checklist

Do you have a roof that can support solar panels?

This is pretty key. If your roof is covered in shade most of the day throughout the year, it might not have a favorable enough “solar window” to justify the costs of Solar Panels. That’s something you’ll want to assess before you move forward.

If you do have a suitable sunlit rooftop to work with, make sure it’s in good shape structurally. Solar installations these days can come with warranties for 20 or 25 years. If your roof will need a renovation a few years down the road, it’ll be easier to take care of that before the array goes up. That way, you won’t have to pay in extra time and money to disconnect your panels during the roof renovation and put them up again afterwards.

Lastly, envision the future of your yard. If the roof is unobstructed now but you’ve just planted a battalion of leafy oaks around your property, you might run in to trouble a few years down the road. Be prepared to prune your foliage to keep the panels clear.

Have you done everything you can to improve efficiency?

The amount of solar energy you need to produce depends on how much you use, so it makes sense to trim your usage as much as possible before paying for all those panels. It’s more affordable to replace old inefficient appliances than adding more Solar Panels to power them. Start with an energy audit and look for efficiency upgrades before you draw up blueprints. Solar 4 You assists in improving your efficiency as part of their service to customers

Which kind of solar makes sense?

Hybrid Grid-Tie offers increased functionality, most important of which is that it can feed power back into your house’s grid to reduce consumption on the non-essentials (appliances that will not be connected to your Inverter’s Output), like Stoves, Ovens and Geysers. In this way consumption can be brought down to ZERO if enough battery capacity is available to cover this consumption at night. Mostly these systems are used for Maximum Savings with Small Backup to keep the essentials going through loadshedding.

The economical Hybrid cannot do this, it can only power the loads connected to its output - so savings are only realised on the essentials. When going completely Off-Grid this Type of Inverter is Typically Used.

Grid-Tie Produces Savings only, alleviating Eskom usage as much as possible during the day while the sun is shining.  Grid-Tie is of no use during Loadshedding.

Is your installer trustworthy?

This applies any time you hire someone to come into your home, but solar combines the logistics of a home improvement project with the risks of electrical work. Credentials and references are especially important. You wouldn’t hire an electrician who had never done electrical work to come into your house and change things around, will you?

This is harder to predict, but, ideally, you want a company that will stick around for the lifetime of your installation. Since solar systems don’t have moving pieces, they tend to need very little maintenance. Still, in the event that anything does stop working during the warranty period, you don’t want to realize that your installer isn’t around to fix it.

Is your installer trustworthy?

There are many different components in a photovoltaic system, and each is covered by a different warranty from their manufacturer. It’s crucial that the installer fully explain each one.

  1. The installer should provide a warranty of the workmanship and components of the system, and cover the labor and replacement costs of any failing components.
  2. Photovoltaic panels have their own warranty, and often this is specified in two parts: one warranty covering materials and workmanship, and another warranty period covering their power output. Solar panels normally degrade over time, producing a little less power each year. (This degradation should be less than 1% per year.) The panel warranty will certify that it will continue to produce a given percentage of the original power output after a number of years. The product warranty should be at least 10 years and is sometimes long as 25.
  3. The Inverter is a critical part of the system, and will have its own warranty period. 2 to 5 years is typical.
  4. The mounting system needs to hold up to potentially extreme weather for a couple decades. You want to make sure it has a strong warranty - at least 10 years.
  5. Are you getting batteries? It’s a pricey component, so be sure you know what the warranty is. A good Lithium Battery has a 10 Year Warranty, but it’s important to read the fine print - some are limited to a specified amount of cycles