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Question DetailsAsked on 11/28/2014

rating for solar source

Solar panels on the roof.

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Solar panels are not yet popular enough to have any sort of "standardized" ratings. You can find a lot of ratings in articles and at organization websites by googling a search phrase like - solar panel ratings . However, generally the energy ratings will be on the panel cells themselves, not the overall system - and many ofthe rating organizations are not unbiased - some "rating organizations" for solar and green products have actually been set up by just one company to push its own products by saying their product is the only one approved by "Joe's Extraterrestrial Spaceship and Solar Panel Rating Institute" or such, so be sure to check into the bloodlines of the rating group. You can also find ratings with this Google search phrase - consumer reports solar panel reviews - along with an interesting set of articles on solar panel scams and marketing untruths.
You can find info on ASTM (American Society for Testing of Materials) standards, which are the "bible of US standards, by googling this search phrase - ASTM standards for solar panels , though some companies use European or Chinese or Japanese test standards instead so it confuses matters. Just bear in mind each manufacturer will present their product in the best light, and use highly optomistic projections of cost and maintenance and very high competing energy cost assumption to make their product look good. At the current state of the art, for residential units and considering the current trends of energy costs, one does not buy solar energy for economic reasons, because the payback periods run several decades at best, whereas the average person moves every 6-8 years and solar energy on a house is generally a detractor, not a benefit, in selling a house because most buyers do not want the extra issues associated with it. Most of the ratings come out of California, obviously. Remember a couple of other things too - ratings are based on brand new prodcuts - which typically lose effectiveness over time due to environmental degradation of the panels themselves, and the energy generated/absorbed depends a great deal on how clean they are kept - it is not at all uncommon for the energy produced to drop 25% or more in a year or two, especially in areas with a lot of fine blowing dust or urban soot or smog, so be sure to take that into account and also to account for cleaning access in installation - I have seen panel setups without access aisles for cleaning or maintenance. One other thing - if looking at a turnkey install-lease deal, read the fine print with you attorney VERY, VERY closely - most leases include a lien on your house for the recovery of the cost of the installation if you (or subsequent buyer) stops using it, probably all REQUIRE that a buyer assume the lease (which is a big resale negative) before your house can be sold, and many leave you liable for the unamortized value of the installation (which they amortize over a VERY long period typically) EVEN if the new buyer assumes the lease - so you are on the hook even though you have sold the unit. The ones I have seen leave you responsible for cleaning and for physical damage too. Also, don't forget, it is VERY pricey to remove the units to reroof the house, so don't make the mistake of installing solar units on a roof that will need reroofing in the foreseeable future, and if you live in a wildfire area, be sure you are buyhing fire rated ones - some have highly combustible plastic construction.

Answered 5 years ago by LCD

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