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5 Costly Solar Panel Mistakes Homeowners in California Make and How to Avoid Them

SunPower

It's a recently established universal truth that switching to cleaner, solar energy not only guarantees a lighter conscience, but can help homeowners save hundreds of dollars on their electricity bill. That said, slapping a few solar panels on your roof doesn't always mean money saved.

You see, not all solar panels are created equal, and this can lead to costly mistakes and unnecessary headaches down the line.

Here are the five most costly solar pitfalls every homeowner needs to avoid before going solar in 2020.

1. Delaying Going Solar

Switching to solar is a major decision for any homeowner, as it requires significant investment and research. But making it a long-stretched decision in 2020 can actually lead to inflated costs.

The past two years have been the Goldilocks period for solar energy; 2 million roofs in the US have solar today, and that number is expected to more than double by 2023. Right now, homeowners have the opportunity to take advantage of the federal solar tax credit, also known as the solar investment tax credit (ITC).

This allows homeowners who have a solar system installed in 2020 to deduct 26% of the cost of their solar purchase from their federal taxes. The credit is set to scale down to 22% in 2021. The longer you wait to go solar, the farther you get from maximizing your total savings.

2. Not Checking the Efficiency of Solar Panels

Solar panel efficiency is a game-changer when it comes to designing a greener house. While many homeowners fall into the trap of buying "cheap solar panels," they don't realize the true cost of solar depends on the efficiency of the panels over time – not on the up-front purchase price

This is how solar panels work: the more photovoltaic (PV) energy produced by the solar panels on your roof, the less electricity you need to buy from your utility company. Thus, you need to consider the efficiency of your solar panels to maximize the return on your investment.

Currently, SunPower's X-Series panel is the most efficient solar panel on the market. Compared to conventional panels, SunPower solar panels produce 55% more energy in the same space over the first 25 years.

3. Unreasonable Saving Expectations

By not knowing how much you can potentially save with solar panels, you're setting yourself up for disappointment – and lost savings.

Apart from the energy savings that come from installing solar panels, you get additional incentives, including rebates and the tax credits mentioned above. Additionally, you can protect yourself from utility company rate hikes by generating your own electricity with a high-efficiency system. That's how one SunPower customer in New Jersey paid just $4.35 a month to his utility company. Others pay even less, and some even end up with a credit on their monthly electric bill.

Related: How Much Can You Save From Home Solar Panels in 2020

4. Falling for Dubious Warranties

Warranty is an important part of the solar package, which can save you from myriad issues in the future. Many companies offer a warranty on solar panels themselves, but that's it. And that's precisely the problem. Home solar systems have so many components and parts that even a small fault in one could be enough to compromise the productivity of the whole system ­– leaving you with hefty maintenance costs.

It's advisable to choose companies that not only cover the solar panels but the entire system. Companies like SunPower offer a 25-year warranty on the entire system. They repair any damaged parts – including everything on the roof, not just the panels – or replace them entirely at no additional cost, including labor and shipping. And since they design the entire system with SunPower components and parts, everything is made to work perfectly together. But if something does ever need repair, the process is fast and easy. They don't need receipts, proof of purchase, or written claims. And if you happen to be living seaside, then the warranty covers rust damage as well.

5. DIY-ing the Solar Roof

If you are a firm believer in do-it-yourself policy, especially if you see it as a means to save money, then good for you. But DIY-ing your home solar installation can do way more harm than good.

Installing solar panels requires much more than watching a few YouTube videos. From the optimal direction of the panels to wiring issues, it's better, and even much more cost-efficient, to leave the installation to the professionals. And SunPower does just that by connecting you with their nationwide network of reliable local solar installers.

With SunPower's free online consultations, it's now easier and more affordable than ever for homeowners to switch to solar energy. During the consultation, a SunPower energy consultant uses patented design technology to develop a custom system design, calculate the monthly savings on your electric bill, show you how much clean energy you'll produce, create a quote, and provide an overview of all available incentives and tax credits. They'll also answer your burning questions around going solar.

For example, is your home right for solar? Can you generate enough solar energy for your family's needs? Do you have excessive shading on your roof? Does your local utility have solar-friendly policies? And much more.

Homeowners in HI, CA , NY, NJ, MA, CT, AZ, FL, IL, CO, NC, SC, UT and DE have recently benefited from some the best savings and incentives when going solar.

Start your free home solar savings estimate here.

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We may earn a commission from links on this page, but we only recommend products we back. Newsweek AMPLIFY participates in various affiliate marketing programs, which means we may get paid commissions on editorially chosen products purchased through our links to retailer sites.