There are as many manufacturers of solar equipment as there are solar installers in San Diego County — over 400! There are several factors that can make the decision easier when choosing solar panels for your home; pricing, wattage, product warranty, and company stability. Ultimately, installing a solar energy system on your home is about saving money on your electricity costs. Even though choosing a less expensive panel may seem like the obvious answer, you should look at the warranty provided by the manufacturer.
Most solar panel warranties include a 25-year performance guarantee in their product warranty, with degradation of less than 1% per year. Performance of all solar panels gradually decline over time, to about 80% performance after 25 years. When considering the product warranty, company stability and history become another piece in the equation. You’ll want to be confident that the company will be around to honor the warranty in the future.
Industry leaders that produce the best performing products and hold significant market share, such as SunPower, are a great example of a healthy company. At SolarTech, we offer several solar panel options to achieve your solar goal, whether it’s getting the most cost savings or owning a best-in-class renewable energy system.
Central inverters are the work horse of the industry, with the longest history in operation. Central inverters are most often used for commercial/utility applications. System costs tend to be lower, however, there are some limitations. All solar panels on a central inverter or string system will operate to the lowest common denominator of production. Meaning that if one panel experiences shade from a tree or chimney, the whole system’s production will decrease to the level of performance of the least productive panel.
Optimized central inverters are string systems with panel-level performance optimizers. This allows each solar panel to produce electricity independent of typical string system limitations.
Micro inverters, the most common choice for residential solar energy installs, convert the electricity from DC to AC at the source, allowing each solar panel to achieve the best individual performance possible. Micro inverters are especially effective for multiple-array systems, such as those with panel systems facing East and West.
Under the current Net Energy Metering agreement, solar tends to be a better value without energy storage. The cost of batteries measured against Net Metering costs doesn’t make economic sense… yet. Every solar energy system designed by SolarTech is storage-ready.
Once the cost of home battery systems come down, our customers will be able to integrate energy storage into their system to better manage their energy consumption needs, while minimizing costs with the utility. Even with a home battery installed, most homeowners will remain connected to the grid. A truly “off-grid” solution requires a larger solar panel system and more energy storage than most homeowners are willing to pay for. However, grid-tied solar with storage for homes is in the near future.