7 Questions to Stump a Solar Salesperson

Dec 9, 2020 11:31 AM ET

Getting the right solar tech installed in homes can be very challenging in absence of proper knowledge and experience. It's not like purchasing a car or any other item where all you need to do is visit the dealership and get your deal done. There are quite a lot of sales tactics used in the solar industry and thus you can easily get fooled by the salespersons. But say no more. In this article, we are sharing some questions you should ask your solar salesperson to get the best system at the best possible rates. So, without wasting any more time, let's start! 

1. How Does The Number of Cells Make Difference In A Solar Panel? 

The number of cells definitely matters in the solar panel. A majority of off-grid charge controllers are made to handle about 60-cell panels. You can also get controllers that are optimized for 72 cell panels but they are more pricey and don't fit into the budget of most of the consumers. 

Now the most common question that comes to the mind of most customers is, what happens when you use a 72 cell panel system on a controller designed for 60-cell panels? 

The answer is, you can damage your controller! 

The Size of Panel Cells

You solar system installer should be well aware of your needs. The charge controller and the number of solar panel cells should be compatible with each other. 

A majority of our customers prefer Midnight Solar Classic 150 Charge Controller which is suitable for 60 cells in the system which are usually arranged in 3 panels. 

2. Is There Any ROI On The Battery Based System? 

Not always. Most of the off-grid systems do not include any ROI. These are all about energy independence. By the time your system reaches a time to pay for itself, you'll have to replace your batteries. Usually, you need to replace your batteries every 8 to 10 years. 

Generally, the off-grid customers don't see these systems as a long term investment. They don't get a payback or any kind of benefits on net metering with off-grid systems. Grid-tied systems are better from the ROI point of view. 

3. Is It a Good Idea To Use a Tracker With Solar Panels? 

While it's true that a tracker boosts energy production and efficiency, a good idea is to install a few extra solar panels instead of a tracker as it is more cost-effective. 

A sun tracker introduces moving components and hence imposes additional cost and maintenance to your system. Overall, the benefits served by trackers are less than the cost they add to your solar system. 

So, when does a sun tracker make sense? The only time when it's a good idea to get a solar tracker is when you don't have enough space to install extra cell panels and you need to squeeze out of every kilowatt out of your panels. 

If your solar technician forces you to buy a tracker without even assessing the system needs, know that they are doing so for their own benefits. 

4. How Close Should I Install My Inverter To The Batteries? 

Most of the 48v and 24v battery inverters need to be installed not more than 10 inches away from the battery bank otherwise there will be a voltage drop. The deal is the more is the distance of the battery bank from the inverter, the more voltage it drops off as it travels. So, the closer, the better when it comes to solar battery backup

5. Should I Get The Most Efficient Solar Panels? 

Don't get fooled by your solar tech when he tells you to get the most efficient solar panels out there. The good thing is, most of the panels that are available in the market offer decent wattage output and are cost effective as well. 

So, should you invest in the most efficient PV array or not? 

The only condition when you should spend on the PV array is when you have limited space. This is when the expensive solar modules make sense. They generally offer better output for the same systems but at higher rates. 

6. Does The Type Of Solar Panel I Use Makes Any Sense? 

There are many ways of manufacturing solar panels including mono-crystalline, polycrystalline, thin film, SIG etc. While the manufacturing process hardly matters, the manufacturer definitely does. 

Almost all the solar panels operate on one principle: they use silicon-based semiconductors for converting the solar energy into electric power. However, the top manufacturers produce high-quality panels than the ones below them. The local or say bottom-tier manufacturers produce cost-effective but cheap quality systems. 

These systems use low quality components and manufacturing methods. The cheap manufacturers make you compromise on the quality by offering low rates. Some solar tech lets you bargain and in reality they will be extracting the desired price from you. 

The bottom-tier manufacturers skimp on the UL listings that are required for these panels. This again costs you more if you don't meet the standard requirements. 

7. How Should I Size an Off-grid System? 

Sizing an off-grid solar inverter is very important. The first thing you need is a solar cost calculator and then calculate the energy requirements of your home and other power appliances. Lay more stress on the appliances that are always on such as well-pump, fridge, power outlets etc. 

The appliances that have a higher surge current when they are turned on. These include appliances that are paired with compressors and motors such as well-pumps. 

In such a case, your requirements may vary at a great level. We advise you to pick a minimum of 4kW inverter or pick larger ones of handling more surge current. 

So, these were some of the questions you should ask your solar panel company at the time of installing the solar systems at your home. These questions will prevent you from falling into the sales tactics of solar salespersons. We hope you liked our article and if you do, don't forget to comment and share it. 


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