Selecting a good Solar panel installer among the various service providers is the most important thing to do after you decide to go for a Rooftop solar plant for your home or office. Having a good and knowledgeable and experienced solar installation service provider at your side, can actually save a lot of work and stress for you.
Solar systems are not some plug and play electronics equipment, which you can buy from a store in the market and put it into work on your on. It requires prior calculation of your power needs, understanding of your roof structure, and understanding of electrical power system.
And, if you don’t do it right, the system is going to fail sooner or later or might not produce the right amount of electricity it should produce. Also, there is high risk to life when you are dealing with electrical power system.
But, there is no need to panic. Most of the installers out in the market are trained professionals with experience. Even then, you should screen and filter out the solar roof top installers, to meet your needs and standards.
Receiving a competitive price for your solar project that includes components and their installation and maintenance service means you receive the best service with the installation. So, researching which company will offer you the best price is well worth your time.
So, i have come up with some guidelines for you to follow, when are seeking the solar installation service.
Look at what is included in the quote
Solar panel installation is mainly an integration of different components. a standard installation should include the following items in the quote
- Solar panels
- Mounting Structure cost
- Electrical connection components like wires, cables (AC and DC cables), circuit protection devices like MCBs, Junction boxes etc.
- Bi-directional meters, if you are going for the grid connected option
- Installation or laborer charges
- Grid connection administration
- And, batteries, if you need to have back up(in case of off-grid connection)
Always check that the quote includes GST or any other tax applicable, as that may increase the price in the end.
Ask for Solar panels from trusted brands for your project
Solar panels come in different sizes and capacities. Panels also vary by different technologies like mono-crystalline panel, poly-crystalline panel, or thin film panels. Each type has different electricity production efficiencies and rates.
But, even then you should not worry much about these technologies. Mono- or poly-crystalline panels yield similar performance at standard conditions.
All you should look for is the brand of the solar panels. Reputed solar manufactures invest a lot in the production of quality and non-defective solar panels. Also check which brands are readily available in the market. So,in case of any defect, your panels get readily replaced, rather than waiting for a long time.
And beware of low quality or duplicate solar panels. Ask your solar panel installer to give genuineness certificate of the solar panels, before starting any work.
Select the Right Solar Inverter
There are different types of inverter available in the market, viz. Stand-alone inverter, Grid-tied Inverter, Battery backup inverter, Inverter with MPPT Charge controller and inverter without MPPT system. Each of them are designed o solve different purpose.
For Grid-connected solar systems, you will need grid-tied inverter. Go for the inverter that has an inbuilt MPPT charge controller for maximum output from the panels.
Always discuss with your Solar installer, what you already have and what are your needs, so that he can design a system for your specific needs. If you already have general purpose battery back up inverter, then ask your solar installer to design the system around that to minimize your cost.
Also remember that standalone MPPT ( Maximum Power point tracking) charge controllers are available in the market, which you can use with your existing inverter.
Also check if the inverter supplied by the installer has inbuilt protection system to avoid is-landing effect, as it is a mandatory feature your state electricity board or DISCOM asks, if you are going for a Grid-connected solar system.
Check costs outside of the installer’s fees that may change the total price
Ask your installer and check yourself if the quote provided by him covers all the costs, or there are costs you have to bear if they arise in the later stage. There might be charges for Net Meters, Line connection fees any other govt. fees. Having a clear picture will minimize the cost and any conflict between you and your service provider.
Understand the Warranties and Guarantees
Knowing and understanding the warranties given by different components, their time period and who owns the warranties- you or the installer company, will come to your rescue if any defect arise in the system in the future.
In general Solar panel manufactures give you a 10 year warranty on manufacturing defects,and a 25 year performance or productivity warranty.
Most of the inverters will have a 5-8 years of warranty while batteries generally have a 3 year warranty.
Sometimes, solar installer companies give a 5-7 years of warranty that covers any defects in the components, cables, wires, protection devices and the mounting structures and all. So choosing an installers that gives a combined warranty for the complete system will prove beneficial to you.
Solar panel mounting structure requires a minimum warranty of ten years. The mounting structure should be able to withstand different weather condition and a wind speed of 150 Kmph at maximum. Remember that anodised aluminium or stainless steel mounting components are the industry standard.
Longer the period of AMC, the better
In India, MNRE and all the state nodal agencies has made it mandatory to include a minimum 5 year AMC (Annual Maintenance Contract ) for Roof top Solar plants. So, don’t forget to check if the MAC is included in your contract or not. Always choose an AMC plan with a longer period.
It is important to select an installer who will look after your investment. Selecting an solar installer that is highly responsive to your queries and problems is also important; should any problems occur with the system they should be able to act quickly and efficiently.
Always choose solar installers who can answer your technical questions, are knowledgeable and honest, because, you are investing a lot of money. If possible check for the reputation of the installer company for any bad reviews.