improvement, however, will increase the home’s value approximately $20,000.