Solar Buying Guide - Step 2
What Solar Equipment to Get: Size, Brands, Models, & Prices
You've read the Solar Buying Guide - Step 1, considered whether solar might make sense for you and decided that maybe it would. You've read the website articles on "How Not to Shop for Solar," "Solar Websites," and "The Right Way to Shop for Solar." Now you're ready for Step 2 in the shopping process: deciding on equipment.
Here's where solar shopping can get very complicated, technical, and difficult. Most people have not owned a solar photo-voltaic (PV) system before, so they're doing this shopping for the first time. It's a major investment. A great deal of money is at stake. Getting the right system for yourself instead of a much-less-right one can easily mean a difference of tens of thousands of dollars. But do you have to become a solar expert just to make the right choices? Fortunately not.
This second Guide walks you through the minimum needed to make wise decisions about equipment. It is non-technical, written for first-time shoppers. But it is not simplistic either; it doesn't make the decisions for you. For those who want to go deeper, it provides links to more detailed articles on the website. It covers
■ How much money is at stake: specific figures for SCE solar customers
■ System sizing: you should do it yourself, not the installer. How to do it.
- Explains the only features and specs you need to bother with
- A table comparing performance of panels
- Savings SCE customers would lose from differences in each feature
- All brands sold to SCE solar customers (including the top nationals)
- Ratings of panels by brand
- Recommendations for which panels to get
■ Inverters, monitors, and mounting racks
■ Completely integrated systems
■ Warranties, guarantees, and insurance
The guide comes with its own Checklist that you can use to record your facts, decisions, and notes as you read. You'll end up with a handy summary of exactly what you want and what questions to ask. Very useful when it's time to talk with an installer.
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